The president on Thursday outlined a vision for a Medicare-for-all healthcare system, which he said is a “one-stop shop for everything.”
“The American people need to have a single payer system that covers all Americans and covers their costs, not just the high-cost beneficiaries,” Obama said.
“We need to start from scratch, with a single system that delivers on the promise of Medicare-For-All.
It doesn’t have to be the same old system.
It’s a very different approach than we have in place now.”
While Obama did not directly address the health care system that Republicans have been pushing for in Congress, he said he was “excited” about what he called “a real opportunity to get this done.”
“I’m so excited to see the bipartisan support of our colleagues in the House of Representatives for single payers,” he said.
“And I’m also very hopeful that the Senate, the House, and our president can finally come together to pass a single-payer healthcare plan that’s right for our country and right for the American people.”
A Medicare-like system could eliminate a lot of the administrative costs that currently exist for private insurers, which are able to charge a premium for every person covered by a health plan, including for those on Medicare.
“I’ve always believed that health care is a right, and we should have access to it for all Americans,” Obama added.
“And so the first step is to get rid of all of the paperwork, all of these administrative costs.
It takes a lot to manage this system.
That’s one of the reasons why I think it’s so important that we have single pay the system, because it means the cost of health care for everybody is going to go down, and that’s a huge positive for the people.”
The president also talked about the “vast majority” of Americans who get their health insurance through their employers, saying they should be able to keep the same benefits and coverage as before.
“What I’m saying is that it’s not a coincidence that so many Americans who have employer-based health insurance have gone through the insurance exchanges, that so few of those who do have employer insurance have been able to get health insurance on their own,” he told the crowd.
“That’s because the vast majority of employers, for a variety of reasons, have said no to having their employees join the exchanges, and so, if you get health care through your employer, you have to pay more money than if you were insured by the government.”
The Democratic president also called on Congress to repeal the law’s mandate that most Americans purchase health insurance, which the administration says is not working.
“It’s time for Congress to end the mandate, and let the free market decide,” he declared.
“In fact, it’s time to let the markets decide if you’re sick, if your employer is paying you premiums, if they’re paying for health care that you need, or if you don’t need health care.”