WASHINGTON – As polls show growing opposition to Medicare for all, which U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) admits would require tax hikes on Americans making $29,000 a year, 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.
… Legislators and policymakers in Denver as well as Washington, D.C., must focus on implementing real solutions that will help lower costs and provide more options for small businesses to offer health insurance coverage for their employees. What they should not be doing – and what many national leaders seem to be suggesting – is calling for a complete upheaval of our current health insurance system in favor of a government-controlled system through proposals like Medicare-for-All, a public option or a single-payer system. Any of these variations on the same theme would increase taxes on Americans and small businesses and resulting in a lower standard of care.
… The fact of the matter is that, regardless what name you give it — Medicare-for-All, a public option or a single-payer system – any move toward a government-run health insurance system inevitably will threaten the employer-sponsored coverage through which more than 180 million Americans access health care.
… “Medicare for All,” a public option or a Medicare buy-in – no matter what you label these programs, would result in worse care at a higher cost, particularly when it comes to emergency care.
Putting government in charge of health care with programs like a public option would result in more hospital closures, and fewer ERs, because the government reimburses hospitals at a lower rate than private insurance. Medicare also reimburses at a rate that is far lower than the cost of providing care … A recent Navigant Consulting study found a public option could put more than 1,000 rural U.S. hospitals, more than half, “at high risk of closure.” At least 15 to 25 hospitals here in Pennsylvania are among those Navigant identified as threatened. Even if these hospitals could stay open, the report said they likely would have to close satellite facilities, downgrade emergency services, and terminate clinical and administrative staff.
“Medicare for All” would cost … up to $40 trillion over 10 years – and would force federal lawmakers to raise taxes on the middle class … According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, the majority of Americans would not support a government insurance system if it would result in higher taxes for most Americans.
… Instead of a one-size-fits-all government health care system, like the public option, federal lawmakers should build on what is working with the country’s health care system … Medicare for All will only raise taxes and discontinue the coverage may workers bargained for or gained through their hard work and perseverance.
… Regardless of what catchy slogan these proposals have — whether it’s Medicare for all, single payer, or the public option – the end result will be the same: a system that is set up to favor government-run health insurance plans over private and employer-sponsored ones.
… Eventually, insurance options for patients and consumers would continue to dwindle until only the government plan remains … Moreover, Medicare and Medicaid are both at-risk programs. Massively expanding either without first fixing the problems that plague both would not only be unwise, it would be irresponsible.
… From a financial perspective, government-run health care insurance systems would also be devastating for rural hospitals … Drastically slashing reimbursement rates to Medicare levels would make it nearly impossible for providers to continue offering the same level of care. Many could be forced to lay off staff, ration care or close altogether.
… No matter what you call it, government-controlled health care insurance simply is not worth the risks – and no one should have to pay more through higher taxes in order to have fewer options, reduced quality of care and longer wait times. For Florida and America, Medicare for all means comprehensive, affordable health care for none.
… The Medicare for all program could eliminate the private health insurance system as we know it … [T]he problem is that private health plans pay hospitals about 45% more than hospital costs, while Medicare pays about 12% less than hospital costs, according to the American Hospital Association. Any way you slice it, Medicare for all means less payments to health-care providers than Obamacare, which would be bad news for hospitals and physicians.
The other major uncertainty with this Medicare for all proposal seems to be how to pay for the program. It’s a continuing issue of debate for Democrats and Republicans alike, but most agree that this single-payer program would be paid for by increased taxes. Americans have to decide: Do they want Medicare for all under a single-payer system that pays your hospital and physicians less, allows you to have lower premiums for health care, but then raises your taxes? Or do we continue to embrace Obamacare, and perhaps add on provisions … to lower premiums overall and to further lower health-care spending?