Posted by 12 September 2017
Medicare for all. Single Payer. Government-run health care. Socialized medicine.
The concept may go by a few different names, but the idea is the same – the federal government providing health care to everyone, with private providers either being banned or strictly limited.
That is an idea that is growing in popularity among Democratic lawmakers. Senator Bernie Sanders is preparing legislation that would enact “Medicare for all.” He is expected to release it this week. Although he is not a Democrat, he does caucus with the party. Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, and Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said they support this bill. Democratic Senators Corey Booker of New Jersey and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island are also expected to cosponsor it.
While Senator Sanders has yet to introduce his bill, there is legislation in the House of Representatives that would accomplish the same goal. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has 117 cosponsors for HR 676. That bill would, among other things:
- Establish the Medicare for All Program, which would provide all “medically necessary care” to U.S. residents at no cost to them
- Ban private health insurance that duplicates the government-provided care
- Dictate how doctors and health care providers would be paid by the government
- Increase the income tax on the top 5% of earners, impose a new payroll tax and a tax unearned income, and institute a tax on stock and bond income
Proponents see this type of system as a fair way to provide health care to every American. Opponents contend that government-run health care will be expensive and lead to denials of service.
Regardless of its merits or defects, this type of health care plan is unlikely to be instituted in the U.S. any time soon. During the debate over Obamacare, there was little support for anything resembling single-payer. While there are more Democratic politicians embracing the idea now, a government-run health system is not being discussed in congressional debates over the replacement for Obamacare.
Do you support a single-payer system? Or do you think that such a system will be harmful for Americans who need health care services?