Let me begin by saying I would choose ANY of the Democratic candidates running for President and be proud to do so. The debates have shown the strength and diversity of the Democratic Party.
However, the Democrats are arguing over Medicare for all and how each of them will implement it, which is a useless conversation. What they should be discussing is Healthcare for all, and ensuring that issue is part of the Democratic Platform.
For those who say – “I want to keep my private insurance”, ask them if when they turn 65 will they turn down going onto Medicare? I have never met anyone who wants to opt out of Medicare. People are excited when the become eligible.
The fact is any health insurance plan will have to go through Congress, and the negotiations over the plan will be extensive. So debating the specifics of each candidate’s plan is fruitless. By the time the plan is mulled over by Congress, it will look nothing like the original. The conversation needs to be about Healthcare for All, not health insurance. The most expeditious way to deal with covering everyone is by expanding and fixing Obamacare. Then, a comprehensive look at the Healthcare system can follow, focusing on prevention.
Keep in mind, Medicare is far from perfect. And no one on the debate stage is covered by Medicare, so they aren’t really qualified to speak about it. First, it only pays 80% of physician's costs, so the balance becomes the dreaded co-pay. And for patients with severe conditions, that 20% can be significant. It also has a limit on the number of hospital days that are covered. The exact rules are complex, but amount to the patient being responsible for significant costs. So now you have to buy supplemental insurance – which is expensive.
Second, there is a monthly premium which comes from your social security payment. Who will pay for that for those not on social security?
Third, Medicare rarely pays for “experimental” treatments or drugs, which in many cases can be life-saving. And drug prices are still an issue. Many new drugs and procedures are not covered. So as good as Medicare is, it is not perfect.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Medicare. It is significantly less expensive than private insurance and covers as much. And it is very simple to use. But it does not solve all the problems in our healthcare system.
What the candidates need to talk about is Healthcare for All. And they need to move away from criticizing their opponent’s plan and recognize a negotiation in Congress is where the solution lies. Too much time in the debates is being spent on details of a plan that will never happen.