WASHINGTON – As 2020 presidential hopefuls prepare for this week’s Democratic debate, voices throughout the nation are encouraging elected officials to oppose a one-size-fits-all system that will force Americans to pay more to wait longer for worse care.
… [W]hether it is the public option … or a Medicare-for-all or Medicare buy-in approach … the fact remains that government-controlled health care will not yield greater cost savings and instead could end up threatening quality and access to care while increasing wait times, taxes and private plan premiums.
… [F]or rural hospitals and communities, these kinds of policies will make the challenges and obstacles they face even worse … Policies that would shrink payments to these hospitals—which is exactly what Medicare for all, Medicare buy-in, and even a public option, eventually, would do—will only make it that much harder for vital facilities like these to stay open in Alabama, in Nevada and across the country … Rapidly expanding at-risk programs like Medicare and Medicaid will only serve to contribute to the financial woes facing our rural health care facilities, expediting these closures and consolidations and further threatening access to care while forcing patients to travel further, wait longer distances, and pay more in order to receive a lower quality of health care.
… In order to address the problems in our health care system, we need to focus on building on what’s currently working and fixing—or eliminating—what isn’t. There are a number of practical policy changes that could help improve health care in America without resorting to a one-size-fits-all government insurance system—from expanding Medicaid in the states to increasing federal subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans to improving education and enrollment efforts.
… While a lot of the talking points are great on paper, that’s not how “Medicare for All” — or any other version of government-run health care, including Medicare “buy-in,” a public option, or single payer — would work in reality … Ultimately, someone will have to decide what treatments, procedures and prescriptions would have to decide what gets covered under Medicare for All and what doesn’t— no system is going to end health care rationing. Under Medicare for All or single payer, those decisions would be made by the ones financing the system — which would be the government.
… [A]s the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found, a Medicare for All system would cost roughly $30 trillion — requiring a 60% increase in federal spending and “the equivalent of tripling payroll taxes or more than doubling all other taxes.” Sounds a lot more serious when you put it that way, doesn’t it? There is no good way to finance a Medicare for All or single payer without levying significant tax increases on the middle class. Even proponents of these risky schemes have failed to produce credible financing mechanisms to fund them.
… [U]nder Medicare for All or single payer, Americans will have significantly fewer choices. As the Wall Street Journal points out, Medicare for All would eliminate all the choices currently available under Medicare. In fact, even the name Medicare for All is misleading at best and outright deceitful at worst as the program would actually abolish Medicare as we know it.
… As Dr. Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution wrote in the Wall Street Journal on July 19, the public option kills off private insurance. That’s because, to quote Dr. Atlas, “The public option would cause premiums for private insurance to skyrocket because of underpayment by government insurance compared with costs for service.” Thus, private insurance cannot compete.
… [S]ingle payer … is a relatively expensive system, with mediocre to poor outcomes. That includes unacceptable wait times before seeing a specialist and or a needed surgery; and an insufficient number of doctors, hospital beds and MRI units.
So while I agree that expanding and improving Obamacare is an important goal, exponents of “Medicare for all” are making pie-in-the-sky promises. I doubt that they will be able to deliver on those promises.