Medicare for all: Not a program -- it’s a slogan

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By Merilee Dannemann

“Medicare for all” is not a program. It’s a slogan. We don’t know what it means until somebody defines it.

By itself, it is not a solution to America’s health care needs. 

Medicare for all was hotly debated during the recent Democratic presidential debate and will continue to be a major topic during the presidential primary season.

New Mexicans may want to consider what the effect would be in our state, especially since more than half of our population is covered by Medicare or Medicaid or both.

The version advocated by Sen. Bernie Sanders, as expressed in legislation he has already introduced, would make medical care free to everybody and would add services not currently covered, such as dental and vision care.

With this version, Americans would no longer pay insurance premiums but would pay for health care through taxes. 

TV commentators occasionally try to play “gotcha” with Sanders by asking him to “admit” that his proposal would cause a tax increase. Of course it would. We would be paying for health coverage through taxes rather than insurance premiums. The presumed tax increase would be a saving – perhaps a big one -- compared to the cost of insurance. I have found Sanders to be remarkably inept in trying to explain this very simple concept.

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