March 7, 2020 | 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:

The unaffordable costs of one-size-fits-all new government health insurance systems – like Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in and the public option – continue to make headlines, as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) found that these new government health insurance systems “would significantly increase federal spending on health care,” and “would likely add to federal budget deficits.”  Similarly, a new report from the American Action Forum (AAF) found that a national version of Maryland’s All-Payer System would “cost taxpayers an extra $77 billion,” if it were expanded to every state.

This helps explain why some Democrats are sounding the alarm over the unaffordable risks of Medicare for All.  Representative Marc Veasey (D-TX) told The Washington Post that “union members also regularly express ‘worry and concern’ to him that Sanders’s Medicare-for-all proposal would take away health-care benefits they’ve negotiated hard to secure from their employers.”  And “[m]ost Senate Democratic challengers have already disavowed ‘Medicare for all,’ … saying instead that Congress should focus on improving the Affordable Care Act,” The New York Times reports.  That’s most likely because Medicare for All “risks antagonizing [a] critical Democratic bloc by promising to end their healthcare plans,” the Washington Examiner reports

… [P]olling among people with private coverage, particularly among those who get their coverage through work … show that most people with employer plans are happy with them — they also show that the public balks at the idea of gutting private insurance or the government becoming more involved in healthcare.  Those facts indicate that … the Democratic Party would be taking an enormous risk in campaigning on a platform that would end private plans.  Such a platform plank would endanger the votes of a bloc that is now critical to the party’s coalition, namely middle-class and professional, suburban voters who get coverage through their employers.

Meanwhile, new polling shows that “voters seem to be unclear about what [Medicare for All] would do, especially regarding the employer-provided insurance that already covers some of them,” Yahoo! Finance reports.  In fact, “[m]ajority support for Medicare for All flips to majority opposition — 58% — if people think it would eliminate private coverage.  And opposition rises to 70% if people think Medicare for All would lead to delays in care,” Axios reports.  “The bottom line is that voters have a poor understanding of Medicare for all, and those who understand it best don’t like it,” Yahoo! Finance adds.  As Lauren Crawford Shaver, the executive director for the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future explains in a recent interview with George Hansel, host of The Weekend on WKBK radio, “when you insert very factual, nonpolitical information that clarifies what it would mean for them, their support tends to drop.”

  • Previous polling has made this clear A national poll conducted last year by Kaiser revealed that support for Medicare for All “drops as low as -44 percentage points” when people find out it would “lead to delays in some people getting some medical tests and treatments,” and “is also negative if people hear it would threaten the current Medicare program (-28 percentage points), require most Americans to pay more in taxes (-23 percentage points), or eliminate private health insurance companies (-21 percentage points).”

And, to address misleading claims made by supporters of Medicare for All, the Partnership released a “Fact Check-Up” to correct common myths about the one-size-fits-all new government health insurance system.  The truth is, studies and experts agree that Medicare for All would force Americans to pay more to wait longer for worse care.


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