May 29, 2019 | Updates

Experts Again Warn Of Harm To Hospitals & Patients Under Medicare For All

WASHINGTON – Experts are once again warning of the negative consequences America’s hospitals and patients could experience under a one-size-fits-all health care system, as POLITICO reports that a Medicare for all system “would all but end private insurance and regulate hospitals in a vastly different way, dramatically changing operators’ business model and costing community hospitals as much as $151 billion a year, according to one estimate published in JAMA,” all while “slashing hospitals’ pay rates and putting up to 1.5 million jobs at stake … It’s a concern that’s left Medicare for All advocates walking a fine line, arguing for a dramatic reshaping of the health system while trying to avoid a brawl with their hometown health systems.”

POLITICO’s report comes on the heels of dire predictions from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that the steep provider payment cuts of a one-size-fits-all health care system could cause a long-term shortage of health care professionals like doctors and nurses while “[t]he 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.”

Just weeks ago, The New York Times reported that experts are growing increasingly worried about the “violent upheaval” a one-size-fits-all health care system would cause the nation’s hospitals, cautioning: “Some hospitals, especially struggling rural centers, would close virtually overnight, according to policy experts.  Others, they say, would try to offset the steep cuts by laying off hundreds of thousands of workers and abandoning lower-paying services like mental health.”

Meanwhile, there is growing consensus that new government insurance systems – often known as “buy-in” or “public option” schemes – simply represent “stepping stones to single payer,”  as The Wall Street Journal recently reported.  It’s a fact acknowledged even by supporters of such plans, including one U.S. Senator who admitted it would bring about the “slow death” of employer-provided and other private coverage and serve as an “on ramp to a single-payer system.”

And recent studies have also laid bare the negative impacts a new government insurance system would have on providers and patients throughout the country:

  • One study, prepared by KNG Health Consulting for the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals, found that: “For hospitals, the introduction of a public plan that reimburses providers using Medicare rates would compound financial stresses they are already facing, potentially impacting access to care and provider quality.”
  • Another study, conducted by Navigant, found that government insurance systems such as “buy-in” or “public option” could force hospitals to limit the care they provide, produce significant “layoffs” and “potentially force the closure of essential hospitals.”



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