One of the hottest and most controversial topics in the news these days is Medicare for all. It is the number one point of debate for the presidential elections coming up this year. Some groups are promoting the idea of providing health care insurance for all US citizens at affordable prices through a single payer. Other groups support the right of the people to have private insurance if they wish, and not to be obligated to have a one-size-fits-all type of health insurance managed by the government. As is common with most debated issues, there are pros and cons to both sides of the story. Here is a look at some of the facts concerning Medicare for all.

What is Medicare for all?

What began as a bill in the House of Representatives of the United States in 2003, the United States National Health Care Act, also known as the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, has now become known more simply as Medicare for All, or Universal Health Care. The purpose of the bill that Representative John Conyers introduced into Congress in 2003 was to help establish a single-payer health care system in the country. This system was comparable to Medicare insurance but not just for people who were 65 or older, or for people living with disabilities. This would provide coverage for all Americans and may make it more affordable for many.

Initially, it was believed that a single-payer system, similar to those programs in other countries such as Canada, would put an end to people needing private health insurance and having to pay high monthly premiums. The bill also proposed that this national system of health care would be paid for by taxation, as well as by saving money by practicing preventive health care, and also from cutting out the high costs involved in insurance company overhead and hospital billing prices.

Today, there is not just one specific proposal for a Medicare for all program. There are several different proposals in the works in the United States Congress now. Although the proposed health care plans are different in many ways, they share some common characteristics which include:

• All proposals include comprehensive health care coverage.
• They would be funded by taxes for the most part.
• In some proposals private health insurance would be replaced, in others there would be an option for both.
• Enrollment would be for life.
• There would be no premiums, or very low premiums.
• Any state provider who is licensed, certified, and meets eligibility standards could apply.

Who would benefit from a Medicare for all health care system?

According to data provided by the United States government, before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, there were 46.5 million Americans living without health care insurance. This number did not include people who had Medicare coverage, it was mainly working Americans who could not afford to pay for health insurance.

In 2016, that number dropped to 26.7 million Americans when the Affordable Care Act helped provide less expensive options for health insurance. Unfortunately, the number of uninsured Americans is again on the rise and is over 27 million. Also, there are still over 40 million people who are considered underinsured, which is attributed to rising insurance premiums. This is another reason that many lawmakers are trying to find a viable solution with a Medicare for all act.

Many United States lawmakers propose that the government create a program like Medicare insurance, extended to make it accessible to all Americans, not only for those who are the age of 65 or have a disability. In other words, Medicare for all. They feel that by implementing a universal health care system in the United States, citizens would have health care benefits like other countries around the world.

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