Medicare For All: The Challenges Ahead
By Rudi Mwongozi
In the event of Bernie Sanders actually receiving the democratic nomination (an uphill climb at this point) and him winning the election over Trump in 2020 (less of an uphill climb if he wins the nomination) do not expect that we will go directly to the implementation of a Medicare for all system in the first 100 days of his administration. First off if Mitch McConnell and the republicans retain control of the Senate it won't happen. Bernie Sanders would have to travel state to state and lobby for the people to elect a democratic senate to go with a democratic house of representatives (as he has vowed he would do). So electing Sanders as president won't be enough. The country will still need to vote in a democratic congress. And then you will still have a problem with some democrats like West Virginia's Joe Manchin and California's Diane Feinstein who have come out against single payer health care.
So unless a democratic nominated Bernie Sanders has very strong "coattails" and pulls in a democratic congress as he gets elected to the presidency you are looking at Bernie having a successful first two years in the presidency and that leading to the American people voting in a democratic congress in the 2022 midterm elections. Then if that takes place the work on the legislation to institute it would begin in earnest. So we are talking about the full four year presidential term at least before any Medicare for all system could be fully roled out and implemented.
In the meantime what? Well as corny as it sounds to some of my impatient comrades on the political "left" we may be looking at "strengthening the ACA" (Affordable Care Act aka "Obama Care") and/or a public option for people to retain their relationships with whichever insurance company they have a policy with or the policy their employers establish (if their employers offer health care coverage) partnered with a Medicaid like program for the very poor or the unemployed. This to prevent wholesale chaos and people being left completely without care.
Make no mistake... if Medicare For All were to prove successful it would effectively mean the end for private health insurance. Even rich people would opt for the government mandated Medicare for all because rich people didn't get rich by spending money they don't HAVE to spend. But there'll be no need to feel sorry for insurance companies. Like all successful industries they will just diversify. They will concentrate on selling life, auto, property/home and other modes of insurance.
But all this is to say if Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren manage to get elected to the presidency don't expect immediate implementation of Medicare For All. That would just be the beginning of the fight to get single payer health care and the health care as a right for ALL Americans established.