Shorter Waits and Higher Efficiency: The Truth About Medicare-for-All

Feb. 4, 2019

Shorter Waits and Higher Efficiency: The Truth About Medicare-for-All

Worker Transition, Lower Costs and Increased Efficiency Are Central to a Single-Payer System

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Contrary to the image painted by critics, a single-payer, Medicare-for-All health care system would greatly increase access to care without adding to the deficit, according to an analysis by Public Citizen.

The analysis takes a comprehensive look at the research available on Medicare-for-All and lays out the facts, including that such a policy would cut administrative waste, reduce profiteering off of health care and encourage economic growth.

The analysis comes as U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) prepares to introduce Medicare-for-All legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives this month. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced support for hearings on the legislation, which would be the first time a single-payer health care system will be taken seriously by House leadership.

Medicare-for-All opponents, including Big Pharma and health insurance companies, already have tried to squash any talk of such reform, which would threaten their profit margins.

“The growing movement for Medicare-for-All requires everyone in Congress to take a fresh look at single-payer health care with open eyes, instead of dismissing it based on false claims from those who profit from our fragmented health care status quo,” said Eagan Kemp, a health care policy associate at Public Citizen.

The report addresses common Medicare-for-All questions by highlighting key facts, including:
• The system would save money by reducing administrative costs by $500 billion per year and allowing the government to negotiate for more affordable medicines;
• Such a system would be paid for using a progressive funding mechanism so that higher-income earners would pay a greater percentage of their income than moderate- or low-income earners;
• Medicare-for-All would cost patients less than employer-sponsored insurance and improve access to community-based services, including home health care;
• A just transition to Medicare-for-All would ensure that former private insurance workers receive the training and support necessary to pursue new careers;
• Medicare-for-All would improve financial stability for rural hospitals and doctors; and
• Under Medicare-for-All, there would not be increased wait times, in part because improved financial incentives for providers would mean better prioritization of care, leading to improved access and a reduction of unnecessary costs.

“For people who care about evidence – not ideology – the facts are clear: Medicare-for-All is the most efficient and most just approach to provide health care for everyone in America,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

Read the full report (PDF).


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