Support for single-payer health insurance is growing, slowly but surely, yet many employers are taking little heed of the debate. Amy Evans, an employee benefit insurance expert, and attorney Christine Roberts contend on the Employee Benefits News website, though, that employers can’t afford to ignore it anymore. They enumerate several reasons you need to stay on top of the issue:
This is the precursor to a national conversation. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” message has propelled a social movement based on the idea that healthcare is a human right, and the healthcare delivery system should be a not-for-profit business. Legislators in California and New York are considering single-payer bills, prompted by uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act.
- Understanding the terminology is important. Evans and Roberts explain that single-payer, universal health care, and “Medicare for all” aren’t synonymous: “A single-payer plan creates one single source of payment to providers, typically through a state or federal program. Universal healthcare is a broader term for a program that makes some level of basic coverage available to everyone (likely through a government program), but also allows for private insurance. ‘Medicare for all’ is a type of universal plan in which the basic coverage would be provided by an expansion of the federal Medicare program, but would still allow for the purchase of private insurance, as it does currently.”
- A single-payer plan could affect much more than health insurance. The California plan, for example, would end the sale of private health insurance in the state. It also would make it illegal for physicians to privately provide any services covered by the state plan. The proposed plan encompasses dental, vision, long-term care, and workers’ compensation coverage, too.
- Financing is the biggest hurdle. Funding estimates for the California and New York proposals exceed the total annual state budgets. Both plans are likely to create major sticker shock for state residents and businesses.