- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Thursday released a health care proposal he described as “Medicare for All Who Want It” that could put the country on a “glide-path” to a universal “Medicare for All” system.

“This gives Americans a choice,” said Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. “If you prefer a public plan like Medicare — like I think most Americans will — you can choose it. But if you prefer to keep your private insurance, you can.”

Mr. Buttigieg joins 2020 Democratic candidates such as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, who have advocated for a public insurance option to compete with private plans.

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That’s a contrast to Sen. Bernard Sanders’ universal government-run vision, which would ultimately eliminate private insurance altogether.

Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign, though, said if private insurers don’t end up offering something better, the mayor’s proposal would create a “natural glide-path” to Medicare for All.

Under his plan, eligible people would be automatically enrolled in Medicaid or the public option. Other people who can’t afford coverage would receive subsidies, either for private insurance or for the public alternative.

It would also cap premium payments at 8.5% of income.

The plan seeks to lower costs by banning health care providers from charging more than twice what Medicare would pay for the same service out-of-network and capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare, among other priorities.

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