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What They’re Saying: E&C Republicans Continue to Pressure Dems to Hold Hearing on Medicare for All


02.11.19

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans are continuing to pressure Democrats to hold a hearing on their Medicare for All proposal. This plan would take away private health insurance from more than 150 million Americans, end Medicare as we know it, and rack up more than $32-trillion in costs, not to mention potentially affecting access to health services. So, E&C Republicans want to know when is the hearing?

Republicans can’t wait to debate ‘Medicare for all’

The only people more eager than progressive Democrats for hearings on Medicare for All are conservative Republicans.

GOP lawmakers, fresh off an electoral shellacking fueled in large part by health care concerns, are now trolling Democrats with demands for hearings on the sweeping single-payer bill set to be introduced this month. They’re confident that revelations about its potential cost and elimination of most private insurance will give them potent lines of attack heading into 2020 — an election that President Donald Trump is already framing as a debate about “socialism.”

“We should have the opportunity to have a hearing on a bill Democrats say they are for,” Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told POLITICO. “They’ve campaigned on it. Now, let’s find out what it is and what they’re promoting.”

Hearings are needed to determine “how House Democrats expect to address the massive costs associated with Medicare for All,” Walden and Health subcommittee ranking member Michael Burgess (R-Texas) wrote in a letter to Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), demanding the committee move to scrutinize the policy.

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Medicare for All Bill Puts Pressure on Democrats’ 2020 Field

House Democrats are planning to unveil Medicare for All legislation soon, turning up the heat on Democratic presidential candidates facing questions over how far they want to go in em­brac­ing a na­tional gov­ern­ment health sys­tem.

Some of the can­di­dates want a to­tal gov­ern­ment health sys­tem, also known as sin­gle payer, that would end em­ployer and most pri­vate cov­er­age. Oth­ers are sup­port­ing step­ping­stones to sin­gle payer, such as a let­ting peo­ple younger than 65 buy into Medicare, the pop­u­lar pro­gram for se­niors. The dis­agree­ments are pro­vid­ing an open­ing for op­po­nents to at­tack.

“Medicare for All’s bumper sticker mes­sage sounds good un­til we find out what’s un­der the hood,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R., Ore.) in a Feb­ruary sub­com­mittee hear­ing. “We know it ends em­ployer and union cov­er­age and hurts the Medicare trust fund.”

Some Re­pub­li­cans have called for Medicare for All hear­ings, to lay out what they see as the dan­gers of such a sys­tem. Mr. Walden and Rep. Michael Burgess (R., Texas) sent a let­ter on Feb. 5 to De­moc­rats re­quest­ing that the House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee hold hear­ings on Medicare for All, which they op­pose.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple need to fully un­der­stand how Medicare for All is not Medicare at all, but ac­tu­ally just government run, single payer health care,” Mr. Walden said.

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