It’s hard to recall a political drama of late as fraught and thick with intrigue in the U.S. congress as the back-and-forth of the Obamacare repeal-and-replace vote that ultimately failed in the Senate last week.
But the debate over healthcare reform is far from over in this country. Some Republicans and Democrats are trying to work on bipartisan tweaks to the Affordable Care Act that would help drive down or stabilize premiums.
Also lingering in the air are the whispers and reminders of a proposal long ago abandoned during President Obama’s push for national healthcare — a single-payer system. Essentially, Medicare for all. There isn’t a huge push for a single-payer happening right now in Washington, but after last week’s showdown and failure, everything seems like it could be on the table for negotiation. And single-payer does have its staunch supporters, such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
“I’d be skeptical that if Democrats came to power, they’d be pushing single payer healthcare,” says POLITICO healthcare reporter Paul Demko.
Demko says overhauling the entire healthcare system would be a heavy lift, and politically tricky for anyone in control in Washington D.C.
“Thirty percent of Medicare beneficiaries get their coverage through private plans. Most people have supplemental plans to Medicare. The idea that we could flip the switch and everyone is on Medicare overlooks some real complications there.”
To hear more from Demko, as well as local experts on the future of healthcare policy, click on the audio player above.