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Medicare for all, the Sanders proposal

Written by Diane Archer

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?

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14 Comments

  • I have been an advocate for HR 676 which is a single payer plan that has been around since 2003. Yes we are ready for a single payer health care plan. ACA is unsustainable and the only way that I can see to reign in rising costs is through a single payer health care plan. It would be good for those with chronic illnesses, those involved in an accident and even the healthy. It would reduce the cost of health care for 95% of us who are currently paying insurance premiums. Single payer is a no-brainer solution to our nations’ healthcare challenges.

  • + tax – insurance premiums = + Bottom line. How ever you label the final expense your money ahead without CEO’s, advertising (which is supported by big corporate media) and the for profit medical suppression. When it comes to the well being of human life it should not be depended on for profit industries to dictate quality of life and mortality with the view of one’s wealth. What we have now is no different than requiring people to have something like police protection insurance. In most countries over in Europe the word “Insurance” is not associated with “Health Care”.

  • The problem with calling single-payer health insurance “Medicare for All” is that much of Medicare has already been privatized. Medigap, Medicare, Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Medicare Part D (drug coverage) are all privatized. We need to start by getting the greedy, for-profit insurance companies OUT of Medicare!

    • Agreed. HR676 takes the profit out of healthcare. It would establish comprehensive medical, dental and vision care with no copays and no deductibles. No supplemental insurance necessary. It would lower the per capita cost of health care so the tax required to fund it would be less than what 95% of us pay in insurance premiums now.

  • Yes, I have long supported single-payer. Of course, it will increase taxes but at the same time will eliminate the premiums we now pay for our insurance premiums. The taxes will be much lower than the premiums.

    In fact, I would like to see us pass improved and expanded Medicare for All, HR 676.

  • Bernie Sanders’ plan makes perfect sense…For a family of 4 with an income of 50,00.00, the annual cost would be about $450.00 a year in taxes, eliminating the high premium cost as well as high deductibles and co-pays…the savings are estimated to be about $4,500.00 annually for that family…with Medicare, drug prices can be negotiated, and the would be substantial savings in patient care costs because they can be treated before an illness expensively progresses…Eliminating the for-profit middle man will save millions or more…have you seen the obscene salaries these CEOs make?

  • Of course, Single Payer is the goal for the good of the country!

    However, right now we have a Congress who voted 60 times to abolish the ACA, finally passed it and put it on President Obama’s desk. He quickly vetoed it and then they tried to override the veto, coming very close. This is the reality of where we are right now.

    The problem is the people we voted for and elected, many who are entrenched in gerrymandered districts and/or represent the interests of the wealthy. This is why Senator Sanders’ idea is going nowhere, no matter how much we want it.

    President Obama is holding on by a thread to the ACA. We don’t even have family leave, like every other “advanced” country. So, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    As Patricia Taylor states, a lot of Medicare has already been privatized. So, along with convincing those we know to vote for politicians who truly care about their interests, we have to fight 36 years of erosion of the Middle Class.

    Change Congress, change state governments, change healthcare…

    • What many people don’t understand about Bernie’s “revolution” is that he is amassing an army of people that will engage in the political process…that means voting, citizen lobbying and citizen contributions, etc….This kind of participation weakens the influence of big money interests in Congress, thereby changing the faces and manipulations that block the will of “we the people”…it may not happen overnight, but as the old Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”…Bernie has proven he can motivate a huge amount of people committed to participating in the political process, including people-powered donations, instead of super pacs and big money bribes…When I think of Bernie’s platform, I think of FDR, and an FDR platform is what we need now…I am so excited to see all the young Bernie supporters motivated and poised to take control of their future…so inspiring to see them fight for the future they choose…

  • Absolutely willing to pay more taxes for single-payer if necessary (but if we would also stop subsidizing big corporations, as Bernie also proposes, it might not be). But the question is, How do we get accurate information to voters beyond the few of us commenting here?

    • Very Good Question! Since corporate-owned media spins the truth towards their financial interests, we must educate others in any way we can. Friends, neighbors, community organization members, Social Media, etc….You can find all Bernie Sanders’ issues and information at berniesanders.com/issues

  • Now if this is run properly it is by far the best for everybody. It is the most economical by far. It is the easiest by far to understand. One card for all. Just go to the Doctor swipe the card and wait till the Doctor calls you. It is fast and cuts down on thousands of hours of paperwork. Oh wait I forgot that is SOCIALISM. Sorry

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