- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2019

Rep. Seth Moulton, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, on Sunday said a universal “Medicare for All” health care plan isn’t politically realistic at the moment and that he’s seen firsthand the perils of a single-payer health care system.

The Massachusetts Democrat said he would favor a “public option” that would compete with private insurance plans, as other Democrats who have not embraced Medicare for All have suggested.

Mr. Moulton, a combat veteran who gets his health insurance through the VA, said at a CNN town hall that he’s seen the “good, the bad and the ugly” of single-payer health care.

He said prescription prices are lower than they would be under Medicare, but that they also sent him home with the wrong medications after surgery one time.

“Rather than give me the painkillers they had prescribed, the pharmacy sent me home with a bottle of Advil,” Mr. Moulton said. “But the only way I suffered was just because it was painful. Imagine if they had sent me home with a much more powerful or more addictive drug than the one I was prescribed.”

He cited stories of veteran dying on waiting lists and committing suicide in VA waiting rooms because of a lack of mental health care professionals.

“So I don’t want that system for you,” Mr. Moulton said. “I want different systems to compete, just like they do with other things in America, to give you the best health care in the world because that’s what you deserve.”

He said in a perfect world, the government could theoretically implement Medicare for All.

“As a political reality, this is the other thing, it’s just never going to get passed. So it’s not realistic right now,” Mr. Moulton said.

“If at the end of the day, under my system, the same system that President Obama wanted, if the public option outcompetes the private options and that’s what we end up with, fine,” he continued. “But let’s make it better along the way.”

Mr. Moulton’s position on health care stands in stark contrast to 2020 rivals such as Sen. Bernard Sanders who are embracing a universal Medicare for All system.

Over the weekend, former Rep. John Delaney, another Democratic presidential hopeful, was booed at a California Democratic event after he criticized Medicare for All.

“A few boos aren’t a big deal, making a really bad mistake on health care is,” Mr. Delaney said in response. “Most of the Democrats in this field either don’t want to take this on or are trying to play it both ways, but I don’t think that’s responsible.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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