Medicare for All or Universal Healthcare?

On Saturday, March 2, 2019, two guests on the CNN program Smerconish discussed Democratic Party issues.

The guests were Amie Parnes, co-author, with Jonathan Allen, of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, and Bhaskar Sunkara, a Guardian U.S. columnist and founding editor of Jacobin, a magazine “offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture.”  They touched on the healthcare campaign issue as they discussed the large field of Democratic candidates for the party’s presidential nomination. Sunkara said that surveys overwhelmingly support Medicare-for-All with a response rate of over 70% in favor of it.

Mr. Smerconish and  Ms. Parnes simply left it at that. This exchange illustrates the way in which Medicare-for-All is used as a buzzword or place holder. It means that whoever says it wants every citizen to have access to healthcare, certainly a good thing. Unfortunately, there are no detailed plans from any of the candidates to support and define this overused buzzword.

What Mr. Sunkara said about Medicare-for-All is true. It is the one line from recent Medicare-for-All surveys that has been quoted by many news sources. What Mr. Sunkara did not say about the survey results is that respondents did not want any tax increases for a national healthcare system and they wanted to have choice in their healthcare providers. They also did not want the health insurance industry to be wiped out by Medicare-for-All. When respondents were confronted by these constraints the support for Medicare-for-All dropped sharply.

More precisely, Americans really want Universal Healthcare Care but not Medicare-for-All. Universal Healthcare can be a self-supporting system that provides healthcare for everyone without any additional tax burdens. A Universal Healthcare Plan can maintain individual choice of healthcare providers and does not need to eliminate insurance companies. Americans also want healthcare in our country to be less expensive without giving up the quality we have all come to expect.

In our book, Healing American Healthcare: A Plan to Provide Quality Care for All, While Saving $1 Trillion a Year, we detail the Eichhorn-Hutchinson plan, which provides affordable universal healthcare. Our plan does not raise taxes. In fact, it lowers the cost of healthcare by approximately 30%. The plan is easy to understand, and will improve quality, increase competition and will make U.S. healthcare once again the envy of the world.

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