Medicare for All: Would It Work? And Who Would Pay?




U.S. Democratic presidential aspirants Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both proposed ambitious “Medicare for All” plans, where the government would provide free health care, eliminating most forms of private health insurance. Warren’s plan, which she detailed on November 1, is mostly about redistribution, taxing the rich and sparing the middle class, and savings in drug prices, health services and administrative costs. The Sanders plan, announced in April and detailed later, makes similar assumptions.


The big questions, of course, are around how realistic their assumptions are on new revenue sources and cost savings. Ezekiel (Zeke) Emanuel, Wharton professor of health care management and chair of the department of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, weighed the assumptions made by Warren’s Medicare for All proposal in a recent interview on the Wharton Business Daily radio show on SiriusXM. Emanuel helped craft the Affordable Care Act when he was special advisor for health policy in the Obama administration (January 2009-January 2011).


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