Sanders' single-payer plan pits 2020 hopefuls against Dem leaders

Sen. Booker co-sponsoring Bernie Sanders' 'Medicare for all' bill - NJTV

The government already guarantees health care to anyone over age 65 - that's Medicare. Like what you're reading? Bernie Sanders' call to extend Medicare to all, telling Fox News' "America's Newsroom" it is bad for taxpayers. His single-payer proposal envisions a system in which Americans pay nothing when they visit the hospital or a doctor - where there are no copayments for dentist visits, eyeglasses, or emergency room trips. But the legislation notably lacks how much it would cost or how it would be paid for. Instead, Sanders's office released a set of "options" on how to finance a universal coverage plan. They are not looking to trade in that coverage for a new government programme of uncertain quality, along with unknown higher taxes. Sanders would exempt a company's first $2 million in payroll from this tax, a way to shield small businesses from this provision. As Bernie succinctly states, "As a patient, all you need to do is go to the doctor and show your insurance card".

During the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton, who Mr Sanders challenged for the Democratic nomination, called the proposal "a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass". The plan is ambitious and would likely require new taxes, but Sanders says that the cost would still be cheaper in the long run since people would not have to pay healthcare premiums. "'I think the American people are sick and exhausted of filling out forms, ' Sanders said".

"You should not be punished because you are working-class or poor and be denied health care". We can look overseas for some clues, but even that isn't a flawless analogue: The system Sanders has proposed is actually more generous than the single-payer ones in other countries like Canada or Australia.

Before Sanders' remarks, supporters shared personal, often visceral accounts of doctors now struggling to provide care and patients in need.

Single-payer activists, mostly from the progressive grassroots movement that fueled Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, are delighting in a sense of momentum after years stuck on the margins of the debate. What the Sanders's plan fails to adequately address is how the government manages all that magical thinking.

And while we're on the subject of something too good to be true, Mr. Sanders' website drills down the financial details and in this particular case - the truth is painfully ugly.

The socialist senator is unveiling a bill today that has the support of more than half the Democrats on Capitol Hill. It represents a big shift to the left among the party in a very short time frame.

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The goal, according to the plan is to create expansive, universal coverage, which would effectively be free to Americans - who would no longer be burdened by premiums, deductibles, or co-pays. In fact, Mr. Sander's Universal Health care scheme equates to imposing significant increases per individual, employer, and capital gains/investment income taxes.

Democratic heavyweights such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., understand the inherent dangers of moving too far to the left on health care. Chances of passage are slim, but if you'd like to learn more about it, you can read my explainer here - and check out the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of how it would affect state budgets here. Numerous Democrats have voiced support for his "Medicare for all" legislation, but Sanders has also faced pushback from members of his own party.

Although the bill does not provide a funding mechanism, or even an estimated cost, Sanders said the average American family "will be much better off financially" under the system he is proposing than under the current health care system.

"Should states be allowed to semi-expand Medicaid?": "As now structured, states have little freedom to target the enhanced matching funds associated with the expansion of Medicaid at the beneficiaries in greatest need of assistance".

"Or do we maintain a system that is enormously expensive, wasteful and bureaucratic, and is created to maximize profits for big insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, Wall Street and medical equipment suppliers?"

"The effect of Medicaid expansion on the uninsured": "States that didn't expand Medicaid have much higher uninsured rates compared with states that expanded Medicaid, according to the latest Census Bureau data".

Are you an Obamacare enrollee interested in what happens next?

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