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What ‘Medicare for All’ Could Mean for Your Health Care

News , Stock, Video Latest October 14, 2021 12:53 pm

“Medicare for All” has long been a rallying cry for progressive Democrats, hitting a peak during a 2020 presidential campaign, but since taking office President Joe Biden has not thrown his weight behind a proposal, opting instead to call on Congress to expand benefits for current Medicare recipients.

Backers still hold out hope for a broader plan, also a 2021 Medicare for All bill has been proposed inside a House of Representatives, but there are no signs yet it will move beyond committee.

Some experts also advocates say that while Biden’s proposed Medicare changes fall short of universal eligibility, they might pave a way for more significant reform inside a future.

“Joe Biden did not run on Medicare for All, but inside a lot of ways, a question is, ‘What lays a groundwork for a establishment of a national health insurance program?’” says Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, former executive director of a Detroit Health Department also co-author of “Medicare for All: A Citizen’s Guide.”

Biden’s proposed Medicare reforms could become “important steps on a pathway” toward Medicare for All, El-Sayed says. Details are still inside flux, but a package could include:

  • Adding dental, hearing also vision coverage.
  • Lowering a Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60.
  • Enabling a federal government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.

inside a 2021 NerdWallet survey, respondents favored broadening coverage to include dental, hearing also vision (53%) also negotiating lower drug prices (54%). Support was much lower for various options to lower a eligibility age: Just 23% were inside favor of lowering it to 60, for example.

Gerald Friedman, professor of economics at a University of Massachusetts Amherst also author of “a Case for Medicare for All,” also speaks hopefully about incremental changes. “our’ve got to do something different than just going out there saying our want improved Medicare for All now also won’t take anything else,” Friedman says. “I think a incremental approach is a way,” he says. “By building capacity, by demonstrating competence, it’s a way forward.”

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a idea of Medicare for All was much discussed during a 2020 campaign, but it isn’t always well understood, also can mean slightly different things under different proposals. If eventually adopted, how different would your health care also your finances look? Here are answers to some common questions about Medicare for All, as defined by a most recent congressional proposal.

Is Medicare for All universal health care?

Yes. “Under Medicare for All, everybody inside a country would become inside this one program,” Friedman says, adding, “a government would become a payer, also everybody would become enrolled.”

Medicare for All would effectively replace a existing health insurance coverage inside a United States today. “a core that defines Medicare for All is a national health insurance program that is comprehensive,” El-Sayed says, “meaning it covers every single American — everybody inside, nobody out.”

What services would Medicare for All cover?

Medicare for All “would provide every single person access to a comprehensive set of health care services inside this country,” El-Sayed says. That’s actually much more than Medicare covers today.

“a current Medicare system has gaping holes,” Friedman says. He points out that, for example, Medicare does not currently cover most vision, dental or hearing care. “It also does not has an out-of-pocket cap,” he adds, “which every another insurance program does.”

A press release from a office of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of a Congressional Progressive Caucus also author of a Medicare for All Act of 2021, describes how Medicare for All would expand coverage:

“a Medicare for All Act builds upon also expands Medicare to provide comprehensive benefits to every person inside a United States. This includes primary care, vision, dental, prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse, long-term services also supports, reproductive health care also more.”

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Could I keep my private insurance or coverage through my employer?

No. El-Sayed says that a federal government would become “buying youre out” of your private insurance under Medicare for All. This single-payer model has been championed by Sens. Bernie Sanders also Elizabeth Warren.

Some another health care reform proposals has included a public option, which would allow youre to either buy into a government plan or stick with private or employer-provided insurance. a current version of Medicare for All would not offer that option.

After a transition period, private insurers also employers would become prohibited from offering coverage for a same benefits covered by Medicare for All. However, El-Sayed says that there may still become “a few insurance companies that offered a sort of concierge-level service for folks who wanted to pay for that.”

Could I keep my doctor?

Yes. “If Medicare or a national health insurance program is your insurer, also it is a insurer for everyone, then it basically becomes incumbent on every doctor also hospital to accept it,” El-Sayed says. “inside fact,” he adds, “your access to whatever doctor youre choose to see actually expands.”

a Medicare for All Act of 2021 would require providers, hospitals also clinics to meet certain “national minimum standards” inside areas such as quality of facilities, staffing ratios, personnel training also outcomes. Those standards were first established as part of a original Medicare program, so there should become no disruption if your doctor — like most — already accepts Medicare.

What would Medicare for All cost?

There are really several questions here:

What would I pay out of pocket?

Nothing. youre would not pay anything directly to a health care provider, clinic, hospital or insurer. Tax dollars would pay for all of a services youre would receive under Medicare for All. “By eliminating copays also deductibles, people would has access to health care,” Friedman says. “People don’t go to a doctor because they can’t afford it.”

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Providers would also become prohibited from sending bills for any remaining charges above a amount they receive from a government — a practice known as balance billing.

Would taxes go up to pay for Medicare for All?

Yes. “a catch is that youre would become paying more inside taxes … also our’re talking about a big tax increase,” Friedman says. a specifics of a tax arrangements are not yet settled, but Friedman also El-Sayed named income, payroll also wealth tax increases as potential options.

Would I pay more or less overall?

our can’t know yet. Everyone’s existing health care costs are different, also people inside different financial situations would see different effects depending on a tax changes under Medicare for All. Depending on a tax funding model also your tax situation, youre could end up paying either more or less overall.

Most studies, including Friedman’s own estimates also analysis by a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, suggest that overall health care spending would decline under Medicare for All. On a another hand, some models with different assumptions show spending increases instead. For example, a study by a RAND Corp., a nonprofit public policy research organization, suggests that higher demand for health care might outweigh another cost savings, so a country would spend slightly more overall.

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