( By Stephen Weru )
Medicare for all is an idea that has resulted in a serious debate with two main factions.
Some believe that introducing a socialist health plan could finally help fix the American healthcare system. However, some believe that the enactment of a single-payer health insurance system would be the final nail to the American healthcare system.
However, Medicare for all sounds like a great idea. Why then are people against this concept?
This post intends to answer this question. In today’s article, we discuss reasons why some people are against Medicare for everyone.
But first, let’s define what Medicare for everyone means.
What is Medicare for All?
Often associated with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Medicare for all is a bill that proposes a shift from the multi-payer health care system to a single-payer.
Currently, the American healthcare system is characterized by multiple groups that pay for health care. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, Employer-sponsored group health plans, and private health insurance companies.
The enactment of a national health coverage would see the new program take up all these other groups’ roles. With Medicare for all, a single government entity would reimburse doctors and hospitals for healthcare costs.
In a sense, Medicare for all would be similar to other single-payer systems, including the Canadian Medicare, the United Kingdom’s NHS, and other European public health insurance systems.
If such a system already exists in other developed countries, why are some Americans against a single-payer system?
For starters, there’s no specific financing Mechanism
One of the biggest arguments against Medicare for everyone lies in the financial logistics.
This is especially an important question considering some experts estimate that establishing a national health coverage system would cost the Federal government an additional $32.6 trillion.
How would such an ambitious program be funded?
One way that proponents of Medicare for all plan to do this is by introducing an additional tax for certain population groups (Under the current plan, it’s anyone with an income of $250,000 a year.)
However, increasing tax rates is an idea that doesn’t sit well with populations affected; therefore, one of the reasons why Medicare for all is so highly opposed.
On the other side, proponents argue that a socialist health plan results in more savings in the long run. According to these proponents, Medicare for all would promote savings of up to $10 trillion within the first decade due to improved administrative efficacy and better control over monopoly pricing.
Opponents Argue that The Quality of Health Care will Depreciate
Let’s be honest. The current Medicare system isn’t as effective.
For starters, it doesn’t pay for all health care costs. Beneficiaries have to either seek an additional insurance policy or pay for 20% of their health care costs out of pocket.
And that’s not all!
Thanks to the fact that Medicare has the power to negotiate for lower prices for services they pay for, some healthcare providers are starting to refuse to take Medicare patients.
To the opponents, this is a clear sign of what may happen with Medicare for everyone.
With Medicare for everyone, the government would have better bargaining power. This would result in lower medical fees and fewer incentives for doctors to provide quality care.
Proponents may however argue that countries with single-payer health systems report having healthier populations than the US. American life expectancy is lower than that of Canada and Britain. Both which have a single-payer system.
However, a longer life expectancy doesn’t necessarily mean an excellent health care system. While single-payer systems allow most of the population to access healthcare, they are characterized by long waits for treatment. An example of this is in the UK, where 25% of cancer patients don’t start treatment on time due to long waits.
Opponents of Medicare for all also argue that with the high number of people requiring medical care, the government may limit services with a low success probability.
There’s also the issue of Lost Jobs
As mentioned earlier, Medicare for all in its purest form would see a government entity replacing all other insurance companies. Even if private insurance companies weren’t replaced, their role would be greatly reduced.
Approximately 2 million people could lose their jobs due to private insurance companies downsizing.
Medicare for Everyone! Good or Bad Idea? You be the Judge
There you go—some of the main reasons why some people are against Medicare for everyone.
While the idea sounds great, actualizing a single-payer healthcare system for Americans may be harder than it sounds. It’s no wonder some people are so heavily against it.
However, it’s not impossible. Other developed countries have done it.
What do you think? Is Medicare for everyone a good idea or are you among those against it?