Medicare Public Option Would Harm Rural Hospitals, Study Finds
August 14, 2019 – As many as 55 percent of rural hospitals – or 1,037 hospitals – would be at a high risk of closure under a Medicare public option, revealed a recent analysis conducted by Navigant Consulting on behalf of the Partnership for America’s Healthcare Future.
“Even those rural hospitals not at high risk of closure and the communities they serve face an increased threat,” the consulting firm stated. “The availability of a public option could negatively impact access to and quality of care through rural hospitals’ potential elimination of services and reduction of clinical and administrative staff, as well as damage the economic foundation of the communities these hospitals serve.”
In the analysis, Navigant tested three options for extending access to Medicare through public health exchanges: zero lives covered by employer-sponsored plans move to a public option, 25 percent of lives covered by employer-sponsored health plans move to the public option, and half of lives covered by employer-sponsored health plans move to the public option.