For-profit healthcare industry swimming hard against the building wave behind Medicare for All

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 30: Paramedics Jonathan Paz (C) and Bruno Fernandini (R) wheel a patient to the x-ray room at the University of Miami Hospital's Emergency Department on April 30, 2012 in Miami, Florida. As people wait to hear from the United States Supreme Court on its decision of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, some experts say that if the act is overturned, a decision expected later this year, people that now have insurance will no longer be eligible and will be kicked back into a system where the emergency department is their first visit when sick.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

You know a public policy idea is really starting to take hold when you see who is lined up against it happening. In this case it’s Medicare for All that’s grabbed the public’s—and particularly the Democratic Party’s—attention, and it’s the corporate, for-profit healthcare industry that’s merging forces to fight it.

Health insurers and drug companies see a blue wave coming, so they’ve formed a new organization to fight the essential healthcare reform Democrats are vowing to take on. The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future will fight against any effort by Democrats to promote Medicare for All, using ads against it and funding research studies to try to prove it’s a bad idea. Because the rest of the developed world hasn’t proven that it works.

They’re also going to be going after “more centrist members” of the Democratic party, hewing them away from the growing cadre that supports Medicare for All. “Their worry,” says an insurance industry source, “is about 2020 and it’s becoming the litmus test for Democrats.” Another industry lobbyist says the insurance companies “have felt that they really need to push back on the single-payer stuff.”

The group has already hired a spokesperson, Erik Smith, who is already spinning wildly. “Most Americans support commonsense, pragmatic solutions that don’t interrupt the coverage they rely upon for themselves and their families,” he says. “We agree—and that’s what we’ll be supporting.” But the survey actually says that “six in ten (59 percent) favor a national health plan, or Medicare-for-all, in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan—including a majority of both Democrats and independents and about one-third of Republicans.”

That’s from the Kaiser Family Foundation monthly health survey last March, the poll that has become the gold standard in healthcare policy. They also found that a full three-quarters of the voting population—yep, 75 percent—would support “as an option for anyone who wants it, but people who currently have other forms of coverage can keep the coverage they already have.” That even gets a healthy majority of Republicans behind it, at 64 percent. So the fact that nearly two-thirds of House Democrats have signed onto a Medicare for All bill means that those House Democrats are far more attuned to what voters—even Republicans!—want, meaning it’s going to be an uphill climb for the bad guys.

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