By Eric Gray, Editor of Gray Tribune
As the 2020 campaign season has begun, Democratic presidential hopefuls have begun clarifying their positions on healthcare, one of the top issues for Democrats.
Medicare For All is supported by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard.
While presidential candidates Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Amy Klobuchar enlisted support for Medicare for All, both candidates also expressed reservations with Klobuchar stating it” could be a possibility in the future” and “I’m just looking at something that will work now.” Mayor Peter Buttigieg who has risen in the polls lately recently stated that although he supports Medicare for All, that it wouldn’t necessarily require doing away with private insurance.
Mayor Buttigieg’s sentiment seems to line up more with Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, also rising in the polls, who has separated himself from the Medicare for All field by pledging full support on the campaign trail for Medicare for America, noting that Universal Healthcare is the goal.
So What’s the Difference?
It depends on who you ask but to understand the psychology behind many people supporting the Bernie Sanders stance on Medicare for All, this new healthcare plan would do away with private insurance all together, replace the Obama era Affordable Care Act, and make it mandatory to go with government run single payer healthcare.
The government would set rates for services, drugs, and medical equipment. It would cover medical bills completely, putting no burden on the patient and employer provided insurance would go away.
Funding for Medicare for All would come in the form of taxes and the redirection of government spending potentially costing more than 2 trillion dollars a year. Thousands of jobs at private healthcare companies would be lost in the 6 billion dollar healthcare industry, however, new government healthcare jobs would be created.
The Medicare for America plan introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) according to their press release, ” would ensure universal, high-quality, affordable health coverage by making Medicare accessible to all Americans and expanding the program’s covered benefits and services. The Medicare for America plan includes coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision, and hearing services, as well as long-term supports and services for seniors and Americans living with disabilities.”
In addition, Medicare for America would allow individuals to keep their employer sponsored insurance if they are happy with their plan or choose a Medicare for America over their employer plan. Deductibles and co-pays would remain as opposed to all benefits and services covered.
To finance this plan, the proposal calls for a 5% surtax on income over $500,000 and increasing the Medicare payroll tax as well as levies on certain products like tobacco, beer, wine, liquor, and sugar sweetened drinks.
Current Polls on Healthcare
While many Americans like the idea of Medicare for All, support drops significantly when voters are informed that this would end private insurance and that government run healthcare could lead to longer delays and higher taxes. The Medicare for America plan has not yet been vetted through substantive polls however, the marked difference in the two plans is helping to draw the battle lines and distinguish between Democratic Presidential Candidates.