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Dr. Kevin Pham, a medical doctor, is a former graduate fellow in health policy at The Heritage Foundation.
With the debate over health care heating up again, Medicare for All once more is a hot topic. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has sponsored a new version of his Senate bill that promises to free Americans from health care concerns.
Core - Sanders - Bill - Restriction - Choice
But at the core of the Sanders bill is still the vast and fundamentally illiberal restriction on choice for both patients and providers.
One key provision of the bill would outlaw health care plans that duplicate coverage. Section 107 states bluntly that “it shall be unlawful for— (1) a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act.”
Words - Company - Employer - Health - Benefits
In other words, it will be expressly illegal for any private company or employer to provide health benefits that compete with the government.
The Sanders bill, however, is gracious enough to allow insurers or employers to provide any benefit not covered in the legislation.
Provision - Plans - Government - Coverage - Sale
This provision to outlaw private plans that duplicate government coverage, allowing only the sale of supplemental plans, is similar to Canadian Medicare, which covers all Canadian citizens.
In Canada, approximately 30 percent of health care spending is private spending, with 12.4 percent coming from private insurers. The Canadian system, however, does not include dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage that is part of the Medicare for All package. The Sanders bill would leave almost no room for the private sector at all.
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Where Canadian health care leaves significant room for private health care plans, Medicare for All would preclude a substantial amount of private coverage in America, leaving essentially cosmetic surgery and experimental drugs excluded by the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, per Section 203(b) of the bill.
Under this regime, the government would take near complete control...
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