After trying and failing numerous times, Democrats finally succeeded in passing significant healthcare reform when President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. It was a bruising battle that may have cost his party control of Congress later that year. Democrats have not regained majorities in Congress since then, and Republican Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016.
The Republican Party has tried repeatedly to repeal the law that is now known as Obamacare. While the GOP has not succeeded in this, Obamacare is, at best, considered to be controversial among the public.
Yet it appears that Democrats are getting serious about ambitious plans for more health care reform. As the Democratic Party heads into the mid-term elections with a lot of momentum, some wonder why they would touch this hot-button issue.
The Center for American Progress, which is a think tank that is well connected to the liberal establishment in American politics, is proposing making Medicare available to everybody instead of just to seniors.
Such a system would likely go well beyond Obamacare in ensuring that an even larger proportion of the population has health insurance. It would potentially enroll anybody currently uninsured into the program, effectively creating universal coverage.
While this may sound like a liberal dream, it would not create a single-payer system similar to the one in Canada that most left-leaning progressives prefer. Senator Bernie Sanders, for example, advocates for single-payer.
Although the proposal is only currently a product of a think tank’s work, the Center for American progress has a lot of clout with establishment liberals who currently hold office in Congress. It would not be surprising if some 2018 or 2020 candidates support such a plan as a way to keep moving ahead with Democratic-led health care reform.