American health care is at a crossroads. Health spending reached $3.5 trillion in 2017. Yet more than 27 million people remain uninsured. And it’s unclear if all that spending is buying higher-quality care.
Patients, doctors, insurers, and the government acknowledge that the healthcare status quo is unsustainable. America’s last attempt at health reform — Obamacare — didn’t work. Nearly a decade after its passage in 2010, Democrats are calling for a government takeover of the nation’s healthcare system — Medicare for All.
The idea’s supporters assert that health care is a right. They promise generous, universal, high-quality care to all Americans, with no referrals, copays, deductibles, or coinsurance.
With a sales pitch like that, it’s no wonder that seven in ten people now support Medicare for All. Doctors, especially young ones, are coming around to the idea of single-payer, too.
Democrats, led by the progressive wing of the party, hope to capitalize on this enthusiasm. In 2017, they introduced companion legislation in the House and Senate that would establish Medicare for All. They have already promised to do the same when the next Congress convenes in 2019. More than 70 House Democrats have joined a new Medicare for All Caucus. Senator Bernie Sanders is effectively already on the presidential campaign trail, making his case for single-payer.
If Democrats take the White House and Senate in 2020, and hold onto the House, a Medicare for All bill could be among the first pieces of legislation presented to the new president for a signature.