Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called out members of his own political party for their support of “Medicare for All” by reminding them that the current Medicare system is facing its own difficulties.
Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), favor the implementation of Medicare for All. This system would allow all Americans access to the current Medicare system in the United States.
While some 2020 Democrats only want people to have the option to buy into Medicare, Sanders has noted that Medicare for All would require the termination of the private health care industry, bouncing millions of Americans from the private health insurance they already have.
If Sanders’ plan became law, it would cost more than $32 trillion over 10 years.
That is a problem because, as IJR previously reported, the current Medicare system is already facing insolvency. The trustees’ fund — which covers Medicare Part A services like inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing facility, and home health services — is expected to run dry by 2026.
Medicare’s trustees recommended that Congress address the problem of underfunding as soon as possible, writing:
The Trustees recommend that lawmakers take action sooner rather than later to address these shortfalls, so that a broader range of solutions can be considered and more time will be available to phase in changes while giving the public adequate time to prepare.
For this reason, Manchin called out his fellow Democrats for continuing to push Medicare for All while the current system struggles under its own weight.
During an interview with The Hill, Manchin warned Democrats against supporting Medicare for All.
“We can’t even pay for Medicare for some and to go Medicare for All, we can’t take care of those who are depending on it right now,” Manchin told The Hill.
Manchin noted that most Americans have earned their private health care and sacrificed wages to get the quality insurance they desire.
“And we’re going to take that away?” he added.
The senator advised his fellow Democrats to focus on fixing the problems in the Affordable Care Act rather than developing a new plan.
“I think all of them realize that what we have with ACA, it needs to be fixed. […] Now, they’re talking in their grand plan of what they want to do. But then it has to come to fiscal responsibilities. How do you do it? Because those are major changes. It’s easier to fix what we have now.”
This is not the first time Manchin has broken from his fellow Democrats. He also experienced backlash from his own party after applauding President Donald Trump’s pro-life comments at the State of the Union address.