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Tue Apr 28, 2020, 02:39 PM

Sen. Sanders: Here's How to Cover Uninsured Americans During the Pandemic

Empowering Medicare to cover our health needs is comprehensive and cost-effective.

Our Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act is more comprehensive than Trump’s vague proposal and less expensive than the Democrats’ COBRA expansion.


04/28/2020 11:30 AM EDT


Allowing Medicare to cover out-of-pocket health care expenses during the pandemic isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s actually less expensive for taxpayers because, unlike COBRA, the government would not be covering the cost of expensive monthly premiums to insurance corporations.

The numbers make this clear. If 35 million Americans lose their employer-provided coverage, as estimated by Health Management Associates, subsidizing premiums to health insurance corporations through COBRA would cost $157 billion over four months, or as much as $472 billion over a year. And even then, these figures don’t include the outrageously high deductibles that many people would still have to pay. Meanwhile, the conservative Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that allowing Medicare to cover out-of-pocket expenses for everyone would cost around $150 billion over four months, or only $400 billion over a year. In other words, the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act provides comprehensive coverage to far more Americans while saving taxpayers money.

The American people deserve a health care response to the pandemic that’s simple, easy to understand and doesn’t require them to fill out complicated forms or deal with an already stressed bureaucracy in order to receive care. Under this proposal, everyone in the United States, regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status, would be able to walk into a doctor’s office to receive the care they need without worrying about the cost.

At a time when many American families are waiting hours in food lines and are often unable to afford groceries, whatever amount of money is left in their pocket must be saved for the basic needs of their families, not exorbitant health care bills. When so many of our people are struggling economically and are terrified by the possibility of becoming sick with the coronavirus, the government must take the burden of health care costs off the backs of working people. The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act would do just that.


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Reply Sen. Sanders: Here's How to Cover Uninsured Americans During the Pandemic (Original post)
Donkees Apr 2020 OP
genxlib Apr 2020 #1
Karadeniz Apr 2020 #2
Donkees Apr 2020 #3
Hortensis Apr 2020 #4

Response to Donkees (Original post)

Tue Apr 28, 2020, 02:55 PM

1. I'm all for Universal Healthcare

And, Medicare for All is one way to get there although I think there are many problems that would need to be navigated. Not the least of which is getting the country to agree to enact and accept it.

Having said all of that, I don't think now is a good time.

Don't get me wrong, a public health emergency makes it clearer than ever that it is needed. And public sentiment may even swing the right way to achieve it.

However, do we really want to try and absorb it at a time when there is unprecedented need? It seems like it could be overwhelmed logistically and financially in the face of millions of people getting sick at one time. That seem like a huge burden to put on a new endeavor and it risks a higher likelihood of failure . It smacks of bailing out the insurance companies during a time of high payouts only to have those companies come back in two years to pick up where they left off.

I liken it to being the guy that catches scalding pot when someone else drops it because it is too hot to handle.

Just my thoughts.

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Response to Donkees (Original post)

Tue Apr 28, 2020, 06:10 PM

2. I have NEVER heard of this act! News not talking about it. Terrible that this isn't offered.

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Response to Karadeniz (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 28, 2020, 06:26 PM

3. Sanders, Jayapal Unveil Emergency Legislation to Provide Health Care for All During Pandemic

Sanders, Jayapal Unveil Emergency Legislation to Provide Health Care for All During Pandemic
Friday, April 10, 2020

Burlington, April 10 — Amidst an unprecedented economic and public-health crisis, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) announced sweeping legislation today to guarantee health care for all Americans for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, authored by the two lawmakers, empowers Medicare to pay all of the costs of treatment for the uninsured, and cover all out-of-pocket costs for those with public or private insurance, for as long as this pandemic continues.

“During this unprecedented crisis, no one in America should delay seeking medical care because of the cost. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are only as safe as the least-insured among us,” said Sanders. “We have got to work together to make sure that anyone in America who is sick—regardless of their income or immigration status—can seek the medical treatment they need during this national emergency. With an estimated 35 million Americans in danger of losing their employer-provided health insurance over the coming weeks and months, this legislation is needed now more than ever.”

⬇️Read the legislative text here.

⬇️Read the bill summary here.


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Response to Donkees (Original post)

Wed Apr 29, 2020, 04:21 AM

4. The COBRA system exists mainly to provide insurance for

working people who've lost theirs. The Democratic house bill plans to keep laid-off and furloughed workers on their current health insurance plan at no extra cost to them. Costs are subsidized through COBRA, and all plans would be required by law to provide proper coverage for COVID-related costs.

Unlike COBRA, Medicare's not made for this. Medicare's for retired people who no longer have other insurance. It'd require rewriting the Medicare law to allow temporarily enrolling many tens of millions of working-age people. And it'd create vast complications with duplicate and changing insurances, sometimes requiring people to find new new doctors because theirs don't take Medicare patients.

Oh! -- and since Medicare alone is very inadequate to a medical emergency, like most on Medicare who can, many tens of millions would need to purchase additional policies to augment coverage, or in worst case find themselves with stacks of unpaid medical bills on their breakfast table. Maybe Sanders proposes increasing coverages and decreasing copays for COVID (hope so!) -- but that'd involve yet another complication.

I suspect Sanders is mainly just making a bid for attention by using his most popular catchword. With COBRA in place, Medicare is not needed and doesn't make sense.

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