August 13, 2019 | Updates

ICYMI: The Public Option Could Leave Rural Communities With No Option

WASHINGTON – In a new op-ed for The Hill, Lauren Crawford Shaver, executive director of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, warns of the risks to our nation’s already struggling rural hospitals under a new government insurance system called the public option.  Despite, being “deceptively sold as a less risky, more moderate alternative to Medicare for all … new study shows that in reality the public option could also be very damaging to our rural communities.”  She writes:

… The study, from Navigant Consulting, finds that under the public option, our nation’s already-struggling rural hospitals could face severe cuts that would put over half, or 1,037, of U.S. rural hospitals across 46 states “at high-risk of closure.”  Even rural communities’ whose hospitals are not at “high-risk” of closure could face diminished quality of and access to care as rural hospitals would be forced to make cuts.  This could lead to the “elimination of services and reduction of clinical and administrative staff, as well as damage the economic foundation of the communities these hospitals serve.”
… Not only could the public option harm rural communities, but it would also force all Americans to reckon with massive new costs, unaffordable tax increases and degradation of patients’ access to high-quality care under a system run completely by Washington bureaucrats.
… Survey data shows that voters prioritize improving our current health care system over the public option.  This point is reiterated by another poll which finds that the majority of Americans, including Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents, want our elected officials to build and improve upon on what’s working, and come together to fix what’s broken in health care.  Rather than promoting risky government insurance systems that could have profound negative impacts on our rural communities, our leaders should listen to the American people and advocate for real solutions to create a better health care future for all Americans.

The Partnership’s new op-ed follows last week’s release of a study from Navigant which finds that under the public option, “55 percent of rural hospitals could be at high risk of closing,” as The Washington Post reports.  As Becker’s Hospital Review notes, the study finds that the proposed government insurance system could “have a significant effect on rural hospital closures across the country.”

  • To read Lauren Crawford Shaver’s full op-ed, CLICK HERE.
  • To read Navigant’s findings, including state-by-state breakdowns, CLICK HERE.


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