Public Citizen Experts Can Answer Questions About Cost, Political Feasibility, Industry Lobbying and More
Medicare for All legislation is a hotly debated issue and ahead of the next round of Democratic presidential debates, Public Citizen experts are available to explain what Medicare for All would mean for patients, doctors and hospitals, and to discuss the momentum around the movement.
Contrary to misinformation being spread by big corporations, corrupt politicians and industry lobbyists, under Medicare for All:
- Americans would keep their health care and doctors, including those currently receiving Medicare;
- 30 million currently uninsured would get coverage;
- Most families would spend less on health care than they do now on premiums, co-pays and deductibles;
- Rural hospitals would have stable funding;
- Overall health care spending would be lower; and
- Former insurance industry workers would receive training and support to pursue new careers.
The stakes are high for Big Pharma and insurers, which is why, according to Public Citizen research, a diverse and powerful array of trade groups, conservative activist organizations, GOP-linked establishment groups and health care industry interests have launched an all-out advertising blitz against Medicare for All. Between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, lobbying on Medicare for All increased dramatically. The number of organizations hiring lobbyists to work on Medicare for All increased nearly sevenfold to 61 and the number of lobbyists increased nine-fold to 270 – almost entirely due to a surge in lobbying activity by organizations that oppose it.
Public Citizen and grassroots activists are pushing their local elected officials to pass Medicare for All resolutions. Already 15 resolutions have been passed, from Chicago’s Cook County, Ill. to St. Petersburg, Fla. to Seattle, Wash., with more than 170 local organizing efforts underway in municipalities and counties across the country.
HOW MEDICARE FOR ALL WORKS
Under Medicare for All, people would keep their doctors but be rid of greedy insurance companies and the roadblocks to care that those companies put up. Just as under traditional Medicare, doctors would remain in private practice. The only difference is that medical bills would be paid by government insurance rather than an insurance company or the patient.
Under Medicare for All, all medically necessary services would be covered, including doctor’s visits, hospitalization, preventive care, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health, dental, vision, medical supplies and prescription drugs. Small businesses no longer would be responsible for private employee health insurance. Medicare for All would enable the professional clinical judgment of doctors and nurses to be the basis of health care decisions.
LET’S TALK NUMBERS
Studies agree: Medicare for All will cost no more than our current system, and may well reduce spending. The Koch-funded Mercatus Institute estimates that Medicare for All would save $2 trillion over a decade. The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found the U.S. could reduce total health spending over a 10-year period by more than $5 trillion.
Middle-class families could see savings of up to 14%, compared to current health care spending, due to more progressive funding mechanisms, a Public Citizen report highlighted.
In addition, Medicare for All would reduce health care administrative spending by $500 billion per year and reduce pharmaceutical costs by $115 billion per year.
There are many options to fund a Medicare for All system. These include payroll taxes, taxes on Wall Street trades, increasing taxes on high-income earners and a tax on unearned income (including investments, interest, profits and rents). These funding methods likely would include progressive formulas, such that higher-income earners would pay a greater percentage of their income than moderate or low-income earners.
A number of studies have analyzed single-payer proposals at the state and federal level and most found we could reduce our total health care spending, expand coverage to everyone in the U.S. and improve access to needed care by reducing administrative waste and leveraging the full bargaining power of the federal government on behalf of all Americans.
RURAL HOSPITALS WILL STAY IN BUSINESS
Medicare for All would do a better job ensuring that rural hospitals remain open because they would have more reliable funding. They also would have the capacity to fund improvements in access, particularly in areas that lack adequate care. Many rural hospitals serve a disproportionate share of enrollees without coverage and are forced take on the cost of that uncompensated care. Under Medicare for All, the incidence of uncompensated care would almost completely disappear.
ADDING A PUBLIC OPTION TO OUR CURRENT SYSTEM WON’T CUT IT
A public option – where citizens can choose to purchase their insurance through a government plan like Medicare – would leave more than 100 million Americans at the whim of private for-profit insurance, where they would continue to face ever-rising out-of-pocket costs and premiums and narrowing networks.
A public option would also further entrench the power of for-profit insurers. Similar to Medicare Advantage, insurers could profit off of healthier enrollees while ensuring that sicker enrollees remain covered by public programs, threatening the long-term solvency of the public programs.
HELPING INSURANCE COMPANY WORKERS
By setting aside significant funding for retraining and placement, Medicare for All would ensure a just transition for workers, unlike other transformational moments in our nations’ history, which did not come with such guarantees.
For more than 40 years, Public Citizen has called for guaranteed health care for all. Experts available to explain Medicare for All include:
Eagan Kemp, health care policy advocate, email@example.com, (202) 454-5109
Kemp can discuss the legislative aspects of Medicare for All and other health care proposals, including how it could be paid for, plan details and the implications for our health care system.
Melinda St. Louis, Medicare for All campaign director, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 588-7763
St. Louis can discuss the growing grassroots movement for Medicare for All, including the push for local resolutions in support of the system and the rising number of groups endorsing federal legislative efforts.
Brittany Shannahan, Medicare for All organizer, email@example.com, (202) 588-7719
Shannahan can discuss the socioeconomic aspects of Medicare for All, including its impact on women, minorities, people with disabilities and low-wage workers – as well as the factors behind its high popularity among young voters.
Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 454-5188
Gilbert can discuss the view from Capitol Hill and the likely next steps for legislative progress on Medicare for All.
Robert Weissman, president
Weissman can discuss how the fight for single-payer health care has changed over time and why there is so much new momentum for Medicare for All.