On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee set a hearing on “Medicare for All,” which, if passed, would shift the U.S. healthcare system to become entirely single-payer. The June 12 conversation is a big step forward for the proposal because it’s the first time a committee that actually has jurisdiction over healthcare issues will address it, The Hill reports.
The Pros and Cons of Medicare for All
Medicare for All, also referred to as universal healthcare, is controversial system that at its core is about whether healthcare is a human right. Proponents argue that everyone in the U.S. receiving health coverage is reason to do it in itself. People would no longer forgo preventative care because of the cost, which could lead to a healthier population. Opponents consistently call out the cost of Medicare for All on the taxpayer and insist that it would eliminate competition, which could reduce innovation in the healthcare sector, according to First Quote Health.
In addition, some research indicates that Medicare for All could lower the wages for healthcare professionals because private sector jobs tend to pay much better. Increased access to healthcare would also mean more patients and more work.
Where Do Healthcare Professionals Think?
As a result, healthcare professionals aren’t unified on the debate either. For example, National Nurses United regularly advocates for Medicare for All, but the American Medical Association’s official stance is that improving the Affordable Care Act is preferable to Medicare for All. The American Nurses Association doesn’t have an official position on Medicare for All, though it does support universal healthcare.
A recent poll from Medscape interviewed more than 1,300 physicians, nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, pharmacists, healthcare administrators and found that less than half of respondents are pro-Medicare for All.
- 49 percent of physicians agreed with Medicare for All
- 47 percent of nurses and APRNs agreed with Medicare for All
- 41 percent of healthcare administrators agreed with Medicare for All
- 40 percent of pharmacists agreed with Medicare for All
There were also interesting discrepancies in support within these groups by age and gender:
- 60 percent of male nurses support Medicare for All compared to 46 percent of female nurses
- 56 percent of nurses less than 45 years old agreed with Medicare for All compared to 41 percent of nurses 65 and older
- 54 percent of physicians less than 45 years old agreed with Medicare for All compared to 41 percent of physicians between 55 and 64 years old
The survey also addressed reasons for supporting and rejecting Medicare for All. The biggest challenge, according to the respondents, would be paying for it. Some 52 percent of physicians listed this as the top concern, along with 57 percent of nurses and APRNs, 64 percent of healthcare administrators and 59 percent of pharmacists.
Reduction in physician compensation was also another concern. About 59 percent of physicians, 51 of nurses and APRNs, 54 of pharmacists, and 59 of healthcare admins cited this as a worry.
What’s your take on Medicare for All?
House panel sets ‘Medicare for All’ hearing for next week, The Hill.
The Pros And Cons Of A Single-Payer Health Care System, First Quote Health.
How “Medicare for All” Bills Would Worsen the Doctor Shortage, The Heritage Foundation.
Healthcare Professionals Almost Equally Divided on Medicare for All, Poll Shows, Medscape.
Last updated on 10/3/19