Delaney: We Need Universal Health Care, But the Senate’s Medicare for All Bill is Not the Right Answer

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
CONTACT: Ahmed Elsayed, 301-500-8642,


Delaney: We Need Universal Health Care, But the Senate’s Medicare for All Bill is Not the Right Answer


FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS, MD  As the nation begins to debate the various Democratic positions on health care, John Delaney argues that the Senate’s Medicare for All bill is not the right answer. Delaney has a framework that provides universal coverage but gives Americans a mix of government and private options.

Delaney releases the following statement:

“We are finally starting to have a fact-based debate about health care and that’s a very good thing. Democrats are completely united on the goal: universal health care, but we need a real policy debate about how we get there. I am surprised that it took this long, but credit to CNN for their work in raising some fundamental questions about ‘Medicare for All.’ Whether or not we will make private insurance illegal is a massive question and it is unacceptable for any candidate to have an unclear position on that basic point.

“Every American should have access to health care as a right. We need universal health care and I’m going to campaign on universal health care. We have to get this right and we have to put forth a solution that is deliverable – if not, we won’t make any progress at all. As Democrats, we have to be the party that’s honest about the problem and honest about the solutions. We can’t govern with slogans. Since I started my campaign, I’ve been asked about ‘Medicare for All’ in every event, every interview, every meeting. My answer has been the same: I don’t think it’s the best solution. We can’t pay for it, it eliminates choices, most versions of it would make private health care coverage for almost all health care needs illegal, and it will diminish quality and access.  I have a better plan for universal health care.

“The problems with health care in the US are that it is too expensive, there are quality disparities, and there is not universal access. The strengths of our system are that people have choices, there is considerable innovation and research, we have the best physicians and technology, and we have the best quality of care if you can access it. But we have a lot of work to do to expand that level of access to everyone.

“What we need is a system that preserves options, ensures universal access, encourages innovation and investment, broadens quality, and starts lowering costs. A system with the government as the only payer will not do that.”

Delaney Health Care Framework

I believe that health care is a fundamental right. I am proposing a universal health care plan that will provide high-quality care to everyone and replace our outdated system of employer-sponsored insurance. As President, I would roll this plan out to the American people after we fix the damage that the GOP has done to the Affordable Care Act and improve upon it. This way, Americans would once again get the benefits of the ACA while the nation and Congress have the time it takes to reform health care. Tying access to health insurance to employment forces workers to stay in jobs they don’t like, distracts entrepreneurs from their main focus of running their businesses, and prevents wages from increasing.

  • Create a new public health care plan for all Americans under the age of 65 while preserving traditional Medicare. My new plan would protect the reforms delivered by the Affordable Care Act, including guaranteed coverage of preexisting conditions and essential health benefits, and would make access truly universal. At 65, people would transition into Medicare. Medicaid would be absorbed by the new plan. The highly trusted Medicare provider network could be used for the new plan.
  • Guarantee universal coverage. Individuals would be automatically enrolled in the new public plan, with no complicated procedures to follow.
  • Keep private insurance options. Individuals and employers will be able to purchase and negotiate supplemental coverage from private insurers to cover additional health needs. These supplementals could merge into the basic plan to make it easier for the user.
  • Employers would be encouraged to negotiate group rate supplemental plans that would merge with the basic governmental plan so that employees would be able to keep their health care plans, many of which are very popular and important to American families.

In order to be sustainable, universal health care needs to be paid for. My plan will lower the overall cost of health care and put the government on a responsible fiscal path.

Pay-fors (numbers are based on a 10-year projection):

  • The tax subsidy for employer-sponsored insurance costs the government more than $3.7 trillion and depresses wages for working Americans.
  • Allowing the government to negotiate drug prices would stop the transfer of wealth from working families to corporate executives and shareholders of pharmaceutical companies. This would save the government nearly $850 billion.
  • This plan would replace the ACA, and savings from ending the ACA’s tax subsidies would total $760 billion.
  • Current federal Medicaid spending is projected to be more than $4 trillion, which this plan would absorb.
  • States are projected to contribute more than $3.7 trillion to Medicaid. States would continue to pay their share for the current Medicaid population and the federal government would cover the cost of expanded coverage.
  • Implement a means-tested copay requirement for higher-income individuals to fund an increase in reimbursement rates for primary care providers.