As the California gubernatorial race focuses on how to make “Medicare For All” work in their state, the Trump administration’s top official for that program shot holes in the idea at a talk this week in San Francisco.
Earning scorn from the left, Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that the agency would not allow federal money to be utilized for such a program at the state level:
— Ralph Nader (@RalphNader) July 25, 2018
Her comments included multiple criticisms of the policy’s efficacy.
“I think a lot of the analysis has shown it’s unaffordable,“ she said during a Q&A session. She added that ”it doesn’t make sense for us to waste time on something that’s not going to work.”
She reiterated the need to focus the program on seniors and to not compromise their health by extending Medicare services to a larger population. This was especially concerning given the recent news that the Medicare trust would be insolvent within a decade.
Meanwhile, the Golden State’s lieutenant governor ran for a promotion to governor on a platform that contained this as a plank. The state also did a lot to shore up the failing Obamacare program. That included allowing their attorney general to be part of a coalition arguing against a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas.
That litigation would affect all insured persons, as it questioned the constitutionality of requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions. California has also taken steps to ensure that there would be no work requirements for the state’s Medicaid program.
According to Modern Healthcare, the Medicare For All approach is supported by 33 of the 57 Democrats who were victorious in their primaries in swing districts. It is also a policy priority of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who stated in a response to Verma that “Medicare has worked extremely well for our nation’s seniors and will work equally well for all Americans.”
Verma expressed concerns that this approach to health care would limit choice for all involved.
Verma adds Medicare for All would give "the government complete control over the decisions pertaining to your care or no care at all." Heightened rhetoric comes after more Democrats endorse move for Medicare for All
— Robert King (@rking_19) July 25, 2018
There was a certain irony in Sen. Sanders’ defense of Medicare For All. In 2014, the state he represented was well down the path towards implementing it before realizing the hard truth: they couldn’t afford it. Other states have also pursued similar efforts only to abandon them in the face of the realization that the economic costs were too high.
Economists who reviewed his proposal during the time of Sen. Sanders’s presidential campaign found his numbers to be deeply flawed and estimated costs to be double what Sanders himself had cited. Among those was the economic authority of the New York Times’ Paul Krugman who called the proposal “embarrassing.”