KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 – Bernie Sanders has announced a second run for the United States presidency as he seeks to campaign on universal health care by expanding Medicare to all Americans.
The independent Vermont senator, who joins a crowded field of contenders seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2020, will also reportedly propose aggressive government intervention to lower drug prices; paid family and medical leave; climate measures; and $15-an-hour minimum wage for all American workers among other things, according to The Washington Post.
“I’m running for president because the time is long overdue for the United States to join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all program,” Sanders tweeted.
Sanders plans to campaign for a single-payer “Medicare-for-all” system where every American will be enrolled in a government health insurance plan, as opposed to the current coverage by the federal health insurance programme for only those aged 65 and older.
In 2017, 16 Senate Democrats reportedly co-sponsored Sanders’ bill. The Washington Post reported that Medicare-for-all would provide health insurance to about 30 million Americans who lacked it, besides eliminating premiums (paid monthly to private insurers), co-pays (out-of-pocket cost that splits care prices with the insurer), and deductibles (annual out-of-pocket cost before insurance kicks in).
Sanders’ model proposes a single, nationally-run health insurance programme, doing away with private insurance plans, Medicaid, or other government health plans, according to Business Insider US. Under Medicare for All, a new tax would be created for both households and employers, while some existing taxes would be bumped up.
The Washington Post reported that single-payer advocates believe one government insurer would have sufficient bargaining power to lower costs, besides providing free health care to people who do not have coverage. But critics balk at the requirement of large new taxes and forcing almost half the country to switch from their private plans to a government insurer.