Medicare for All has been called socialized medicine. It is not. In socialized medicine doctors and hospitals work for the government (e.g. Veterans’ Administration). Conversely, in a Medicare for All (single payer) system, doctors are in private practice and are paid on a fee-for-service basis from government funds, just as with the current Medicare. The government does not own or manage medical practices or hospitals. Physicians would have autonomy over their patient’s care.
Opponents of Medicare for All often call it socialized medicine in order to block any conversation about the benefits of a single payer system in contrast to the current multiple payer system of private insurance:
- No more uninsured. All U.S. residents would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug, and medical supply costs.
- No more medical bankruptcies.
- No more insurance premiums to pay. Savings would be obtained by replacing insurance company premiums with new taxes based on ability to pay. 95% of all households would save money (Physicians for a National Health Program).
- Less expensive medications. When all patients are under one system, the payer can wield more clout with drug negotiations. For example, the Veterans’ Administration gets a 40% discount on drugs.
- Much lower administrative costs. Currently, Medicare spends about 2-3 % on administrative costs compared with about 30% for those with private insurance (Business Leaders Transforming Health Care). More money would go to the actual providers, rather than administrative overhead. With Medicare for All, we can reduce the complexity associated with commercial health insurance.
The League of Women Voters has been in favor of a single-payer system like Medicare for All since 1993 because of these benefits and others. Please reject the cries of “socialized medicine”. Join us, and participate in local, state, and national conversations to improve our health care system. We can do better for our citizens!
- Joyce Devaney
- Health Care Team
- Larimer County League of Women Voters – Not for Women Only