UPDATE: Here's my healthcare question for the Detroit Democratic Debate

If I could only ask one question of the 20-odd candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for President at the next debate coming up right here in Detroit, Michigan, here's how I would word it. I've customized it for each of the five major candidates (apologies to the rest of them):

Preface to each of the candidates:

"Earlier this month, oral arguments were heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals over a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act filed by 20 Republican Attorneys General and fully supported by the Trump Administration.

"If the plaintiffs are successful and the ACA is struck down entirely, up to 20 million Americans would find themselves without healthcare coverage and tens of millions more with pre-existing conditions would lose critical protections, while states would lose hundreds of millions, or even billions of federal funding.

"Every Democratic candidate has come out in favor of significantly expanding publicly-funded healthcare coverage to some degree or another. Some want to build upon the Affordable Care Act. Some want to add a public option. Some want guaranteed universal coverage, and some are demanding universal single payer healthcare for everyone in the United States.

"There are at least ten different specific bills or detailed proposals which have either been introduced in the House or the Senate or which have been released by the various campaigns, which achieve some combination of the above in different ways.

...to former Vice-President Joe Biden:

"Mr. Vice-President, you recently released your plan, which mainly involves a combination of strengthening the Affordable Care Act with greatly expanded subsidies and the addition of a robust "Medicare-like" public option.

As you know, while the President can advocate for his or her preferred plan, the version which ends up being passed through the House and Senate may end up looking quite different from what they had in mind. What alternatives to your proposal--whether one of the bills already on the table or some other variant--would you be open to?"

...to Senator Bernie Sanders:

"Senator, you've long been a staunch advocate of moving to a universal, mandatory, single-payer healthcare system which you call "Medicare for All", and have publicly rejected any proposal which includes cost sharing at the point of service or which continue to allow private major medical plans as not being acceptable.

However, until this year you were also a co-sponsor of Senator Warren's "Consumer Health Insurance Protection Act", or CHIPA, which amounts to a robust ACA 2.0 bill, and until recently you were also a co-sponsor of Senator Schatz's "State Public Option Act" which amounts to a Medicaid buy-in plan.

Would either of these bills be acceptable to you even as temporary improvements? As you know, while the President can advocate for his or her preferred plan, the version which ends up being passed through the House and Senate may end up looking quite different from what they had in mind. What alternatives to your proposal--whether one of the bills already on the table or some other variant--would you be open to?"

...to Senator Elizabeth Warren:

"Senator, while you're a co-sponsor of Senator Sanders' single-payer "Medicare for All" bill, for over a year you've also been the lead sponsor of a robust ACA 2.0 bill called the "Consumer Health Insurance Protection Act", several major provisions of which Vice-President Biden included in his recent plan. You're also a co-sponsor of Senator Schatz's "State Public Option Act" which would let people buy into Medicaid.

Consistent with this, in March during a CNN Town Hall, you explained that you were open to several different pathways towards achieving universal healthcare coverage, stating that as long as you lead with your values, you'll get to where you want to be.

"Shortly before the Miami debate last month, however, you seemed to have changed your "several different paths" rhetoric when it comes to healthcare policy, and have made several statements indicating that Sen. Sanders specific "Medicare for All" bill is the best, or perhaps the only, way to go. Is that accurate, or are you still open to one of "several paths"?

Related to this, while the President can advocate for his or her preferred plan, the version which ends up being passed through the House and Senate may end up looking quite different from what they had in mind. What alternatives to your proposal--whether one of the bills already on the table or some other variant--would you be open to?"

...to Senator Kamala Harris:

UPDATE 7/30/19: Sen. Harris rolled out her own "Medicare for All" variant yesterday, which has some significant differences from Sen. Sanders' version, so I've revised my question for her below:

"Senator, while you're a co-sponsor of Senator Sanders' single-payer "Medicare for All" bill, you're also listed as a co-sponsor of a several other healthcare bills, including Senator Warren's ACA 2.0 bill, Senator Schatz's "State Public Option Act" which would let people buy into Medicaid, Senators Merkley & Murphy's "Choose Medicare" Act, Senators Bennett & Kaine's "Medicare X" Act, Senator Whitehouse & Representative Schakowsky's "CHOICE Act" and Senator Stabenow's "Medicare at 50" Act.

"While you touted Senator Sanders' "Medicare for All" bill for months, you also gave several confusing answers about where you stand on eliminating private employer-sponsored insurance.

"Then, this week, you rolled out your own version of "Medicare for All", which is still similar to Sen. Sanders', but has a longer transition period, a higher income threshold for tax increases, and most significantly, would still allow for what amount to enhanced, privately-administered Medicare Advantage plans.

Considering how many other bills you've cosponsored, as well as this recent variation on Sen. Sanders' vision: As you know, while the President can advocate for his or her preferred plan, the version which ends up being passed through the House and Senate may end up looking quite different from what they had in mind. What alternatives to your proposal--whether one of the bills already on the table or some other variant--would you be open to?"

...to Mayor Pete Buttigieg:

"Mayor, you aren't a member of the House or Senate so you can't officially sponsor or cosponsor any federal bills, but on your website and in public appearances you've called for achieving universal healthcare coverage via a "Medicare for All who Want It" approach. Specifically, you've called for a "Medicare-type public option available on the ACA exchange", which sounds very similar to Sens. Merkley & Murphy's "Choose Medicare" bill...or possibly Reps. DeLauro & Schakowsky's "Medicare for America" bill, depending on the details.

"Can you provide some additional details on what you have in mind as an ideal roadmap? Related to this, as you know, while the President can advocate for his or her preferred plan, the version which ends up being passed through the House and Senate may end up looking quite different from what they had in mind. What alternatives to your proposal--whether one of the bills already on the table or some other variant--would you be open to?"

I've simplified these as much as possible. I realize some of these are likely still too wordy or in the weeds for a nationally-broadcast debate audience (or for Chuck Todd), especially when there's 10 candidates on stage and they only have a minute or two to respond, but it's a complicated topic and some of the points have been confusing the hell out of people, so I don't see any easy way around including all of them.