Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wants to reform the Affordable Care Act, though not in the way that many were hoping for. Sanders has long held to the concept of a single payer health care system, which would replace the privatized insurance market with one government-orchestrated program. Though he worked on the committee that originally drafted the ACA, Michael Chapman at CNS News wrote that Sanders quickly became disenchanted with the law.
“I voted for it, but right now, what we have to deal with is the fact that 29 million people still have no health insurance,” Sanders explained at a recent Democratic debate held in Charleston, S.C. “We are paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, getting ripped off.”
As Sanders is a Democratic presidential nominee hopeful, his campaign recently released his own healthcare plan, named Medicare-for-All, The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki explained.
“Coverage would be generous,” Tami Luhby explained at CNN. “Not only would it include hospital stays and doctors’ visits, but the insurance would pay for home health and adult day care, prescription drugs, dental visits, mental health services and outpatient therapy. No one could be turned away for pre-existing conditions. Also, doctors couldn’t charge patients more than the rates set by the state system.”
“Legislators would have to raise taxes across the middle and upper classes.”
Eliminating deductibles and co-pays, Sanders stated that his plan would not only provide coverage to every American who has an insurance card, but also reduce the astronomical $3 trillion a year Americans spend on healthcare costs. Though vague about how he will achieve this goal, Sanders stated that there would large cuts to drug prices and administrative costs.
According to Sander’s plan, “Patients will be able to choose a health-care provider without worrying about whether that provider is in-network and will be able to get the care they need without having to read any fine print or trying to figure out how they can afford the out-of-pocket costs.”
While this may sound ideal, to make this coverage happen, the government would have to spend less on new medical research and medical procedures, cut services and lower the salaries of highly-paid medical professionals. Furthermore, most estimate that legislators would have to raise taxes across the middle and upper classes to accommodate widespread coverage.
Interestingly, according to a recent GOBankingRate survey of ACA healthcare plans in all 50 states, Sanders’s own home state has the second-least affordable health insurance costs. His campaign’s plan seeks to provide healthcare coverage at a lower price tag, his own state’s citizens are burdened with astronomically high rates.
“Vermont’s cheapest silver option, the Silver CDHP Plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, has the highest monthly premium of any state, charging $469 a month, or $5,628 a year in premiums,” Elyssa Kirkham at The Huffington Post explained. “The yearly cost on this plan is estimated at $7,317 on average by Vermont’s exchange site and up to $11,377 in a ‘bad year’ with many health expenses.”
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