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Intelligence Squared debate: Replace private insurance with Medicare for all

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People hold signs that read Medicare for All and We Stand with Ilhan Omar.
Supporters cheer for Medicare for all at the conclusion of the Medicare for All Town Hall meeting at Sabathani Community Center in Minneapolis on July 18, 2019.
Caroline Yang for MPR

A new debate from the Intelligence Squared series.

One idea championed by many on the political left is “Medicare for All,” or a single-payer system, which would do away with private health insurance for most forms of care. Advocates of this plan promise that nationalizing health insurance will cut costs by reducing overhead and promote overall health by giving all Americans access to preventive health care.

Their opponents argue “Medicare for All” is a political non-starter that would force Americans off employer-based plans, reduce incentives for doctors and providers, increase bureaucracy and inefficiencies in the system, and lead to worse care overall, all the while inflating the already swelled federal deficit. 

The Intelligence Squared debate motion is,  “Replace Private Insurance with Medicare for All.”

FOR the motion:

Dr. Adam Gaffney, president, Physicians for a National Health Program.

“People are using GoFundMe to raise money for their medical care, even though they have health insurance. Medicare for All would solve these problems very quickly and very simply.”

Joseph Sanberg, co-founder, Aspiration & Chair, CalIEITC4Me.

“It's true that people used to be reasonably happy with their employer-based health insurance when they had employers. But as we increasingly move into an economy where people are reliant on freelancing work, the idea of employer-based health insurance seems antiquated, and it is.”

AGAINST the motion:

Sally Pipes, CEO & president, Pacific Research Institute.

“Long waits, high costs, poor outcomes: this is the harsh reality for millions of people around the world who are living under versions of Medicare for All.”

Nick Gillespie, editor-at-large, Reason.

“Medicare for All is going to kill innovation in the healthcare field. Everything that is good about healthcare is better now than it was 50 years ago because of innovation.”