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Is Medicare For All a Reality?

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    This isn't news to anyone who keeps up with American politics, but I wanted to get the conversation started. I found an article from Bloomberg that seems to paint an interesting picture of the struggle between the right and the left on this topic. According to the article, supporters are in it for the long-haul. Dem presidential hopefuls are clamoring to co-sponsor similar legislation. The right has been opposing any increase in Medicare spending. But after a couple of national polls were done, it seems as though the American people might be on board for it one day, although that one day will probably be after the 2020 election.

    The concept of Medicare for All, if written well, could be solid for those who can't get the insurance discount through an employer. Perhaps both sides of the political spectrum could compromise on Medicare having a buy-in option instead of it being universal. I think there is a possibility that one day we'll see this or something like it coming into legitimacy. What do you think? Also, what kind of political shift would it take for Medicare for All to be a reality one day?

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    “This is about moving the so-called Overton window.” Clever. That's a line from the article. Old, tried-and-true political trick. Basically means move the extremes of the conversation (what the left wants vs what the right wants) that way when there is a 'compromise' in the future, it will actually be closer to the left's side (or whoever moves the Overton window).

    The right did that with countless things Obama tried for. And that's largely how they became successful and thwarted Dems efforts for the last majority a decade. I don't think Medicare for All will happen in the next decade even, but having that be the new goal post for the Dems likely could mean small steps toward it, instead of away. Look out though, Overton window works both ways.. wonder what the right will start saying they want, to combat this tactic.

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    J.K.Logic Wrote:

    Look out though, Overton window works both ways.. wonder what the right will start saying they want, to combat this tactic.

    Very true. I'm thinking perhaps they'll move more towards supporting ideas and reforms that would protect private insurance companies.
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    JFoster Wrote:
    J.K.Logic Wrote:

    Look out though, Overton window works both ways.. wonder what the right will start saying they want, to combat this tactic.

    Very true. I'm thinking perhaps they'll move more towards supporting ideas and reforms that would protect private insurance companies.
    And don't forget the pharmaceutical companies. They'll probably say it will make drug prices skyrocket.
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    I think it's a possibility if we rephrase the question. The best route, in my opinion, would be instituting a "public option." You may have heard about it back during the Obamacare debate, but it didn't have enough votes to pass the Senate and President Obama dropped it as a demand in order to get the larger bill passed.

    The reason I'm in favor of a public option is because it would ensure everyone in the country would be able to obtain quality health coverage for a reasonable price while not disrupting it for the hundreds of millions of people who already have coverage they may like. It also will force insurance companies to lower their prices or offer greater benefits if they want to stay in business. The government would be able to set the prices they are willing to pay for a procedure (as they already do with Medicare and Medicaid) and other health insurers will likely have to follow suit because if they don't then their clients will simply go the public option route.

    I'm not naive enough to think this is something that will be happening anytime soon, but if we do decide to revisit the healthcare debate some day then I hope that the public option is something that's seriously considered.

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    Medicare for all is certainly a possibility, but the devil is in the details.

    The current tax rate for Medicare is 1.45% for an individual and 1.45% for an employer, or 2.9% total (and for private contractors). If we were to move to a single-payer system that provides all the services that Medicare does then that percent would need to be drastically increased.

    I'm strongly in favor of single-payer healthcare, but I also believe that advocates of it are woefully underestimating the cost of providing quality care for 330 million people. Medicare already consumes 15% of the Federal budget and it only provides coverage for Americans 65 and older. If we were to enact a program for the entire population then we better be prepared to pay drastically more in taxes in order to get it.

    Now, that tax increase will correlate nicely with no longer having to pay monthly premiums for your employer based insurance, but not everyone is going to come out ahead in this scenario. Wealthy individuals with top of the line health insurance will certainly fight tooth and nail to keep things just the way they are. As will "low information voters" who think they have great health coverage right now, but would actually benefit from a single-payer system.

    It would be a monumental task to pass a well functioning single-payer bill into law and it won't be happening anytime soon considering the current makeup of Congress and the Presidency. However, it is an interesting thought experiment to explore the pro's and con's of instituting Medicare for all.