Medicare for All is fiscally responsible and brings peace of mind
I often see or hear from people who are worried about how they will pay for their healthcare. Some have lost jobs, some need drugs their insurance companies won’t cover, but the fears and worries boil down to this: I’m sick or I might get sick, and I can’t afford care. As small business owners, my wife and I have had our own late-night healthcare worries.
Fortunately, there is a practical solution: It’s called Medicare for All (more formally, H.R. 676).
Medicare for All is responsible—both for society and financially.
Peace of Mind
Medicare for All would provide complete healthcare (medical, dental, long-term care, etc.) to everyone. You wouldn’t have to worry about bills, premiums, or medical bankruptcies. You wouldn’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions. You wouldn’t have to worry about coverage denials or out-of-network doctors.
We Can Afford It
<Cue cheesy announcer voice> So, how much would you pay for this super-platinum, cover-everything healthcare?
When I ran the numbers, I found that Medicare for All would cost about what an average medical insurance policy costs now for each person. Alternatively, the senate version of Medicare for All (known as S. 1804 sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders) includes a sliding scale income tax increase between 2% to 5% depending on your income bracket (1).
I am not certain an income tax is the best way to pay for Medicare for All because wealthy people often use financial planning to reduce their taxable income, so the wealthy may be able to once again avoid paying their fair share. However, what type of tax is best can be decided later. It just needs to be fair. For example, shouldn’t a young upper-middle class couple who are a doctor and lawyer and who together make $250,000 but have very little beyond that, pay less than a person who has $50,000,000 in the bank and makes the same $250,000 a year from dividends? I think so. Those who have a lot of assets, like money in the bank, achieved the American Dream and should pay more into our system to provide a more level playing field so that others will have a shot at achieving financial success too.
Medicare for All is a fiscally responsible path for healthcare. Implementing a single-payer system for healthcare is expected to reduce total healthcare costs between $300 billion and $400 billion per year (2). I have seen analyses from physicians, the Social Security Administration, and McKinsey & Co, and when I worked through the numbers myself, they came out in this range too.
Some of the savings come from
- Eliminating insurance company profit
- Eliminating marketing and advertising
- Reducing costly hospital emergency room visits (which will also reduce emergency room congestion so you can get emergency care faster when you really need it)
- Increasing preventative care, which lowers costs in the long run.
As our population ages and better but more costly treatments are developed, the cost of healthcare will go up—there is nothing that can stop that—but a single-payer system that uses its bargaining power to negotiate prices and has no need to show an increase in profit every quarter will ensure that costs go up slower than they would in our current system.
Medicare for All Will Create Jobs
Because more people will be able to afford the care they need, the transition to a single-payer system will create a dramatic increase in all healthcare jobs. We won’t be able to fill those jobs overnight. That combined with the need to transition employees from insurance companies into the Medicare for All system expansion or other jobs are the main reasons we will need to phase this system into place over time. I envision lowering the age that people qualify for Medicare gradually over the next decade or so.
Today, every person 65+ I know is happy with Medicare, and every person 55 to 64 is eagerly looking forward to the day they can get on Medicare because it’s better than the high costs and low coverage of the current system. Let’s lower that age until everyone can enjoy the type of quality affordable care currently reserved for senior citizens today.
I hope you see the potential for Medicare for All. If so, make sure you are registered as a Democrat, and vote for me on June 12 in the primary to make it happen responsibly.