Medicare for All (M4A) has retained its prominent place on the stage at the Democratic debates. In its purest Bernie Sanders form, concurrent with abolishing private health insurance, U.S. residents would be enrolled in "Medicare."
The program would pay for unlimited "medically necessary" health expenses, including pharmaceuticals; mental health and substance abuse treatment; vision, dental, and hearing services; and long-term care with no out-of-pocket costs. Some supporters have been scared off by the 32 trillion dollars over 10 years price tag.
Not to be outdone by the socialist senator from Vermont, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's "I'm with Bernie" plan comes with a 52 trillion dollars over 10 years price tag, including up to 34 trillion dollars in new government spending. Remember, our country's entire yearly budget is 3.5 trillion dollars. For perspective, if your salary is $40,000 per year, it would take 25,000,000 years to earn one trillion dollars.
As for the elimination of private insurance, more than 156,000,000 Americans--half the country--are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance plans and another 23,000,000 have private individual policies, and most of these folks like that arrangement. Then there was pushback from some unions that had excellent health insurance policies for which they had bargained and given up other perks.
Where once all the candidates raised their hands indicating they would abolish private health insurance, now Mayor Pete Buttigieg wants to "unify the American people... creating a version of Medicare, making it available to anybody who wants it, but without the divisive step of ordering people onto it whether they want to or not."
Joe Biden, noting his desire to keep patient choice, stated, 'We should build on Obama-Care... adding a Medicare option in that plan, and not make people choose." Of course, ObamaCare caused a rise in premiums, a decrease in choice of insurance coverage, and, like any large government-run program, is prone to mismanagement and waste.
Possible financing mechanisms were screaming for a deep dive. One analysis concluded that most Americans would suffer financially if M4A were implemented as proposed. An analysis by a bipartisan think tank estimated a 32% increase in payroll taxes would be needed to fund M4A. Everyone--even the working poor--would have more payroll taxes extracted from their paycheck. The analysis concluded that most households would pay more in new...