Insurer Group Balks At Bernie Sanders Medicare For All Bill

Senator Bernie Sanders introduced his ‘Medicare for All’ bill on Wednesday, a plan that would provide health care for all Americans and diminish — if not eliminate — the need for many to carry private insurance.

The Hill notes that prior to its official announcement, David Merritt, executive vice president of Americas Health Insurance Plans, released a statement of opposition to the measure. “Whether it’s called single-payer or Medicare for All, government-controlled health care cannot work€¦It will eliminate choice, undermine quality, put a chill on medical innovation, and place an even heavier burden on hardworking taxpayers,” Merritt said.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, speaks during a health care bill news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Fifteen Senate Democrats are flirting with a single-payer health-care system that would expand Medicare coverage to all Americans, marking a shift within the party on what was once viewed as a politically treacherous issue that attracted little support from lawmakers. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, left, listens as Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, speaks during a health care bill news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Fifteen Senate Democrats are flirting with a single-payer health-care system that would expand Medicare coverage to all Americans, marking a shift within the party on what was once viewed as a politically treacherous issue that attracted little support from lawmakers. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An attendee wears a Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, campaign t-shirt while holding a sign before the start of a health care bill news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Fifteen Senate Democrats are flirting with a single-payer health-care system that would expand Medicare coverage to all Americans, marking a shift within the party on what was once viewed as a politically treacherous issue that attracted little support from lawmakers. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, speaks as Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, left, listens during a health care bill news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Fifteen Senate Democrats are flirting with a single-payer health-care system that would expand Medicare coverage to all Americans, marking a shift within the party on what was once viewed as a politically treacherous issue that attracted little support from lawmakers. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

A member of the audience holds up a placard as US Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont, discusses Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017. The former US presidential hopeful introduced a plan for government-sponsored universal health care, a notion long shunned in America that has newly gained traction among rising-star Democrats. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 13: Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during Sen. Bernie Sanders’ event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Members of the audience greet Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Attendees hold signs while waiting for a health care bill news conference to begin on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Fifteen Senate Democrats are flirting with a single-payer health-care system that would expand Medicare coverage to all Americans, marking a shift within the party on what was once viewed as a politically treacherous issue that attracted little support from lawmakers. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 13: The audience waves signs as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during his event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 13: Supporters watch as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (R) arrives at an event on health care September 13, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Sen. Sanders held an event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It’s not entirely surprising that an insurance company would balk at legislation that could make deep cuts to its revenue, but Bruce Japsen of Forbes pointed out that there may be a path both sides would find acceptable. “Insurers appear open to offering the liberal Vermont Senator a path to expanding coverage if it involves bolstering private Medicare Advantage plans, which insurers sell to seniors via contracts with the federal government,” Japsen notes.

That said, Quartz reports, “According to Adam Green, the co-founder of Progressive Campaign Change Committee, a grassroots organization that worked with Sanders in developing the bill, this is a first step to building viable support behind the idea of a universal health care€¦”

Despite it being viewed by many as more of a positioning tool than legislation that has a chance of being passed in its current state, the bill has made waves in Washington.

During Wednesday’s White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of Sanders’ plan, “not only does the President not support it, but America doesn’t support it, or Bernie Sanders would be sitting in the Oval Office right now.”

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