How Does Medicare For All Work?
Medicare for all would provide all Americans with comprehensive coverage, including primary and preventative care, prescription medications, mental health services, dental and vision, among others.
The Medicare for All Act (HR 1384) introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), has been endorsed by a majority of House Democrats and a number of Senators, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Medicare for All's price tag has been floated at approximately $1.4 trillion a year. The majority of that would be paid for by a new income-based, progressive tax on all Americans, including the middle class.
But, keep in mind, the U.S. currently spends $3.4 trillion on health care. A full $1 trillion is paid for by the federal government. Every American currently costs the government $11,200 in health care. So, even if the government was to double its health care spending, it would still reduce overall costs by $2 trillion.
A recent study found that the average family would save $5,807 every year if Medicare for All was implemented.
The main obstacle to Medicare for All is the fact that it would require a significant tax increase on the middle class, which makes up the vast majority of Democrats' base. In order to pass Medicare for All, the Democratic Party would have to abandon its base and become the party of the oligarchy.
How does Medicaid work?
Medicaid is a joint state-federal program that provides health coverage to low-income Americans.
The federal government matches state dollars for Medicaid services. Each state sets its own eligibility requirements and determines which services are covered, creating a diverse program across the country.
Starting in 2020, states will be able to implement work requirements for their Medicaid programs. This will eliminate health coverage for thousands of Americans who can't find jobs if they need it.
In order to understand how Medicaid covers the cost of health care, you must understand that for every $1.00 the federal government contributes, the state matches $3.00.
The entire Medicaid program costs approximately $554 billion per year. The federal government spends $324 billion and the states spend $230 billion.
The states are funded by federal tax dollars, but, since they don't pay for most of it, many of them refuse to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more people.
So, even though Medicaid provides affordable health care to 60 million Americans, it still leaves 22 million people uninsured.
Medicaid does not pay for everyone's health care. It covers health care for low-income people, and it also covers pregnant women, children, and the elderly. If your income is low enough, Medicaid will pay for all of your health care needs. However, if your income is higher than a certain threshold, Medicaid will only pay for certain services like emergency room visits, mental health care, and prescriptions.
The federal government defines the eligibility thresholds for Medicaid every year. Based on the current threshold, it covers a single parent of two children making $16,753 per year. Most adults who live with their parents are not covered by Medicaid, even if their income is low enough. In most cases, a single parent needs to be making less than $6,000 a year for their children to be covered under Medicaid.
It gets worse. If you are a single adult without children, you are not eligible for Medicaid, regardless of your income.
If you are a working adult, you are not eligible for Medicaid. If you are a working adult who makes too much to qualify for Medicaid, you are responsible for paying for your health care. If you can't afford health care, you are responsible for paying the penalty for not having health care.
With Medicaid, it's either pay exorbitant prices for health care, or pay for health care with your tax dollars.
In many cases, a single adult without children making $28,000 per year will have to pay more for health care or health insurance than they will make in income.
Medicaid is also a means-tested program. If the cost of your care increases, you can be kicked off.
So, even though you are eligible for Medicaid, you may not be eligible the following year. If you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, you are responsible for paying for your care.
And, if you don't pay the cost of your care, you will be punished with fines and jail time.
A single, non-disabled person making $25,000 will pay an average of $5,200 in health care costs per year. That's more than they will make in income.
And, remember, these numbers are the average. That means there are many people making less than $25,000 per year who will pay more than they make in income for health care.
With Medicaid, it's