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Medicare for All is not the answer

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor

By Tommy White

Medicare for All or single payer insurance has become one of the most discussed issues by both politicians and pundits. The concept on a high level sounds good – everyone is insured and has access to medical care. However, when you break it down and take a closer look, the idea is not a good one.

Yes, every American should have access to affordable coverage and high-quality care, but we must be both cautious and creative at the same time in how this is achieved. Cautious that we don't create a fiscally unsustainable one-size-fits-all government-controlled health-care system. Medical decisions should always be in the hands of doctors and patients – not bureaucrats. Creative in our means of reducing out of pocket costs, increasing outreach and enrollment and protecting the benefits of those with pre-existing conditions.

Further, single-payer does not have a universal definition. Each person speaking about it defines it differently. And whereas supporters will claim large numbers of Americans support Medicare for All, what they don't say is that support drops considerably as more information is provided. Information such as MFA would lead to delays in care, would increase taxes – to a number or level no one can predict, would completely eliminate private and employee-sponsored insurance – not even a pretense of "if you like your plan, you can keep it" and that it would threaten the current Medicare program.

Instead of revamping the whole system, the concentration should be on improving what is currently in place – and generating more options. The needs of a millennial are different from the needs of the elderly. Just as there are different needs at different phases of life – there should be different health-care options available.

Approximately 10 years ago, we saw a need to make health care more accessible for our membership and their families. We opened a clinic specifically for the Laborers 872 and their families where the hours were flexible and quality care could be provided at little or no cost out-of-pocket. This led to the obvious result of our members having good care, but also reduced the number of work days being missed due to illness or inaccessibility of care and for the system as a whole, cut down on emergency room visits. Too often, people with no or inadequate health-care coverage use the ER as their primary care. This is costly for everyone!

We, at the Laborers 872, saw a need and provided a creative, cost-efficient option. We need our leaders and elected officials to now do the same for our country. 

Tommy White is the business manager and secretary-treasurer of Laborers Union Local 872.


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