Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" push has upended Democratic politics almost as thoroughly as it would upend the health care system.

Why it matters: The coverage most of us are used to — private insurance through the workplace — would change or even disappear under Medicare for All. The only question Democrats are really debating is how far to go, and how quickly.

Driving the news: Sanders will introduce a new version of "Medicare for All" today that's even more ambitious than his last one — which was already more ambitious than any other health care system on Earth.

  • If something like Sanders’ bill did become law, it would “leapfrog the rest of the world,” as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt put it.
  • It would be the most robust system in the world, and one of the most centralized — a sea change from today's largely privatized patchwork.

What it would mean for you: Sanders’ plan would move almost everyone — whether you’re on Medicare or Medicaid, or buy insurance on your own through the Affordable Care Act, or get it through your job — into a single government-run program.

  • You could not keep your existing plan.
  • You could keep your doctor. When the Affordable Care Act made some people switch doctors, it's because they had to switch insurance plans, and each plan has its own network of doctors and hospitals. With a single national plan, though, there are no networks.
  • Coverage would be incredibly generous. Sanders' program would cover just about everything, including vision and dental, all with no premiums and no out-of-pocket costs (like copays and deductibles) — unlike today's private insurance.
  • Taxes would go up. A lot. That’s the tradeoff for eliminating premiums and deductibles. Sanders has not said which taxes he would raise.
  • Overall spending would be about the same as what we’re expected to spend under the status quo, according to multiple estimates. We'd just pay for it differently. Today's hodgepodge of premiums, copays and state and federal spending would all be rolled into one federal, taxpayer-funded program.

Yes, but: This is Sanders' plan as written. It would need several political miracles to pass, especially in this pure form. And even then, it would still need sustained political support to keep functioning the way Sanders intends.

The other side: The leading alternative to Sanders’ proposal, known as “Medicare for America,” would move more gradually and is not quite as robust as Sanders’ version — but would still be enormously different from what we have now.

How it works: A new public program would automatically absorb the uninsured, all newborns, and everyone on Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.

  • This version would be optional: Employers could keep offering coverage on their own, or pay to cover their workers through the public plan.
  • So your plan could change if your employer opted into the new system, and that means your doctor could, too. (Reminder: employers can already change their plans today.)
  • Over time, as more employers opt into the public system and people covered as newborns age into the workforce, “I think it’s a reasonable assumption that the employer market would deteriorate," Levitt said.
  • This new version of Medicare would still have a role for private insurers, similar to what Medicare has now. They could create their own networks of doctors and hospitals.
  • Your costs: Middle- and upper-income households would still need to pay a premium, and some out-of-pocket costs. Both would be capped based on income. This means the tax increases would likely be lower than Sanders’ plan.

The big picture: The U.S. health care system is by far the most expensive in the world, and yet despite that spending, we have worse health outcomes than similar countries. We're also an outlier among other rich countries because we don't guarantee coverage to everyone.

  • Sanders' plan to blow up that system is what forced the issue onto Democrats' front burner — and he's not looking to back down now on the specifics.

The bottom line: You might love the new system or you might hate it — but either way, "if you like your plan, you can keep it" is not a promise you're likely to hear from Sanders.

Go deeper

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.

Scoop: Trump tells confidants he plans to pardon Michael Flynn

Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

President Trump has told confidants he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: Sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said Flynn will be part of a series of pardons that Trump issues between now and when he leaves office.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
10 hours ago - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.