November 27, 2019 | Updates

ICYMI: Public Option Limits Patient Choice

WASHINGTON –  With proponents of Medicare for All scrambling as support for their one-size-fits-all system continues to fall, attention is turning to so-called “moderate” fallback proposals like the public option.  In a radio interview with KELA in Washington, Lauren Crawford Shaver, executive director of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, points out that the falsely deemed more “moderate” public option would “lead to the same one-size-fits-all government run care,” according to a new study

… The introduction of a public option which is the creation of a government-run separate plan and system has a lot of questions and what would it do? What would be the unintended consequences?  …  There are a lot of unanswered out there, but people are throwing it around as another plan, as another option.  And really what it is, is it does lead to the same one-size-fits-all government run care.  So, we released the study yesterday with our partner FTI Consulting and in it we found a few interesting things if you created a public option. One, you would create a two tier health system where employer sponsored insurance … would be through a different set of hospitals very different than those in the public program or public option. So, one thing that we pride ourselves in is that health care right now is something that once you have coverage, you have many choices in the system. This creates just a two-tier system. 

Second, we found … that would completely eliminate the private market over time.  It wouldn’t be tomorrow, but over time the private market would not be able to compete with these government programs.  So, what would that look like?  By 2028, 20 percent of state marketplaces would not offer a single private insurance option as a result of the introduction of the public option.  … Creating a public option actually eliminates options.  It means that the other plans can’t compete and they’re not going to be viable for people there.  In the first year of the introduction of the public option, 130,000 Americans enrolled in the Affordable Care Act coverage or those marketplaces would be forced off of the existing health plan because insurers would have to exit the marketplaces.  Over a decade, 10 years from now, that would mean two million people who get their coverage through the marketplace exchanges would lose their private coverage.  So, it’s a huge disrupter and in fact, the goal is to continue to gain coverage, get people access to other plans, you’re actually disrupting the market so much that people would actually lose their employer-sponsored insurance.

… I’ll tell you that no matter what you call it, Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in or the public option, they do all lead to a one-size-fits-all government-run care …  So, whether it’s something you choose now or something for a longer lead time, it puts the government in the middle of making your coverage decisions rather than the patient or the individual.

  • To listen to Lauren Crawford Shaver’s full interview, CLICK HERE
  • To read FTI Consulting’s findings, CLICK HERE



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