What is free health care? And, most importantly, where would the money come from to pay for medical expenses? To answer these questions, let’s first discuss the current Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how that has changed our health insurance policies.
ACA – Also Known as “Obamacare”
The Affordable Care Act got its nickname “Obamacare” because former president Barack Obama signed it into law. The plan was to make it so that all Americans could afford medical care. However, someone has to pay for those who can’t afford the insurance.
Private Health Insurance
Before the Affordable Care Act, people bought insurance through companies that offered different levels of coverage and cost.
Health care is a business, and a very profitable one at that, but to keep raking in its million-dollar profits, providers had to be competitive. This meant companies competed against each other for the best prices for their customers.
When President Donald Trump ran for office, he promised to get rid of “Obamacare” and replace it with a better system, but neither side has been able to agree on the changes. The system is still in place, though Trump was able to cancel specific aspects, such as the practice of fining people for not having it.
The 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls such as Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) want free health care, also known as Medicare-for-All. This is a very popular topic that has the country debating the value of such a system and the complications that would come with it.
Providing free health care for everyone in America sounds like a good idea, but those who oppose it see problems with the plan. For one thing, someone has to pay for it, which means taxpayers will have to foot the hefty bill. The cost is estimated at more than $30 trillion over the next 10 years, or $3 trillion per year. To put this into prospective, the country’s entire budget is $4 trillion a year.
Some fear the system would create more problems than it solves, leaving the insured with fewer choices on doctors, which hospitals to go to, and other treatment options. On the other hand, if Medicare-for-All is successful, then all Americans can have medical care regardless of their income.