December 20, 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:

Last night’s presidential debate “highlighted yet again the unaffordable costs and harmful consequences American families would face under new government-controlled health insurance systems … No matter the name, Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in or the public option would all lead to the same one-size-fits-all government health insurance system that would cause American families to pay more to wait longer for worse care,” said Lauren Crawford Shaver, executive director of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future in a statement

Americans also heard a markedly different conversation over proposals for one-size-fits-all new government health insurance systems – like Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in and the public option – than they had at the start of the year.  Medicare for All – which began the year as a “litmus test” for presidential hopefuls – has become increasingly unpopular as voters learn of the higher taxes, longer wait times and lower of quality of care that would result.  Prior to the debate, the Partnership released a memo outlining the shifting health care conversation as well as the unaffordable risks and negative consequences associated with new government-controlled health insurance systems.

In April, 14 Senators, including four running for president, had signed onto Senator Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) Medicare for All bill.  “But what seemed like a bold stroke for the senators at the time would come back to haunt many of them … the health care debate this year has put the left on the defensive … The casualty list is extensive,” POLITICO reports.  As 2019 draws to a close, supporters of Medicare for all are “reeling after seeing the Democratic health care debate shift dramatically in their direction the past few years,” POLITICO adds.

Poll after poll helps explain why.  As voters learn about the unaffordable costs and negative consequences American families would face under proposed new government-controlled health insurance systems, support drops.  The same is true of so-called “moderate” alternatives – like Medicare buy-in and the public option – which would cause the same negative consequences over time as Medicare for All.  Recent national polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that support for the public option is declining.

And as some candidates tried to portray new government-controlled health insurance systems like Medicare buy-in and the public option as “moderate” alternatives to Medicare for All, the Partnership reminded Americans that these proposals would in fact lead to the same unaffordable costs and negative consequences as American families are forced into the same one-size-fits-all system controlled by politicians.  As The New York Times reported recently, the public option “could be plenty disruptive” and “tilt in the same direction” as Medicare for All.  This is backed up by the findings of a new study, conducted by FTI Consulting for the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, which reveals that the public option could eliminate consumer choice for millions of Americans and “eventually cause the elimination of all private plans in the individual market.” 

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that these one-size-fits-all government health insurance systems “would affect thousands of jobs nationwide.”

The Democrats’ health care plans vary widely in terms of the speed and scope with which they would affect health care industry jobs, but experts say every plan marks a substantial reconfiguring of one of the country’s biggest industry and thus all would affect thousands of jobs nationwide … Economists say the jobs impact of any shift away from private health care would be felt nationwide by hundreds of thousands of Americans … According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, nearly 386,000 Americans were employed by health and medical insurance carriers – but some analysts found the number of jobs lost from eliminating private insurance could be much higher.  Economists at the University of Michigan found in an analysis of Sanders’ Medicare for All bill that the jobs of nearly 747,000 health insurance industry workers, and an additional 1.06 million health insurance administrative staffers, would no longer be needed if Medicare for All became law.

And, new light is being cast on the negative economic effects new government-controlled health insurance systems would have on hardworking families in the early caucus state of Iowa, as “[n]early 17,000 Iowans are either directly employed by health insurance companies or employed in related jobs,” The Associated Press reports



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