I have been practicing Internal Medicine in Lake County, Illinois for over 25 years. Every day I see patients who struggle to afford their healthcare. Every day I see seniors who take their medications every other day instead of daily or don’t take them at all because they can’t afford them. Every day they ask me if I can look at their formulary and find a less expensive medication. Some people have just Medicare A and B and forgo Medigap coverage, hoping they will stay healthy to avoid paying the 20% Medicare doesn’t cover. Some seniors switch to Medicare (Dis)Advantage plans because they promise lower cost and better coverage. All they are doing is further entrenching powerful private insurance companies into our Medicare system, and not eliminating the profiteering. Plus, patients are still limited to a network and therefore don’t have the freedom to choose any provider. There’s another group of Medicare patients who are fairly happy with what they have and are scared of losing it.
But both groups have the same questions: we’re afraid of the new Medicare For All bills. What’s in it for us? Will we pay more? Will we get dental and vision coverage? Will we lose some benefits? What about the donut hole?
The answer is it’s BETTER than your grandfather’s or even your Medicare. It’s New And Improved Medicare For All. It’s comprehensive care, given free at the point of service. It includes everything traditional Medicare includes now, but private insurance Medigap coverage is unnecessary because it covers 100%. And it eliminates the need for private insurance run Medicare (Dis)Advantage Plans. So, patients can go to any provider they choose. It will include everything covered now, plus long-term care, vision, and dental. There are no copays/deductibles/premiums. There’s no donut hole for medication!
Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. No more bandaids on our healthcare system. We need real reform. We need New And Improved Medicare For All.
Lisa M. Peck, MD has been practicing Internal Medicine in Lake County, Illinois for over 25 years; she is a steering committee member of the Illinois Chapter of Physicians For A National Health Program, Co-Organizer for Our Revolution Lake County and a member of Lakefront DSA