Republicans have been saying for many years that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, needs to be repealed and replaced with something better. Medicare-for-all is that something better.
Unfortunately for Republicans and the rest of us, after six years of complaining, they still have no idea of how to replace Obamacare. Their latest proposal is to repeal Obamacare, then delay the repeal for two to three years in the hope that they can force Democrats to negotiate a replacement.
Republicans argue falsely that the current problems in our health care system have been exacerbated by Obamacare. In fact Obamacare has mitigated some of the worst problems by reducing the number of uninsured by about 12.5 million and allowing people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance.
However, even Obamacare has not been able to fix the systemic problems that cause the United States to have the most expensive health care system in the world with some of the worst health outcomes of any developed nation. We pay for a yacht, but get a dinghy.
If we really want to fix our health care system, then we need Medicare-for-all. There are six critical elements that any health care system should provide.
First, a health care system should cover everybody.
Second, it should cover everything including, but not limited to, vision and dental.
Third, a health care system should provide freedom from financial worry. Premium payments must be affordable and copayments and deductibles must be eliminated.
Fourth, patients should have the freedom to choose any medical professional or hospital.
Fifth, physicians should have the freedom to provide the best course of treatment based on medical need.
Sixth, any health care system must be affordable for the nation.
Our current health care system fails on every count while a publically financed Medicare-for-all would solve these problems.
Many people have a problem paying for health insurance and medical care. Medicare-for-all would finance health care through taxes. These taxes would be relatively low and since there are no copayments or deductibles, health care becomes affordable and accessible. For example, a family that makes $50,000 per year would pay an extra $466 in taxes, but would have an extra $5,807 to spend with the savings from no premiums, deductibles or copayments.
Medicare-for-all provides more freedom for patients and physicians. Patients can choose any medical professional or hospital and are not limited by the narrow networks imposed by insurance companies. Doctors would have the freedom to make treatment decisions based on medical need, and not whether the insurance company would allow the treatment.
After Obamacare was implemented the rate of growth in health care costs has slowed. Yet even this slower rate is not sustainable. Eventually the cost of health care would literally bankrupt the nation.
Medicare-for-all would not only bend the cost curve, it would eventually reduce overall health care costs to a sustainable level and allow the savings to be invested in other important priorities such as infrastructure, education, or job training.
Medicare-for-all—there is no better solution.