With quite a few friends, Sanders unveils his single-payer pitch

Jerome Frank
September 14, 2017

Moving all Americans to one health plan could reduce administrative costs in the long term, as could putting a single entity - the government - in charge of negotiating prices.

However, more moderate Democrats have expressed concern that the bill goes too far by risking a major tax increase and eliminating employer-provided coverage among other potentially polarizing factors of the bill.

The support of one-third of the Democratic caucus in the Senate is a significant improvement for Sanders, who stood alone the last time he introduced a single-payer health care system in 2013. The Sanders campaign did include revenue features, but it "just wasn't near enough" the total cost, said John Holahan, health policy fellow at Urban and one of the analysis' authors.

Single-payer activists, mostly from the progressive grassroots movement that fueled Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, are delighting in a sense of momentum after years stuck on the margins of the debate.

If passed, the Medicare for All Act of 2017 would replace the current healthcare system with a public system paid for by higher taxes, covering everything from hospital stays, doctor visits, mental health program, dental, vision and reproductive care, including abortion.

Is this likely to pass?

Sanders wants "Medicare for All", which means that everybody would be able to get insurance from the government. Sheldon Whitehouse, Hawaii Sen. America has arguably the best quality of health-care services available in the world, but many Americans across the political spectrum are rightly frustrated with our convoluted health-care payment structure today. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Gillibrand made their plans public on Monday and Tuesday.

"This is where the country has got to go", Sanders said in an interview at his Senate office.

"This is about a right, not about a privilege for a few", said Sen.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) agreed, describing the plan as a "starting point" and calling it "aspirational". Reviewing his proposed tax increases (at his website under the heading; The Plan Will Be Fully Paid For), I'm certain that the majority of his supporters are woefully naïve, ignorant or both, and have no idea that Medicare for All means forking over even more hard-earned income to yet another government social program. That's going to happen automatically no matter what healthcare proposal the Democrats produce. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. "While, depending on your income, your taxes may go up to pay for this publicly funded program, that expense will be more than offset by the money you are saving by the elimination of private insurance costs", he said.

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"To my Republican colleagues, please don't lecture us on health care".

Sanders released his plan after Congress failed in recent months to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act signed into law by former Democratic President Barack Obama. When sold as "Medicare-for-all", as Sanders' bill is, it ticks up to 57% in favor. Sanders' bill would have consumers pay out of pocket for drugs, up to $250, and generic drugs would have incentives for consumers to buy them.

"The devil is in the details", said University of Southern California health economist Darius Lakdawalla in an interview with TheStreet.

The plan would take four years to implement, and it would cover seniors and people with disabilities as well as children under age 18 first.

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said activists will push the Democratic Party to embrace the idea of Medicare-for-all in the coming years, and it will be a political victor because Medicare is so popular.

Sanders' proposal is a "horrible idea", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (no relation to the senator) told reporters on Wednesday afternoon. "I'm not even convinced this will be an election about health care".

Sanders then invited CEO of MCS Industries Inc.

A Toronto doctor who gained worldwide attention for vigorously defending Canadian health care before a U.S. Senate committee in 2014 has thrown her support behind Sen. In fact, that discussion is so widespread that one pharmaceutical CEO says he's anxious Americans will begin to support it.

"We are finally making health care a basic human right", said a physician and pediatrician from the George Washington University Medical Facilities.

Who is backing this idea with Sanders?

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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