This commentary appeared in Maclean's Magazine

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Bernie Sanders made a splash last week when he introduced the Medicare for All bill in the United States Senate, flanked by 16 other Democratic senators who all pledged their support for the implementation of single-payer healthcare in the United States. Given the multiple fault lines in health policy in Washington—including within the Democratic Party—that show of support seems like a major feat on its own. But the grander task, critics say, will be figuring out how to pay for it. And despite Sanders’s financing proposals, without those details, they say, Medicare for All remains a pipe dream.

But the proposal itself would deliver a national health insurance program for the 21st century. Its coverage would extend not only to doctors and hospitals, but also to essential prescription medicines, mental health and addictions services, and dental care. It would cover every single resident of the U.S., regardless of immigration status. The bill creates the infrastructure for a renewed focus on primary care, and a more rigorous approach to quality guidelines to ensure that the best possible care is consistently available to everyone.

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Andrew Boozary is a resident physician at the University of Toronto.

Danielle Martin, who has endorsed Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All plan in the U.S., is a family physician, the vice-president of medical affairs and health-system solutions at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, and an expert advisor with

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