2020 prospect Michael Bennet says his alternative to eliminating private health insurance 'helps finish the work of Obamacare'

By | February 10, 2019

Democrats should tread carefully when talking about a “Medicare for all” framework that eliminates the role of private insurers, according to one potential 2020 candidate.

“Remember when President Obama said, ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance,'” Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said Sunday during an interview on NBC’s “Meet to Press.” “And then a few people in America actually lost their insurance because of the way that the plan worked. Now what Democrats are saying is, ‘If you like your insurance, we’re going to take it away from you,’ from 180 million people that get their insurance from their employer and like it, where 20 million Americans who are on Medicare Advantage, and love it. That seems like a bad opening offer for me.”

A better starting point, Bennet said, was his “Medicare X” proposal with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., which creates a public option.

“It helps finish the work of Obamacare, and it says to America, ‘If you want to be in a public plan, you can choose to be in a public plan. If you want to keep your insurance, you can keep your insurance,'” the two-term senator said.

A renewed conversation over private insurance began when presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, called for the elimination of private health insurance during a CNN town hall last month.

“The idea is that everyone gets access to medical care and you don’t have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through all the paperwork, all of the delay that may require,” Harris said. “Who of all us have not had that situation where you have to wait for approval and the doctor says, ‘I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this.'”

“Let’s eliminate all of that,” she added. “Let’s move on.”

Bennet, who is considering a 2020 bid for the White House, said Sunday he was confident he could distinguish himself from the burgeoning primary field, given his time in business and work as a school superintendent in his home state. He told NBC one motivation for him to run is to fight a policy agenda in the Senate that has “very little to do with the next generation’s future in America.”

“So, I think we have an opportunity to have a presidential campaign, you know, we’ve got a million people that are going to run, which I think is great, we have to do it. And I think having one more voice in that conversation that’s focused on America’s future, I don’t think would hurt,” Bennet said.

Healthcare