Source: New York Times Editorial Board ⇥
Submitted By: Robin Lane
Now that Republicans in Congress appear to have at least temporarily abandoned their crusade against the Affordable Care Act, it seems like a good time for lawmakers to come up with plans to fulfill their promises to increase access to health care and to lower costs.
Let’s stipulate up front that congressional leaders and President Trump are unlikely to lead that effort, given that they narrowly failed to take health insurance away from millions of people. This conversation would need to be led by senators who have committed to a bipartisan approach, and by state governments, some of which have already begun to take action.
One option that appears to have gained support among the public is a single-payer system, which proponents like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren call “Medicare for All.” A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found in June that 53 percent of Americans favor such a system.
Single-payer advocates point out that the United States is the only advanced nation without universal health care, which is true. Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland have achieved universal coverage and affordable health care with, essentially, more comprehensive and generous forms of Obamacare that require people to buy insurance, tightly regulate insurers and provide subsidies to the poor and middle class.
State and federal lawmakers are exploring ways to increase coverage and lower costs. For example, the Nevada Legislature passed a bill in June that would have allowed people who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid to buy into that program.
Another approach would be to let people buy into Medicare at some point before they become eligible for the program at age 65.
The Republican campaign to repeal Obamacare, for all its waste of time and energy, has at least gotten people to talk seriously about proposals to improve the health care system.
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