Introduction to Medicare For All
We are talking about Bernie Sanders' Medicare For All. All others are compromises, designed to apease the fears of voters and the pockets of corporations.
We include a comprehesive explanation of Bernie's Medicare For All. No one loses health coverage who already have it. There is a tranistion period. There is no gap in coverage for anyone during the transition. Everything is covered except cosmetic surgery. The transition is primarily within the medical provider establishments, not individuals. There will be no out-of-pocket costs, no deductibles, no co-pays. There will be a payroll deduction similar to FICA; the individual deduction is yet to be determined, but in most cases - exceptions are billionaires - the cost will be less than the amount any individual expects to pay for health insurance now. It is understood that unions have fought for years, perhaps decades, for health coverage, but that struggle will be eliminated. One union member complained that their work required special coverage; what could be more special than everything is covered? Everything includes vision, dental, and hearing.
ACA was a compromise. Barak Obama knew it. You knew it. Medicare For All is designed to evolve and be a long lasting benefit to all, "a human right" as Bernie calls it.
What Is Medicare For All?
As Bernie has been saying, Medicare For All in various forms and names has been discussed, talked about, and studied for a hundred years. Bernie Sanders has been talking about universal health care in Congress since 1991. Here's a 1991 clip of Bernie:
Formally, in Congress, Medicare For All began life as H.B. 676. [PDF: H.R. 676-2009]
It was introduced by John Conyers and Bernie Sanders in January 2009.
United States Health Care Act of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act - Establishes the United States National Health Care Program to provide all individuals residing in the U.S. territories with free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, prescription drugs; emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care.
It was introduced again in January of 2017. [PDF: H.R. 676-2017] Here is Bernie again, in the Senate:
H. R. 1384
House Resolution 1384, introduced in February 2019, was called the Improved Medicare for All National Health Insurance Program and also known as Medicare for All Act of 2019. [PDF: H.R. 1384]
Bernie Sanders rewrote the whole national health care program and brought forth Senate Bill 1129 [PDF: S. 1384 Medicare for All Act of 2019] in April 2019, which is the Medicare for All Act of 2019 that we know today. [PDF: pdf of official BernieSanders.com Medicare For All]
These are a few of the many supporters and endorsements of Medicare For All:
Physician Adul el Sayed
Congresswoman Pramila Jaypal
Physician Victoria Dooley
How Does it Work and What Does It Cover?
The first thing that happens under Medicare For All is that Medicare, as it exists presently, is expanded. If you've ever looked at the giant catalog that the government sends out now to people when they become eligible for Medicare, you know what a confusing and inefficient thing it is. New Medicare For All gets expanded. What does that mean? That means there are no more co-pays, no more deductibles, no more "Part A, Part B, Part D", and no more having to choose supplementary coverage from your state's offering. Dental, hearing, and vison are covered under Medicare For All.
In the first year people are eligible beginning from age 55, instead of 65. People from birth to their 19th birthday are also automatically covered.
What Does It Cost?
Across all incomes, the first $29,000 of income is untaxed. This means that if your income is Social Security only, there will no longer be a deduction for Medicare. Income over $29,000 will have a payroll deduction of 4% of income -- and I believe that means taxable income. The example that is often given in Bernie's talks is someone with an income of $60,000 will pay $1,240.00 for Medicare For All, which is approximately $100.00 per month.
What is Not Covered?
What is not covered is elective surgery such as facelifts and rhinoplasty. Eyeglasses are covered, but I am guessing that if you wanted extra fancy eyeglass frames, you would have to pay for that yourself.
Prescriptive Medicine, Devices, and Procedures
These are all covered -- all medically necessary drugs, procedures, and equipment is included, but there is an annual maximum co-payment of $200.00.
Services for Elderly and Disabled
In-home health care is added to Medicare. Nursing home care or similar long-term care facilities is included.
Second year Medicare For All
In the second year of Medicare For All, the eligibility is lowered to people 45 years of age.
