Medicare for All Who Want It, reviewed

Our plan offers all of the coverage with none of the compromise.

Team Pete
Team Pete
Oct 17 · 5 min read

Pete Buttigieg unveiled his bold plan to fix our broken health care system: Medicare for All Who Want It. It’s a plan that allows Americans to choose between private insurance and an affordable public option. Our government plan will be so competitive, it will bring private insurance costs down, ultimately transitioning us to true universal coverage.

The media agrees: Pete’s plan is bold because gives people a choice.

Buttigieg is emphasizing choice — thus “Medicare for all who want it,” his spin on Sanders’s “Medicare for all” slogan — in laying out an agenda that allows employer-sponsored and individual private insurance to remain but gives all Americans the option of joining a government health program.

Buttigieg has a compelling argument: Candidates are obligated to offer bold ideas that are doable. He argues, “Rather than flipping a switch and kicking almost 160 million Americans off their private insurance, including 20 million seniors already choosing private plans within Medicare, my plan lets Americans keep a private plan if they want to.” The latter is a reference to Medicare Advantage, which would go away under a strictly single-payer system.

One crucial difference — and not just with Biden’s plan — is that Buttigieg’s proposal explicitly calls out hospital and provider prices as a critical driver of health care costs. His plan would cap out-of-network provider charges at double what Medicare would pay for the same service. Many providers charge substantially more than that, but even Democratic presidential candidates tend to avoid the issue and focus on easier political targets like insurers and drugmakers.

Another way the Buttigieg plan would improve upon the Affordable Care Act would be by making those marketplace plans, including the new public option, available to anybody. This could make a big difference to workers, especially low-income workers, whose company plans have high premiums, high out-of-pocket costs or both.

State Rep. Michelle St. John of Hollis said she supported the plan because, she said, it balances choice and access to care. “That’s exactly the kind of bold, big thinking we need to solve our most pressing problems — without further dividing our country,” St. John said.

While Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., propose eliminating private insurance in one fell swoop, Buttigieg wants the government to introduce a public plan that would be so competitive that Americans will ultimately choose voluntarily to abandon insurance companies. […]

He said unlike his rivals’ “Medicare for All” proposal, his plan allows for as long a transition period as necessary to get the public option up and running well, a concern highlighted by the disastrous rollout of the HealthCare.Gov online insurance marketplace during the Obama administration.

The twitterverse knows this is life-changing for all Americans.

And health care experts and advocates agree this is the best plan:

Bob Kocher, former Obama administration Special Assistant for Healthcare and Economic Policy on the National Economic Council:

“The most critical health care challenge America faces is affordable access to care. Pete Buttigieg’s health care plan thoughtfully addresses this challenge. Expanding premium subsidies to many more Americans and making the subsidies more generous does a great deal to make health care more affordable.”

Richard Frank, former Obama administration Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Department of Health and Human Services:

“There is much to like in Pete’s Medicare For All Who Want It plan. It builds on the gains of the Affordable Care Act by addressing health care affordability and prices. It does so by using a combination of coverage changes, enhanced competition and targeted price regulation. This represents an important addition to the debate on the future of health care.”

Zirui Song, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

“Guaranteed universal coverage with choice in health insurance for everyone treats health care as a human right while valuing individual freedom. Medicare for All Who Want It makes this possible….This comprehensive plan is ambitious yet reflective, daring yet humble. Each piece acknowledges the deep challenges in health care while pushing for access, affordability, and quality. The plan dreams big, but keeps the patient at the center of its focus with each component.”

Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:

“Mayor Pete’s “Medicare for All who want it” is a positive step toward ensuring health care for all. Health care is a right. This principle is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching and as such is at the heart of our work at NETWORK. We applaud Mayor Pete and all 2020 candidates who are working toward creating a health care system that guarantees everyone has access to the care they need.”

Charles Gaba, health care analyst and creator of

“This is the first time I’ve heard direct criticism of non-profit hospitals in one of these healthcare overhaul bills…and it won’t be the last hit on hospitals….I give Buttigieg high praise for specifically calling out the insane administrative costs in the hospital system today. Don’t get me wrong, the other plans/bills all do claim to address provider costs by negotiating reimbursement rates…but they tend to gloss over the details. Buttigieg raises several key points.”

This is the third plan in our bold new approach to American health care. If you’d like to receive updates on how we will transform the way you receive care, text HEALTH to 25859.

The Moment by Pete for America

Notes from Pete Buttigieg, his team, and everyday Americans uniting to meet our nation’s urgent challenges.

Team Pete

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Team Pete

Official Medium of Pete for America. We’re building a movement to meet this make or break moment in our nation’s history. Text PETE to 25859 to join us.

The Moment by Pete for America

Notes from Pete Buttigieg, his team, and everyday Americans uniting to meet our nation’s urgent challenges.

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