We’ve seen plenty of Democratic candidates come out for “Medicare for all.” Now we have Democratic front-runner Joe Biden signing on to “Medicaid for all.”
At an event in Washington on Monday, Biden announced that if he had his druthers, every American would be signed up for Medicaid from the moment of birth — meaning millionaires and billionaires, apparently, would have access to a program designed for low-income Americans.
“I think that everyone’s entitled to have total health care,” Biden said during a speech at the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress, according to The Washington Post.
“And what I would do is make sure that every single person, as I propose, every single person in the United States has access to Medicaid right off the bat,” the former vice president said.
This clearly wasn’t an Uncle Joe gaffe. He makes it clear from his inflection that he’s talking about Medicaid here.
As Dave Wiegel of The Washington Post pointed out, this certainly sounded like a new health care tack from the Democrat front-runner.
Biden answer on health care that sounded new, at least to me: “I think everyone’s entitled to have total health care, and what I would do is make sure that every single person in the United States has access to Medicaid right off the bat.”
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) June 17, 2019
Slate asked the Biden campaign for comment after the event and the response was suitably vague, although it didn’t include any talk of “Medicaid for all.”
However, its language was every bit as confusing.
“The Biden health care plan will include access to a Medicare-like public option for anyone who wants it,” the campaign said.
“It will also include premium-free access to this public option for people who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid but have been denied access to it by governors and state legislatures who have refused the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.”
The expansion the campaign was referring to was provision of Obamacare that expanded Medicaid benefits to those making up to 133 percent of the federally defined poverty line; the Supreme Court struck down that rule.
So, this brings up even more questions. Not “Medicaid for all,” but “Medicare-like?” Could we be a little more vague? And why the sudden change?
Perhaps it’s because of the obvious fact: Medicaid is a means-tested program meant for those close to, at or below the poverty line.
iden’s latest gambit is (or was, for a brief, shining moment) to sign up every Rockefeller and Kennedy for this program from the moment of birth — even if it would mean giving mountains of money to the already-wealthy. This could only have gone over well.
Oh, and by the way, the left isn’t exactly enamored with Biden’s utterance at the Poor People’s Campaign forum, albeit for different reasons.
“Biden outlined a new health-care proposal, which would build on the Affordable Care Act by increasing access for lower-income people. The former vice president’s tack on health care is less sweeping than the Medicare-for-all plan embraced by some of his Democratic rivals, which they touted later onstage,” the Washington Post reported, noting that he got a “muted” reaction from the progressive audience.
It’s quite a bit less sweeping than Bernie Sanders’ proposal to do away with private insurance, as well. And, as the Washington Free Beacon noted, “[m]ost of the candidates advocate for universal coverage in some form.”
So, is this Biden’s plan? A retreat into Obamacare’s expansion of means-tested programs, yet another way to make the misbegotten Affordable Care Act even less affordable for everyday Americans?
The thing is that on an issue where most Democrat candidates have been fairly specific, Biden has been vague — and one suspects that it’s deliberate.
Now, he’s going to be giving us all Medicaid or something “Medicare-like,” depending on who you talk to.
Whatever it is, one thing’s for certain: If you’re looking for less government intervention and lower costs in health care, Joe Biden isn’t your guy.
Not that anyone needed to tell you that, mind you, but Biden is still perfectly willing to.
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