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Defining and Establishing Goals for Medicare for All

It is increasingly difficult to find a Democratic presidential hopeful who has not paid at least some lip service to “Medicare for all.” Indeed, ignoring this popular rhetoric would likely be political suicide for Democratic candidates.

In one poll, 73 percent of registered Democrats said they were more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supported a Medicare for all health care policy. In response to the popularity of Medicare for all, House Democrats launched an official Medicare for All Caucus, with about 70 members.

Medicare for all, however, means many things to many people. As the fight to become the Democratic presidential candidate unfolds in 2019, it will be important to see how this term gets defined.

Many take Medicare for all to be policy shorthand for health or health care being a human right, entitling individuals to certain services and obligating the government to support access to health care.

For example, the Center for American Progress toted its proposal, Medicare Extra for All, by arguing that health care constitutes a right, as opposed to a privilege. Presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) similarly released a statement justifying her support of a Medicare for all bill by stating that “health care is a basic human right.”

This essay originally appeared on The Regulatory Review. Read the rest of it there!

Carmel Shachar

Carmel Shachar

Carmel Shachar, JD, MPH, is the Executive Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. She is responsible for oversight of the Center’s sponsored research portfolio, event programming, fellowships, student engagement, development, and a range of other projects and collaborations. She is Co-Lead of the Center’s Involvement with the Regulatory Foundations, Ethics, and Law Program of Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center.

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