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Replace Private Insurance With Medicare for All

Replace Private Insurance with Medicare for All
The BriefGet Up To Speed

As the nation gears up for the 2020 election, Democrats are promising bold new changes to the American health care system. One idea championed by many on the progressive left is “Medicare for All,” or a single-payer system, which would do away with private health insurance for most forms of care. Advocates of this plan promise that nationalizing health insurance will cut costs by reducing overhead and promote overall health by giving all Americans access to preventive health care. And in doing so, the United States will join the ranks of many other developed nations that have already mandated a national insurance program to guarantee medical care as a basic human right. Their opponents argue Medicare for All is a political non-starter that would force Americans off employer-based plans, reduce incentives for doctors and providers, increase bureaucracy and inefficiencies in the system, and lead to worse care overall, all the while inflating the already swelled federal deficit. Should private health insurance exist? Or is it time for Medicare for All? 


"Fifty years ago, Congress created Medicare and Medicaid and remade American health care. The number of elderly citizens lacking access to hospitals and doctors plummeted. Hospitals, physicians, and state and local governments came to depend on this federal funding. We have a tendency to forget the history of laws that extended the obligations and commitments of the federal government. But the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, which shattered the barriers that had separated the federal government and the health-care system, was no less contentious than the recent debates about the Affordable Care Act."

Sunday, February 15, 2015
Julian E. Zelizer

"Republicans are still in charge of the White House and the Senate, but the “Medicare-for-all” debate is in full swing. Democrats of every stripe are pledging support for a number of variations on the theme of expanding health coverage to all Americans.This week, KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast takes a deep dive into the often-confusing Medicare-for-all debate, including its history, prospects and terminology.

Thursday, February 14, 2019
Julie Rovner, Rebecca Adams, Joanne Kenen, and Paige Winfield Cunningham
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Margot Sanger-Katz

"The majority of our health coverage topics are based on analysis of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) by the Kaiser Family Foundation. ACS includes a 1% sample of the US population and allows for precise state-level estimates. Please note that in the past, health coverage data posted to this site had used the Current Population Survey. We have replaced all previously-posted data, including data for previous years, with data based on ACS."

Thursday, June 1, 2017
Kaiser Family Foundation
For the Motion

"Yet Sanders and Jayapal and their many colleagues who have come on board now (including 106 co-sponsors) have the best chance to prevail in our modern history. Americans know that the healthcare system is rigged, and they will support a new system that convincingly shows the way to fair and reasonable healthcare costs."

Friday, March 1, 2019
Jeffrey Sachs

"The main questions is not how much universal health care will cost but how we provide for basic human rights."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Michelle Chen

"Medicare-for-all needs a better answer to the public’s fears."

Friday, June 7, 2019
Ezra Klein
Friday, September 13, 2019
Carmel Shachar, Alex Pearlman & Glenn Cohen

"A single payer system works by cutting administrative waste, not doctors' income."

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Dr. Carol Paris

"Can the U.S. afford to expand Medicare to all?  The real question is, can we afford not to?"

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Dr. Carol Paris
Against the Motion

"The House bill, in other words, would prohibit ordinary Americans from purchasing any alternative health coverage, except for items such as “cosmetic surgery” or health services that government officials decide are not “medically necessary."

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Robert Moffit

"Do Democrats really want “Medicare for all” which inherently would abolish private health care? Or do they generally want every American to be covered by a system under which some are willing and able to pay for insurance, and others who aren’t have a plan provided to them that protects them from going bankrupt when they get sick?"

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Leslie Marshall

"If Democrats back single-payer health care, it could assure Trump’s re-election."

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
William A. Galston

"That is why President Trump has promised to keep what works in our health-care system, fix what’s broken and deliver a better experience for all Americans. Instead of introducing even more government intrusion into the markets, we must strengthen and protect our existing safety-net programs and address the drivers of costs by fostering a competitive and dynamic private market in which plans and providers compete on the basis of cost and quality — not a system that makes promises that can’t be kept and leaves taxpayers to clean up the mess."

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Seema Verma

""Medicare for All" may sound good to some Americans – until they take a closer look at how it would actually work."

