3.15.19 / Uncategorized

THE WEEKLY SCAN: Key Stories In The Debate On America’s Health Care Future

Good Friday afternoon, and welcome to the Weekly Scan.  Here are some of the key stories you may have missed this week in the debate on America’s health care future:

  • This week the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) released a joint study, which found that the Medicare for All-style proposal known as Medicare-X “would not only contribute to massive budget cuts to hospitals nationwide but would also jeopardize patients’ access to care … [and] would destabilize insurance markets and compound hospital expenses,” the Washington Examiner reported.
    • The study also found that improvements to our current health care system would result in roughly 9.1 million uninsured persons gaining health coverage, while in comparison Medicare-X would result in just 5.5 million gaining coverage.  In other words, more so than Medicare-X Choice, building upon our current system would increase access and coverage to nearly four million additional Americans.
    • As the AHA’s Tom Nickels told Modern Healthcare: “It is not practical to disrupt coverage provided through employer-sponsored plans that already cover more than 150 million Americans,” adding that a “‘Medicare for All’ approach would impede, not advance, our shared goals [of expanding coverage and reducing cost for all Americans].”
  • Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that the Medicare for All legislation introduced last month in the House “reflects the influence of hard-line liberal groups” and “would overhaul the U.S. health-care system so dramatically that summoning broad public support for it seems like a tall order.”  The Post goes on to note that the bill “would upend health coverage for tens of millions of Americans with workplace plans.”
  • After the “leader of one of the country’s largest insurers expressed openness this week to Medicare-for-all,” calling it “a great opportunity,” the “Partnership for America’s Health Care Future … pushed back,” as reported in The Washington Post:
    • “Facts show there simply aren’t circumstances under which a Medicare for All-style proposal represents a ‘great opportunity,’” Lauren Crawford Shaver, the Partnership’s Executive Director, said.  “Whether you call it Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in, a public option, or single-payer, it would lead to a one-size-fits-all government-run system.  It would disrupt Americans’ coverage including longer waits, lower the quality of care, force families to pay more, and threaten the Medicare program our seniors have been promised and rely on.  That does not represent a ‘great opportunity’ for America’s patients and families.”
  • And with the ninth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act coming up on March 23rd, POLITICO reports that in a new memo, the Partnership highlighted the significant progress our health care system has achieved in recent years, and encouraged leaders to “listen to what the American people told them at the ballot box last year: They want to protect and build upon what is working in our current health care system and come together to fix what is broken.”
    • “The anniversary (March 23rd) provides us with an important opportunity to reflect on the progress made to extend quality, affordable health care to millions of Americans.  That progress – and the opportunity to cover millions more by using the tools available to us under our current system – stands as a strong rebuke to those who advocate eliminating our entire health care system and starting from scratch with a one-size-fits-all government-run program, such as Medicare for All-style proposals that include so-called ‘buy-in’ or a public option as stepping stones to a single-payer system.  Every American deserves access to quality, affordable care – but our current health care system offers a better road map to achieving that goal than those proposals.  Our elected officials should listen to what the American people told them at the ballot box last year: They want to protect and build upon what is working in our current health care system and come together to fix what is broken,” the Partnership wrote.


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