In Wisconsin’s US Senate race, Democrats say the positions of Republican incumbent Ron Johnson would undermine social security and health care, while Republicans have said this about Democratic challenger, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes:
“Mandela Barnes supports the taking of health care from millions of people and the killing of thousands of jobs across the country.”
This was in a statement attributed to Lizzie Litzow, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to get Republicans elected nationwide. She was part of a series of committee press releases seeking to frame Barnes as too radical for Wisconsin.
In this case, the frame provides a distorted picture of Barnes’s views.
The first clue is that the press release itself cites Barnes’s support for health care reform that fits the Medicare for All framework.
In fact, “everything” is right there in the name.
Hence, Barnes advocates “removing health care from millions of people”.
We go down.
Barnes on Medicare for All
When asked to support the request, Litzow cited an August 3, 2021 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article in which Barnes was quoted about his support for a Medicare for All plan.
(Note: There have been multiple proposals that fall under the Medicare for All umbrella, the details of which vary, so for this fact check we will look at the idea generally based on the common thrust and approach.)
“As I have done throughout my career, I will strive to bring common sense solutions to the US Senate as a Medicare for All plan that helps us realize the dream of health care for every American,” Barnes said in the Journal Sentinel. item.
Litzow also pointed to a March 23, 2019 New York Times article that claims that at the heart of the Medicare for All proposals is a “revolutionary idea” to abolish private health insurance.
Elsewhere in its press release, the NRSC notes that private insurance is what would be most affected by Medicare for All. health care.
Indeed, the proposals, regardless of whether they are a good policy or that they can pass, are aimed at ensuring that millions of people currently without insurance coverage can access health care.
Barnes campaign spokesperson Maddy McDaniel told PolitiFact Wisconsin, “She supports building a path to Medicare for All and expanding health care for all Wisconsins by enforcing the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid. , lowering the age of Medicare availability to 50, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, among other policies. “
What is Medicare for All?
As noted, there have been various ideas and proposals that fall under the Medicare for All framework. The person most associated with it, of course, is US Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. who made him a centerpiece of his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. He sought out Democrat nomination.
In general, the programs mean that everyone in the United States would receive assistance through a federally administered program. Although polls have shown some public support for the plans’ provisions, they have not achieved serious success – not even in a Democrat-controlled Congress – and President Joe Biden is no advocate.
On May 12, 2022, Sanders and 14 Senators, including Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Introduced the Medicare For All Act of 2022.
That proposal, which did not get a vote, includes: Hospital and emergency services; prescriptions; primary and preventive services; treatment of mental health and substance abuse; laboratory services; reproductive care, including abortion; pediatrics; dental and eye services; and home and long-term services. There would be no out-of-pocket expenses, insurance premiums, deductibles or co-payments.
Under the text of the bill, it would be illegal for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided by Medicare for All, but people would be free to purchase additional insurance.
An executive summary of the measure cited a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found that approximately 27 million workers and dependents lost their employer-sponsored private health insurance at some point during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a 2019 PolitiFact National article, Medicare for All approaches would replace private insurance.
“It would replace all other insurances, with limited exceptions, such as cosmetic surgery,” the article states. “The insurance provided by the employer, Medicaid and, ultimately, Medicare would disappear.”
So how does all this fit with the idea that Barnes’s position amounts to “stripping health care from millions of people”?
The US health care system would change dramatically, but ultimately more people would have access to health care, not less. And everyone would.
According to a report by the US Census Bureau dated September 14, 2021, about 8.6% of people in 2020 – or 28 million – did not have health insurance at any time of the year.
“I don’t understand the logic of this statement,” Barbara Wolfe, professor of economics, population health sciences and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told PolitiFact Wisconsin in an email. “Medicare for all would extend coverage to millions. Depending on the details of the actual plan, it would likely resemble coverage in other Western democracies, where all citizens, and sometimes residents, are covered.”
Paul Ginsburg, a researcher at the University of Southern California Schaeffer Center and a professor of health policy at the University of Southern California, cited the example of other countries.
“As the name suggests, MFA (Medicare For All) would cover everyone who is legally in the country,” Ginsburg said in an email to PolitiFact Wisconsin. “Single pay systems in other countries allow people to buy private insurance if they pay extra. So the claim about removing private insurance isn’t true.”
The NRSC said Barnes “supports the removal of health care from millions of people.”
Although Barnes has voiced support for Medicare for All, along with a menu of other health care reforms and changes, the claim vastly overstates what’s involved, raising fears for those who hear it could end up uninsured.
Such a proposal would fundamentally change the national health system, which is now focused on employer-provided coverage through private insurers, but would ultimately provide health care to millions more, not millions less.
We consider the request to be false.