By Christopher Wolfington
The US is currently the only major nation that does not guarantee health coverage to it’s citizens, a factor that has brought about heavy criticism from those who believe the government should provide a safety net to ensure that no one who can’t afford care is forced to go without it.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who first introduced his proposed solution of a government ran health program in 2016, recently rolled out a new Medicare for All plan that would provide health benefits for all Americans regardless of their income.
While the plan would be unlikely to pass under the current administration, and even Clinton deemed it impractical when it was first brought into consideration, the revitalization and reintroduction of the Medicare for All plan has received strong support from both political players as well as American National Organizations and Unions. With the upcoming election, it is unknown whether the democrats may retake control of the house, whether Sander’s run for president will be successful, and just how much of a reality this plan could become.
Here’s how the proposed Medicare For All program would change the healthcare industry:
Elimination of Current Programs
The plan would eliminate and replace current healthcare programs such as employer sponsored insurance, Medicaid, and private insurance and replace them with a single government operated payer. Health insurance companies as a whole would also be mostly eliminated.
Reduced Profits for Big Corporations
Medicare for All would reduce the profit of major healthcare companies, and big pharma companies especially would see huge reductions in their paydays.
According to Sanders, prescription drugs and medical devices would be negotiated for the entire U.S. population at reduced rates, meaning the profit pharmacy companies make off of prescription drugs would be majorly reduced. It would also ensure that no Americans would be unable to afford life-saving drugs, like insulin, because of price hikes.
New Sources of Funding
The universal healthcare plan would have to be funded by the government, meaning a potential tax raise, however, the price to provide the plan is unknown and will likely be much lower than current costs due to the current industry’s higher prices and administrative costs.
Medical debt is currently the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States, and health care is the 4thlargest consumer expense. This is due to increasingly high out of pocket medical costs that some people wrongly assume would be eradicated under the Medicare for all plan. The funding math doesn’t work unless the consumer continues to have out-of-pocket deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. They may even be higher.
Despite the conflicting rhetoric regarding the potential of this specific plan, it is clear that support for a total change in healthcare is gaining rapid support, and we could see many changes coming to the healthcare industry very soon. With all the uncertainty American’s are facing, it is more important than ever to make sure patients are educated and informed of their choices in order to protect their financial and physical health, both now and for the uncertain future.
Christopher Wolfington, Chairman and CEO of FinPay, LLC, is a business leader and entrepreneur with over 29 years of experience in consumer and financial services. Mr. Wolfington is currently living in Philadelphia, PA and continues to use his entrepreneurial talent to identify key opportunities and solutions in high growth markets.