Medicare for all and its rivals: new offshoots of old health policy roots
The leading option for health reform in the United States would leave 36.2 million persons uninsured in 2027 while costs would balloon to nearly $6 trillion (1). That option is called the status quo. Other reasons why temporizing is a poor choice include the country’s decreasing life expectancy, the widening mortality gap between the rich and the poor, and rising deductibles and drug prices. Even insured persons fear medical bills, commercial pressures permeate examination rooms, and physicians are burning out.
In response to these health policy failures, many Democrats now advocate single-payer, Medicare-for-All reform, which until recently was a political nonstarter. Others are wary of frontally assaulting insurers and the pharmaceutical industry and advocate public-option plans or defending the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Meanwhile, the Trump administration seeks to turbocharge market forces through deregulation and funneling more government funds through private insurers.