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Will Medicare for All work? Show more Show less
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Medicare is currently a program that provides healthcare support for millions of Americans. It is seen by many as a vehicle that could be expanded to help extend coverage to all Americans. But should this be done?

No, Medicare for All won't work. Show more Show less

Medicare for All is not a viable option for our country.
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Medicare for All will destroy private health care

Medicare for All isn't feasible given the state of America's current healthcare system.

Context

By lowering the profits of private health care providers and insurers, Medicare for All would put them out of business or lessen their income to a catastrophic extent. Trying to implement Medicare for All could destroy our healthcare system before we have time to reverse its deleterious effects. This would leave us with no healthcare infrastructure.

The Argument

Switching to Medicare for All would destroy the system of healthcare, leaving insurance and treatment companies bankrupt. This is because people with private health insurance pay 140% the cost of services versus the 60-80% Medicare holders pay for medical services. This means that most medical providers lose money when treating Medicare patients because they're being paid less than 100% - the cost of the service. At a minimum, Medicare for All would lead to steep drops in profit for private healthcare companies, who would still be providing services under Medicare for All. [1]. This would reduce innovation and drug development, which is critical for our health. Because Medicare for All would require flat fees for all healthcare services, doctors would lose income too. [2]They may have to take on extra patients to make up for that lost income, leading them to become overloaded with patients. This will decrease the quality of care patients receive. Additionally, wait times lengthen with single-payer healthcare (i.e. Medicare for All or other socialized health insurance systems, like those in Europe). This is why a doctor who charges a lot will see you faster than one at a clinic that accepts Medicare. This, in turn, means that emergency rooms will become overloaded, putting a strain on our private hospitals*. Under Medicare for All, private hospitals would be paid at lowered, public rates and they would now have more people to treat in their emergency rooms. It would be a disaster because doctors would be burned out and underpaid, leading subpar treatment. Because it would destroy the healthcare system. Medicare for All would not work. [3]. *This is because emergency rooms have no wait time.

Counter arguments

A lot of the money being paid by insurance holders for services goes to administrative costs [4]. If we cut that waste when implementing Medicare for All, private insurance companies could still keep their incomes. The whole system just needs to become smoothly systematized and organized. Then costs will drop. Furthermore, a lot of private insurance companies aren’t even being paid for the services they covered at the current rates. People are going bankrupt from medical bills.[5]Medicare for All would prevent this phenomenon from affecting private companies, as health care treatments are not something you can refuse someone for based on their credit. And emergency rooms can handle the budgetary constraints of Medicare patients and even the uninsured.[6] The lowered rates they receive from them for their care do not bankrupt them. Finally, drug development is part of private healthcare. If Medicare for all lowered the copays of medications, it wouldn’t necessarily be detrimental to private healthcare. Drug companies spend much more on advertising than they do on research, so by reducing competition and everyone’s profits equally, Medicare for All would not impact the amount of money available for drug research assuming companies lowered their advertising budgets.[7]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Medicare for all won't work because doctors will make less money but services will cost the same. [P2] The quality of our healthcare will decline because wait times will increase and doctors will be more burned out. [P3] As a result, Medicare for All would ruin our healthcare system.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] Doctors won't lose income because cutting administrative costs will keep the profit they earn from services at the same level it is now.

References

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/09/opinion/medicare-for-all-cost.html
  2. https://www.usnews.com/news/healthcare-of-tomorrow/articles/2019-04-26/commentary-why-medicare-for-all-is-not-good-for-america
  3. https://thefederalist.com/2019/09/27/10-reasons-medicare-for-all-is-a-bad-idea-besides-financial-bankruptcy/
  4. https://pnhp.org/resource/administrative-costs-consume-31-percent-of-us-health-spending-most-of-it-unnecessary/
  5. https://pnhp.org/system/assets/uploads/2009/12/Bankruptcy_Fact_Sheet.pdf
  6. https://pnhp.org/resource/evidence-based-talking-points/
  7. https://pnhp.org/resource/evidence-based-talking-points/
This page was last edited on Sunday, 19 Jul 2020 at 22:20 UTC

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