Sanders’ Dream for Health Care
The United States is the only major country on the planet that does not have universal health care, and Bernie Sanders will make sure you know that before it’s all over. Bernie Sanders has concerned himself with the universality of the right to health care. When it comes to health care, Sanders notes that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, over 17 million people in the United States have health care today, but millions have high deductibles and co-payments. We pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, so much so one in five Americans can’t afford to pay for their medicine. Sanders’ way of addressing this problem would be asking middle class families to pay $500 more in order to get a $5,000 reduction in their health care costs. This is because health care is “a right of all people, not a privilege.”
Sanders views the Affordable Care Act as an important step towards universal health care, but believes we must work harder, as there are still 29 million Americans without health care and millions who are also under insured. Services like mental health care and nutrition should be available to everyone, regardless of income or living situation. Sanders claims “those who say this goal is unachievable are selling the American people short,” referring to Hillary Clinton as well as the Republicans who say Sanders’ goals are too idealistic. Bernie promotes Medicare for All, a “federally administered single-payer health care,” meaning comprehensive coverage for all Americans, covering the entire continuum of care. This plan would be paid for with a 6% income-based health care premium covered by employers, a 2% income-based premium paid by households, and progressive income taxes, as well as other adjustments.
Sanders sums up his stance on universal health care in his Agenda for America:
“The United States must join the rest of the industrialized world and recognize that healthcare is a right of all, and not a privilege. Despite the fact that more than 40 million Americans have no health insurance, we spend almost twice as much per capita on healthcare as any other nation. We need to establish a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.”
Compared to Sanders, Hillary Clinton believes we need to expand upon Obamacare to close any gaps in those covered. Clinton criticized Sanders’ plan: "if you're having Medicare for all, single-payer, you need to level with people about what they will have at the end of the process you are proposing. And based on every analysis that I can find by people who are sympathetic to the goal, the numbers don't add up, and many people will actually be worse off than they are right now." Bernie’s plan has been accused of not being realistic or pragmatic, compared to Hillary’s approach. With Bernie’s plan, although private companies would no longer cash in on health insurance payments, American citizens would still face an unwanted tax hike.
Clinton and Republicans alike view the plan as too expensive and reliant on Republicans. It comes down to this: Clinton believes Sanders’ plan is too expensive through public coverage, whereas Sanders believes his plan would save Americans money by ditching private parties. Sanders has yet to make it completely clear as to how he could afford this estimated $15 trillion health care movement. Clinton brings math into the picture, saying, “The arithmetic just doesn’t add up. I don’t think that is the right way to go.”
Clinton criticizes Sanders’ attempts at a great “revolution” because Republicans have already rejected numerous aspects of Obamacare, yet alone a Medicare for All program. Still, somehow, Sanders has hope.