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Healthcare is a concept most people don’t think about until they need to - but that might be starting to change in the United States. Every Democratic candidate currently polling well enough to warrant their continued presence on the debate stages, is beating Republican President Trump in the polls.
They’re all recommending either a version of Medicare for All (M4A for short), or a public option for Medicare. But what benefits can we expect when everyone has access to coverage? Medicare For All benefits might surprise you.
What Does Medicare For All Mean?
Bernie Sanders has provided countless in-depth talking points about his Medicare For All benefits (Medicare for All) bill, so let’s use his platform as an example. If his bill were to become law, most instances of insurance excluding cosmetic surgery would be replaced. In other words, private insurance, insurance provided by employers, Medicaid, and Medicare as it now exists would be replaced by one initiative. Medicare for All would aim to cover medical bills without placing financial strain on patients.
Medicare For All is another name for single payer healthcare - an insurance program covering all Americans. The types of care covered include dental, vision, and mental. Prescription medication is also covered. There wouldn’t be any co-pays or deductibles except for drugs - but the out of pocket would never reach above $200 a year. Long-term care might necessitate more costs.
The government would have the authority to determine prices for drugs, equipment, and services. A small amount of funding would be used to help people with suddenly irrelevant or redundant insurance jobs find new positions.
Under Sanders’ plan, younger citizens would be phased into the plan over four years. A public option would also be available.
What Would Happen To Healthcare Costs?
The way things are right now, healthcare costs are going to reach almost $50 trillion before the end of the decade. A think tank at George Mason University has estimated that Medicare for All could cost $3.2 trillion a year.
Other estimates are lower. To begin, Sanders proposes using about $2 trillion a year to fund Medicare for All. He has suggested further taxes on those making at least $250,000 a year. Health coverage for everyone would more easily be covered with this influx of funding.
What Would Happen To Private Insurance Companies?
Most private insurance companies would be rendered obsolete, and likely deconstructed. Some insurance plans would remain intact if they are not based on medical necessities. What it boils down to is that no private insurers would be allowed to offer coverage for anything already covered by Medicare For all.
With Medicare For All benefits would be a priority. Healthcare spending would be managed without profit motives under Medicare for All. This is not an encouraging environment for private insurers.
Why Healthcare For Everyone Is A Good Thing
Medicare for All reduces healthcare costs. Administrative costs would also be lowered because fewer insurance agencies would need to be paid. Doctors would have fewer hoops to jump through since they would be dealing with just one entity, the government. Businesses would be able to hire fewer staff and spend less time evaluating and condoning changes to rules and bylaws.
Benefits Of Medicare For All
Medicare for All would eliminate several current healthcare costs. All citizens would be covered for stays in the hospital or the emergency room, visits to the doctor, reproductive healthcare, and more. These are all areas where the current Medicare system makes people pay premiums. Long-term coverage isn’t provided at all.
Doctors would also benefit. They would experience significantly lower malpractice premiums. The savings stemming from these lowered costs could be reinvested back into the system.
Eliminating Medical Debt
It’s understood that medical debt is likely mostly a healthcare problem. It’s been a struggle to provide the elderly in our society with Medicare benefits. Without change, increasing costs will increase the national deficit to dangerous levels.
With the plan Sanders is promoting, the government would be tasked with negotiating and paying off unfulfilled medical obligations which have already been allocated to debt collectors. Restrictions would also be placed on how stridently providers and debt collection agencies could act while recouping payments. A national registry would be formed to preserve the credit scores of patients.
Pre-Existing Conditions Will Be Covered
Pre-existing conditions will be covered under Medicare For All. The Affordable Care Act began the trend of disallowing insurers to refuse patient coverage due to health problems which were already there. Common diseases that previously prevented patients from being covered include cancer, asthma, diabetes, and hypertension.
These diseases used to give insurers the ability to turn patients down, charge greater premiums, or curtail benefits. Like the ACA, Medicare for All will prevent this.
US Healthcare Spending Will Drop
It can vary, but between a quarter and a third of the costs we pay for ourselves now stem from the overhead of insurance companies and their profits, as well as administrative costs inherent in clinical environments. With Medicare for All, about half these costs could instead be used to improve the quality of healthcare.
Lower Costs For Americans
By many accounts, Medicare for All would get rid of a lot of the healthcare costs we incur now: premiums, co-payments, deductibles, and other fees that pop up before your insurance can cover them.