November 15, 2019 | Updates

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 in the debate on America’s health care future:

new report from the University of Virginia’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball finds that “the performance of 2018 Democratic House candidates shows that those who supported Medicare for All performed worse than those who did not,” and warns that “presidential candidates would do well to take heed of these results.” 

An analysis of the impact of Medicare for All on the 2018 House elections indicates that Democratic challengers and open seat candidates in competitive districts who endorsed a version of Medicare for All similar to that proposed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren did significantly worse than those who did not.  This negative effect, close to five points of margin after controlling for a variety of other factors, was clearly large enough to affect the outcomes of some House contests.

The report comes after a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Cook Political Report finds that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of swing voters in the key states of Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin rate Medicare for All as a “bad idea.”  In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports this week that in Michigan, “supporters of a single-payer health care system are finding a tough audience.”  They continue:

Union members in this labor stronghold state have expressed unease with Medicare for All, fearing they would lose health benefits that were hard-won over years of negotiations …A survey of 600 likely voters commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber this summer found that a majority opposed a Medicare for All proposal that would eliminate private health insurance, as proposed by Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders … Michigan illustrates the risk Democrats face in swing states.  The policy appeals to Democrats’ liberal base but is less popular with moderates, polls show.  

This helps explain why more Democrats are backing away from the new government-controlled health insurance system.  In a piece entitled “Senate Democrats skeptical of Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ push,” Roll Call reports that “Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s colleagues aren’t exactly jumping to voice support for her plan to finance ‘Medicare for All.’” 

… Warren’s proposal, which she spelled out under pressure from more moderate presidential candidates, did not appear to win over additional senators.  “Assuming Democrats control the Senate, I think that we would look to build on the Affordable Care Act so you would not have to deal with the financing that Sen. Warren’s proposed,” said Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Maryland, referring to the 2010 health care law.  Cardin has not signed on to the Sanders legislation.  “There are different ways to get at this issue,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, adding that he did not think eliminating private insurance under a single-payer plan would be the right approach.

new analysis from the American Action Forum finds that a new government-controlled health insurance system known as Medicare buy-in would cost an additional $184 billion that American families can’t afford.  Even worse, the new system would decrease provider access by nine percent and would lead to a four percent decrease in medical productivity.

And in a new blog post, Lauren Crawford Shaver, executive director of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, explains the consequences associated with these new government-controlled health insurance systems and urges our leaders to instead build on what’s working in health care: 

While Medicare for All would take that coverage away virtually overnight and place every American into a one-size-fits-all system that politicians control, other government run health care systems, like the public option would lead to the same result over time.  Studies show the public option could threaten patients’ access to quality care, even putting more than half of rural hospitals – serving over 60 million Americans – “at high-risk of closure.”  And economists warn that instead of controlling health care costs, the public option could mean higher taxes and cause premiums to “skyrocket.”  That’s why we should come together to build on what’s working and fix what isn’t, rather than forcing Americans to pay more and wait longer for worse care under a new government-controlled health insurance system like Medicare for All or the public option.



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