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Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand introducing the "Medicare for All Act of 2019" in April. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

One of the most important questions regarding a "Medicare for All" system in which private insurance disappears is how hospitals would be paid. The answer has huge implications, the NYT reports.

The big picture: Private insurance pays much higher rates for the same services than Medicare does. Hospitals say that's because Medicare underpays, so they must make up the difference through private insurance.

  • If Medicare for All pays higher rates than Medicare currently does, the price tag of the program balloons. But if it leaves rates unchanged, the impact on hospitals would be drastic.

Between the lines: We're paying a ton for hospital care, and reducing these costs is part of the point of Medicare for All.

  • But hospitals' finances vary significantly, and some hospitals — especially struggling rural ones — would quickly be forced to close, experts told the NYT. Others would lay off workers or end less-profitable services like mental health care.

The bottom line: While the current system is unsustainable, evidenced by ballooning hospital costs, instituting Medicare rates across the board would cause massive disruption. How it'd play out is hard to predict and sure to become part of a fierce political debate.

Go deeper: How your health care would change under "Medicare for All"

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
14 mins ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.

Ina Fried, author of Login
33 mins ago - Technology

Tech's race problem is all about power

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As problematic as the tech industry's diversity statistics are, activists say the focus on those numbers overlooks a more fundamental problem — one less about numbers than about power.

What they're saying: In tech, they argue, decision-making power remains largely concentrated in the hands of white men. The result is an industry whose products and working conditions belie the industry rhetoric about changing the world for the better.