VOX News: We read 9 Democratic plans for expanding health care. Here’s how they work.

By Sarah Kliff and Dylan Scott Updated Jun 21, 2019, 4:20pm EDTGraphics by Javier Zarracina and Christina Animashaun/Vox; Photos via Getty Images

Democrats are talking a lot about Medicare-for-all. But what exactly do they mean?

Democratic candidates have run — and won — on a promise to fight to give all Americans access to government-run health care. A new Medicare-for-all bill in the House has more than 100 co-sponsors. But there are still real disagreements among Democrats. Some of the party’s 2020 presidential candidates have endorsed single payer, while others prefer more incremental improvements. They’ll soon start hashing out those differences at the debates.

To capture the full scope of options Democrats are considering to insure all (or at least a lot more) Americans, look at the half dozen or so plans in Congress, which all envision very different health care systems.

“Democrats ran on health care,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz told Vox last year. “We now control one chamber of Congress. We have an opportunity and an obligation to demonstrate what we’d do if we were in charge of both chambers. We have an obligation to hear from experts and figure out the best path forward.”

We spent a month reading through the congressional plans to expand Medicare (and a few to expand Medicaid, too) as well as proposals at major think tanks that are influential in liberal policymaking. We talked to the legislators and congressional staff who wrote those plans, as well as the policy experts who have analyzed them.


Dan Geiger