In the middle of a vigorous argument over Medicare for All during the Democratic debate tonight, former Representative John Delaney pointed out the reason he doesn’t support moving all Americans onto Medicare: It generally pays doctors and hospitals less than private-insurance companies do.
Because of that, some have predicted that if private insurance ends, and Medicare for All becomes the law of the land, many hospitals will close, because they simply won’t be able to afford to stay open at Medicare’s rates. Fact-checkers have pointed out that while some hospitals would do worse under Medicare for All, some would do better. But Delaney insisted tonight that all the hospital administrators he’s spoken with have said they would close if they were paid at the Medicare rate for every bill.
Delaney also brought up another, less discussed fear about Medicare for All: that it will, in effect, set up a two-tiered system, one in which wealthy people can afford to go to the best doctors outside the insurance infrastructure, while others are funneled into the public system. “If you start under-paying all the health-care providers, you’re going to create a two-tier market where wealthy people buy their health care with cash,” he said, while people “like my dad, the union electrician,” will be “forced into an underfunded system.”