WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Americans Urge Elected Officials To Build On What Is Working, Reject One-Size-Fits-All Health Care
WASHINGTON – As health care remains at the top of voters’ minds, Americans throughout the nation are encouraging elected officials to oppose a one-size-fits-all government health insurance system that will force American families to pay more for worse care.
Eric Hernandez, Pipefitters Union Member, Arizona:
Unions like mine have fought long and hard to secure comprehensive, individualized health care benefits for our members. We cannot allow years, and in some cases decades, of progress to be wiped away by efforts to impose a government-controlled health care insurance system as some in Washington seem to be pushing for. Something like the public option would disrupt the employer-sponsored plans on which so many union members rely.
… Government-controlled proposals like the public option or Medicare for All would come with a price tag that we frankly cannot afford. If it was to be imposed, a public option would quickly grow to be one of the top-three most expensive government programs in history, just behind Medicare and Social Security. To pay for it, some studies indicate the average American worker would be forced to pay a massive $2,300 payroll tax increase … We all want a health care system that provides access to high-quality, affordable care for all Americans … Let’s focus on improving the system we have—not tearing it down and building a new one from scratch.
… One discussion about our health care crisis centers on creating a national public option similar to what other countries have embraced … Some analysts estimate that our health systems, which have already lost $50 billion this year because of COVID, would lose another $30 billion if national health care were adopted. The price tag hits others besides the hospitals … employees would likely get hit with additional payroll taxes to help fund a national system.
… Make no mistake, West Virginians do not need — nor can we afford —a massive, government-controlled health-care insurance system to replace private and employer-sponsored plans … A public option or any other government-controlled health insurance system would fundamentally undermine private and employer-sponsored plans. Because such a program would be backed financially by the federal government, private insurers would be unable to compete, and, slowly but surely, they would exit the marketplace, leaving fewer options and less flexibility. Ultimately, the only “option” that would be left would be the public option. In that sense, the public option is really just a stepping stone to Medicare for All.
… Speaking of access, the public option or Medicare for All would both harm patient access to care, particularly in our many rural towns. Either approach would drastically cut payments to local doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers. The communities that would be most impacted would be the rural, hard-to-reach ones that already struggle with access issues as it is … We all want to see health-care costs come down and access improve — that’s part of the reason West Virginia businesses strive to provide coverage for their employees. However, the best way to do that is not by starting over from square one with a government-controlled health-care insurance system, but by continuing to build on what is working in our current system while addressing the problem areas that persist.
Throughout this COVID-19 ordeal, our nation’s hospitals, doctors and other providers have come together with private insurers, pharmaceutical companies and government programs like Medicare and Medicaid to do what needs to be done — ramping up testing, opening special enrollment periods and developing treatments to help patients and communities battle COVID-19 … That is why the last thing we need right now is a government-controlled health care option that would increase taxes, undermine access to care and threaten the very hospitals that are working tirelessly to keep our communities safe and healthy … Regardless of the name, a government-controlled health care plan would inevitably force tens of millions of Americans off their current plans as private insurers exit the marketplace … That turmoil is something we do not need. Not now, not ever.
… Government-controlled proposals like the public option would only increase costs while undermining quality of care by drastically slashing payments to physicians and other providers. At a time when our hospitals and emergency rooms are facing major financial obstacles brought on by the pandemic, piling on new financial woes will only reduce their ability to provide quality care for the communities they serve. For our more at-risk health care facilities in remote, rural communities, it could even mean the elimination of vital services or complete facility closures.
… Adding insult to injury, a public option would increase costs on New Hampshire workers. Some estimates suggest such a huge government program could require a massive payroll tax increase that translates to $2,300 in new taxes annually for the average American worker … We all want better health care, and the way to do that is by working together to identify problems in our current system and fix it without replacing it with a one-size-fits-all system.
… America needs customized health care solutions tailored to the needs of people like us and our families. That does not mean, however, that we need to completely overhaul our entire health care system and replace it with a government-controlled one … A new government health care insurance system like Medicare for All or the public option would only undermine insurance in the private market, reducing the very options and flexibility we should be working to expand. For Pennsylvania’s rural communities, a public option would further endanger hospitals and other facilities that are already at risk by massively cutting payments to providers for the services they offer our communities … Instead of pushing these unaffordable, unrealistic proposals, Congress should work to expand health care options that meet the needs all Americans.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from the ongoing health care crisis our nation is going through, it should be about the importance of everyone working together to ensure all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage … That is why as we move forward in our health care future, we should not and cannot rely on starting over from scratch with a top-down, government-controlled health care system. Studies have shown that a public option or Medicare for All … would inherently mean higher taxes on hardworking Americans. It could also end up threatening local hospitals that are already facing steep financial pressures during these times, threatening patient access to care. We’ve seen how important our hospitals are during this pandemic. Putting them at risk of closure would hurt and endanger local communities. We cannot allow that to happen with a new government-controlled system