July 17, 2019 | Updates

ICYMI: Biden Proposal ‘Would Cause Premiums For Private Insurance To Skyrocket’

WASHINGTON – As former Vice President Joe Biden continues to face difficult questions about the implications his proposed government insurance system would have on patients and health care consumers, Dr. Scott Atlas of Stanford University explains in The Wall Street Journal that such a system would raise costs for families and “mainly erode, or ‘crowd out,’ private insurance, rather than provide coverage to the uninsured.” He writes:

The public option would cause premiums for private insurance to skyrocket because of underpayment by government insurance compared with costs for services …  A single-payer option is not a moderate, compromise proposal. Its inevitable consequence is the death of affordable private insurance.  Even Democratic presidential candidates calling for “a public option” openly admitted in the recent debate that it would inevitably lead to a single-payer-dominated system. And although Medicare is popular, it is already unsustainable even without expanding it to everyone.  As the population ages, the taxpayer base financing Medicare is dramatically shrinking.  Nearly four million Americans turn 65 annually; by 2040, that population will reach 87 million, twice what it was in 2012. Medicare’s Hospitalization Insurance fund will be depleted in 2026, the Medicare trustees predict … Massive taxation would be needed to expand Medicare, whether optionally or not.

Bloomberg reports that Biden has “not yet said how the costs and benefits of the public option would stack up to existing private insurance plans, nor how he’d ensure that existing plans would be kept in place even as a public option would change the insurance marketplace.” And CNN reports that Biden “leaves unclear some important details about how it would work, including how the plan would be administered and the rates at which doctors and hospitals would be paid — which plays a crucial role in determining which health care providers would accept patients enrolled in the public option.”

Meanwhile, NBC News reporter Jonathan Allen reminded viewers that “[t]he public option is essentially a back door to Medicare for all.  You can say all day long if you want it’s not Medicare for all.  But this is a different packaging of how to get there. In a general election, that’s a different question.”

A recent study found that government insurance systems like the one Biden proposes could force hospitals to limit the care they provide, produce significant “layoffs” and “potentially force the closure of essential hospitals.” Another study found that “[f]or 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.”

  • To read Atlas’s full piece at The Wall Street JournalCLICK HERE.



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