SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:Twenty of 24 presidential candidates got the threat to distinguish themselves this week all through the primary televised Democratic debates, hosted by means of NBC News. One challenge that led to a lively discussion – health care.
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BERNIE SANDERS: We will have “Medicare for All.”
KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: I believe we want to get to familiar fitness care as a proper and no longer a privilege to single payer.
JOE BIDEN: You cannot allow those who are sick, no matter wherein they come from, regardless of their status, move exposed. You cannot do that.
MCCAMMON: That’s former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders. Here to help us apprehend in which the Democratic candidates agree and where they do not is Julie Rovner, leader Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News. Welcome.
MCCAMMON: So there seems to be a consensus about a few version at least of this concept of Medicare for All, however no longer each person’s on the same web page about what that word clearly way. Julie, what does Medicare for All mean?
ROVNER: Well, it could imply loads of factors. That’s part of what is so complicated about this debate. First of all, what Medicare are they speakme about? Are they speaking approximately the modern-day Medicare that the majority over age 65 have? That’s not genuinely the case in a number of these plans. They’re typically speaking approximately a brand new software that might have plenty broader, extra comprehensive blessings. It wouldn’t require people to have copays or deductibles. Then the query is, what do they imply by way of all? Do they mean that everybody would move into this new Medicare software? Would they be required to give up private coverage they could have now, or could that be voluntary?
MCCAMMON: And why is that distinction vital, whether it’s voluntary or something that human beings are simply mechanically in by way of the distinctive feature of being an American?
ROVNER: Well, we definitely learned at some stage in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act that the very few people who have been essentially required to give up their insurance were extraordinarily sad about that. People may not just like the private coverage that they have got, however they’re terrified approximately going to something new that they fear is probably worse.
MCCAMMON: And one telling moment in the debate changed into when candidates had been asked to raise their arms in the event that they could help insurance underneath a government plan for undocumented immigrants. And all of them did increase their hands on the second night of the controversy. Here’s South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg explaining his function.
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PETE BUTTIGIEG: Our country is healthier while all people are healthier. And bear in mind; we are speaking approximately something humans are given a chance to buy into.
MCCAMMON: Julie, have been you amazed to peer all the Democrats take that position, that they could cowl undocumented immigrants in a government plan?
ROVNER: I become surprised. This changed into something that becomes a massive difficulty at some point in the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010. Undocumented immigrants had been not allowed to sign up for multiplied Medicaid or get subsidies on the insurance exchanges. It turned into a completely touchy difficulty. And I think Democrats have been no longer very glad about that. But they felt that they actually could not get the bill exceeded in the event that they have been to allow undocumented human beings to take gain of a number of the advantages. And that appears to have definitely come around just in the ultimate 10 years.
MCCAMMON: And President Trump tweeted all through the talk, quote, “all Democrats just raised their palms for giving tens of millions of unlawful extraterrestrial beings limitless health care. How about looking after American citizens first? That’s the give up of that race.” I imply, how may this problem play with popular election citizens?
ROVNER: Well, manifestly, immigration goes to be almost as massive a problem as fitness care, I suspect, going into 2020. And I assume Democrats are a form of staking themselves out on the supportive of immigration facet if only to contrast themselves with what’s occurring at the southern border and President Trump. I have no concept how it’s going to play out, but it absolutely seems like they are no longer being shy approximately which aspect they may be on.