I am NOT making a political statement but rather offering food for thought based on my 20 years as a health insurance & Medicare broker.
“Medicare for All” is a misnomer. Medicare as we now know it, for people 65+ years old, is not an entitlement. We’ve paid for it throughout our working careers in the form of payroll deductions. But “Medicare for All” is an entitlement since nobody has paid for it. Sure, taxes will be raised, but 44% of Americans don’t pay taxes.
Whatever estimates are given as to how much “Medicare for All” will cost, I ask this… Name one government program that is anywhere close to being on budget. Note: The post office has lost money for 11 years in a row. And when you’re talking about healthcare, which is 18% of the GNP, the slightest math error would be catastrophic.
As it’s currently being promoted, there will be no out-of-pocket costs with “Medicare for All”. Consider this – if you can go to a provider anytime you want and have no out-of-pocket cost, the system will become tremendously over utilized since nobody has any skin in the game.
Further, if providers are paid at Medicare rates (about 60% of what they get from private insurers), how many will continue to practice? Would you take a 40% pay cut?
So we’ve got a perfect storm of 1). People over-utilizing the system and 2). Fewer providers. How is that going to work? Can you imagine the wait times?
True, the healthcare system definitely needs improvement, but there are lots of tweaks that can be made that will bring costs down, thus making it a lot more affordable for a lot more people (click here for just a few examples). And for people that still need a safety net, we’ve got Medicaid.
According to the census bureau, 8.6% of the population is uninsured. Rather than blowing up the system that 91.4% of Americans rely on, why not focus on a fix for the 8.6%? Remember: Once you give away an entitlement like “Medicare for All”, you can never take it back – whether it’s working or not.