Hey…it’s a great campaign slogan…but actually, Medicare For All is a crock…Medicare is an expensive and complicated program that wouldn’t work for the entire populace.
Today Medicare has two basic plans provided by the government. When you sign up for Medicare, Part A, major catastrophic coverage, is touted as free. Well, it isn’t really, you’ve been paying for it your entire working life in your Medicare taxes. The wellness portion, or Plan B, is a charge or premium additional plan. When I enrolled in May, it was $134 per month which they are happily extracting from my Social Security monthly payment. This alone is fairly complicated and not inexpensive…but it barely covers any individuals prospective health care needs. But it is run by the government.
Then comes the Medigap or Medicare supplemental plans. These are run by private insurers based on rules and minimum requirements outlined by the federal government. And there are dozens of these plans…they overlap…they are confusing…and they can cost anywhere from a few dollars a month to hundreds depending on how much you can afford in premiums or how much out of pocket risk you feel you can handle in the future. It is an extremely time consuming and daunting task trying to decide what supplement to select…sheesh. I am not sure I made the right decision and I doubt that anyone else feels much different. And of course it will all depend on your future health needs…and in the short term on what your budget will allow.
But these supplements cover the dreaded prescription drug Part D and provide various amounts of dental and vision coverage, or exposure to co-pays/annual out of pocket costs/deductibles depending on the plan selected. And like most anything to do with health insurance in America, those at most risk are probably least able to afford the coverage they need.
So Medicare For All is a crock…too expensive…too complicated…lacking in comprehensive coverage. So Medicare For All is a crock…unless there is a plan behind the slogan for health care reform that goes far beyond Medicare as we know it.
Like Comprehensive Universal Single Payer Healthcare Coverage. Cradle to Grave, pre-natal to well baby, overall wellness care, flu shots to cancer care, bicycle accident broken arms to bunion surgery, vision care including glasses to cataract surgery, dietary instruction, dental care from baby teeth to braces to implants, mental health care that runs the gamut, physical therapy as needed, diagnostic tests as needed, nursing care from in home to facility, hospice, birth control to fertility care, everything that comes under healthcare to provide each American with an equal chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everyone gets everything…no difference in coverage.
Yes this will cost money. There should be affordable co-pays for doctor visits and more for hospital visits ($20/$40?). Monthly premiums as a % of income withheld by employers just like now…sliding % tho…those at the bottom with little to no participation…those at the top a bigger amount…no caps. Employers pay a % of their total payroll…nobody excluded…simple, easy, just a line item to pay by the accounts payable department.
Major basic advantage to everyone…one plan…one deductible…no out of pocket otherwise…everyone is covered.
Doctors don’t need excess staff to track dozens of different plans and their rules. They don’t have to track what amount to collect as co-pay. They don’t have to play games with charges so they can give discounts to insurance companies. They don’t have to bill and try to collect deductibles from patients after the insurance companies make their determinations. They don’t have to sign up for HMOs or other plans/organizations.
Employers don’t have to have a room full of staff to review plans and interview insurance companies annually. They don’t have to worry about premium increases or deciding which coverage to change (usually reduce) as costs continue to increase. They don’t have to deal with annual open enrollments. No Cobra. And no worrying that a valuable employee will leave for better medical benefits elsewhere. Costs are fixed based on wages.
The federal and state governments can shut down Medicare and Medicaid and Obamacare. Won’t need them anymore. Too complicated, too expensive, obsolete.
So unless there is a real plan to overhaul how healthcare is paid for in the US…to a true comprehensive universal single payer plan as part of that slogan…Medicare For All is a crock.