What you need to know about Bernie’s single-payer system

Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his highly anticipated single-payer health care proposal, titled “Medicare for All.” The bill is unlikely to pass in this Republican-controlled Congress, but currently 16 Democratic senators support the measure. Plus, there are at least two other concepts Democrats are pitching to expand coverage, and likely more are on the way.

Medicare for All

The legislation pitched by Sanders would expand Medicare into a universal health care program guaranteeing insurance to all Americans, in what would create one of the nation’s largest and most ambitious social welfare initiatives.



What it would do

  • The Medicare for All bill would eliminate nearly all private health insurance in favor of a government-run system that ensures comprehensive coverage to every single individual through Medicare. In the first year, the eligibility age for Medicare would be lowered to 55, and those under 18 would immediately receive access to the program. Adults not currently eligible for Medicare would be phased in over four years.
  • The legislation proposes eliminating co-payments and granting all enrollees a generous and comprehensive set of benefits that includes coverage for everything from emergency surgery to mental health services to prescription drugs. The federal government would bear the cost of the program, which it would pay for through higher taxes.
  • Sanders has not said exactly what Medicare for All will cost or settled on language raising the taxes necessary to support a universal health care system. During his presidential campaign, Sanders pegged the cost of an earlier version of his proposal at $10.38 trillion over a decade. However, other analyses estimated a much steeper price…


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