What Is Medicare for All and How Does It Work?

Medicare for All is a system that would expand the current availability of taxpayer-supported health care in the United States. It would feature a single-payer, government-run program that would replace most existing public or private plans.

Medicare for All would not eliminate the private health insurance industry. It would change what coverage people could elect beyond what basic care provides under this universal system. The result would be something similar to the structure of Canada’s system.

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Medicare for All Would Require a 4-Year Transition

The primary driver of the Medicare for All idea comes from a bill sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders. Under the structure of this single-payer plan, essential treatments would receive coverage without any deductibles or premiums.

It would also expand the number of benefit categories in the current Medicare system so that vision and dental coverage would become available.

Transitioning from the current system in the United States to Medicare for All would take about four years to complete. Once the legislation is active, then private insurers could not sell a plan that offered similar coverage. 

They would get the opportunity to provide a supplemental plan that covers items unavailable in this system, such as a voluntary surgery.

Federal health programs that currently exist, such as the Veterans Health Administration, would continue uninterrupted in their services.

How Much Would Medicare for All Cost?

The estimated national spending on health care in the United States is approximately $4 billion each year. About $1.5 trillion of that comes from the current Medicare and Medicaid programs that people use.

Then another $1.5 trillion comes from private health insurance and out-of-pocket costs.

The Sanders’ proposal is one of the most expensive ideas being debated today. It would eliminate all private health insurance spending from health care, causing Medicare and Medicaid costs to rise to over $3 trillion annually.

Several different versions of this idea are up for debate, with some House bills having over 100 co-sponsors. Most Democrats want something a little more modest than what is outlined above, with the goal being to expand Medicare and Medicaid access without ending the private insurance system as it stands today.

How is Medicare for All Different from Obamacare?

Under the Affordable Care Act, the goal was to provide opportunities for people to afford health insurance when they were unable to obtain it from an existing program or their employer. The ACA offers subsidies to help purchase private plans from a government exchange while also expanding Medicaid.

This approach helped to cover millions of people, but there are still over 27 million individuals without health care insurance.

Medicare for All would solve the problem by ensuring that everyone could access a doctor when needed without worrying about the price.

Payroll taxes would likely rise in any scenario, but the monthly cost of insurance premiums and doctor visits could go down enough to create a net gain for families.

This structure would put the United States more in line with the rest of the world’s approach to providing health care. 
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A Brief Introduction to Brexit

Brexit is the process being followed that seeks to one day separate Great Britain from the rest of the European Union. MPs backed a bill in late October that would allow for a general election to take place on December 12, 2019.

Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK would leave the EU by October 31 in a “do-or-die” deal. He has agreed to the provisions proposed by the European Union, but the bill that would implement those stipulations is currently on hold.

That means Brexit will not progress any further until after the December general election.

What Happens to Brexit Now?

Four potential options might occur after the December 12 general election.

The first is that Brexit will occur on the existing deal on January 31, 2020. This outcome would follow the agreement that PM Johnson negotiated with the EU. A new version of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would need an introduction to the new Parliament, so there could be delays that impact the final date.

Another referendum on Brexit is a possibility after the election. It would have the same legal status as the one in 2016 that started this process. The government would need to decide how to respond based on the votes received. This outcome would delay the separation from the EU by at least 22 weeks.

The default position is a “No Deal Brexit” that would force the UK to exit the customs union and single market without any arrangements in place to make the import-export market easier to access. This outcome would likely damage the economy, even if critics think that the risks are somewhat exaggerated in the press.

There is the option to cancel the entire Brexit process after the election. This outcome would be possible by revoking Article 50. The current government isn’t contemplating this option, so the possibility of the next one doing so is somewhat remote.

What Happened to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill Approval?

PM Johnson achieved a significant victory when a parliamentary majority approved a deal that laid out the exit of the UK from the European Union. The approval of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill allowed for the next stage of passage. This outcome briefly boosted the prospects of Brexit happening on October 31.

That victory was short-lived because MPs rejected the speed at which Johnson wanted to implement this process. The government provided only a few hours to read hundreds of pages of legislation filled with technical details, so the House of Commons refused to allow the timetable to proceed.

Plenty of MPs wanted Johnson to provide a longer timetable that would be suitable to officials, with Jeremey Corbyn from the Labour Party offering to work on a compromise. This process then led to the call to move forward with a general election.

That means a refusal by either side to work on a compromise has led to another delay in the Brexit process. Now there is the possibility that it may not happen at all. It will all depend on the outcome of the upcoming December election.