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How and Why Medicare for All Is a Realistic Goal


How and Why Medicare for All Is a Realistic Goal

Nancy Altman

Hillary Clinton is wrong when she says that Medicare for all is not achievable. In fact, if she and her husband had embraced the concept in 1993, we would be nearly there today.

Medicare was supposed to be a first step toward Medicare for all. After activists tried and failed to include universal health care in the Social Security Act of 1935, and after President Harry Truman tried during his presidency to achieve that goal, supporters decided that an incremental approach was most likely to bring ultimate success.


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As is documented, private insurers use 30% of the take for salaries, advertising, CEO pay, etc.

Medicare uses less than 10% for that.

People carry car insurance, homeowner's insurance, and now medical insurance.

One plan that universally covered all health issues (including those incurred through accidents) would mean lower car insurance, employers largely off the hook, and average citizens not padding the coffers of Insurance executives' luxury accounts.

The ONLY thing standing between so sane a system (which, as Bernie Sanders explains is what's commonly in use in Europe's Social Democracies and Canada) are the insurance moguls. Like Mafia loan sharks or "good ole boys" comfortable shaking down local shop owners for a cut of their profits under the guise of "Protection," insurance only differs from Organized Crime by the style of suits worn by its benefactors.


Even if you have Medicare you really need private insurance to supplement it. Medicare is great for hospital bills but not that great for physician bills and drugs. It also doesn't cover dental bills or eyeglasses. Since Medicare only pays 80% of physician bills many people have additional private insurance. So even if you have Medicare you can wind up with thousands of dollars of bills that are your responsibility. I would assume increasing taxes for Medicare would improve the coverage.


I hope somebody from health care writes a good, concise article explaining why single payer will not "ruin" our health care system. I know otherwise sane, progressive people who believe that Bernie's system would have us all waiting forever for substandard care.

I try to explain that, contrary to MSM talking points, people in most countries that have public health care LOVE it. But I don't know enough of the details to lay it out for them.

So i hope someone like this author, Donna Smith, a physician, etc., lays it out for us. Thanks!


Siouxrose, Medicare and Social Security are public insurance programs. You pay FICA taxes. FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

The beauty of public insurance is that premiums are not subject to free market decisions made by capitalists. I recently had lithotripsy for kidney stones. I was in a Urology Surgery Center (not a hospital) for about two hours and went home with a prescription for pain pills. My total bill was $22,000. Medicare paid the Medicare-Approved amount: less than $5000. Now that is cost control because the $22,000 is what my urologist would have been paid had I not been covered by any insurance at all. Private insurance companies negotiate costs with doctors and hospitals in the free market. Medicare tells doctors and hospitals what it will pay them, preventing capitalists from gouging people. Have you heard of the scandals in the cost of prescription drugs? Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) is just like the ACA, you buy private prescription drug coverage. The cost of meds is not determined by Medicare. Big pharma and big insurance negotiate the cost of meds. They win and we lose. That is the story of capitalism.

My Medicare Part B premium can never increase unless I get a COLA in my Social Security benefit and the size of the increase can never exceed the size of my COLA. No COLA in 2016, so my Medicare Part B premium is the same as it was in 2015.

I also have Blue Cross Supplemental Insurance (it pays my deductibles, co-pays, and the 20% of my medical bills Medicare doesn't pay. My Blue Cross premium is higher than my Medicare Part B premium and Blue Cross jacks it up every year. They tell me that this is because I am more expensive to insure the older I get. DUH! Older people require more medical care than younger people because your body wears out as you age.

My prescription drug coverage is through Humana, not Blue Cross. This is because Humana premiums are the cheapest. Why is this the case? The cheapest Humana plan is called Humana Walmart. If you choose to use Walmart Pharmacy, you will pay the least amount for your drugs (i.e., you can choose to go to Walgreens, but your meds will cost more). The wily capitalists at Humana and Walmart realize that if people have to enter Walmart to get their meds, it is highly likely that will buy other things at Walmart.


I have always had supplemental insurance. So far, I have paid far more in premiums than what my supplemental insurance has paid to providers. I still keep my supplemental insurance in case I have to have some very expensive surgery (e.g., coronary by-pass surgery; my father had two before he died). Since coronary by-pass surgery can cost thousands of dollars the out-of-pocket cost (the deductible and the 20% of the bill Medicare doesn't pay) can add up in a hurry.

If I die tomorrow, the gamble (purchasing supplemental insurance) will not have paid off because I have paid far more to my supplemental insurance company that it has paid on my medical bills. But all insurance is a gamble. I have automobile insurance because the law requires it, but since I have not had an accident in many years, all those premiums I have paid have been a waste of money. Same thing with my homeowners' insurance. I have never filed a claim (other than to have my roof replaced many years ago), so all that premium money has gone down the drain. Actually, when I had a mortgage, I had to have insurance.

My big gripe is Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage). If you want prescription drug coverage, you have to buy it from a private insurance company. The costs providers charge for services are determined by Medicare. Medicare determines the Medicare-approved amounts, not the free market. With Medicare Part D, the free market determines the cost of meds. The only people who win in the free market are capitalists and capitalists should have no say in things that are essential like health care.


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Germany has had free health care for all for 100 years. And for the rest of western Europe this is an old already solved issue. And the list goes on with countries like India latin america etc. The eastern block had free for all health care and dentist care for 50 years...starting 20 years before the passing of Medicare in the US...which is such a partial cover and only at the end of life. Most European countries also have lower retirement age. It seems that over here we respect people's right to the pursuit of happiness better than anyone else.


When he and Congress were establishing Medicare 50 plus years ago LBJ intended that the program serve all Murkins. Congress reduced it to age 65 plus to please their corporate paymasters.

As founding members of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in 1985, there was no way the Clinton's would have considered expanding Medicare in 1993. The DLC refocused the Party's mission to GET MORE CORPORATE CASH THAN THE GOP.

Although Hillary complains about Medicare for All costing $16 trillion during the first decade, Congress has put Murkin taxpayers on the hook for $26 trillion in too big to fail bank bailouts. Break up those banks and Medicare for all funding will be a piece of cake.


Medicare for all is an easy sell:

  1. Everybody understands it.
  2. The seniors love it.
  3. Every person on Medicare has a choice
    between using the traditional government Medicare
    or choosing a private, for-profit company for
    their plan under the ''Advantage'' option.

Clinton could have done it.
Obamas could have done it...
but instead, we get the ACA Obamacare
which was the Nixon/Romney version of medical insurance
and still leaves about 30-million uninsured.

Obama's legacy:
disaster in the Middle East