Pandemic Presents Barriers, Opportunities for Public Option

To some policy experts, the COVID-19 pandemic offers a chance to rethink the national debate over universal health coverage — potentially bolstering the case for a Medicare for All system or a public option that provides government-sponsored, less expensive health plans alongside private offerings.

“I submit that COVID is an opportunity for us to reframe our understanding of health care’s role, for us to connect back with an older vision of health as something that if not dealt with for some amongst us has devastating effects on the rest of us,” Daniel Wikler, a professor of ethics and population health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said during a May 28 virtual panel discussion hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center and its O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law. “We certainly see that dramatically with infectious disease.”

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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