Pete Buttigieg’s Plan To Expand Health Coverage

Following the recent democratic debates, Mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg has sparked conversations lately. The democratic debate found disagreements and controversy revolving around healthcare. 

drawing of a person walking down a road with 3 paths in arrows
Pete Buttigieg wants to create healthcare that provides people with the option of choosing private health insurance or government healthcare.

Very few wanted Medicare For All, while the majority thought it should be up to the people whether they wanted private or government health insurance. Buttigieg introduced a middle-ground approach, allowing people to opt into the government health insurance while allowing them to keep private plans. The main point was to give people an option.

Options

Buttigieg’s proposal would not force people into a government health plan. He prefers that it be an option for the public to enroll or not. The idea behind the options is that it would force private insurance companies to compete with the government plan on price and coverage, hopefully bringing down the costs. He puts a lot of emphasis on giving Americans their right to choose and trusting them to make the right choice for themselves. 

“For years, Washington politicians have allowed the pharmaceutical industry, giant insurance companies, and powerful hospital systems to profit off of people when they are at their sickest and most vulnerable,” he said. “My ‘Medicare for All Who Want It’ plan will create a health care system that puts power in the hands of each American.”

Promoting His Proposal

The mayor sponsored this proposal on Facebook saying, “Medicare for All Who Want It will create a public alternative, but unlike the Sanders-Elizabeth Warren vision, it doesn’t dictate to the American people and risk further polarizing them.” Another ad simply states, “I trust the American people to make their health care decisions for themselves.”

The Operation

The uninsured and low-income Americans who live in states without expanded Medicaid would be automatically enrolled in the government plan. Also, people with access to an employer’s plan would be able to join if that offered coverage is too expensive. 

Buttigieg’s government’s plan would cover all of the 10 essential health benefits, including emergency services, hospitalization, and maternity care, which are currently mandated by the ACA. The mayor also wants to boost federal subsidies by capping premiums at 8.5% of income, and the base of subsidies would be on the Gold Plan’s cost, rather than the Silver Plans. 

A slver key with a green tag on it that says "health"
“Hospitals, not patients, should bear the responsibility of verifying that their providers are included in their insurance networks, whether for private plans or public programs.”

One last thing that Buttigieg would like to include in his plan, is to get rid of “surprise” medical billing. This occurs often when patients visit a doctor or hospital only to receive a hefty bill in the mail because they were out of network. 

His game plan is to ensure that in-network hospitals be billed as just that–in-network. This is to be done even if the doctors and labs are out of network. “Hospitals, not patients, should bear the responsibility of verifying that their providers are included in their insurance networks, whether for private plans or public programs,” reads Buttigieg’s plan.

The mayor’s plan will cost about $1.5 trillion over 10 years, but he is hopeful that the American people will be happy with his proposal. The reason being that they will not be forced into government healthcare. The candidacy is still in its early stages, so only time will tell the future of America’s healthcare, under Buttigieg’s plan or another.

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