When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) nicknamed Obamacare was passed during the Obama administration in March 2010, optimism was high among millions of Americans without health insurance Most believed they would finally be able to approve this insurance for their families and themselves. But in the ensuing 9- years this optimism has steadily dissipated as Obamacare attracted strong opposition. Today those benefiting under the ACA have dwindled significantly. Those who still participate are paying higher insurance premiums and receiving less benefits. In short, America, despite the historical implementation of the ACA continue to be locked in an affordable healthcare crisis
Americans want a solution
Americans want a solution to this problem This was made evident in the 2018 mid-term general elections The majority of voters determined healthcare was the issue they were mostly interested in, and supported candidates that offered solutions But although there are proposals, no immediate solution is evident
One of the more popular proposals, initially introduced by current Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, is Medicare-For-All, based on a single-payer system. Most of the current Democratic presidential candidates support this system.
Rooted in FDR
The single-pay, Medicare system, is rooted in President Franklyn Roosevelt’s administration during the 1940s. Roosevelt tried to broker a single-payer system, under which the federal government would be the single, or sole payer of American’s healthcare. However, he was only partially successful. While Congress approved a single-payer system, called Medicare, it was applicable only to Americans over age-65.
After years of trying to amend, and repeal the system, Medicare prevailed, providing broad-based healthcare to its beneficiaries. Medicare is regarded as the best example of the single-payer system, and supporters of the system are proposing Medicare-For-All.
Majority support Medicare-For – All
Recent polls indicate a small majority of Americans, 53 percent, favor Medicare-For-All. However, this single-pay system is contradictory to the ideology of Republicans, including those currently controlling the nation’s administration.
Republicans don’t favor government control of healthcare, which Medicare-For-All proposes. But, the positives in the proposal requires objective consideration outside of political ideology.
The main argument against the system is that it will cost the government an exorbitant budget, resulting in increases in federal taxes paid by citizens and businesses.
The main argument for the system is that it’s closest to universal healthcare. It would afford almost every American comprehensive healthcare coverage. This includes the ability to choose one’s doctors; receive hospital, ambulatory, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive, maternity and family planning services, senior care, and subsidized cost of prescription drugs. These are services most Americans need.
Medicare hailed by beneficiaries
Generally, beneficiaries of Medicare hail it for meeting their healthcare needs. Many seniors with serious health issues are receiving first-class primary, specialist, and hospital care through the system.
Contrary to arguments from opponents of Medicare-For-All, Medicare isn’t a Socialist free service. Currently it cost beneficiaries an average monthly fee of $145, which in most cases is deducted from Social Security benefits.
Place for private insurance companies
Debunking another argument against Medicare-For-All, introducing this system doesn’t mean the elimination of private insurance companies. Partnership in the current Medicare system is aggressively sought by private health insurers through their Medicare Advantage program that offer beneficiaries advanced healthcare benefits for the same monthly fee. This would likely continue, but under government control.
Because Medicare beneficiaries are seniors demanding more regular, and more expensive healthcare, the government, the single-payer does incur a huge bill subsidizing these medical expenses.
To counter the government’s expenditure, proponents Medicare-For-All argue if the system is expanded nationally more people would pay fees into the system, thus reducing the government’s expense and the need for higher taxes.
No burden on US finances
There is validity to this argument. Under Medicare-For-All, while younger people, say under age 40, would pay the monthly premium, they would not place a financial burden on the system as they are normally healthier.
Another argument supports the introduction of fees based tied to income scales. Higher income earners would pay higher fees, and lower income earners lower fees. However, there would be a fixed minimum national monthly rate.
Apart from the Republican administration, other strong opponents to the Medicare-For-All system are private health-insurance companies. Although some participate in the current Medicare program, they charge higher premiums to non-Medicare customers. Under a Medicare-For-All program, premiums would be fixed by the government.
Medicare-For-All has its advantages and disadvantages. But, for Americans badly in need of affordable comprehensive healthcare the advantages are paramount.
Democrats must improve messaging
The Democratic candidates, and other proponents of Medicare-For-All are urged to improve the messaging about the proposed system. There’s too much misunderstanding and ignorance of the program by the general public, healthcare participants, and insurers. To support the system at the ballot box voters must understand it fully. If it’s understood, there’s a good chance of Republican voters also supporting it. Afterall, Republicans need affordable healthcare too.
Voters are anxious that solutions be found to several critical issues with the general elections of 2020. Healthcare is primary among these issues.