Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., released a “2.0” version of his “Medicare-for-all” plan. The self-proclaimed socialist has long promoted the idea of universal health care, and in his latest version, he has found a way to expand his proposal even more to the left.

With each of the declared Democratic presidential candidates coming out in support of some expanded version of Medicare, one should ask, how much of Medicare is really in these plans? In researching the Sanders plan, one might find that there’s very little Medicare at all – as a matter of fact, as it relates to Medicare, it’s about marketing more than mechanics.

About 20 million Americans have gained coverage under ObamaCare since it was passed in 2010, but nearly 9 percent — 30 million people — still don’t have health insurance. 

All Democrats running for president say they want to provide universal health care coverage to Americans. But they have different ideas about how to get there. 

Here are the plans they keep talking about on the campaign trail and what they would do. 

One feature of the political moment is that ideas that first appeared on the left (tariffs) are gaining support on the populist right. The latest example is a GOP plan in Florida to import prescription drugs from Canada, which is impractical, unsafe and unlikely to reduce prices at the pharmacy.

The Florida Legislature has been moving on a plan pushed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis that directs the state health agency to set up a prescription drug importation program. Other states like Colorado are pondering similar schemes, and Vermont is well along in setting one up.

Healthcare rationing is a regular part of the United Kingdom, which has nationalized healthcare in a way Democrats in America want to bring here.

But this rationing leads to consequences. Hundreds of elderly citizens go blind each year while waiting for eye surgeries. The latest report on the issue comes from the Times of London. The outlet reports that the latest survey from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) found rationing of cataract surgery continues even after guidance was issued suggesting patients not have the surgery delayed.

Tennessee would dramatically overhaul how it provides health care to its lower-income and disabled residents under a proposal the House advanced Thursday.

The bill cleared the GOP-dominated chamber on party lines, with 68 Republicans in favor and 21 Democrats against.

It’s a proposal considered one of the top policy debates of the sessions, yet many in the minority party were visibly upset after being cut off from the debate and forced to cast a vote before all members had a chance to speak.

What is a more limited-government, pro-market (not simply pro-business) health policy reformer supposed to do? There are plenty of other short-term poses one might adopt. Accept a lot of givens as too politically difficult to challenge and then suggest quarter-way compromises that slow the pace of retreat. Or try procedural sidesteps that alter the venue of policy development (let the states do it!), without greater guarantees than what shuffling a somewhat altered deck of cards with a different set of political intermediaries offers. Or propose new tricks of manipulating magic money from somewhere else (reinsurance, reshuffled subsidies, formulaic reimbursement and benefit cuts) in the further away future.

It wasn’t so long ago that Bernie Sanders (I-VT) comfortably occupied the left flank of health care policy. His Medicare For All bill was sufficiently costly, coercive and utopian to set him apart from the pack.

Times have changed. When it comes to drug pricing, Bernie faces unexpected intruders on his left:  Republicans.

In recent months, Bernie has yielded socialist turf to two Republicans of impeccable capitalist pedigree. First, it was President Trump, who last fall announced a plan to incorporate drug prices set by foreign governments into Medicare. Then Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) last week introduced a bill pegging U.S. retail prices for prescription drugs to those set by five foreign governments.

Expanding Medicaid in the remaining non-expansion states would crowd millions of able-bodied adults out of private insurance coverage and shift them into taxpayer-funded Medicaid. In fact, nearly two-thirds of these adults either have private coverage already or have access to very low-cost coverage through the ObamaCare exchange. Even worse, this expansion could also shift more than one million kids who currently have private insurance into Medicaid.

Ultimately, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion means taking resources away from those who truly need Medicaid in order to fund a welfare expansion for those who already have private coverage.

The Trump administration has been pushing for lower drug prices, and some drug manufacturers have responded by lowering prices and providing greater access to life-saving treatments. However, there is a growing concern among health care providers that the middlemen who negotiate drug prices on behalf of insurers—known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)—are actively working to keep prices high for consumers, presumably in an effort to increase their own profits. I run a free cardiovascular risk reduction service at a local clinic where we see many patients either suffering from, or at high risk for, heart disease. In collaboration with providers, I work to apply evidence-based medicine in the clinical setting and ensure any new treatment is financially sustainable for a patient—a task that can be made difficult by profit-driven insurance companies denying medication access and PBMs that keep treatment costs high.
Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed a bill that adds work requirements and other sideboards to Idaho’s Medicaid expansion. Voters approved the expansion—giving Medicaid health insurance to all low-income adults in Idaho—with a 61% vote in November. Instead of funding the expansion or repealing it, the Idaho Legislature took up bills to change it. Lawmakers passed the latest version of their sideboards legislation on Friday, after weeks of intense deliberation. The governor received it Monday.