These days almost everyone is talking about ‘Medicare for All’ proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. So many questions, so many doubts, and so little answers! And why wouldn’t it be? This plan impacts every aspect of the healthcare industry- doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and even the insurers. Well, the aim is to expand the coverage and reduce healthcare costs for the common people.
Till now no one has tried such cost containment strategies that are aggressive like those of Warren’s. Also, there is a chance of consequences if they slash the payment rates too low.
Is it all good?
Not everyone is happy about this arrangement as most experts are fearing that wringing such a vast amount of money from the system will ultimately have a massive impact on the quality of healthcare received by the people.
No more private insurance. Yes, you heard that right! According to Warren, it will not only relieve people from dealing with the complicated insurance processes but will also save billions of dollars previously spent on administrative expenses. No worrying about reaching your deductible or searching for doctors within your insurance network either. Also, no more premiums and hidden costs. Only comprehensive benefits for audio, visual, dental and even long term healthcare.
What about the doctors?
As per this proposed plan, there will be a drastic reduction in the payments.
- In general, doctors will be paid as per the prevailing Medicare rates. This is because this rate, on average, is way lower than the prices of the private insurances. Even the speciality doctors who tend to be a bit overpaid would get a reduced payment. Only the primary care physicians can expect an increased rate than what Medicare offers.
- Hospitals would be getting almost 110% of the prevailing Medicare rates, which will include the adjustments for teaching & rural hospitals too. Even then, the ultimate price will be lower than private insurance payments.
A major positive aspect of this plan is that healthcare providers won’t have to deal with insurers or worry about uninsured patients. As per Larry Levitt of Kaiser Family Foundation “The question, on everyone’s mind right now is that well enough hospitals, as well as doctors, come forward to provide quality healthcare?
Let’s take a look at the drugs!
Another thing bothering most people is the fact that the drug prices might plummet as a direct impact of this healthcare plan. To cope with this crisis, the government plans on negotiating with drug companies and penalizing them with additional taxes in case of refusals. According to this healthcare plan, no drug can be priced more than 110% of the average international price.
Warren even said that if the negotiations aren’t successful, the drug’s patent will be overridden and other companies will be allowed to manufacture it. In some exceptional cases, even the government might manufacture the drug to ensure lower rates and accessibility of all drugs.
Even though it might seem too impressive, most experts are fearing that such a less aggressive pricing strategy will discourage drug companies from innovating new cures which might affect the overall quality of healthcare.