Other candidates say the realities of politics and government spending require a less extreme approach to increasing health-care access.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., was quick to differentiate his views on Medicare expansion from Sanders’ bill after joining the presidential race in February.
Asked about his health-care views in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Sunday, Booker reportedly said: “My firm belief is that we need to get to a system where everyone has access — that’s why I signed onto the Medicare-for-all bill … but I’m not going to be one of these presidential candidates that’s not going to tell you the hard truth.”
He explained that “Medicare for All is great, but if we can’t get that, but if we can extend Medicare down to age 55 … that’s going to create such an effect on the whole system that’s going to make it better.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who is considering a presidential run, recently called for lowering the eligibility age of Medicare to 50 and allowing Americans to voluntarily buy in to the program.
Medicare for All “will take a while,” Brown said on CNN on Sunday, and “I want to help people now.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, considered a moderate among the growing list of Democratic candidates, took a similar stance in a recent town hall.
Single-payer health care “could be a possibility in the future,” but “I’m just looking at something that will work now,” Klobuchar said.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has also launched a 2020 exploratory committee, and offers yet another route to reforming health care: a Medicare for All-type proposal that keeps private health insurance providers in the equation.
In a recent interview with CNBC, Buttigieg said, “The simplest way to think about it is: If Medicare today includes Medicare supplemental, why wouldn’t Medicare for All include a Medicare supplement for all who want it?”
One of the most detailed proposals yet has come from the first Democrat to wade into the 2020 race: former Rep. John Delaney of Delaware.
In an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Delaney said he wanted to keep the Medicare eligibility age as is but nix the employer-provided health-care tax deduction and create a new government program for Americans under 65. People would be able to supplement their health-care benefits by purchasing additional coverage, he said.