WASHINGTON – As voters learn more about how the public option would put rural hospitals at risk, thanks to a new study from Navigant, voices throughout the nation are encouraging our leaders to improve and build upon what is working in health care and fix what isn’t, while opposing a one-size-fits-all government-run system that will force Americans to pay more to wait longer for worse care.

Kathy Keller, Democratic State Representative, Montana:

… Both the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and attempts replace it are being criticized from highly politicized points-of-view.  While the extreme ends of the political spectrum propose vastly opposing solutions for strengthening healthcare, as with most issues, what most Montanans and Americans would prefer lies somewhere in the middle.
 
… calls for a more government-controlled healthcare system are misguided as well.  A public option is simply the long road to Medicare-for-all, as a few of the Democratic presidential candidates have already conceded.  Either way, market-based plans and employer-sponsored coverage could struggle to compete under such a system, which could result in higher private plan premiums as well as diminished quality of care, fewer options and longer wait times for patients.
 
… We need to focus on ways in which we can build upon what successes we have seen under the ACA while addressing the issues that persist.  That is how to improve health care for all Americans.

Karen Kruse, Former Finance Director, Arizona Democratic Party, Arizona:

If we are really going to expand health care coverage to more Arizonans and Americans, the Democratic presidential candidates should focus on addressing the problems within the ACA and building upon the aspects that are currently working well – not introducing new plans that will undercut or destroy the ACA completely.  The most recent proposal came from Vice President Joe Biden, who’s health care proposal contains a number of key provisions that would help more Americans get covered and potentially lower health care costs.  The problem with it is that he also attempts to attract support from those calling for Medicare for All by including the public option.  This is a mistake if he truly wants to stabilize and strengthen the ACA.  A public option would cause premiums for private plans to increase and would work against protecting the ACA.  Most Americans want to fix the problems within the ACA so that it covers more people with high-quality, comprehensive health care.  If Democrats want a shot at taking back the presidency, focusing on practical solutions to address the state of health care in our country is a strong path to victory.

Otto Merida, Founder, Latin Chamber Of Commerce, Nevada:

Vice President Joe Biden’s health care proposal seems to take two steps forward, one step back. It offers some reasonable fixes that would do what most Americans want: build upon what is working in the Affordable Care Act while fixing what isn’t.  However, it also includes a public option, which seems to contradict any positive impact that these sounder policy recommendations would make.
 
… Some of Biden’s proposed solutions to strengthen the ACA could help expand health care coverage to more Americans, especially low-income households.  However, the mere mention of a public option throws into question the validity of his proposal, as a public option could result in higher taxes and increased premiums for private plans while potentially weakening access to quality care.
 
I believe Biden is sincere in his wish to protect and strengthen the ACA.  However, including a public option is not the way to do that.

Zana Bajric, Drake University Law Student, Iowa:

… Currently, we sit in a system where the free market and government programs work together to provide over 90 percent of Americans with quality health care coverage.
 
However, going down the road of a public option would undermine that progress and result in the very opposite of what we need to be doing, which is lowering costs and improving access.  Biden should stick to his guts and work to improve the ACA and the rest of our marketplace so that it works well for every Iowan.

Chucky Rosa, Non-Profit Public Speaker On Drug & Alcohol Abuse & Addiction, Chucky’s Fight, New Hampshire:

… Working together to make sure everyone receives necessary treatment should unite us, not divide.  As a country, we seem to rely too often on easy fixes.  Let me tell you, there is no such thing, which is why I pause every time I hear about single-payer proposals.  Further, I don’t feel it’s right to strip people from their private health insurance.  That’s not how our nation should define a successful approach to quality care.
 
… Let’s make the Affordable Care Act stronger so it covers more Americans.  We can do that by building on solutions like coverage of pre-existing conditions, expanding Medicaid in the states, and increasing federal subsidies for low-income Americans.

Susan Patow, Virginia:

The Affordable Care Act – shaped by differing opinions and bipartisan compromises – is not without faults.  But it’s working: Health insurance coverage has been expanded to those who had little or none.  It is embraced by patients and providers.  And, as Virginia attests, health care expenditure growth has been reduced.
 
Despite that remarkable success, many progressive presidential candidates have proposed a Medicare-for-All or a transition to a single-payer health care system.  Are these viable?
 
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s proposed health care plan, however, builds on the existing groundbreaking ACA legislation, with upsides for most Americans and few downsides for anyone other than very rich industry insiders.  One aspect of his plan is worrisome, though.  His “public option” for health insurance likely would lead to a Medicare-for-All or to a single-payer health care system and the unwinding of ACA.  That would be a mistake.  To maintain and improve American health care, we shouldn’t support a public option that puts the ACA at risk.

Brian Kingsolver, Iowa:

… Biden knows that Medicare for All would end the ACA and Medicare as we know it today.  But the public option he is proposing could end up causing the same ripple effect of single payer throughout the marketplace – negatively impacting premiums, access, and high-quality care options.  This is because Medicare already pays providers well below market rates, and any large expansion would undercut private insurance options which make up a bulk of the marketplace.
 
Some Iowans would inevitably sign up for the public option, but because of the artificially lower rates the premiums of everyone else would have to rise to offset it.  Iowa’s health care system would face even more cuts, and options would begin to disappear.  At the end of the day, we would be left with an unsustainable system … We need to fix health care costs, but it can’t be done with proposals that lead us down a road that’s unaffordable.

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