Health Column: An attempt to revolutionize healthcare – The Medicare For All Bill

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A stethoscope. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

The Medicare For All Bill was recently introduced into the House. Nearly four years since Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pushed for universal Medicare, House Democrats have formulated their own bill. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., introduced the bill this last week.

The Jayapal Bill would ban employers from offering their own private plans. It also include coverage for long term home nursing and abortion care. Pre-existing Medicare and Medicaid enrollees would be transitioned onto the new plan. The bill, however, would keep the Veterans Health Administration and the Indian Health Service intact – beneficiaries enrolled in these programs would be allowed to keep their current coverage or opt for the Medicare For All plan.

Medicare For All would improve the economy by allowing people to retain money. It would also cover long term care, which is significant with the growing number of baby boomers in the nation.

As Americans face steadily increasing drug prices, high premiums, medical debt and pricey procedures, a new healthcare bill may be just what those individuals need.

By providing healthcare coverage to all Americans, the individuals that suffer from preventative diseases could receive education and medication compliance would also improve. Americans that live in socioeconomic and geographic areas of poverty would finally be able to receive healthcare and it would drastically reduce health disparities in the U.S.

However, there are still many questions about the bill that have been left open, such as what precisely would be covered, what doctors would be paid and how the program would be financed.

The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other developed nation. Jayapal’s Medicare For All plan would also cost far more than most of the single payer systems in other nations across the world. This most likely means a steep increase in taxes, although this is not notated anywhere in the bill. Generally, Medicare For All would provide “comprehensive benefits,” accounting for health care needs as “medically necessary or appropriate.” That means covering hospital and doctor visits, but also, for instance, mental health, maternity services, addiction treatment, pediatrics and medications.

“The legislation also spells out steps for determining how to pay doctors — a tricky issue, since doctors often complain that traditional Medicare pays them less than does private insurance. But the bill doesn’t set up a reimbursement system,” said Shefali Luthra.

Ultimately, the Medicare For All bill could drastically reduce health disparities and revolutionize the way that Americans receive and view healthcare. However, it’s a feat that may be unrealistic for the privatized healthcare system of the United States – only time will tell.

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