Here’s how ‘Medicare for All’ would affect every part of the $3.5 trillion US healthcare system

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bernie sanders medicare for allDemocratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delivers remarks at a National Nurses United event to honor Medicare and Medicaid’s 50th anniversary on Capitol Hill in Washington July 30, 2015.Reuters/Gary Cameron
  • “Medicare for All” sound like a simple idea: Everyone in the US would receive comprehensive healthcare coverage from the government.
  • The reality of implementing that idea is far more complex. It would represent the biggest reshaping of the $3.5 trillion US healthcare system in more than half a century.
  • Though some specifics are missing on how Medicare for All would likely work, we can start gauging the effects some of the proposals could have on insurers, drug companies, employers, patients, providers and hospitals.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“Medicare for All” sound like a simple idea: Everyone in the US would receive comprehensive healthcare coverage from the government.

But the reality of implementing that idea, which has become a major focus of debate among the contenders to be the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is far more complex. It would represent the biggest reshaping of the $3.5 trillion US healthcare system in more than half a century.

The 2020 Democratic candidates for president all agree on creating a more robust healthcare safety net, but they disagree on how to do it. Those on the party’s left wing like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren envision a government-run insurance system where Americans get relatively comprehensive coverage, leaving little role for private insurance.

More moderate candidates like Beto O’Rourke and Joe Biden would preserve the current system, while expanding the availability of government-run public options and injecting more federal subsidies into the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act.

Candidates have proposed incremental or sweeping healthcare reform plans, but Sanders’ Medicare for All bill is the one that’s furthest along. Sanders has authored a bill which has 14 co-sponsors in the Senate, including fellow 2020 candidates Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. It would do away with private insurance insurance and provide care to everyone without costs such as co-pays or deductibles.

Sanders has proposed several different taxes to help pay for the plan.

There is a lot of speculation on what would happen to all the key players in the healthcare system if a single-payer plan such as Medicare for All gets passed. Though specifics are missing on how Medicare for All would be fully implemented, we can start gauging the effects some of the proposals could have, based on analysis from groups including the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, Mercatus Center, and Urban Institute.

Read on to see what Medicare for All would mean for every part of the US healthcare system: insurers, drug companies, employers, patients, providers and hospitals.

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