May 1, 2019 | Updates

CBO: Medicare For All ‘Could Adversely Affect Access To And Quality Of Care’

‘Substantial Uncertainty’ … ‘Increased Wait Times And Reduced Access To Care’ … ‘Participants Would Not Have A Choice Of Insurer Or Health Benefits’ … ‘Might Not Address The Needs Of Some People’ … ‘Would Probably Reduce The Amount Of Care Supplied’ … ‘Could Lead To A Shortage Of Providers, Longer Wait Times’


WASHINGTON – A new report released today by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is shedding additional light on the massive costs and substantial risks associated with Medicare for all.  When it comes to implementing a one-size-fits-all health care system run by Washington, their findings include:


  • “… [T]he way the system was implemented could cause substantial uncertainty for all participants. That uncertainty could arise from political and budgetary processes, for example, or from the responses of other participants in the system.”


  • ” The transition toward a single-payer system could be complicated, challenging, and potentially disruptive.”


  • Government spending on health care would increase substantially under a single-payer system…”


  • “…[W]ould significantly increase government spending and require substantial additional government resources.”


  • ” An expansion of insurance coverage under a single-payer system would increase the demand for care and put pressure on the available supply of care … If the number of providers was not sufficient to meet demand, patients might face increased wait times and reduced access to care.”


  • “Because the public plan would provide a specified set of health care services to everyone eligible,participants would not have a choice of insurer or health benefits. Compared with the options available under the current system, the benefits provided by the public plan might not address the needs of some people.”


  • “And, unlike a system with competing private insurers, the public plan might not be as quick to meet patients’ needs, such as covering new treatments.”


  • Decisions about which new treatments and technologies would be covered would have a significant effect on patients’ access to those innovations, as well as on the development of new treatments and technologies over time and the costs of the single-payer system.”


  • “Setting payment rates equal to Medicare FFS rates under a single-payer system would reduce the average payment rates most providers receive—often substantially. Such a reduction in provider payment rates would probably reduce the amount of care supplied and could also reduce the quality of care.”


  • “In addition to the short-term effects discussed above, changes in provider payment rates under the single-payer system could have longer-term effects on the supply of providers. If the average provider payment rate under a single-payer system was significantly lower than it currently is, fewer people might decide to enter the medical profession in the future. The number of hospitals and other health care facilities might also decline as a result of closures, and there might be less investment in new and existing facilities. That decline could lead to a shortage of providers, longer wait times, and changes in the quality of care, especially if patient demand increased substantially because many previously uninsured people received coverage and if previously insured people received more generous benefits.”


  • “Although such techniques could contain costs, increasing financial pressure for providers to lower their costs could adversely affect access to and quality of care by causing providers to supply less care to patients covered by the public plan. Less spending on medical services could also alter manufacturers’ incentive to develop new technologies or providers’ incentive to invest in capital, whichcould affect patients’ choices over the longer term.”


  • “Because health care spending in the United States currently accounts for about one-sixth of the nation’s gross domestic product, those changes could significantly affect the overall U.S. economy.”


  • Taxes that could finance a single-payer system include income taxes (both individual and corporate), payroll taxes, and consumption taxes, all of which have different implications for the progressivity of the financing system. A system financed by debt might require additional taxes in the future. The choice for policymakers between imposing taxes today versus boosting them in the future would shift the responsibility among different generations of taxpayers. The choice of tax structure would also have different implications for the labor supply and people’s consumption of goods and services, whichwould affect the overall economy.”


To read the CBO’s full report, CLICK HERE.


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