Will Covid-19 accelerate the United States’ path to health insurance for all? The question divides. Joe Biden, the presumed Democratic candidate for the presidential election on November 3, does not want it. But supporters of his former rival, “Socialist Democrat” Bernie Sanders, believe that the pandemic has made him unavoidable.
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Before the Covid-19 burst into the presidential campaign, this historic reform, supposed to prolong the effort to cover the entire American population undertaken by Barack Obama in 2009, already divided some timid Democrats at the prospect of another defeat facing Donald Trump.
27 million people without insurance
The left wing of the party presented it as a necessity in a country where 27 million people remain without insurance, while the centrist candidates questioned its funding and the impact it would have on private insurance. Donald Trump and the Republicans cheerfully exploited this project to show their constituents that the Democrats had become dangerous Communists.
The pandemic has changed public opinion. According to a recent survey by the Marist Consult / Politico institute, support for “Medicare for All”, the name of the reform project, reached its highest level in nine months. And, for the first time since June 2019, a majority of independents (52%), key voters not affiliated with the two traditional parties, are in favor.
One reason for this is the fact that 164 million people in the United States, or about half the population under the age of 65, have employer-sponsored medical coverage. Deprived of employment due to the pandemic, many new unemployed workers find themselves brutally without medical coverage.
“The coming months will be a referendum on Donald Trump”
For Robert Blendon, professor of health policy at Harvard University, it’s all seen: “Joe Biden does not support health insurance for all, and neither does Democratic leadership in Congress. The coming months will be a referendum on Donald Trump and his management of the economic crisis, not on the disruption of the healthcare system. ” To be closer to Bernie Sanders’ voters, Joe Biden proposed on April 11 to lower the age of eligibility for Medicare public health insurance from 65 to 60 years of age.
Universal health coverage divides American Democrats
Managed by the federal government, this very popular system, which covers 97% of American seniors, served as a model for the reform advocated by Bernie Sanders. ” There are other measures that can be taken quickly to help the uninsured, without going through an overhaul of the health system which, moreover, would not pass Congresscontinues Robert Blendon. This does not mean that the subject of health insurance for all will not return to the table in four or five years. Young Democrats, More Progressive, Push the Party in the Direction of European Countries. “