Modern America’s healthcare system has failed to provide the desired quality and therapeutic care services as a right to all people. The majority of people are uninsured, while others cannot afford health costs. Medicare for all policy seeks to establish a single-payer health program to ensure all people living in the United States access quality health care services at reduced costs.
The healthcare policy advocates for a single-payer system of coverage for all people. These people qualify for the Medicare program on the basis of their birth and legal citizen registration. The legislation outlines that the Medicare program must cover all the United States residents (Congress, 2019). The policy covers myriad items and medically appropriate services, such as diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and prescription drugs, to maintain the health of the people.
The proposed policy also outlaws cost-sharing coverage arrangement characterized by deductible and sharing of medical costs between spouses or third parties. Further, Congress (2019) affirms that private insurance providers and employers are prohibited against offering supplementary coverage to the people. Consequently, Chacko (2020) delineates that the Medicare for all proposal permits health insurance exchange and other specific federal programs upon its ultimate execution. For a successful implementation, the proposed bill establishes myriad implementation procedures envisaging health care provider participation, Health and Human Services (HHS) administration and payment, as well as costs that include negotiation fees and drug prescription (Congress, 2019). The policy is to be fully implemented two years after its eventual enactment as law.
Justification of the Policy and Areas of Healthcare
The proposed legislation establishes a federal universal insurance program intended to provide comprehensive healthcare services and benefits to all Americans. The legislation particularly targets the provision of in-patient, out-patient, emergency, primary, and preventive health services. Additionally, the legislation supports the provision of prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse treatment, maternity, pediatrics, home-based care, dental, and vision services (Chacko, 2020). The legislation seeks to cover all the basic health care needs of patients. The patients are allowed to choose their preferred physicians. Per Chacko (2020), the people will not be subjected to unprecedented and surprise bills resulting from outsourced medical services. The American residents are free to shift jobs without worrying about losing the original medical insurance coverage.
The legislation is needed because it ensures that healthcare providers have adequate time and spend most of it with the patients without worrying about paperwork or unnecessary procedures. Kaplan (2019) delineates that the policy additionally allows the healthcare system to carry out research and invest in education and training to improve the quality of services offered to the patients. The shrewd investment in the provision of quality health services is likely to benefit all communities, including the marginalized and underserved population.
The proposed policy only requires the employers to remit tax envisaged in the payroll, after which the employees qualify for coverage. The Americans also derive more freedom and security from the policy because it establishes a separation between health insurance and employment. Kaplan (2019) further opines that freedom is essential for Americans desiring to live happy, healthy, and more fulfilling lives. It is opined that the proposed legislation ensures that people venturing into entrepreneurship or shift jobs retain the same health coverage for themselves and their families (Orient, 2019). The employers would be free to manage companies without spending a lot of time contemplating which health insurance program to offer to their workers.
Health Issues Addressed and Impacts
The proposed policy addresses healthcare quality and health coverage issues. More than 30 million Americans are uninsured, and about 40 million cannot afford the soaring health costs (Kaplan, 2019). The quality of healthcare is also worse compared to other developed countries considering that the life expectancy in the United States is lower than the rest (Selena et al., 2019). In 2017, the life expectancy was 78.6 years in the United States compared to 81.3 years in the United Kingdom and 82.6 years in France (Selena et al., 2019). Although the quality of healthcare is low, the United States invests more money per capita on the healthcare system than any industrialized country. In the past, the country has exhausted a lot of funds on administrative costs. Moreover, the health sector executives are concerned about profit generation instead of focusing attention and resources on the provision of quality patient care (Kaplan, 2019). Medicare for all policy is necessary because the present healthcare system is ineffective and despicably expensive.
Medicare for all policy is the most cost-effective healthcare program that guarantees quality and improves the nursing practice. Per Uhrmacher et al. (2020), the time that physicians and nurses would otherwise spend filling out forms and arguing with insurance providers is spent in caring for patients. The medical professionals thus focus on providing dedicated care and support to all patients. In the process, the healthcare sector is likely to save more than 500 billion dollars annually due to reduced billing and administrative costs (Pipes, 2019). The saved funds can then be used to improve and expand primary care services to help Americans access health services aligning with their needs. By revamping primary care, patients are likely to avoid unnecessary emergency room and hospital visits.
The healthcare system is likely to avoid paying excessive prices for prescription drugs, and therefore, save more funds by preventing intense negotiations with drug companies under the proposed legislation (Pipes, 2019). The cost of prescription drugs has been a major problem for the health sector due to the availability of patients with diverse needs. Under the proposed policy, patients will be able to access their prescriptions without incurring out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare for all is likely to save more than 2 trillion dollars in the next ten years, an amount projected to be 59.7 trillion dollars by 2031 (Orient, 2019). It means that the healthcare system is likely to recover more funds from increased medical research and training of the medical professionals to be used in improving the quality of healthcare services.
The patients are likely to benefit from the legislation through reduced healthcare costs. In the current system, a family of four with an employer-sponsored coverage spends more than 28,000 dollars annually (Chacko, 2020). The cost is poised to reduce under the proposed legislation, saving an estimated 3,000 annually for families with an income of 185,000 dollars (Chacko, 2020). Middle-class families are likely to spend about 14 percent less of their income for health coverage (Orient, 2019). Reducing the cost of healthcare leaves the people with extra disposable income they spend on other basic needs intended to improve the overall quality of health. The business community is equally likely to benefit from the legislation. The companies are independent and free to focus on business activities instead of navigating the complex system to provide health insurance coverage to their workers.
Medicare for all legislation remains an essential step in the fight for a single-payer. The Americans are only required to remit taxes, and then the national universal coverage pays for medical services and comprehensive benefits. The legislation is set to transform the United States healthcare system that has largely been blamed for being ineffective and inherently expensive. The policy guarantees quality healthcare at reduced costs to patients. The employers will also spend more time on their business activities instead of navigating the complex health insurance market as they attempt to provide coverage to their employees. The policy seeks to deliver healthcare as a basic human right in the United States.
Chacko, L. (2020). Beyond Medicare for All. Family Medicine, 52(3), 171-173. Doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2020.324597.
Congress. (2019). S.1129 – Medicare for All Act of 2019. Congress.Gov. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1129/text.
Kaplan, L. (2019). Medicare for all? The Nurse Practitioner, 44(10), 9. DOI: 10.1097/01.NPR.0000580796.97474.91
Orient, J. (2019). After the Affordable Care Act: Freedom for All vs. Medicare for All. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 24(1), 24-30. https://www.jpands.org/vol24no1/orient.pdf.
Pipes, S. (2019). The real cost of ‘Medicare for All’ could be American lives. The New York Post. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2019/09/21/the-real-cost-of-medicare-for-all-could-be-american-lives/.
Selena, G., Marco, R., & Bradley, S. (2019). How does U.S. life expectancy compare to other countries? Health System Tracker. Retrieved from https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/u-s-life-expectancy-compare-countries/#item-start.
Uhrmacher, K., Schaul, K., Firozi, P., & Stein, J. (2020). Where 2020 Democrats stand on health care. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/policy-2020/medicare-for-all/