Bernie Sanders Reintroduces ‘Medicare for All’ Healthcare Plan

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has reintroduced the Medicare for All Act, which would repeal private health insurance and replace it with a government-funded system. Sanders, an independent socialist who caucuses with Democrats, reintroduced the concept, which has sparked fierce debate inside the Democratic Party in the past. Sanders’ measure would remove deductibles, copays, and plan premiums while expanding federal expenditures and providing universal health coverage.

Sanders stated in a recent committee hearing, “Frankly, I am tired of talking to doctors who tell me about the patients who have died because they were uninsured or underinsured and walked into their offices too late for untreatable conditions.” He also said “Would a Medicare for All healthcare system be expensive? The answer is yes. But while providing comprehensive healthcare for all, it would be significantly less expensive than our current dysfunctional system.”

According to the Washington Examiner, his proposal would include dental and eye care, as well as hearing aids, which are presently not covered by standard Medicare or the government’s senior healthcare program. Prescription medications, as well as home and community-based care, would also be covered under the plan. It would be implemented gradually over four years. Benefits would be expanded to include hearing, vision, and dental coverage in the first year, and the Medicare eligibility age would be decreased by 10 years to 55. In the second year, the qualifying age would be decreased to 45, and 35 in the third. Children under the age of 18 would be covered at all times. Everyone would be covered by the system by the fourth year.

The cost of Sanders’ proposal varies slightly depending on which non-governmental group is calculating. The left-of-center Urban Institute estimates that the plan would need an extra $34 trillion in federal government expenditure over the next decade, bringing total healthcare spending to $59 trillion. Economist Charles Blahous of the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center predicts that the bill will add between $32.6 trillion and $38.8 trillion to the federal budget over the next ten years.

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