Breaking Down the Medicare for All Plan

Written by 
Leila Abbas, APN
Reviewed by 
Mary Beth Kacyn, LCSW
Article at a glance
  • Medicare for All is essentially a single-payer healthcare system that implements universal healthcare for every United States (U.S.) citizen. To learn more about the Medicare for All plan, read this section.
  • This proposed healthcare program would include many changes. To learn more about what services are included within this plan, how it’s being funded, and how citizens would enroll, read this section.
Medicare for all

What is “Medicare for All”?

Once the plan’s basics are understood, it’s essential to break down each part of this single-payer health care system to get a comprehensive overview of how it functions. 

What kinds of services are covered? 

Within this universal, national health insurance program, all health care services are covered including prescription drug coverage. This means that health care costs are negligible when it comes to out-of-pocket costs or fees. At a glance, services include:

  • Hospital Inpatient & Outpatient Services

  • Ambulatory Services

  • Primary & Preventive Care Measures

  • Prescription Drugs

  • Medical Equipment

  • Mental Health Treatment

  • Substance Abuse Treatment

  • Lab & Diagnostic Services

  • Reproductive & maternity Care

  • Newborn & Pediatric Care

  • Dental Services

  • Hearing Services

  • Vision Services

  • Short-term Rehabilitation

  • Emergency Care

  • Home or Community-Based Long-term Care

Under Medicare for All, the Hyde Amendment would be eliminated, allowing the government to fund treatments such as abortion. Furthermore, transportation for disabled or low-income persons would also be provided if further assistance is needed to access care.

Prescription Drugs

What kind of providers are covered?

The Medicare for All act encourages patients to select any provider they choose. Within the act, a patient’s unrestricted ability to choose who they receive care from is referred to as the freedom of choice.”

If implemented, could private insurance still be purchased?

The overall goal when implementing Medicare for All is to eventually eliminate private insurance altogether. However, during the two-year transitionary period, private insurance will still be available. Once the transitionary period ends, patients are allowed to enter into direct-pay private contracts.

Medicare benifits

How will we transition into this healthcare plan?

The healthcare plan will take track of transitioning through a two-year enactment period. For the general public, the plan’s full benefits will take effect two full years after the Medicare for All enactment date. However, coverage will begin one year after the enactment date for those that are 18 years or younger, 55 years or older, or are already enrolled in Medicare. During the two-year transition period, any individual is welcome to continue receiving coverage through private health insurance companies or other options.

Will people be able to opt-out of this healthcare plan?

No, however, individuals may still enter into direct-pay private contracts after the transition period is over. That being said, the bill states that with all U.S. citizens being covered under the plan for universal healthcare, no person is able to opt-out of paying the taxes necessary to finance the plan.

How will Medicare for All affect healthcare providers?

The salaries of healthcare providers will be switched to a schedule arranged by the Health & Human Services department. In addition to this, national standards would be put in place to ensure providers are unable to charge patients with extra fees.

How much will the plan cost?

For patients, there would be no out-of-pocket costs for their health care. However, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid estimated that, as a country, the plan would cost $47 trillion over a ten-year period.

How is the plan funded?

Many options have been discussed such as payroll taxes, increased taxes on high-income individuals, and/​or fees on major financial institutions. However, at this time, no option has been set in stone for funding.

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