Much needed clarity on what Medicare for All means

The idea of Medicare for All has been steadily increasing in popularity, so much so that pretty much all the Democratic candidates for the presidency have endorsed it, a far cry from when Bernie Sanders advocated for it in his 2016 campaign, when it was seen as some kind of unrealistic Utopian goal. As a result, the right wing attacks on it have intensified and they have made all manner of misleading statements about it.

This ad from the Sanders campaign nicely sets the record straight.

Republicans have been placed in somewhat of a quandary on health care. Their main message has been to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare but they have failed so far on the ‘repeal’ part and have no plan of their own for the ‘replace’ part that makes any sense. And as time goes by, certain elements of Obamacare have become so popular (such as keeping children on parents’ plans until they are 26 years old and that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage) that they are now vowing that any new plan of theirs will contain them.

Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell now says that all his Republican colleagues love the pre—existing coverage provision. Of course, he is lying as usual, doing so to try and convince people that he and other Republicans actually care about the health care needs of ordinary people.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “everybody” in the Senate wants to preserve consumer protections for people with pre-existing conditions, an Obamacare provision that the Trump administration last week said is unconstitutional and should be struck down in court.

“Everybody I know in the Senate — everybody — is in favor of maintaining coverage for pre-existing conditions,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol. “There is no difference in opinion about that whatsoever.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Tuesday said McConnell “lied” by asserting the Senate was unified in wanting to preserve pre-existing condition protections.

“Senator McConnell is wrong and the contrast between Republicans and Democrats on health care could not be more clear,” spokesman David Bergstein said. “Republicans like Senator [Dean] Heller, as well as every other GOP Senate candidate, want to slash coverage for pre-existing conditions – their latest plan would even make this coverage unconstitutional.”

“If it’s true that every Republican now supports protecting pre-existing conditions, that’s news to very sick patients across the country who fought back again and again as Republicans tried to go back to the days when a pre-existing condition meant you might not be eligible for insurance, or could be priced out completely — especially since many Republicans continue to want to pass harmful bills to do exactly that,” [Democratic Sen. Patty] Murray said in a statement.

But the shifty McConnell is not to be trusted. If the Republicans ever repeal Obamacare, either through the legislature or more likely via the courts, he is likely to suddenly find reasons for not carrying through on his promise.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Why would anyone want private health care? Our health care is not the greatest, but I can see any doctor I want without up-front costs and he or she (I think my new doctor is she but I have not seen her yet--my former doctor retired) can do anything they need to care for me.

    Somehow, I feel reassured. She is not fighting with an insurance company. She just gets me the best care she can. And gets paid.

  2. jrkrideau says

    Oh, as an addition, we do not really understand pre-existing condition . The term just does not exist here. You are sick, you are sick.

  3. vucodlak says

    @ jrkrideau, #1

    Why would anyone want private health care?

    Decades of capitalist propaganda, from cradle to (early) grave. I could go into more detail, but that’s the heart of problem. A constant torrent of propaganda is the only thing that would convince people to pay for a product that the insurance companies will do every sleazy thing in their power to cheat the customer out of being able to use.

  4. anat says

    In many countries that have some form of ‘socialized medicine’ people have the option to buy additional coverage. Either to cover treatments that are not included in the tax-paid coverage or to be treated faster in a private facility (where one doesn’t have to wait as much because fewer people can afford said facility.

  5. fentex says

    Last Thursday I finally (after four weeks) got fed up with an inflamed hand and went to my doctor -- because I was passing on my way to work, I expected them to be too busy and to have to make an appointment for a few days later but as it happened I walked in just as one of the doctors at the practice had an open slot.

    After a half hour examination/consultation I left with a prescription for steroids, anti-inflammatories and blood pressure meds that cost me about an hour of the national minimum wage to fill, for a doctors bill of about twice the current average hourly wage.

    That’s the reality of routine care in the socialized hell hole of New Zealand (where I, on about four times the median income, pay maybe 3.5% more tax than I would in the U.S)

  6. Dunc says

    Why would anyone want private health care?

    It’s a great investment! Also, it’s a really good tool for keeping your employees dependant.

    Oh, you mean as a user? Well, if you’re rich enough, then you get the best possible care without having to worry about any of the cost / benefit calculation which are necessary in other systems…

  7. says

    I turn 65 in a few weeks. As such, I’ve been having to look at all my Medicare options. What Bernie is describing as “Medicare for all” seems to have little to do with Medicare is it actually is. For instance, in Medicare, you pay premiums (in parts B and D, at least), there are or can be co-pays, there are or can be deductibles, and there are out-of-network doctors. And for some Medicare plans, you need to be careful even out of your local community. On the other side, yes, everybody of age is covered. I don’t know about surprise bills. And there are so many plans it is complicated as hell.

    Yes, I’d prefer that our medical looks like what Bernie described. However, using the word “Medicare” with it is, as far as I can tell, totally inappropriate.

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