WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Americans Urge Elected Officials To Build On What Is Working, Reject One-Size-Fits-All Health Care
WASHINGTON – After candidates continued to call for new unaffordable government-controlled health insurance systems on last week’s debate stage, 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.
… Now, more than ever, farmers and ranchers have two major concerns related to health care: cost and access … According to a new Navigant study, offering a government insurance program reimbursing at Medicare rates as a public option on the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could place as many as 55% of rural hospitals, or 1,037 hospitals across 46 states, at high risk of closure across the country. Here in Iowa, a public option could put 58% of our rural hospitals at high risk of closure, according to the study.
The rural communities that are lucky enough to keep their hospitals will likely suffer decreased access to care as hospitals will likely be forced to cut costs by reducing services in order to remain open. Already, we’re seeing a troubling trend of rural and small community hospitals closing departments, eliminating staff and taking other measures so they remain financially stable … Given the massive reimbursement cuts to hospitals projected, our state has little chance of reversing this trend in the future should “Medicare for All,” buy-in or public option become law.
… The high costs of “Medicare for all” would impact working rural families’ budgets as well. Independent analyses conducted by both the Urban Institute and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University estimate that should a Medicare buy-in or public option program ultimately lead to “Medicare for all,” it would cost taxpayers approximately $32 trillion over 10 years … The last thing our farm families need now is a huge tax increase. As consideration of “Medicare for all,” Medicare buy-in and public option continue to dominate the Democratic presidential debates, Iowa’s ag families can’t afford to be ignored … [T]he potential costs to our rural communities far outweigh the sweeping promises being made on the campaign trail.
… [Presidential] candidate after candidate has released their respective plans to fundamentally transform America’s health care … Despite their differences, each of these so-called plans would lead us down a dangerous road to a government-run health care insurance system that would mean higher taxes, diminished access, and lower quality of care for all Americans. A recent government agency report indicated that Medicare-for-all would mean an increase in cost, by as much as $36 trillion, over a ten year period.
… It really doesn’t matter what name you call it – Medicare-for-all, Medicare “buy-in,” a public option, or single-payer – the fact is that expanding the government’s role in health care will inevitably mean higher taxes for Americans and increased premiums in the private insurance market.
… Most Americans do not want to see a complete upheaval of our entire health care system. They simply want our elected officials in Washington working together to build on and improve what we currently have – which is a system in which some 290 million Americans are covered … Moving toward a government-run health care system … will only serve to make the problems we currently face that much worse. The Democratic presidential candidates – and all our leaders in Washington – should keep this in mind as they search for solutions to reducing costs and expanding coverage for more Americans who need it.
… The fact is, a government-run health care insurance system would eventually eliminate any private or employer-base plans currently on the market. Even just introducing a public option would make it nearly impossible for private and employer-sponsored plans to compete … Eventually, only the government option would remain … Moreover, a government-run health care insurance system could potentially be detrimental for patient access to care, quality, and affordability – especially for Alabamans and all Americans living in rural communities. A recent study found that offering a government insurance program like the public option, which would reimburse hospitals and other providers at Medicare levels, could put up to 55% of America’s rural hospitals “at high risk of closure.”
That represents more than 1,000 rural hospitals in 46 states that provide upwards of 420,000 much-needed, highly skilled jobs. Even for those facilities that are not placed at such high risks of closure, a public option could “negatively impact access to and quality of care” by forcing hospitals to potentially eliminate services or reduce staff, the study found.
… When it comes to government-controlled health care, the risks are simply not worth the rewards. Rather than chasing unrealistic fantasies of uprooting and eliminating the ACA in favor of Medicare for All, a public option, or single-payer, policymakers and candidates running for president should focus on ways we can make practical improvements to our health care system.