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Would 'Medicare For All' Force 149M Americans Off Their Private Insurance?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is getting traction in her presidential campaign after an aggressive performance in this month's candidate debate.

She's claiming a "Medicare For All" health plan will force hundreds of millions of Americans off their private insurance.

In recent debates, Klobuchar went after Elizabeth Warren's support for Medicare For All.

"The difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something you can actually get done!" Klobuchar said.

And she went after Bernie Sanders after he proudly stated, "I wrote the damn bill!"

It is a far reaching plan for a free health care system run by the government. But there's just one catch, says Klobuchar.

"While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill!" Klobuchar said. "On page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it."

Medicare For All Bill Reality Check
(credit: CBS)

What Klobuchar says is true. There is a lot of legal jargon packed into the 66 words on page eight. But it says under Medicare for All, it's against the law for private health companies to sell basic health insurance plans. You'll get it free -- from the government.

"And that means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance," Klobuchar said.

That is the number of Americans who get their health insurance from their employer or their union. They might not like their coverage, or their provider, or their deductibles or co-pays. But forcing them to give it up for an as-yet-to-be-seen government plan in four years? That's a big ask.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports most Americans support the idea of government-run health care like Medicare for All. Here's what KFF found in July 2019:

Medicare For All

  • Favor: 56%
  • Oppose: 39%

But when Americans discover they'll lose their private insurance once Medicare For All kicks in, the numbers flip.

Here's what KFF found:

Medicare For All/Lose Private Insurance

  • Oppose: 58%
  • Favor: 37%

Klobuchar supports building on the existing Affordable Care Act by adding a public option, expanding Medicare and Medicaid, and cutting drug prices.

Meanwhile, Sen. Klobuchar's public support is hovering at about 3%. She has not yet qualified for the next presidential candidate debate on November 20 in Georgia.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Medicare For All Bill Text

KFF: Where Americans Get Their Health Care

KFF: How Americans Feel About Medicare For All

Klobuchar Health Care Plan

Sanders: "Medicare For All"

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