Bernie Sanders is calling for Medicare for all. He says, “If the goal of health-care reform is to provide comprehensive, universal health care in a cost-effective way, the only honest approach is a single-payer approach.” And, if every other industrialized nation can insure their people, the United States can as well.
A single-payer approach can drive health care system improvements, streamline administrative costs and rein in the cost of medical and hospital care as well as prescription drugs and medical devices. It can also ensure that everyone automatically has health insurance and that no one falls through the cracks. Furthermore, as Theodore Marmor and I wrote in Health Affairs, “Medicare is designed to absorb risk, serving individuals who have or may have costly and complex medical needs as well as the relatively healthy, whereas commercial insurance is required to protect its business interests by avoiding those most likely to use medical care.”
Sanders also wants to eliminate out-of-pocket costs that are preventing people from accessing needed care today or driving them into medical debt. Even with Obamacare, there are 29 million uninsured Americans and millions more who are underinsured.
Professor Kenneth Thorpe questions the projected costs of Sanders’ proposal. But, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, two leading proponents of a single-payer system, critique Thorpe’s assumptions.
Do you agree that it’s time we had Medicare for all in this country? What if it means increasing taxes?