An interesting article in Vox discusses Nevada’s plan to allow anyone to buy into Medicaid. The bill has passed the legislature and only awaits the signature (or veto) of the governor.
The main advantage of “Medicaid for all” is cost. Medicaid pays two-thirds of what Medicare does (about $6,000 per person on average), which brings it into line with what is for healthcare paid in Europe and Canada.
Medicaid and Medicare are similar programs in that they are publicly run and large, covering 62 million and 43 million Americans, respectively. They can use their large membership to negotiate lower prices with hospitals and doctors. Medicaid tends to have the lowest payment rates. On average, Medicaid pays 66 percent of what Medicare pays doctors.
In Nevada, Medicaid pays 81 percent of Medicare rates.
This is a solution to the central problem with health care in the US. It’s too damned expensive!
What’s more, the quality of care is indistinguishable from private health insurance:
Still, Medicaid enrollees generally report being relatively happy with their coverage. They look nearly identical to people with employer-sponsored coverage in surveys about how well they think their health plan works.
I wrote aboutMedicaid for all in a comment I posted to a diary a few weeks ago. I received responses saying that nothing would ever get passed because doctors and other health care providers wouldn’t go along. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Nevada. In fact, more than two-thirds of all doctors already accept Medicaid:
This has the advantage of keeping Medicaid a relatively low-cost program per person — but also the disadvantage of some doctors deciding not to accept Medicaid’s lower rates. A recent federal survey estimates that 68.9 percent of doctors are accepting new Medicaid patients, compared to 84.7 percent accepting new patients with private insurance.
If it were up to me, I’d have a national Medicaid for all program, financed through a tax on employers (they already pay for health insurance) plus a tax on the rich (there already is such a tax that helps pay for Obamacare) plus very affordable co-pays and deductibles. There would be an option of private insurance paid with non-tax deductible dollars for those who don’t want to be in the Medicaid system.