The second night of 2020 Democratic presidential contender debates confirmed the news from the first night of debates: Few of the candidates support banning private health insurance — but one candidate thinks offering a government-run, Medicare-style, “public option” plan would be a great way to have consumers eliminate private health insurance.
Just two of the 10 candidates on the stage in Miami on Thursday — Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. — rose their hands when asked whether they supported a universal, government-run, single-payer health care finance system that would outlaw private health insurance.
Views on a Legal Health Insurance Ban
The moderators of the first round of debates, held Wednesday, asked a similar question. The two candidates who said Wednesday that they support abolishing private health insurance were New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Those statistics mean that about 20% of the top 20 Democratic presidential contenders support banning private health insurance.
The results suggest that the views of the 20 top Democratic presidential contenders might be similar to the views of voters in states that tend to put Democrats in statewide offices.
In November 2016, when Colorado held a referendum on the idea of the state creating a universal, government-run health care finance program, that ballot measure lost by a vote of about 20% for to 80% against.
Health policy specialists note that the current, high-profile “Medicare for All” proposals are much different the current Medicare program. The current, traditional Medicare program includes many deductible, co-payment and coinsurance requirements, and related programs, such as the Medicare Advantage program, offer coverage administered by private companies.
Sanders’ single-payer proposal and similar proposals call for eliminating the current Medicare program and replacing it with a program with no cost-sharing requirements.
All of the candidates who talked about the public option plan concept said they support the idea of offering consumers access to a government-run public option plan that would be similar to Medicare.