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Front Page - Friday, September 20, 2019

We like 'Medicare-for-all,' dislike 'national health plan'

Medicare-for-all is getting increasing traction as a campaign issue in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections.

But what does the term really mean?

“I think it means different things to different people, and there’s many different options that are out there,” says Andrew Scholnick, senior legislative representative at AARP. “Different candidates have proposed their own plans, and members of Congress have introduced different bills. So it’s hard to say definitively what it means.”

A Kaiser Family Foundation report from July found that people have different levels of support when it comes to expanding public health insurance programs, depending on what the program is called.

While 63% responded favorably to the terms “Medicare-for-all” and “universal health coverage,” fewer – 49% – liked the term “single-payer national health insurance system.” And 60% oppose a national health care plan.

“I think the important thing for Medicare beneficiaries right now is that no matter what, these are just ideas that are being discussed,” Scholnick says. “It does not affect Medicare for 2020.”

In fact, certified senior adviser with American Republic Insurance Services Cody Crumes says any changes would take years to implement.

“These changes that are going on right now for 2020 with Medicare, those were put into play a long time ago and now they’re just taking hold. And something like Medicare for all would likely take longer because it’d have to go through a lot of different channels,” Crumes says. “This is not just one change to the current model, saying that a couple of plans will not be able to be offered.

“That would be changing the whole system.”

— Hollie Deese