3.20.19 / Updates

Trahan Must Keep Promise To Protect ACA, Not Repeal It With Medicare For All

Trahan Must Keep Promise To Protect ACA, Not Repeal It With Medicare For All
Medicare For All-Style Proposals Would Repeal ACA, Replace With One-Size-Fits-All Health Care

As the nation marks the ninth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, some Members of Congress are promoting Medicare for all legislation that repeals the law and replaces it with a one-size-fits-all government-run health care system.

But Representative Lori Trahan (MA-03) has promised to protect and build upon the ACA, acknowledging that while our current health care system isn’t perfect and more should be done to reduce costs and extend affordable coverage, the best approach is to build on the progress we have made, strengthen what is working and come together to fix what is broken.

During the 2018 campaign, Trahan said “[w]e need more leaders in Washington who will fight to preserve and strengthen the ACA, make coverage more affordable, and ensure access to care for those with preexisting conditions,” according to the North Andover Patch.

And while so-called “buy-in” and public options have been suggested by some as a “more moderate” approach, there is growing acknowledgement that such Medicare for all-style plans represent “stepping stones to single payer,”  as The Wall Street Journal recently reported.  In fact, a U.S. Senator who supports buy-in recently admitted it would bring about the “death” of employer-provided and other private coverage and serve as an “on ramp to a single-payer system.”

Meanwhile, two separate studies released within the last week show that buy-in and public option proposals would have a harmful effect on hospitals and patients.

  • study released Monday by Navigant looked at various Medicare for all-style proposals including buy-in, and found they could force hospitals to limit the care they provide, drive significant “layoffs” and potentially force the closure of essential hospitals.” 
  • A separate study by KNG Health Consulting released last week found that in Massachusetts alone, hospitals would face a $10.5 billion cut over ten years under a buy-in proposal.  It says: “For hospitals, the introduction of a public plan that reimburses providers using Medicare rates would compound financial stresses they are already facing, potentially impacting access to care and provider quality.  CBO projects that between 40 and 50 percent of hospitals could have negative margins by 2025 under current law,” and a buy-in plan “would be expected to increase the number of hospitals with negative margins.”

Those findings serve as a powerful reminder that a Medicare for all-style proposal – whether it is called Medicare for all, Medicare buy-in, single-payer or a public option – would ultimately eliminate the Affordable Care Act in favor of a one-size-fits-all government-run system, harming patients in the process.

Importantly, public opinion research shows that the American people do not support Medicare for all once they learn what it means.  A recent national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that “net favorability drops as low as -44 percentage points when people hear the argument that this would lead to delays in some people getting some medical tests and treatments.  Net favorability 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).”

Not only that, two separate independent analyses have put the cost for Medicare for all at $32 trillion, a price tag the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found would increase federal spending by 60 percent and require the equivalent of tripling payroll taxes or more than doubling all other taxes.

Background Information:

Representative Lori Trahan (MA-03) Said, “I’m Hearing It Over And Over Again—Families In This District Are Worried About How They Are Going To Pay For Health Care … We Need More Leaders In Washington Who Will Fight To Preserve And Strengthen The ACA, Make Coverage More Affordable, And Ensure Access To Care For Those With Preexisting Conditions.” (“Officials Tout Benefits Of Affordable Healthcare Act,” North Andover Patch, 10/16/18)

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