ICYMI: Physicians’ Group Warns Against ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Health Care
WASHINGTON – As the presidential primaries continue, one issue remains top of mind for voters: health care. And as some candidates call for one-size-fits-all new government health insurance systems, “[t]he president of the American Medical Association (AMA) criticized ‘Medicare for All’ as a ‘one-size-fits-all solution,’” The Hill reports.
“We just don’t think a one-size-fits-all solution works,” Dr. Patrice Harris told The Hill when asked about a Medicare for All, single-payer system. “And so, we believe that there should be choice for patient, choice for physician, and there should be a plurality of available options, but absolutely having a strong safety net,” she added in the interview at the group’s national advocacy conference in Washington … Many doctors worry that the payment rates under Medicare for All would be insufficient, given that Medicare currently pays lower rates than private insurance does.
They’re right. Medicare for All would mean 180 million Americans would lose their employer-provided health coverage and be forced into a one-size-fits-all new government health insurance system controlled by politicians. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), under a one-size-fits-all government health insurance system, “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.”
Studies and experts have also confirmed that Medicare for All would cause American families to pay more to wait longer for worse care.
- A study from the Urban Institute finds “that federal spending on health care would increase by roughly $34 trillion under a single-payer plan similar to Medicare for All,” CNN reports. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) finds that “fully offsetting the cost would require higher taxes on the middle class” and would “require the equivalent of tripling payroll taxes or more than doubling all other taxes.” Senator Sanders previously acknowledged that Americans making more than $29,000 per year would “pay more in taxes” for Medicare for All.
- A new issue brief from FTI Consulting also warns that one-size-fits-all Medicare for All “could have a significant negative impact on the adequacy of the country’s health care workforce, access to care, and, ultimately, patient outcomes.” According to the issue brief, “Medicare for All, when fully implemented, could result in a nationwide loss of 44,693 physicians by 2050 relative to current projections.” Under Medicare for All, “the number of registered nurse graduates will decline by more than 25% and the entire nurse workforce will shrink by 1.2 million registered nurses by 2050 relative to current projections,” according to the issue brief.
- The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) also warns that a one-size-fits-all government-controlled health insurance system, would “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.” Recently, the CBO added that “with increased wait times for appointments or elective surgeries, greater wait times at doctors’ offices and other medical facilities, or the need to travel greater distances to receive medical care. Some demand for care might be unmet.” Economists also warn that Medicare for All could threaten patients’ access to care, POLITICO reports.
And while some candidates try to paint other new government-controlled health insurance systems – such as the public option and Medicare buy-in – as “moderate” proposals, these would ultimately lead to the same one-size-fits-all system overtime. The New York Times reported recently that the public option “could be plenty disruptive” and “tilt in the same direction” as Medicare for All. And, as Eric Levitz of New York Magazine writes, the public option “would not allow all Americans to ‘keep their private insurance if they prefer it’” and “would guarantee massive disruptions to private coverage.”
- This is backed up by the findings of a study conducted by FTI Consulting for the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, which reveals the public option could eliminate consumer choice for millions of Americans and “eventually cause the elimination of all private plans in the individual market.”
- Meanwhile, a study conducted by KNG Health Consulting, LLC for the Partnership reveals that “Medicare for America,” another proposed new government-controlled health insurance system, could force one-third of American workers off of their current employer-provided health care coverage, also known as employer-sponsored insurance (ESI). And The Wall Street Journal reports that new government-controlled health insurance systems like the public option, Medicare buy-in and ‘Medicare for all who want it,’ represent “stepping stones to single payer.”