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To Be Crystal Clear: 'Medicare for All' Does Not Mean 'Medicare for Some'

To Be Crystal Clear: 'Medicare for All' Does Not Mean 'Medicare for Some'

Diane Archer

As the health care debate heats up, it’s time to be clear about what Medicare for All is and what it is not. Medicare for All does not mean giving people the option to “buy in” to Medicare under our current health insurance system—what might be called Medicare for Some.


"One Is The Loneliest Number…"

Corporate Democrats have trouble adding 1+1.

They want it all for themselves.

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Fine article, but I wouldn’t have said this. Does anyone crave choice in this context? People want to choose their doctor, that’s for sure, but having a choice of confusing policies vs. not having to bother with any of this complication? - screw choice in that context.

After listening to Howard Schultz get slammed for lying about people losing their doctor, I realize another major downside of these idiotic Medicare for Some proposals which I’m thinking more and more are better to not even sign on to - you really could lose your doctor in that scheme. If only some patients are on Medicare patient and you have a jerk doctor, maybe they can shed you (I’m sure rules would exist to try to prevent this and rules will have work arounds). But if EVERYONE is on Medicare, the only way your doctor can get rid of you is if he or she decides to retire or leave the country.

Medicare for All is the absolute minimum.


This bill must see to it that it removes any allowance for profit, investor owned health care facilities to be a part of the National single-payer plan. Why? Because, if not and are included in the national plan they will get tax dollars to subsidize the higher fees and profits from profit monopolies that are forming. On Monday, February 11 we had Bernie’s health policy representative at our single payer event and, while the TV cameras were rolling, I made sure to point this out. Will it be edited out is my only question. Then again, I have written about tit too in letters to the editors and directly to the reps of my area.


To be clear, hopefully it wont be “Medicare for All”, or “Medicare for Some”. We need to be forceful,
Expanded, Improved Medicare for All”.


To be crystal clear: I know it doesn’t mean Medicare for All to Bernie and Jayapal; I still have my suspicions about those tools who proclaim to be progressive with a huge smile on their face at a working-class photo-op, but still have a hand out for more donations from the Pharma and Insurance lobbyists.


Sander’s S1804 is Medicare for SOME. I’m surprise the author doesn’t know that. Jayapal’s, yet to be released bill, may also be a Medicare for Some bill. Being that the experts and long time advocates of National Improved Medicare for All haven’t seen the bill, no one in the know really knows what the bill will contain. There are suspicious that the bill is a Medicare for Some but we’ll know more once it is made available. It is more than suspicious that Jayapal has not allowed the long time advocates and experts access to the bill. One would think the experts and long time advocates would be the first place to go to for advise and counsel.


What wording in S 1804 led you to conclude this? I haven’t read the whole thing but this passage seems to say the opposite.

Every individual who is a resident of the United States is entitled to benefits for health care services under this Act.

Are you only discussing what will happen with undocumented immigrants? That is not what the ‘some’ in this story is referring to. If you have disagreements about for profit providers, that isn’t what this story is about either. Show me where in Bernie’s bill we (all residents anyway) aren’t all treated the same (after the transition period).

Hi Brian,

Absolutely agree. This was the other point I stressed at the single-payer meeting and there was general consent. I was specific: No co-pays, NO deductibles, NO premiums, covers eye, dental, hearing, needs to include preventive care and alternative medicine and payed for by a small tax based on our actual income–the cameras were also rolling.

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It is clear people not on Medicare don’t understand Medicare. It is a financing scheme, the doctors, labs, hospitals we use on Medicare are all private, not government employees.
And Medicare is not “free” - we paid into it all our working lives, and have to pay about $125/month for any Part B coverage (doctors services) and there are also co-pays.
I think aspirations are fine, but its best to be open to incremental improvements, always a tough sell to all or nothing extremists. To actually get anything done politically those who are satisfied with their employers plan (most of my working colleagues) have to be taken into account.

“$125 for any part B coverage” may apply to recipients who have been on Medicare for several years. When I became eligible in 2017 it had increased to $134 per month, and it keeps going up.

If you live in an urban county you may be able to get a no monthly premium Medicare advantage supplement. If not, expect to pay more than an additional $200 per month for your supplement.

Depending on what drugs and how many drugs you take, Part D will run you an additional $15 to $350 per month premium plus copays that are often very high.

