The terms “Medicare for All” and “universal health care” have recently hit the headlines. But what do they mean for you? Read on to learn how these health care initiatives would impact you and your household.
What Is Medicare for All?
Medicare for All is a universal health care plan developed by Senator Bernie Sanders. It builds on the successes of Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced by former President Barack Obama to help more Americans access health care.
According to Bernie Sanders’ plans, 29 million Americans don’t have health insurance under the ACA. Millions more are underinsured with policies that have high copayments and deductibles. Medicare for All looks to solve these problems.
Today, healthcare protection is often linked to employment. The single-payer Medicare for All system would sever this link to ensure that unemployed Americans, stay-at-home parents, new business owners, and other people not currently covered can receive affordable medical care.
It would also bring America’s health care system in line with those of other industrialized nations that offer universal health care to citizens.
Medicare for All is a universal health care system benefitting patients and healthcare providers. Under the scheme, Americans would receive necessary medical treatment regardless of their age, earnings, or socioeconomic status. Health care professionals would receive better training under the system, and healthcare overheads and administrative costs would be reduced.
What would Medicare for All cover?
Medicare for All promises to cover numerous healthcare products and services, including the following:
- Inpatient and outpatient health care services
- Preventative, emergency, and nonemergency health care services and treatments
- Primary and specialty health care, including palliative and long-term care
- Care for vision, hearing, and oral health problems
- Mental health and addiction services
- Prescription medication
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Diagnostic tests
How Medicare for All would impact you
Under Medicare for All, you’d get the health care you need from your preferred healthcare provider. You wouldn’t have to worry about whether that provider is in a specific network or whether you’ll incur out-of-pocket expenses. In fact, Medicare for All would have no copays or deductibles. Because of this and other factors, Bernie Sanders estimates the average middle-class family would save more than $5,800 under Medicare for All each year. Under Medicare for All, you wouldn’t deal with insurance companies, putting an end to arguments over claims, saving you money, and reducing stress.
How Medicare for All may benefit the United States
As Medicare for All changes the nation’s health care to a single, public insurance system with a simpler payment structure, it promises to help America reduce healthcare spending by $6 trillion over the next 10 years. American businesses also stand to save more than $9,400 per employee every year.
The integrated single-payer Medicare for All system would give the government leverage to negotiate fairer pharmaceutical prices for all Americans. It could also track health care provider usage, helping it make smarter spending choices to reduce wait times and better serve communities.
How Would It Work?
Every American would receive an insurance card showing they are covered under Medicare for All. You’d simply show this card whenever you need medical products or services.
Medicare for All, estimated to cost around $1.38 trillion a year, would operate with funding from the following sources:
- $630 billion from a 6.2 percent income-based premium paid by employers
- $210 billion from a 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households making more than $28,800
- $110 billion from progressive income tax rates for Americans with yearly earnings over $250,000
- $92 billion from taxing capital gains and dividends in line with employment income
- $15 billion from limiting tax deduction for Americans with yearly earnings over $250,000
- $21 billion from a new Responsible Estate Tax applied to the homes of Americans inheriting more than $3.5 million
- $310 billion from savings as health-related tax expenses become obsolete
This breakdown shows Medicare for All is achievable without negatively impacting America’s economy or household budgets.