Friday, March 15, 2019
Robert Moffit

"The health-care debate is moving to the left. But if progressives don’t start sweating the details, we’re going to fail yet again."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Joshua Holland
Employer-Based Coverage

"Employer-based health insurance is the most important source of health coverage for the nonelderly, covering about 58% of this population in 2017. The workplace has long been a significant source of coverage for those in working families, although its importance has been declining for a number of years, particularly among those in lower and moderate-income households.  This brief presents data from the National Health Interview Survey to examine trends in the share of nonelderly people who receive and are offered coverage through a job."

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Matthew Rae, Gary Claxton, Larry Levitt and Daniel McDermott

"Gallup's latest update of its annual Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 1-11, shows a continuation of the stability in Americans' views of their personal healthcare's quality and coverage since the start of the millennium -- including after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The current ratings match or nearly match the averages Gallup has recorded since 2001."

Friday, December 7, 2018
Justin McCarthy

"Centrist Democrats like Joe Biden still aim to gin up mass fear over the prospect of leaving behind predatory insurers and the dizzying array of deductibles, co-pays, exclusions, humiliations, and rationing of care that characterizes our current system."

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Bill Lueders

"Perhaps the most prominent argument offered against single-payer healthcare, at least by those who don’t just call it “socialism” and leave it at that, is that many people say they like their employer-sponsored insurance, which is the largest single source of insurance coverage in America (though it still covers slightly less than a majority of Americans). From a policy standpoint, this argument is bad; there are not many employer-based plans that would be better than Medicare for All, which would have no co-pays, deductibles, or premiums."

Monday, April 15, 2019
Libby Watson

"Among those who had employer-sponsored insurance in 2014, only 72 percent were continuously enrolled in that insurance for the next 12 months. This means that 28 percent of people on an employer plan were not on that same plan 1 year later. You like your employer health plan? You better cross your fingers because 1 in 4 people on employer plans will come off their plan in the next 12 months."

Thursday, April 4, 2019
Matt Bruenig
"- On the same day that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that said 22 million people would lose health insurance if the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act is approved, CBO released two other reports that have flown mostly under the radar.
- The other reports compared what private insurance and Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) pay for physician services and also compared what private payers, Medicare FFS and Medicare Advantage plans pay hospitals. 
- The reports found that private insurers pay much more for physician services than Medicare and Medicare Advantage pays hospitals nearly the same amount on average than Medicare fee-for-services — and much less than private payers." 
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Les Masterson

"Seventy-five percent of employees said they feel employer health plans will protect them for the majority of medical costs. Only 13 percent of Americans believe that enrolling in an employee health plan would be a downgrade in coverage from another health plan."

Thursday, February 8, 2018
Thomas Beaton

"You wouldn’t know it to read most of the news coverage, or to listen to politicians, but that is one of the more consistent results in health-care polling: Over and over again, roughly 7 out of every 10 Americans report that they’re fairly satisfied with the quality of their personal coverage."

Friday, May 3, 2019
Megan McArdle
Federal Debt & The Costs of Medicare for All

"How much would a “Medicare for all” plan, like the kind being introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, change health spending in the United States?"

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Josh Katz, Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz

"This report describes the primary features of single-payer systems, and it discusses some of the design considerations and choices that policymakers will face as they develop proposals for establishing such a system in the United States. The report does not address all of the issues involved in designing, implementing, and transitioning to a single-payer system, nor does it analyze the budgetary effects of any specific proposal. "

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Congressional budget office

"“The most fundamental goals of Medicare for All are to significantly improve healthcare outcomes for everyone living in the United States while also establishing effective cost controls throughout the healthcare system,” Pollin said. “These two purposes are both achievable.”

Saturday, December 1, 2018
Jake Johnson

"Something interesting is happening in the age of Trump: 63 percent of Americans support a national health insurance plan, or Medicare for All, in which the federal government would guarantee health insurance for everyone in the country."

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Diane Archer

"The single-payer health insurance proposal known widely as Medicare for All (M4A) cannot be enacted without first answering certain questions. Foremost among these is whether the public would support shifting more than $32 trillion in M4A's first 10 years from private health spending, over which consumers retain some discretion, to federal spending, over which consumers do not."

