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Medicare for All Offers Opportunity for Private Insurers

Don’t let private insurers fool you: electing a Democrat to replace Donald Trump next year will not lead to the end of private health insurance in America. Health insurance startup CEO Falviu Simihaian says expanding Medicare to all Americans would require expanding Medicare Advantage, the privately managed portion of Medicare:

By expanding the current Medicare system from 60 million beneficiaries today to 327 million, the Advantage market would grow nearly six times overnight. This growth would greatly benefit UnitedHealth, Humana, CVS Health, and other private insurance companies offering Advantage plans.

…Even if Sanders or another candidate supporting his plan of completely scrapping the current iteration of Medicare wins, Congress is unlikely to go along with such a radical change. The two sides would most likely meet in the middle, meaning a massive expansion of Medicare.

The reason many candidates prefer to expand Medicare instead of completely replacing it is that the program is incredibly popular—90% of seniors say they are satisfied with their current Medicare plans. While politicians publicly attack big health insurance companies and call for socialized medicine, they consistently tout the current Medicare system as one of the most successful programs ever enacted [Falviu Simihaian, “Private Insurers Are Afraid of Medicare for All. They Should Be Excited,” Fortune, 2019.06.05].

And remember: the people who are most satisfied with their health coverage are the 65-and-over set, who enjoy the federal government’s guarantee of affordable coverage through Medicare.


  1. Jenny 2019-07-05 14:33

    This is what Trumpians and people that are scared of socialized medicine (which is what Medicare is and that the elderly really like) don’t realize. If you don’t want a Medicare for All program, by all means you don’t have to be a part of it. If you want to stay with your overpriced private Health Insurance, you can. There will always be big Insurance, you actually think a multibillion dollar business will go away?
    Also, what the Trumpians and anti-Universal healthcare people don’t want to admit is that all the countries that have socialized medicine have the option of not being in the program. There are private health insurance companies in those countries that people can choose to be in. The thing is, that most people choose the govt healthcare because it’s more affordable they and are satisfied with it.

  2. Jenny 2019-07-05 14:40

    My dad once was looking over his Medicare bill and was expecting an expensive bill since he was so used to getting them from having overpriced premiums and deductibles to deal with all the years he was under 65. As he was looking at it, he realized he didn’t have to pay anything and was pleasantly surprised and said that is one good thing about being older, you definitely don’t get hit with huge bills like before.

  3. Porter Lansing 2019-07-05 15:40

    Repeat After Me, Republicans! Hear Me Now and Believe Me Later!
    Medicare For All Isn’t FREE STUFF! You’ll still need to buy Medicare Advantage, if you can afford it. If you CAN’T afford Medicare Advantage, you’ll be better off than you’d be with a high deductible, private plan or no insurance at all. If you CAN afford full, private coverage – congratulations. We’re going to make your policy less expensive whether you believe us or not.

  4. Eve Fisher 2019-07-05 16:46

    Back a while ago, I did the math on Medicare for all:
    The big argument against Medicare for All is that it would cost $2 trillion a year, and the government can’t afford that.
    EXCEPT: if every one of the 325.7 million people in America paid the $400.00 a month that Medicare Plan B, D, and supplemental cost (in total, BTW), that would be $1.5 trillion dollars going into the program each and every year. Add to that the 3% payroll deduction for Medicare Plan A (half from the employer, half from the employee) that everyone already pays, and you have another half a trillion dollars, for a total of $2 Trillion every year.
    So Medicare is affordable, sustainable, and will require private health insurance companies for the supplemental insurance and Plan D (prescriptions). It can be done. The GOP’s just doing their usual lying screaming hissy fits about anything that might help the rest of us.

  5. Debbo 2019-07-05 17:42

    Thanks for the clarity Eve, and everyone else. Being 66 means I’m on my 2nd year of Medicare and it’s sweet. I also have a supplemental that I pay $67/month for, not bad.

    One still has to check on coverage however. I nearly got stuck with an $850 bill for a simple procedure to see if I have uterine cancer. (Nada) Mostly the snafu was due to lousy communication on the part of Medicare, the supp company and the clinic. Many, many, many phone calls and a couple payments later the clinic forgave the billm but it was a giant PITA!

    Even with that . . . . . still better than pre Medicare.

  6. Eve Fisher 2019-07-05 17:46

    Debbo, you’re absolutely right about things being better with Medicare. For my last year on private health insurance, Dakotacare upped my premiums to $966.00 a month, knowing that I wouldn’t dare go looking for another carrier, nor ditch insurance entirely. And people wonder why we want Medicare for all! Because the private health insurance companies are so freaking greedy!

  7. Porter Lansing 2019-07-05 18:23

    Well done, Eve. MFA is a centrist position. It helps people and doesn’t cost much.
    * Republicans are stuck with Trump which means they’ve conceded the middle ground. Democrats would be foolish not to take it and beat them with it. Swing voters and No More Trumpers will abandon that leaky ship if we offer pragmatic solutions to America’s challenges. (Like the ones Cory proposes.)

  8. Debbo 2019-07-07 20:25

    “In his new book ‘People, Power and Profits ,’ [Nobel Prize winning economist and teacher at Columbia University, Josepgh] Stiglitz outlines his case for “progressive capitalism” in which government programs for health care, retirement and housing can compete against private sector options. He believes that greater competition made possible through the government will improve Americans’ quality of life.”

    Stieglitz uses the term, Progressive Capitalism. He says that, “Progressive capitalism is not anti-market. It reflects the a broad consensus that any successful economy needs a mix of markets, government, civil society and a variety of other institutional arrangements such as non-profit universities.”

    “What I emphasize is having a public option. The government wouldn’t be the only choice, but it would enrich private choices.

    “On health care, it’s clear that the private sector is failing to provide for the needs of large numbers who are uninsured or have costly medical expenses. With retirement, the idea is you can save more money through Social Security and get a commensurate increase in benefits.

    “These are three examples where a public option would enhance the ability of ordinary Americans to have a middle class life. A public option would provide competition to the private sector, encouraging them to provide better products at lower prices.”

  9. Debbo 2019-07-07 20:35

    One more healthcare item.

    Both parties, yes, even the GOP, want to pass drug price legislation because they’re afraid not doing anything will cost them in the 2020 election. It’s suspected that the GOP bill will be mere window dressing.

    House Democrats are pushing for a floor vote on authorizing Medicare to directly negotiate prescription drug prices. Legislation from Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, would empower the government to license generic competition if the manufacturer of a brand-name drug refuses to deal.

    Senate Republicans have said Medicare negotiations are a nonstarter and the administration has been opposed.

    Of course the GOP doesn’t like this. It would work.

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