Every now and again, I run into a Democrat who says they support healthcare reform, but not the Medicare for All plans promoted by Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. When asked why, they say they have a good plan through their employer and don’t want to give it up. They support a “public option” where everyone has the choice to buy into Medicare.
What those folks fail to realize is that while the plan they have now may be very good, Medicare for All is also much more than traditional Medicare, and is actually better than most commercial plans.
How many commercial plans out there have a total annual out-of-pocket of $200 and that is limited to prescription drugs? No co-pay or deductible to go to the doctor with a sore throat and fever. No co-pay or deductible to take your child to the doctor for a broken arm. No co-pay or deductible for an emergency room visit for a heart attack or the intensive care unit, or surgery, or later rehabilitation.
How many commercial plans cover the entire bill for all that? I know mine sure doesn’t. My colonoscopy last month was $1,400 out-of-pocket. I haven’t gotten the bill from the anesthesiologist or the pathology lab where the biopsies were done yet. Hopefully, I won’t meet my $6,000 deductible for the year.
Just like current Medicare, any doctor or service provider, like physical therapists, licensed or certified in Texas can apply and be accepted. Unlike traditional Medicare, the Medicare for All plan proposed by Bernie Sanders also includes dental care, hearing aids and exams, as well as vision benefits.
Bernie’s plan also pays for home- and community-based long-term care and services, think home health aide visits to the elderly at home, or nursing homes for those in need of constant monitoring.
Just as important, while the plan people have through their employer might be just as good as Medicare for All, what happens when that employer moves to another city or state like AT&T did when it moved its headquarters from San Antonio to Dallas some years ago forcing people to find another job if they didn’t want to move?
What happens if the industry they’re in or the overall economy turns down and the employer lays them off? What happens if they become too sick to work, perhaps due to cancer or other debilitating illness?
The answer is that formerly great insurance is no longer available, they might have access via COBRA for a while but the premium will be sky high and if they’re not working, how will they pay that outrageous premium?
About 45% of Americans are worried a major illness could leave them bankrupt, 1 in 4 Americans skipped needed medical care because they could not afford it, and 77% are concerned rising health costs will cause significant and lasting damage to our economy.
With these awful statistics, it’s laughable that Medicare for All skeptics’ most common complaint is “how will we pay for it.” First, let’s recognize that we’re paying more now for less. Elizabeth Warren pays for her plan by raising taxes on billionaires by adding a tax of 6% on net wealth above $1 billion, repealing Trump’s tax giveaway to the rich, and treating long-term capital gains like regular income.
Additionally, her plan calls for restoring funding for the Internal Revenue Service so it can go back to auditing the rich the way it did 20 years ago, which is expected to recover $230 billion a year.