House Democrats find themselves badly divided on the issue of lowering costs for health care, a key promise during the midterm campaigns, The New York Times reported on Monday.
“We have very practical solutions that we can implement immediately,” said Washington Rep. Kim Schrier, representing the view of centrists Democrats. “We don’t have the luxury of time right now to wait for a full overhaul of our health care system.”
These centrists support incremental moves to bolster Obamacare and to reduce out-of-pocket costs of prescription drugs and medical care.
But they are confronted by an increasing amount of their own party members, who now number more than 100, including at least four Democratic presidential candidates. This faction is aggressively pushing to change the entire system with “Medicare for all,” a single government insurance plan for all Americans.
This struggle between the two factions in the party is expected be front and center in the coming weeks as the new House majority puts together its first budget. The stakes are high, as many see the party’s performance on health care as perhaps the most defining issue for the next congressional elections.
California Rep. Scott Peters represents the centrist view by saying “Most people receive health care from their employer. They do not want to replace it with an untested government system.”
But New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, signifying the party’s other faction, said she “rejects the idea that single-payer is impossible.”
And that more aggressive view is now coming from parts of the party that have not been seen a firebrands. Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell said the government is already delivering health care to the elderly, the poor, service members, children and veterans, “and now it’s time for everybody.”
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