Under the public option, Medicare buy-in and other similar one-size-fits-all proposals, American families would face the same consequences as they would under Medicare for All. Employer-provided coverage will be eroded by a new government health insurance system, so patients will see fewer and fewer options until only a one-size-fits-all government-controlled system remains.

What Are These Proposals?

  • The public option would create a new government-controlled health insurance system.
  • Medicare buy-in would allow any American regardless of age to purchase coverage through a new government-controlled Medicare system.
  • Medicare for America would enroll the uninsured, those in Medicaid and Obamacare plans, and all newborns into a new government-controlled Medicare system.
  • Medicare for All Who Want It would enroll the uninsured in a new government-controlled Medicare system and allow any insured American to buy into it.

What Does It Mean For Me And My Family?

Think these new government health insurance systems are different from Medicare for All?  Think again. Even supporters of the public option admit that it’s designed to lead to the elimination of choice and control Americans have today through competing private coverage options and result in a one-size-fits-all health insurance system run by politicians in Washington.

These new government-controlled health insurance systems are a slippery slope to a one-size-fits-all system run by politicians, where American families would feel the same consequences as they would under Medicare for All. 

  • It will take away the choice and control millions of Americans enjoy under our current health care system, where the free market and government programs work together to provide high-quality health care to more Americans than ever before.
    (KNG Health Consulting, LLC, 10/22/19; Gallup, 12/7/18)
  • It would force Americans off their current plan and into a one-size-fits-all government health insurance system run by politicians.
    (KNG Health Consulting, LLC, 10/22/19)
  • Under a one-size-fits-all government health insurance system, patients are likely to see longer wait times and a lower quality of care.
    (Congressional Budget Office, 5/1/19)
  • Expanding at-risk programs like Medicare before stabilizing them would threaten access to quality care for our nation’s seniors.
    (Modern Healthcare, 4/22/19)
  • And every American would have to pay more than double in income taxes to fund this $32 trillion system over a decade.
    (Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, 10/28/19)

What The Experts Are Saying

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that new government health insurance systems like the public option, Medicare buy-in and ‘Medicare for all who want it,’ represent “stepping stones to single payer.”  This fact has been acknowledged by journalists, analysts and Democratic presidential candidates:
  • NBC News reporter Jonathan Allen explained to 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.” (“Biden Releases Plan To Keep Obamacare,” YouTube, 7/15/19)
  • Dr. Scott Atlas of Stanford University explains, such a system would raise costs for families and “mainly erode, or ‘crowd out,’ private insurance, rather than provide coverage to the uninsured.” (Scott W. Atlas, “Public Option Kills Private Insurance,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/16/19)
  • “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 … Massive taxation would be needed to expand Medicare, whether optionally or not.” (Scott W. Atlas, “Public Option Kills Private Insurance,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/16/19)
  • The public option “could also lead to a 10 percent increase in premiums for the remaining pool of insured people.” (Reed Abelson, “How a Medicare Buy-In or Public Option Could Threaten Obamacare,” The New York Times, 7/29/19)
  • A study, conducted by Navigant for the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, finds that the public option could put more than 1,000 rural U.S. hospitals in 46 states “at high risk of closure.”  These hospitals serve more than 60 million Americans, and as Kaiser Health News and NPR report, hospital closures can have “profound social, emotional and medical consequences,” while RevCycleIntelligence also reports, “[p]atient access to care suffers when a rural hospital closes its doors for good, and consequently, patient outcomes can deteriorate.”
  • Another study by KNG Consulting 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.”
  • An earlier study by Navigant found that government-controlled health insurance systems such as “buy-in” or “public option” could force hospitals to limit the care they provide, produce significant “layoffs” and “potentially force the closure of essential hospitals.
  • “[A] government buy-in that attracted older Americans could indeed raise premiums for those who remained in the A.C.A. markets, especially if those consumers had high medical costs.” (Reed Abelson, “How a Medicare Buy-In or Public Option Could Threaten Obamacare,” The New York Times, 7/29/19)
  • “[A] government plan that attracted people with expensive conditions could prove costly.” (Reed Abelson, “How a Medicare Buy-In or Public Option Could Threaten Obamacare,” The New York Times, 7/29/19)
  • And a report found that an effort to implement the public option in Colorado, “could imperil thousands of jobs in the health-care industry or take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state’s economy.”  (Ed Sealover, “Colorado Public-Option Insurance Plan Could Cost Health-Care Jobs, Study Argues,” Denver Business Journal, 9/10/19)
  • Recent headlines and studies also warn about the severe consequences such a government-controlled health insurance system would have on American families’ access to quality care, particularly in rural communities:
  • The Gazette (Cedar Rapids): “Iowa’s rural hospitals could experience a loss of more than $476 million dollars under a public health insurance proposal, putting dozens at high risk for closure, according to an analysis … the analysis said those hospitals could be confronted with an even bigger detriment if a public option is implemented using Medicare reimbursement rates … If a public option plan would go into effect, the study found that between 25 and 52 of Iowa’s 90 rural hospitals would be at high financial risk for closure due to a loss of millions in revenue.”
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal: “[H]ospitals lose money on Medicare patients … But if more people were on Medicare, those losses could be unsustainable.  An industry group estimates that more than 50 percent of rural hospitals would face a high risk of closure if a public option were in place.”
  • Virginia Public Radio: “[A]s many as 10 rural hospitals in Virginia could close if the federal government starts offering a public option health plan – the kind of public option that’s now being talked about on the campaign trail by former Vice President Joe Biden and others.”


Videos
Key Numbers
10 Percent

That’s the increase in premiums Americans could expect to pay under the public option.

The New York Times

60 Million

the number of Americans who could lose their current hospital under a government-controlled system like the public option.

Navigant Health

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