With the support of 15 Democratic senators, Bernie Sanders will introduce his much-hyped “Medicare for all” bill on Wednesday. But before Sanders formally introduces the bill, named the Medicare for All Act of 2017, he outlined its provisions in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday.
As its name suggests, Sanders’ bill would make Medicare America’s primary insurer. Here’s how Sanders’ bill answers the proverbial “But who will pay for it?” question:
Everything from emergency surgery to prescription drugs, from mental health to eye care, would be covered, with no co-payments. Americans under 18 would immediately obtain “universal Medicare cards,” while Americans not currently eligible for Medicare would be phased into the program over four years. Employer-provided health care would be replaced, with the employers paying higher taxes but no longer on the hook for insurance.
Sanders’ proposal wouldn’t eradicate private insurers, instead they would exist to cover things like plastic surgeries. The Affordable Care Act’s mandated insurance market would be phased out with Medicare replacing private insurers are the country’s main insurer. According to The Post, doctors would be paid by the government and providers would be required to sign a “yearly participation agreement” to be included in the system. Co-pays are also out.
Yes, taxes would increase, Sanders said. But he seemed optimistic about overall American support for the hike, given that citizens would no longer pay for insurance.Sanders explained:
“I think the American people are sick and tired of filling out forms,” Sanders said. “Your income went up — you can’t get this. Your income went down — you can’t get that. You’ve got to argue with insurance companies about what you thought you were getting. Doctors are spending an enormous amount of time arguing with insurers.”
While Sanders bill doesn’t have enough votes to pass through the Republican-controlled Senate and House, its backing from Senators who are potential presidential contenders indicates that supporting single payer will define the next election. Democratic Party leaders have refused to get on board with Sanders’ proposal, but considering a majority of Americans support single payer, it would be wise if they did.