Political News

CMS administrator says this year's scariest Halloween costume is 'Medicare for all'

Posted October 31, 2018 6:43 p.m. EDT

— The administrator of the nation's federal health insurance programs tweeted a Halloween-themed message bashing "Medicare-for-all," a policy pushed by some Democrats.

Seema Verma, who runs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, wrote Wednesday on Twitter: "The year's scariest Halloween costume goes to..."

The tweet then featured an image of an individual wearing a T-shirt with the words "MEDICARE FOR ALL" printed across the front.

"Medicare-for-all" is a proposal that would broaden Medicare, which provides coverage for seniors and some people with disabilities, to all Americans in an effort to reduce the uninsured rate.

The idea has been widely embraced by progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats and is one of the driving forces behind its current momentum. He rolled out a proposal during his unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid and introduced a new "Medicare-for-all" health care bill last fall with a third of the Senate Democratic caucus by his side.

However, the policy has been widely criticized by Republicans -- including President Donald Trump.

Earlier this month, Trump penned an op-ed in USA Today, where he said "Medicare-for-all" would "eviscerate" Medicare.

"In practice, the Democratic Party's so-called Medicare for All would really be Medicare for None," Trump wrote in the op-ed. "Under the Democrats' plan, today's Medicare would be forced to die."

Sanders soon responded with his own op-ed in USA Today highlighting the benefits of a single-payer health insurance system.

"It would guarantee everyone could get the health care they need without going into debt at far lower cost than the current dysfunctional system," he wrote.

Verma has previously vocalized her opposition to shifting to a "Medicare-for-all" system. In a speech on October 16, she called it "a bad idea" and pointed to its potential for a hefty price tag, which she said has been projected to be "as high as $32 trillion."

"The reason people are calling for Medicare for All is not because the ACA has worked in remedying what ails our system, but because it has not," Verma said in her prepared remarks at a conference on Medicare.

"But their solution is literally to do more of what's not working. It's like the man who has a pounding headache, who then takes a hammer to his head to make it go away," she said.