May 24, 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:

At a “sparsely attended” hearing of the House Committee on the Budget about the consequences of one-size-fits-all government-run health care system, experts from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “testified thatMedicare for All is a heavy lift that would ‘require significant additional government resources,’” and “cautioned that the single-payer system may be slower to cover new treatments than private insurers and that lower payments to medical professionals could pose challenges for struggling hospitals,” POLITICO reports.

Leading up to the hearing, the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future issued a memo highlighting the negative consequences patients, families and taxpayers could experience under a one-size-fits-all system – including higher taxes, longer wait times, lower quality care and less choice and control as patients’ health care decisions are put in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.  The Partnership also released a statement reminding Americans that proposed new government insurance systems, such as so-called “buy-in” or “public option” schemes, represent a slippery slope to Medicare for all:

“As the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office recently warned, under such a system, Americans’ access to quality health care would be threatened, and patients could face longer wait times, less access to care, a shortage of medical professionals like doctors and nurses, and even hospital closures.  Not only that, a Medicare for all system would also cost American families trillions of dollars in higher taxes … And while so-called ‘buy-in’ or ‘public option’ schemes have been floated as a more ‘moderate’ alternative to Medicare for all, it is critical for Americans to understand that these new government insurance systems would expand at-risk public programs and are designed to be a slippery slope to a one-size-fits-all system run by the government that takes away consumers’ choices, threatens patients’ access to quality care and passes unaffordable costs on to taxpayers … We need to focus on improving and building upon what works in American health care, while coming together to fix what doesn’t.”

Both before and after this week’s hearing, Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) joined the growing list of Democrats pouring cold water over Medicare for all, reiterating that Medicare for all legislation is “not going anywhere,” while President Obama’s former budget chief Peter Orszag told CNBC that Medicare for all will “never be legislated, because the details are too hard.”

So, it’s no surprise that Medicare for all “is hitting serious obstacles in the U.S. House in the face of resistance from Democratic leaders concerned that replacing the private insurance system would generate backlash from voters who like their coverage … [T]he effort appears unlikely to go much further.  A bill sponsored by Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington State and 109 other Democrats hasn’t gained much support since its release in February,as Bloomberg reports.  As POLITICO notes, “House Democratic leaders, who worry Medicare for All could hurt the party with moderate voters, have allowed hearings on the plan, but they haven’t committed to floor votes.”



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