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 Members of Congress and 2020 hopefuls continue to push for a one-size-fits-all Medicare for all system, a new national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that Americans want our elected leaders to focus instead on “targeted actions” to improve and build upon what is working and fix what isn’t. This includes most Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, who want “Congress to focus their efforts on improving and protecting the ACA.” Headlines like these should give pause to those who continue to push for a one-size-fits-all health care system:
- “Most Americans don’t want Congress to overhaul health care, despite ‘Medicare for All’ plans, GOP push to repeal Obamacare” – CNBC
- “Americans are more focused on health costs than Medicare-for-all, poll shows” – The Washington Post
- “Most Americans want lower health care costs, not ‘Medicare for All’ or Obamacare repeal” – CNN
Meanwhile, a report released this week by Medicare’s trustees is the latest reminder that Medicare is already at risk, with headlines like these raising further questions about proposals to extend the program, designed specifically for our nation’s seniors, to millions more Americans:
- “Medicare’s fiscal outlook deteriorates…” – The Washington Post
- “Trustees’ Report Paints Grim Picture Of Medicare’s Insolvency…” – Kaiser Health News
- “Medicare hospital fund reserves likely to be exhausted in 2026…” – Reuters
- “… Medicare Funds Face Insolvency …” – The New York Times
The trustees’ report comes on the heels of a New York Times report explaining why experts are becoming increasingly worried about the “violent upheaval” a one-size-fits-all health care system would cause the nation’s hospitals:
If Medicare for all abolished private insurance and reduced rates to Medicare levels – at least 40 percent lower, by one estimate – there would most likely be significant changes throughout the health care industry, which makes up 18 percent of the nation’s economy and is one of the nation’s largest employers. Some hospitals, especially struggling rural centers, would close virtually overnight, according to policy experts. Others, they say, would try to offset the steep cuts by laying off hundreds of thousands of workers and abandoning lower-paying services like mental health.
In USA Today, Lauren Crawford Shaver of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future explains that when it comes to making quality health care available to more Americans, “[t]here are reasonable solutions, and scrapping America’s entire health care system in the pursuit of a single, government-run health care program is not one of them.” She writes:
Estimates show that Medicare for All would cost around $32 trillion over 10 years, which the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget finds “would mean increasing federal spending by about 60%” and “require the equivalent of tripling payroll taxes or more than doubling all other taxes.” Americans can’t afford this and don’t support it. A recent national poll found that six in 10 Americans oppose Medicare for All once they learn it forces families to pay higher taxes. While more must be done to extend affordable coverage to more Americans, Medicare for All is not the way to achieve that. Let’s use the tools available within our existing system to control costs and expand access for millions of Americans.
And, as reports continue to lay bare the devastating effects Medicare for all would have on America’s hospitals, patients and taxpayers, the Partnership released a new web video – part of a national, six-figure public education effort – explaining how these one-size-fits all proposals are even worse than anticipated:
The bills would take trillions of dollars from our taxes and give it to political appointees to run our health care. Unaccountable to voters, these bureaucrats will have unchecked power to make decisions that impact you. Under these bills, government officials would control your health care coverage, from the doctor you see, to the benefits covered, even your reproductive health … These bills would take power out of the hands of patients and doctors and put it into the hands of the government, eliminating the current health care system, Medicare and Medicaid, in the process.