By John Perryman, M.D.
Northern Public Radio, September 26, 2019
Democratic presidential candidates offer two broad approaches to fixing our health care problems: a public option, where we have the ability to buy into Medicare, or Medicare for All, a broader approach in which all Americans are covered by an expanded Medicare plan. There are several factors to consider when evaluating these choices.
In regards to universal coverage, some public option plans achieve this, but some don’t. Medicare for All encompasses all of us.
Public option plans leave multiple payers in place, with varying levels of out of pocket expenses. Medicare for All eliminates these payments, removing any financial barrier to care, and the risk of medical bankruptcy.
The levels of coverage will vary among multiple payers in the public option plan. Medicare for All provides broad, comprehensive coverage for all medical, dental, prescription and long-term care needs.
Commercial insurers utilize networks that limit your choice of doctor or hospital. With Medicare for All, the country becomes your network. Proponents of the public option offer the choice of insurer as a benefit. As for me, I’d rather have my choice of doctors or hospitals.
Medicare for All provides the most robust means of bringing America’s health care costs down, by drastically reducing the high overhead seen with commercial insurers, and controlling drug prices by negotiating on behalf of the entire nation.
With Medicare for All, no one is ruined by health care costs, and no one dies from a lack of coverage. It is clearly the best policy choice.
I’m John Perryman and that’s my perspective.
Dr. John Perryman is a pediatrician in northern Illinois. He is co-president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) in northern Illinois and is also a member of the Wisconsin chapter.