After the Second Year
After the second year of Medicare For All the eligibility is lowered to 35, then everyone in the fourth year. I will take a wild guess here and emphasize that this is my guess: it could be that Medicare For All works so well that after the second year, Congress will propose an amendment to include everyone in the third year.
Medicare For All is Not Opt-in
Medicare For All is not an opt-in program, although you do have to register for it to get your card. What is not optional is the 4% tax rate which will support the program equally for everyone. However if your situation is such that you want to continue to pay for health care through an insurance policy of your own,[States may offer coverage if they choose, but cannot offer less than what is provided in Medicare For All.] you may do so, but you cannot opt-out of paying the 4% tax, as I understand it.
In the next section, we look at situations and experiences of people who support Medicare For All.
Why Medicare For All?
Veteran John Weigal
John Weigel, a Navy Air Force veteran with Huntington’s disease came to one of Bernie's Town Halls and said his Veteran's insurance had been cut off. He did not have an income nor the money to pay the bill he had received so far and could barely take care of himself at that point. He said he was going to kill himself. Bernie worked it out so that John's coverage was reinstated. John returned to another Town Hall to thank Bernie. Here is a clip of that encounter:
Here is another clip of John and Bernie. This one is a composite that goes back and forth between the reconnecting encounter and the original encounter:
Several people tell of their experience without health insurance in this video.
This individual spent time in intensive care. He will keep fighting for Medicare For All.
Rob Delany is an American comedian living in England. He explains the difference between living under no-health-care in the U.S. and living with National Health Service in England.
In addition to these testimonials, some of Bernie's Town Halls were focused on Medicare For All.
Where Did HMO's Come From?
Michael Moore: Where did the HMO's start?
We have now narrowed down the vice-president's problems on this thing to one issue, and that is should we include these health maintenance organizations like Edgar Kaiser's Permanente thing.
Nixon: Now let me ask you, you know I'm not too keen on any of these damn medical programs.
This is a private enterprise one.
Nixon: Well that appeals to me.
Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason he can do it -- I had Edgar Kaiser come in and talk to me about this. And I went into it to some depth. All of the incentives are toward less medical care. Because the less care they give them, the more money they make.
And the incentives run the right way.
Nixon: Not bad.
THE NEXT DAY
NIXON: I AM PROPOSING TODAY A NEW NATIONAL HEALTH STRATEGY. The purpose of this program is simply this: I want America to have the finest health care in the world. And I want every American to be able to have that care when he needs it.
Michael Moore: The plan hatched between Nixon and Edgar Kaiser worked. In the ensuing years patients were given less and less care.
Newscaster: Bigger log jams and less and less medical care...
Been here 18 hours, since 7 this morning.
What looks cramped and unsightly can also be dangerous.
Michael Moore: While the health insurance companies became wealthy, the system was broken.
Medicare And You
Standard Medicare is not a substitute for Medicare For All
Medicare For All has to be one of the top half dozen most important topics in Election 2020. While Biden would like to screw you over with a tweak of the ACA (ObamaCareLess) program, do not let that happen. Here is one person's comment on the switch to ACA:
[I'm] self employed, my rates went from $250/month to $844/month, my deductible went from $2500.00 to $6500,00. [Obama] killed the middle class.
Do not let anyone tell you an eligibility extension to Medicare instead of Medicare For All is acceptable. It is not. Standard Medicare has co-pays, there are deductibles, and it does not cover much of anything along the lines of preventative care other than an annual check up which I believe exists so the government can estimate how much longer you have to live.
I obtained a copy of the 2020 edition of the book the government sends annually to people eligible for Medicare. It is called Medicare And You. I present it here as a pdf. so you can see for yourself that it is not an acceptable substitute for MEDICARE FOR ALL.
There was more to the book! The rest of it was information pertaining to states' myriad of supplemental insurance programs, which naturally add to the cost.