(this is an update of a post from last year; given all the attention, it’s timely) It’s the worst kind of government over-reach.
It’s an easy solution to a huge problem that will cost nothing.
And everything in between. Between now and Election Day you are going to hear a lot about Medicare for All and Single Payer, and most of it will be utter nonsense.
Proponents of Single Payer/Medicare for All say it will reduce overall costs and ensure everyone in America has great healthcare; At the other end of the spectrum, it’s fiercest opponents say it will bankrupt the country while giving bureaucrats control over your family’s healthcare.
Reality is, since there is no actual agreed-upon “Medicare for All” or Single Payer legislation, each of us sees what we want to see – MFA as the Holy Grail or a Total Disaster.
Let’s take a step back and think about how voters are affected by the core problem – or rather problems, with healthcare and health insurance.
The focus on voters is critical here – most are covered by employer-based health insurance, and most of the rest are covered by Medicare. For the non-elderly:
- Health insurance is stupid expensive.
- For many of us, deductibles are so high “insurance” just protects you from catastrophic injuries or illnesses.
- Insurance companies control the doctors and hospitals you can use and the care you get.
- The paperwork is mindboggling, confusing, and adds billions in unnecessary cost.
For workers, healthcare “costs” are a combination of insurance premiums and cost-sharing payments – mostly deductibles and copayments. (While about 75% of premiums are paid by employers, economists argue that most of those premium dollars would be paid in cash wages if health insurance wasn’t provided.)
Today family health insurance premiums are more than $20,000 a year.
Over the last two decades, healthcare costs have eaten up wage increases – one of the main reasons families aren’t getting ahead.
For those who actually have to use their health insurance, it’s worse. Deductibles are so high that many families can’t afford them.
Add this all up, and you understand why healthcare was the top issue for most voters in the mid-terms.
Voters like simple answers to complex questions – and for many, some form of Single Payer sounds great.
The takeaway – voters want healthcare solved and they don’t care much about the details.