2020 OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS (most states)

Time: D H M S

Speaker Pelosi lays down her ACA 2.0 marker. Is H.R. 1884 or 1868 coming up to bat?

A few weeks ago, I threw a bit of cold water water on the Medicare for All vs. Public Option brouhaha by pointing out that:

  • a) No complete overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system is going to happen before 2021 at the very earliest anyway; and
  • b) Regardless of what the hypothetical overhaul ended up looking like (M4All, Med4America, or a Public Option), it would likely take a couple of years of going through the legislative and regulatory process before actually going into effect; and that therefore...
  • c) In the short term (i.e., the next 2-3 years at least) what we should really be focusing on is protecting, repairing and strengthening the ACA itself, via a robust ACA 2.0 bill package.

As I reminded folks, there are two excellent ACA 2.0 bills which have already been introduced in both the House and Senate, with many overlapping provisions: In the House, it's H.R. 1884...which has also in turn been broken out into about a dozen smaller, standalone bills (several of which have already passed through the full House). In the Senate, it's S.1213, the Consumer Health Insurance Protection Act or CHIPA. As far as I know, the Senate version is a single package bill and has not been broken out into smaller chunks.

Well, earlier this evening, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gave an interview with Jim Cramer of CNBC as part of the rollout of this week's House prescription drug regulation bill (which I'll write more about tomorrow), and put her cards on the table:

Democrats should focus on making improvements to Obamacare instead of trying to reinvent the wheel with “Medicare for All,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.

“God bless” 2020 Democratic presidential candidates putting forth Medicare for All proposals, Pelosi said in an interview with “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer. “But know what that entails.”

Pelosi’s thoughts on how to improve the nation’s health-care laws appear to align with those of former Vice President Joe Biden, who in his 2020 presidential bid is calling for building on provisions of Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

“I believe the path to ‘health care for all’ is a path following the lead of the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi told Cramer. “Let’s use our energy to have health care for all Americans, and that involves over 150 million families that have it through the private sector.”

(Sidenote: It's ~150 million people who have private sector coverage, not 150 million families).

I honestly wasn't planning on doing more than retweeting Pelosi's repsponse since it was a fairly brief answer in a larger interview, but shortly after the story went live, Pelosi herself (well, her campaign staffer, anyway) tweeted it out directly:

I believe the path to ‘health care for all’ is a path following the lead of the Affordable Care Act. Let’s use our energy to have health care for all Americans, and that involves over 150 million families that have it through the private sector. -NPhttps://t.co/1VtDuTubSz

— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) September 17, 2019

(again...it's 150 million people, not families, Speaker...)

Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but I hope this means that the 7-8 standalone ACA 2.0 bills that are part of the House package will be coming up for a vote very soon. They quickly passed five of these bills back in May, but the Big Ones (removing the subsidy cliff, beefing up the subsidy formula, fixing the family glitch and reinstating the federal reinsurance program)...namely, the ones which cost money...have been sitting idly all summer.

Stay tuned...