Not to mention that Medicare does not cover natureopathic medicene or acupuncture.

Medicare started out as good program in 1965. 54 years of the best-Congress-money-can-buy watering it down means we need to revamp existing Medicare concurrent with expanding eligibility. we fail to do so at our own peril !

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Here is a side-by-side comparison of HR676 and S1804:

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Hey Giovann,
I think (and from past posts, I believe you agree) this is a widescale attempt to water down what the people need and deserve, we (not you personally) must be more forceful, and correct everyone when they use the term M4A without “improved and expanded” in front of it. Thanks for you efforts in this issue.

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And yes, absolutely! to covering alternative treatments, besides expanding to include vision, dental and hearing.

Ok, I read that table, and I won’t contend any of these points. However as I understood the concept of Medicare for Some, it is a different matter than these points. Medicare for 55 or older, Medicare for people who don’t have private insurance through their employers, Medicare for any subset of the group of US residents, these are Medicare for Some plans (note - if undocumented immigrants are not classified as residents that is not Medicare for Some in my mind - you can still criticize it, but it is not like these other ideas, nor is long term care patients not being covered as well as we like - as long as all such patients are treated equally, it is still Medicare (insufficient Medicare maybe) for All).

I am against Medicare for Some. Bernie’s bill is not Medicare for Some. It might not be perfect, but it is not that imperfect.

The problem with S1804 is that it does not address the root causes of the our corrupt system. It allows the root causes to remain and they will fester and grow and incrementally destroy the single payer system before it even reaches full implementation. Give the insurance and pharma industries an inch and they will take thousands of miles. They have to be rooted out from the start. For instance, during the S1804 lengthy phase in the elderly (sick) are incrementally shifted to Medicare, freeing private insurance to cover only the very profitable young and healthy. This strengthens their already overwhelming financial advantage and weakens the Medicare system before it is even fully implemented. You cannot cross a chasm in two steps. This is not the time for incrementalism we must stand strong and unified for the final and complete solution. It is the only reasonable and rational approach to a real solution.

I guess my biggest concern, would be the workers for all those insurance companies. Mind you not the shareholders, the CEOs or the lobbyists. Just the workers. I would hope that these bills would cover that. My other concern is the ability of a corrupt goverment (like we have now) to manipulate and steel from Medicare for all. What will be covered and what won’t. How do we chose who runs it? What kind of credentials will be required and what kind of power will they have? I think those are the biggest fears that most Americans have.

The Democrats may, if we are lucky, get the Senate by +1 or 2 at best and most people here won’t vote for them anyway out of some strange notion we are going to get a more progressive country by stacking the courts with hard right retreads. Frankly, I’ll jump up and down if/when Medicare gets expanded whatever way it comes. Fifty-five and over would be great! Have to start somewhere, right?

I understand most of the progressive critiques against S 1804 and I’m learning some new ones. I look forward to more discussion and seeing what is in the Jayapal bill. But words matter. “Medicare for Some” has a particular meaning and for you to so definitively label S 1804 as being in that class, I think you should say why and not throw in different criticisms - or retract your claim. I personally don’t buy the long term care issue as valid to bring in the term - is that the claim you are making? Or is it about people not falling in the US resident category? Other criticisms are perfectly valid, they just don’t go towards this point.

I’ve been thinking about this more since our earlier discussion on the Sherrod Brown story, and I’m becoming more opposed to Medicare for Some incremental actions not less. It gives too much of an opening to critiques and for jackasses like Schultz to say what he did. This is a tactic discussion so I certainly won’t claim I am absolutely positive I’m right and Brown is wrong, as I would about end goals (e.g. I am absolutely positive end goals should not include private insurance at all other than some job retraining funds during the transition). But I know think Medicare for Some is just diluting our effort, has too many issues, and if I were a representative, I wouldn’t even sign on to Brown’s idea.

I just do not understand the “diluting” notion. If a majority of the caucus for it, and we get enough Senators in place to expand the program for retirees via reconciliation, why not do it? FDR passed social security absent an old-age health provision, after all. We are not going to have majorities to remake the entire healthcare system, let alone the Courts to support such a move. That is just brass tax reality and why you should never, ever, give up Supreme Court seats. The reality is progressives are setting themselves up for frustration and third-party voting peak when they realize president Sanders doesn’t have the majorities or legal support to make magic work.