In 2016, healthcare costs constituted nearly 18% of the United States’ gross domestic product. Despite spending far more on healthcare than any of our economic peers, the US has worse health outcomes than most other developed countries. High healthcare costs not only prevent people from accessing needed care but also devastate families financially; medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US.
On September 13th, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a bill co-sponsored by 15 other Democratic senators that would restructure America’s insurance system, replacing our patchwork of private insurers with a single public payer by effectively expanding Medicare to all Americans. This universal Medicare program would immediately cover children under 18, while other Americans not already eligible for Medicare would be phased into the program over four years. Much like the current system in Australia, the universal Medicare program would cover all essential healthcare, while private insurers would continue covering elective procedures like plastic surgery. The bill is similar to H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act that Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced in the House earlier this year.
Like Conyers’ House proposal, Sanders’ Medicare for all bill would be costly and require a significant tax hike, but major reductions in healthcare spending would outweigh tax increases. Individuals would pay dramatically lower premiums and would not pay copays or deductibles at all. As the sole insurer, the federal government could negotiate lower pharmaceutical prices. Hospitals would save money by significantly reducing administrative costs, which currently constitute about 25% of all healthcare spending.
With a universal healthcare system, the US could finally end its shameful exclusion of millions from the healthcare system, eliminate medical bankruptcy, and provide more Americans with access to needed care.
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from Springfield.
I’m calling in support of the Medicare for All healthcare plan. Shifting to a universal healthcare system would save billions of dollars while giving every American the chance to get the care they need and live healthy, productive lives.
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