//House Budget chief asks CBO to lay out single-payer policy guidelines

House Budget chief asks CBO to lay out single-payer policy guidelines

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Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., leaves the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol on June 26, 2018.

In a move showing House Democrat interest in moving beyond Obamacare, the chairman of the House Budget Committee is asking the Congressional Budget Office to set out the parameters of how a single-payer system would work.

The request, from House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, is notable in that it’s not asking the CBO to provide a cost estimate. A controversial study from the Mercatus Center estimates a $32.6 trillion cost over a decade.

Proponents of a single-payer system say the big cost fronted by the government would be offset by lower costs in the private system.

Instead of a cost estimate, Yarmuth, a Kentucky Democrat, is asking the CBO to focus on issues including how such a system would be administered, coverage eligibility and enrollment, how it could be financed and what role private insurers would play.

Democrats made health care the focus on their 2018 election campaign after Republicans narrowly failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the last Congress. Most of the likely 2018 presidential nominees have endorsed what’s called Medicare-for-All, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

With Republicans in control of the Senate, there’s virtually no chance of a single-payer system being enacted this Congress.

Major health insurers including UnitedHealth

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