What Does “Medicare for All” Really Mean?

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IHI Senior Fellow and President Emeritus Donald Berwick, MD, breaks down what "Medicare for All" is (and is NOT) and explains the pros and cons of the idea.

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What Does "Medicare for All" Really Mean?


6 thoughts on “What Does “Medicare for All” Really Mean?

  1. you need to lower the age to 60 and make it better than it is now,it only covers 80% ,so you have to get insurance to cover the other 20%,then you have to get insurance to cover prescriptions and dental that it dont cover.plus you have deuctibles and have to pay 134.00 per month for yourself and 134.00 for your wife.we need a medicare plan that covers 100% health,drug and dental .medicare now is not very good

    • The plan is to include dental, vision in medicare for all. You can assign your fee-for-service Medicare to a Medicare advantaged part C health plan such as Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, or many others to lower co-pays/co-insurance which will also coordinate your Medicare part D drug coverage to reduce your cost. Many seniors are eligible for Medicaid and should apply for this because it is a good secondary insurance – i.e. Medi-Medi coverage. Your overall health costs out of pocket should be reported on the Medicaid application. Medicaid is a poverty program used by millions of middle-class Americans once nursing home care is needed because the average monthly cost is $8,000 which is beyond the ability of many to pay. If you’re not low income (federal poverty level) consider veteran benefits if that applies because there are survivor benefits such as aid and attendant care in the home if your spouse service one day in a war.

  2. I agree with Dr. Berwick but as a nurse and someone over 60 the plan needs to expand as you mentioned, for OB etc. and it needs to include pharmaceuticals and dental and vision. Yes, taxes will increase but if people have coverage and get prophylactic yearly checkups and follow up care hopefully we won’t see people come into our hospitals so sick. In addition, 80% coverage is not enough. If we do this we need to set this up as 100% coverage and include nursing homes for those elderly people and incapacitated people who cannot be cared for at home. I’d rather pay higher taxes and have one HUGE bargaining tool. We also need to eliminate ALL Lobbyists.

  3. Good discussion for people to consider from a trusted healthcare leader whose work I respect. Dr. Berwick has done so much for patient safety in America by working to improve our health systems. i’d like to add that I’ve seen administrative costs quoted as 1% in outpatient, 20% in medical offices, and 8% in hospitals. There is a lot of money to be saved for American families. People are dying out there without pharmacy benefits, and suffering without insurance because their needs are not covered or they cannot afford the co-pays for rehab after a stroke – they go without. Every new politician tries to grab any public money to lower taxes for rich people like the Koch brothers who want to dismantle government. Imagine a small government, without Medicare, social security, Medicaid (pays for nursing homes when you don’t take your Mom home after her stroke paralyzes her) – this is a dismantled government. Make no mistake, we all use healthcare. The question is: do you want more public control and accountability or to keep a for-profit system of insurers that deny healthcare – look at Aetna and United Healthcare’s recent scandals where they don’t even follow their own rules & deny care. It’s time for #medicareforall. – former hospital RN discharge planner/case manager.

  4. But all those who want Medicare for all, cannot come up with a cost estimate in tax increase.  How much with this healthcare plan cost me compared to the private payer insurance that I currently pay for and control?  Will there still be a need for supplemental insurances because of lack in coverage (Part A, B, C, D…etc.)?    I currently already fund Medicare and because of the service to this nation, I will never need.  Would I still be taxed at 50-60% of my wages even though I will never use the benefit?  And finally, being a veteran and receiving care from a government controlled facility, are you sure you want the government to control every facet of your health?  Try driving 100 or more miles because your clinic does not have an x-ray machine/ultrasound/CT/MRI and the list goes on.

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