Medicare for All proposes to expand the current Medicare system to cover more than just those 65 or older. Universal healthcare structures are employed in many other countries, and the concept has been discussed in the United States several times over the years. Lawmakers presented their first proposal for Medicare for All at the end of April 2019.
Medicare for All legislation would convert the U.S. health system to a single-payer structure administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
This healthcare structure would provide coverage and benefits for all citizens with no deductibles or copays. Instead, it would take the premiums from employment-based plans and move them to the government. It is thought that this would reduce the cost of administration over said plans as well as lower prescription costs.
What’s the Catch?
Any change of this magnitude would take a considerable amount of time and effort to transition. However, some lawmakers believe we need to change the system and change it soon so that patients don’t have the burden of medical bills. Republican lawmakers worry that a change like this will take away the people’s choices of insurance, employer coverage and may deteriorate or eliminate programs for seniors.
While many Democrats address the need for universal healthcare, professionals also posed many questions about how much Medicare for All will cost the United States. Our current system costs more than healthcare systems in many other countries. The new system proposed by Medicare for All legislation may increase cost in some areas while reducing it in others.
It is estimated to cost around $33 to 39 trillion, 11-13% of the GPD, in the first ten years, according to researchers at George Mason University. In addition to this cost, other unknown economic factors stand in the way. With numbers like these, professionals believe that doubling income tax would not cover the funds for a change this big.
The current debate is weighing the pros and cons of each outcome and the possible effects. As of yet, there is no clear solution.