Health and financial security Medicare What's Buzzing

Health care industry is geared up to fight Medicare for All

Written by Diane Archer

With momentum for Medicare for all growing, the Intercept reports that the health care industry is already geared up to fight it. Medicare for all’s biggest opponents are the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and the businesses they contract with, including the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers. These businesses have a lot to lose financially when Medicare for All becomes law.

Make no mistake. Health care corporations are responsible for driving health care costs up and jeopardizing people’s health and financial well-being. As corporations, they are legally required to put their shareholders’ profits ahead of people’s health care needs.

Government-administered insurance, Medicare, is less expensive, more equitable, and better ready to meet your needs than corporate commercial insurance. Ask anyone with traditional Medicare. The government lets your doctors decide the care you need. Commercial insurers tell you which doctors you can see and tell those doctors what care they will cover, often wrongly denying needed care to enhance their profits.

Not surprisingly, Americans are far more satisfied with Medicare than with commercial health insurance. That’s one reason why Medicare has survived more than 50 years of attacks by Republicans and conservative Democrats alike.

Medicare for all offers better care at less cost than traditional Medicare, with coverage of dental, hearing and vision care and with no premiums, coinsurance or deductibles. Given how difficult it can be to get needed care today in our commercial health insurance system, opponents of Medicare for all face a serious challenge.

Today, seven in ten Americans support Medicare for all.  A total of 123 House Democrats have co-sponsored Medicare for All legislation. And, 48 new members of Congress campaigned to support it.

Medicare for all’s opponents have formed the “Partnership for America’s Health Care Future.”  They are trying to undermine Medicare for all through campaign contributions to, and talking points for, Democratic candidates who have pledged to oppose it. The talking points are designed to scare people by focusing on the cost of Medicare for all. In truth, the talking points bury the lede.

Medicare for all reduces overall health care costs while guaranteeing everyone coverage. It saves $2 trillion over ten years, by conservative estimates, and lets people see the doctors they know and trust anywhere in America with no premiums, copays or deductibles. Not surprisingly, many of the Democrats who opposed Medicare for all lost in the midterms, including Bill Nelson, Joe Donnelly and Danny O’Connor (D-OH).

The Democrats will need a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, along with a Democratic President to pass Medicare for all. But, that could be just two years away. To succeed, the public needs to be ready to respond to the Partnership’s key talking points. They claim that Medicare for all would mean “ripping apart our current system.” In truth, Americans would not feel even a small tear, as they would continue to be able to see the doctors and use the hospitals they know and trust.

Opponents will also emphasize that Medicare for all would mean the end of employer-based coverage, tax increases and greater government control over the health care system. In fact, people would see higher wages, wages that had formerly gone to paying for their health care, and still be able to see the doctors they know and trust. They would pay less overall for their care and would have no out-of-pocket costs for their care. Moreover, Medicare for all would displace the insurance company bureaucrats who tend to offer poor provider networks and get between patients and their doctors. These bureaucrats’ big skill is in knowing how to keep people from getting care when they need it.

Truly, if commercial health plans are really smart innovators, why has not one of them ever spoken out about the ways they select their network providers or how they deliver high-value care?

Today, many people can no longer afford to see the doctor or to fill their prescriptions. Some die. We rank lower than people in most other developed countries on life expectancy, infant mortality and more. Medicare for all will bring us better care.  The right politics and the right policy is to end the horrors of our commercial health care system. In fact, it is the only positive and viable solution.

If you support Medicare for all, please sign this petition to Congress.

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5 Comments

  • Don’t be so certain Medicare for All will spell an end to Medicare Advantage. The insurance industry will hold onto their prerogative to offer this private alternative to government managed Health Care and the profits they enjoy as long as they can.

  • …while a great idea to move to single payer, there are some flaws in the Medicare programme that need to be addressed. As is it does not cover the following which would have to be paid for out of pocket or through extended private insurance (defeating the notion of “single payer”):

    Dental
    Vision
    Podiatry
    Hearing

    All these come under the umbrella of the term “healthcare” as they are important to being able to lead a healthy life.

    Next, drug prices. The programme needs to be able to negotiate the lowest price for medications to make it more affordable particularly to those in low income occupations or it will defeat the purpose. It is high time big pharma stops gouging Americans for medications while the rest of the world enjoys low (even free in some cases) prescription prices.

    Hospitals and doctors should not be allowed to discriminate as currently occurs when it comes to treating Medicare patients.

    Finally, for those who retire with only Social Security as their income (as Medicare coverage is mandatory) premiums and co-pays should be be waived. There must also be a provision to cover assisted living costs. It is about time this nation cares for its seniors like other developed countries do. We have also paid into Medicare all our working lives and when retired and/or unable to work, should not have to pay out of our meagre incomes for premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and high prescription costs.

    • I agree. After they expand and improve Medicare, then they can extend it to everyone to form a universal, single-payer system using the Medicare (or Medicaid) structure and systems that already exist. However, the commercial, for-profit insurers need to go!

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