Americans' health and well-being would benefit from a complete expansion of Medicare, essentially eliminating the "wasteful" private insurance industry, according to a new study from the Physicians for a National Health Program.
What's more, expanding Medicare to cover every individual would save billions of dollars each year. Study author Gerald Friedman, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, estimated a Medicare-for-all plan could save $592 billion next year.
"Paradoxically, by expanding Medicare to everyone we'd end up saving billions of dollars annually," Friedman wrote. "We'd be safeguarding Medicare's fiscal integrity while enhancing the nation's health for the long term."
Friedman concluded if HR 676, a bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) that would establish a national single-payer system by expanding Medicare, became law, it would save $476 billion in administrative waste found within the private insurance industry.
"Nearly five decades after its enactment, here's what we know: Medicare saves money by eliminating all the waste associated with the for-profit insurance industry," Conyers and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman wrote in a Huffington Post blog post.
The savings would translate to "truly universal coverage, improved benefits and the elimination of premiums, co-payments and deductibles, which are major barriers to people seeking care," Friedman said.
Plus, Conyers and Weissman added, "Americans would never have to fight with their insurance company ever again."