5.17.19 / Updates

Rep. Shalala: ‘My Constituents … Want To Keep Their Private Health Insurance’

WASHINGTON – Appearing on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) explained that her constituents tell her they want to keep their private coverage, not be pushed into the one-size-fits-all government-run health care system known as “Medicare for all”:

REP. SHALALA: “…Out of my own experience and out of what my constituents tell me – they want to keep their private health insurance.  They do not necessarily want to go into a government program.  For those people who have very good private health insurance, they don’t want to go to a lesser program.  Medicare is not as good as many of the private insurance plans we currently have … But, more importantly, why should we spend money when people have good private health insurance?  We need to cover those who don’t have coverage now.”

In recent months, key Democrats have voiced their opposition to one-size-fits-all health care, and The Washington Post reports that Democratic leaders are worried by Medicare for all proposals, which “require middle class tax hikes that will prove hurtful for economic growth and the party’s political fortunes.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly expressed her objection to repealing the foundations of American health care – including employer-provided coverage, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicare and Medicaid – and starting over from scratch with Medicare for all, saying: “All I want is the goal of every American having access to health care … You don’t get there by dismantling the Affordable Care Act,” and exclaiming to Rolling Stone: “And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for?”

Recently, President Barack Obama “warned a group of freshman House Democrats … about the costs associated with some liberal ideas popular in their ranks, encouraging members to look at price tags” in what was seen as “a cautionary note about Medicare-for-all,” The Washington Post reports.

Meanwhile, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairwoman Rep. Cheri Bustos said to The Hill that “the $33 trillion price tag for Medicare for all is a little scary,” adding “it’s just hard to conceive how that would work,” and later doubled down on those remarks in an interview with CNN.  The Washington Examiner notes that “Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, also has drawn attention to the cost” of Medicare for all.

And in a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) wrote that “most Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive and do not want their coverage options taken away and replaced with a one-size-fits-all government program,” adding: “Championing a health-care policy that threatens to close rural hospitals and limit patients’ access to vital services is not a winning message.”

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