South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg unveiled his latest healthcare plan this week, “Medicare for All Who Want It.”
The sweeping plan gives everyone the option of getting coverage through a public insurance alternative, while still giving individuals the option of maintaining a private insurance plan from their employer or the marketplace.
The plan, which a press release says is meant to “empower people,” also bans surprise medical billing. With Buttigieg intending to put a limit on out-of-pocket costs for seniors with Medicare, and also calls out health care providers for their role in driving up bills, capping out-of-network rates.
“Health care is a right, and the plan outlined here is an ambitious and enduring commitment to that basic truth. At the same time, it accounts for Americans’ freedom to choose what’s best for them and for the transition that individuals, families, businesses, and the economy will need to adjust to these changes,” the press release notes. “When the health of all Americans is the central force that drives our system, it will be Americans themselves who will move us in a better direction where health care is affordable and patients are healthier.”
The key focus of Buttigieg’s plan is to guarantee universal coverage and affordable healthcare through Medicare for All Who Want It.
Regardless of whether a person is currently uninsured or not, has insurance through their employer, is on Medicaid, or buys insurance on their own through the marketplace, Buttigeig’s plan offers an affordable public alternative, which he believes “will incentivize private insurers to compete on price and bring down costs. If private insurers are not able to offer something dramatically better, this public plan will create a natural glide-path to Medicare for All.”
Furthermore, lower-income residents in states who have previously refused to expand Medicaid will automatically be enrolled in the public option. Those who choose to not be covered through their employer due to expense will also be able to enroll in the public option and then be able to access income-based subsidies to help with the cost.
“The public alternative will provide the same essential health benefits as those currently available on the marketplaces and ensure that everyone has access to high-quality, comprehensive coverage,” the press release notes.
A big part of Mayor Pete’s plan is to also cap out-of-pocket costs.
Under Buttigieg’s plan, he intends to protect seniors on Medicare from high out-of-pocket costs by putting a limit on the amount, with even lower limits for low-income seniors
He also intends to target surprise billing for those patients who may receive care at an in-network hospital, only to be treated by an out-of-network physician.
“Health care in America has been a source of frustration and fear for too long,” the press release states. “By making care more affordable and available to everyone, we will finally put Americans back in charge of their own health care decisions and their own lives.”