What You Need to Know About Bernie Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ Plan

By Yuval Rosenberg and Michael Rainey, September 13, 2017

Protrait of Senator Bernie Sanders

Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

Obamacare may have survived the Republican attempts to repeal and replace it, but the battle over the future of the U.S. health care system is far from over. 

On Wednesday, liberal and conservative senators proposed “radically different”plans for overhauling American health care. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled a bill to turn Medicare into a national health insurance program covering every U.S. resident. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) offered up the GOP’s last hope of repealing Obamacare this year with a plan that would turn over control of health care markets to the states. 

One key point the two plans have in common: Neither has much chance at actually becoming the law of the land, at least for now.  

Nevertheless, the new proposals are valuable indicators of how the political landscape has shifted in just a few short years when it comes to fixing health care. Sanders has four of the Democratic Party’s leading 2020 presidential prospects — Sens. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren — cosponsoring his bill, and Democrats like Max Baucus, who opposed a single-payer system, now say it’s inevitable. “Single-payer universal health care — once cast as a radical daydream — has moved with staggering swiftness from purported fantasy to palpable possibility,” Harvard Medical School instructor Adam Gaffney, who runs a site called The Progressive Physician, writes in The Washington Post

Despite that momentum, there’s a huge obstacle that supporters of single-payer systems still have to address: how to pay for it.  

Sanders’ Medicare for All Act is nothing if not ambitious. Dave Weigel of The Washington Post says it “would revolutionize America’s health care system.” Here are some of its key features:

1. What would the plan do? 

2. How would it change Americans’ health care? 

3. What would it cost? And who would pay for it? 


Go to Federal Issues

Go to Home Page

Go to Top of Page