Written by Miguel Palacios
The concept of Medicare for all is back on Congress’s agenda and is threatening not just the livelihoods of healthcare professionals, but patients as well. This effort is being backed by over 100 House Democrats and is being led by Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Debbie Dingell of Michigan. This medicare for all bill would outlaw private insurance and see that every American has a government-run healthcare plan within 2 years.
Surprisingly, this Medicare for all bill is being backed by a large number of healthcare professionals, though it is unclear how many of them are aware of what the bill would mean for them and their patients. One of the biggest problems with the concept of Medicare for all is that government-run health insurance is not as good as private health insurance. The people who are proponents of this bill need to understand that government-run health insurance covers the bare minimum. For people who do not have insurance and cannot afford it, then this is a good option for them, but for the people who already have insurance through their employment or that can afford to pay for private health insurance, these government programs will pale in comparison. The standard of care will be greatly reduced, which is unacceptable.
Another problem with Medicare for all is that, according to Sally Pipes California Political Review article, doctors will lose up to 40% of their income. Government-run insurance pays lower rates for healthcare than private insurances do. It is hard to imagine that if doctors were aware of this, they would be so adamant about supporting this bill. This decrease in profits would inevitably affect the medical field altogether, as doctors will likely leave their practices for better-paying work, others will retire early, and students are less likely to want to become doctors if they will be unable to support themselves and pay back student loans. Pipes cites a report from FTI Consulting on how Medicare for all would affect the nation. The report estimates that “Medicare for All would lead to a nationwide loss of more than 44,000 doctors by 2050.”
Ultimately, with healthcare workers declining in numbers, the remaining doctors and nurses will be severely overworked and underpaid. This reduction can possibly translate to clinics in underserved and/or rural areas closing. As things stand now, doctors are already reportedly seeing an estimate of 60 patients per day. That is double the recommended daily patient number. It may come to the point that people will be forced to get medical care from other sources, like pharmacists and physiotherapists.
Overall, there is nothing wrong with free healthcare for those who need it, but for those who can afford to pay for better care, why take that away? If people want to keep their paid insurance and continue their premium healthcare, they should have the right to do so. We should not inconvenience some with lower quality care and burden the government with debt that is not necessary. It is not hard to see that Medicare for all is not good for all and the standard of healthcare should remain the same if that is what one wants.