The Impact of Medicare for All on Patient Care

Steve Adubato talks with Heather Howard, Former NJ Health Commissioner and Lecturer, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and Internal Affairs, about what Medicare for All means for patient care and why it is important for everyone to have a form of health insurance.

1/11/2020 #330






"She's back by popular demand. She's Heather Howard, former State Commissioner of Health in New Jersey, and also a lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Good to see you Heather. Thanks Steve. You're the smartest person I know on healthcare. Which is a set up for the question... [laughter] Uh oh! Uh oh! Okay. Presidential thing going on? Okay, we don't know what's gonna happen. But I do know this. Medicare for All is being talked about a lot. What is it? What the heck does it cost? Well, we're... the number's as high as a trillion... I said it was a set up! [laughter] So everybody's talking about Medicare for All, which maybe isn't the right question to be talking about. What... What is the right question? I think we ought to be talking about cost. Because everybody in America is struggling with healthcare costs. Nobody thinks that we're getting the value we should be for what we're paying for our healthcare. Okay. So if Elizabeth Warren says, "Hey, Medicare for All? Just tax people who are the wealthiest. It will not affect the middle class." When you hear that, is there a part of you that goes, "Really?" Well there's two issues. One, it's, you know, easier said than done. Right? Go ahead. We can talk about... Or it would have been done? Can you imagine how...? The concern I have is, we haven't thought through the potential disruption. Right? It means... half of the country has health insurance through their employer. Yeah. What about if I have my private? You would be transitioned on to a Medicare plan. Would I be forced? Yes. Within a number of years. Yes. Is that why some say, "How about Medicare for those who want it?" Right. So you... some people say, "Well how about Medicare for all... for those who want to buy in?" I think... it all boils down to, do you think our current system is working? And we should just maybe patch it up where it's not? Or should we tear it down and start again? And you say? As an expert on the subject? Well, I think history has taught us that we get further when we build on what we have, and we move incrementally. I don't know that there's a public appetite to throw everything out. And is there gonna be a majority in the Senate to do so? You mean a majority of...? Of people who would support throwing the current system out What does the...? The president appears to say, President Trump, as we speak, appears to say, "Let's throw the whole thing out. Let's throw the Affordable Care Act..."