New research shows that a Medicare for All system would save the U.S. money. The research published in PLOS Medicine, is a meta-analysis of 22 diverse studies that evaluate costs of a single-payer system over 10 years.
Of the 22 analyses, 86 percent showed that costs would fall within the first year, and all showed that costs would go down within 10 years.
Where are the savings with Medicare for All?
The largest areas of savings would be in simplified billing and administration and lower drug prices. Dr. Adam Gaffney of Physicians for a National Health Program argues that the most expensive health care plan is the one we have right now.
Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget claimed that this research is simply a review of other studies, including some repetitive or irrelevant studies. Golwein stated that the results would look different if the authors had chosen different studies to review.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated last year that the cost of Medicare for All would depend on many factors, such as its features, services covered, provider payment rates, and patient cost-sharing requirements.
Even those with health insurance are struggling
Another new study from Harvard shows that even those with private health insurance can’t afford their health care, leaving many Americans with unmet medical needs.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at 20 years of government data between the years of 1998 and 2017. It found that narrow networks, high deductibles, and high copays have led to a high amount of unmet medical needs in the U.S.
Insurance not performing its role
Lead study author and primary care physician Laura Hawks said, “When so many people can’t get the care they need even when they have insurance coverage, it says that insurance is not doing what it is supposed to do: ensure that healthcare is affordable when you need it.”
The study found that between 1998 and 2017:
- In adults age 18 to 64, the percentage who couldn’t afford to see a doctor rose by one third from 11 to 16 percent
- In adults with health insurance, that rate rose 60 percent, from 7 percent to 12 percent
U.S. vs. other developed nations
Compared to similarly developed nations, the U.S. falls behind. For example, in Canada one percent of adults with chronic health conditions had a medical need unmet due to costs. In the U.S., the rate was 18.7 percent.
A solution like Medicare for All would provide comprehensive health care to all. With death rates going up, costs high, and wait times to see a physician long, many argue that a change needs to come.