How to build a ‘Medicare for All’ plan

The idea of “Medicare for All” has been making headlines in recent months—but what exactly does it entail?

There are currently a number of different ideas being floated about how to set up such a system. For example, some proposals would make everyone eligible for Medicare, but some wouldn’t. Some proposals would eliminate private health coverage altogether, but some wouldn’t.

A New York Times article co-authored by Austin Frakt, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, offered opinions from health policy experts on the various options.

Most experts said they favor universal coverage. Most also said they would prefer to eliminate employer-based coverage but admitted that it would be politically infeasible. “It’s hard to turn around an ocean liner,” said Harvard Chan School’s John McDonough, professor of the practice of public health, who worked in the Senate on the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Asked whether Medicare for All should supplant individually purchased private coverage, such as those bought through the ACA marketplaces or Medicare Advantage, experts’ reaction was mixed. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and K.T. Li Professor of Global Health at Harvard Chan School, said one reason to have both public and private health insurance options is to provide choice. “For a country as large and diverse as ours, a single plan for all would be unworkable,” he said.

Read the New York Times article: Build Your Own ‘Medicare for All’ Plan. Beware: There Are Tough Choices.