Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and other House members have reintroduced a federal bill that would expand Medicare to a universal, single-payer program, the Detroit Free Press reported. Is Medicare-for-all a reality or simply a dream by a few on the left?
The “expanded and improved Medicare” program would pay hospitals and providers a monthly lump-sum under a global budget to cover all operating expenses, according to the bill. It also would require for-profit hospitals to convert to nonprofit entities, a move that could spark a constitutional battle.
The bill, which has been introduced each Congress since 2003, has little chance of winning approval. Even so, a group of 18,000 physicians are praising the “Medicare-for-all” legislation as a solution to ever-growing healthcare costs.
“Such a plan would save over $400 billion a year currently wasted on private-insurance-related bureaucracy, paperwork and marketing–money that should be used to care for patients,” internist and Physicians for a National Health Program President Andrew Coates said.
The nonprofit research and educational doctor organization also pointed to surveys showing a solid majority of physicians, as well two-thirds of the general public, favor a Medicare-for-all approach.
The proposal to expand and improve Medicare follows a warning from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Medicare could face a national crisis unless lawmakers overhaul the formula used to pay doctors, MedPAC Chief Glenn Hackbarth said.
Just last week, the House introduced bipartisan legislation that called for a permanent fix to yearly automatic Medicare cuts and would permanently repeal the SGR.