Now that Medicare-for-all has become a key issue in the primary elections, people are starting to take a serious look at it and saying, “Yeah it looks good, but what’s it going to cost?” Democrats tied to Obama care and Republicans to the market are eager to show that Medicare-for-all is prohibitively costly. But most Medicare-for-all advocates like Bernie Sanders support it precisely because it offers highly quality health care for all at costs much lower than what we pay now.

Here are five systemic reasons why Sander’s Medicare-for-all proposal will be cost effective: 

Medicare-for-all eliminates the wasteful role of private health insurance companies who skim off 12-15% of premium dollars for administrative overhead, which adds no value to health care. For comparison, Medicare’s overhead is around 2%. 

It also gets rid of bloated executive compensation, dividends, and stock buy-backs.

Greatly reduces the need for doctors, hospitals and clinics to hire staff to deal with multiple insurance companies. In our current system, health care providers must determine for each patient what is covered and at what level. They must also waste time negotiating for pre-authorizations. A shift to Sanders’ Medicare-for-all national health insurance eliminates all that uncertainty because everyone is covered for the same high level of care. It would “save at least $400 billion annually on paperwork alone, enough to cover all of the uninsured and eliminate co-payments and deductibles for the rest of us.”

Relieves federal, state and local government of the need to police Medicaid eligibility and purchase myriad consulting services that promise to improve efficiency but end up reducing health care availability. It also eliminates the need for numerous niche health care programs (and their bureaucracy) designed to fill gaps in health care coverage for vulnerable groups who can’t afford private insurance.

Provides hospitals with global budgets eliminating the cost of preparing and collecting on itemized patient bills.

Enables the government to negotiate drug prices, just as the VA does. According to a recent study, negotiated drug prices will save the American people $116 billion annually.

These claims are proven as Bernie points out, by the experience of health care systems in other countries and in our own Medicare system.

William Bianchi

Illinois Single Payer Coalition


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