Disagrees with editorial on Medicare for All
To the editor:
In an editorial on Medicare for All, the author argues that such a system is undesirable because 1. contrary to what its supporters say, it is not actually free, 2. it would likely lead to health care rationing, and 3. it would limit health care options. I address each of these points here.
1. No one running on Medicare for All is promising free health insurance. They’re very clear that funding the system would require a modest increase in taxes, depending on one’s income. However, Americans would end up paying less for their healthcare than they do under our current system. While the insurance system is not free, healthcare, at the point of service would be free: no more deductibles and no more co-pays.
2. Under our current system we have vast amounts of health care rationing. Even for those who have insurance, they don’t always seek care because, after paying high monthly premiums, they still have to worry about deductibles and co-pays. And the situation is far worse for those who are uninsured. Health insurance companies do not aim to ensure people get the care they need, but rather they aim to maximize profits. Claims are denied whenever possible. Only partial coverage is offered. Prescription prices are outrageous. That’s how they make money. What we’re left with is a system where most people don’t see their doctors or fill their prescriptions as often as they should. We’re left with a system where most people don’t receive the care they need. And in cases they do, they might be left with thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
3. Medicare for All would actually increase health care options. When it comes to choice in healthcare, people want to choose their doctors and their hospitals. Medicare for All would ensure that people could see any doctor that they choose. In our current health insurance system, this is not the case. People can only choose doctors that are in their networks and if they lose their job or if their employer decides to change their health insurance provider (both of which happen often), people lose that choice.
Medicare as it exists now in this country is one of the most popular and favorably-viewed government programs. Medicare for All would simply expand this already popular program to cover all Americans, while also expanding coverage to include dental and vision care. Some version of Medicare for All exists in every single other major country in the world. In each of these countries healthcare costs are lower and health outcomes tend to be higher. There’s nothing radical about such a system. What is radical is allowing our government to prioritize the profits of a few over the healthcare of the American people.