Friday, February 1, 2019
Charles Blahous

"It is ironic that Democratic politicians, after defeating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and using health care as a rallying cry to win the majority in the House in 2018, now want to toss out ACA and the U.S. insurance system and replace both with a government-run system."

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Bill George

"Sanders wants taxpayers to save hospitals after he bankrupts them."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
The Editorial Board
Global Health Care Examples

"To better understand one of the most heated U.S. policy debates, we created a tournament to judge which of these nations has the best health system: Canada, Britain, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, Australia and the U.S."

Monday, September 18, 2017
Aaron E. Carroll and Austin Frakt

"The only large rich country without universal health care"

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"Finland beats the United States when it comes to childbirth on almost every measure. Its maternal death rate is among the lowest in the world, while the United States, at 14 deaths per 100,000 live births, ranks a lowly 46th, firmly in the lowest tier of developed countries. Our infant mortality rate is triple that of Finland. Almost one-third of babies in the United States are delivered by Caesarean section vs. 1 in 6 in Finland. Conditions in even top-notch U.S. teaching hospitals can be challenged, with women laboring in hallways and waiting rooms because there are no rooms available for them."

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Helaine Olen

"Most of the country understands that when it comes to government, you pay for what you get."

Monday, July 17, 2017
Jonathan Kay

"Of course, drawing comparisons between a country like Finland (which has the population of Minnesota) and the entire United States is difficult. No health care system -- rooted as each country's is in both its history and geography -- could ever provide a perfect model for the other."

Monday, September 16, 2019
Saskya Vandoorne and Melissa Bell

"Before resigning themselves to socialized medicine, flummoxed legislators should consider the experience of our neighbors to the North."

Thursday, April 13, 2017
Candice Malcolm
Industry Coalitions & 2020 Implications

"Less than two months after the 2017 Republican push to kill Obamacare perished overnight on the Senate floor, more than a third of the Democratic caucus gathered in a much smaller room on Capitol Hill to take turns making the case for Sen. Bernie Sanders' new "Medicare for All" bill."

Friday, August 30, 2019
Gregory Krieg and Ryan Nobles

"In the last presidential election, the idea of abolishing private health insurance was confined to the far left of American politics. Now it’s the central argument of the Democratic primary race."

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Robert Draper

"To capture the full scope of options Democrats are considering to insure all (or at least a lot more) Americans, look at the half dozen or so plans in Congress, which all envision very different health care systems."

Friday, June 21, 2019
Sarah Kliff and Dylan Scott

"She finally indicated that she'd abolish the private insurance industry."

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Cameron Joseph

"The American Medical Association has quit a coalition that's led the health industry's fight against Medicare expansion, the first crack in its opposition to Democratic candidates' proposals."

Thursday, August 15, 2019
Dan Diamond and Adam Cancryn

"Labor leaders dispute candidates’ claims that single-payer will leave their members worse off."

Sunday, August 11, 2019
Alice Miranda Ollstein

"In 2018, Democrats won the midterm elections on the issue of health care, specifically protecting the Affordable Care Act and its guarantee of coverage for pre existing conditions. It was a hard-earned victory: Passing the ACA was a major reason Democrats lost the House and seats in the Senate in 2010 , and polls showed the ACA was not a winner for Democrats in 2012, 2014 or 2016. Now, the question is: Having won the upper hand on health care, will Democrats give it back in 2020?"

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Ronald A. Klain

"No issue animated the Democrats’ 2018 congressional campaigns like health care and the promises to expand access to insurance and to lower costs. But as House Democrats sit down to draft their vision of governance in the coming weeks, lawmakers find themselves badly divided on the issue that delivered their majority."

Monday, March 18, 2019
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Robert Pear

"The GOP wants to show that Democrats are in favor of ‘socialized medicine’"

Monday, March 11, 2019
Associated Press

"A groundswell of support for Medicare for All among prominent Democratic presidential contenders has spooked the industry, with some candidates professing the private health insurance sector may (and even should) eventually be tossed into the dustbin of history."

Monday, March 25, 2019
Sy Mukherjee