November 22, 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:

As some candidates tried to paint the public option as a “moderate” alternative to Medicare for All during this week’s debate, a new study released by FTI Consulting and the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future reveals that the public option could “eventually cause the elimination of all private plans in the individual market.”  As Lauren Crawford Shaver, executive director of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, explains in The Hill, “the public option would eliminate private coverage options through the marketplaces for millions of Americans ultimately leading to the same one-size-fits-all system controlled by politicians.”  She writes:

… The study … finds that the public option would cause millions of Americans to lose their current coverage and could result in the loss of all other private plans in the individual market.  According to the study, “[i]n the first year following introduction of the public option, over 130,000 Americans enrolled in ACA coverage would be forced off of their existing health plan.  Over a decade, up to two million enrollees could experience a loss of private coverage as insurers exit the marketplaces.”  At the end of that decade, over 7 million Americans would no longer have their private coverage through the marketplaces.

… The public option would also hit rural families – many of whom already find their access and quality of care at risk –especially hard. The new FTI study finds that rural patients “may find few, if any, options for private insurance in the marketplaces.  This in turn could create a ‘two-tier’ health system where employer-based insurance provides access to a different set of hospitals or services than could be accessed through the public option, exacerbating health disparities and harming the very population the ACA was designed to help.”

Prior to the debate, the Partnership released a new memo outlining the unaffordable costs and serious consequences American families would face under a new one-size-fits-all system controlled by politicians.  This comes after a new  analysis released by the American Action Forum (AAF), 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 another new analysis, the RAND Corporation finds that Medicare buy-in could “increase premiums for younger consumers on the individual market.”

As the higher taxes and harmful consequences of new government-controlled health insurance systems continue to be made clear to Americans, a national poll released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that “support for a public option is slipping,” POLITICO reports.  The poll also finds that Medicare for All “support wanes when voters hear trade-offs,” Becker’s Hospital Review adds.

And CNN reports on yet another analysis that reveals that Medicare for All “looks like a political loser.”

According to a new analysis of the 2018 midterm election results by Emory University Political Science professor Alan Abramowitz, Democrats who supported “Medicare for All” in the 60 closest House elections did significantly worse than those who did not.  In the districts Abramowitz examined – places President Donald Trump won in 2016 by less than 10 points that were either open seats or a Republican incumbent – just 42% of Democratic candidates who publicly supported Medicare for All won in 2018 while 72% of Democrats who did not support the legislation came out on top.

This helps explain why more and more Democrats are expressing real concerns about new government-controlled health insurance systems. This week, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said, “I don’t see Medicare for All being a political reality anytime in the future,” according to U.S. News & World Report.  Daschle’s comments come as a new study shows that a fully implemented Affordable Care Act (ACA) would lower health care costs and expand coverage to millions of Americans. 



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