Think Tank With Clinton Era Roots Proposes a Milder Dose of Health Care Reform

Robert Calandra
Progressive Policy Institute proposes building on the ACA and pushing for more value-based care

The Medicare-for-all plans that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are running on may be a bridge too far for many Americans. The Progressive Policy Institute says it has a more practical and politically advantageous (for Democrats) way forward.

The institute's "Affordable Health Care For All" plan, which was published late last week, would not abolish private insurance as Sanders has proposed doing in his Medicare for All bill.

In many respects, the institute's health care plan would build on the ACA and push for more value-based care; the fifth of its five main parts calls for moving Medicaid from fee for service to value-based payment and holds up Oregon's Coordinated Care Organizations as a model.

"Medicare-for-All may be bold but in essence it's just a financing mechanism and without necessary delivery reform [it] will not improve America's flawed health care system," says the introduction to the plan.

It's no surprise that the Progressive Policy Institute would come up with a plan to the center of Sanders and Medicare for all. The moderate Democratic think tank calls itself "radically pragmatic" and touts its history as an  "idea mill" for President Bill Clinton.  

Some of the specific proposals in the institute's plan include proposals to cap out-of-network prices, revive the ACA reinsurance program with the goal of lowering premiums, expanding the income threshold for ACA subsidies from 400% to 600% of the federal poverty level, allowing people 55 and older to buy into Medicare ("Midlife Medicare") , and consolidating Medicare Parts A, B. and D into a single benefit package.