The Center for American Progress [CAP] on Thursday released a universal healthcare plan aimed at building on the coverage expansion from ObamaCare.
The leading center-left think tank enters a debate that has been accelerating among Democrats about how far to go in expanding on the Affordable Care Act with government-run insurance.
The CAP plan, called Medicare Extra, would provide government-run health insurance modeled on Medicare for people currently on Medicare, Medicaid, or in the individual ObamaCare market. Notably, it would preserve employer-sponsored health insurance, which is popular among many middle-class Americans, although it would give employers and employees the option of joining the government-run, Medicare Extra option.
By leaving employer-sponsored insurance as an option, the plan does not go as far as Sen. Bernie Sanders ‘s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All” proposal. It could also make the CAP plan at least somewhat politically feasible
But the CAP plan goes farther than other Democratic ideas such as “Medicare X” from Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), which would add a government-run option on ObamaCare’s marketplaces but leave the rest of the current options in place.
The plans could lay the groundwork for Democratic efforts if they win the presidency in 2020 as well as control of both chambers of Congress.
“Medicare Extra for All would guarantee universal coverage and eliminate underinsurance,” the 20-page plan states. “It would guarantee that all Americans can enroll in the same high-quality plan, modeled after the highly popular Medicare program. At the same time, it would preserve employer-based coverage as an option for millions of Americans who are satisfied with their coverage.”
There is not yet an estimate of how much the plan would cost; CAP says it is working on one. But the plan proposes financing mechanisms like increasing taxes on high-earners, in addition to charging premiums to enrollees that are capped at a percentage of income and saving money on increased efficiencies from the new system.
The CAP plan is aimed at insuring the roughly 30 million people who remain uninsured even after ObamaCare’s gains, as well as providing generous coverage for people who are currently “underinsured,” with high out of pocket costs.
Under the CAP plan, there would no longer be the current private insurance options on the ObamaCare marketplaces. Private insurers could still offer plans modeled on the current Medicare Advantage program, but those plans would be generous than some of the cheaper ObamaCare options currently.