June 24, 2019 | Updates

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Americans Urge Elected Officials To Build On What Is Working, Reject One-Size-Fits-All Health Care

As 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare to take the debate stage this week, voices throughout the nation are encouraging elected officials to improve and build on what is working 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.

Nick Duran, Democratic Florida State Representative, Florida:

… I’m concerned by attempts from both parties to either undo proven solutions within the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or set us down a slippery slope to something that’s unsustainable and unaffordable

… Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling for a full-blown government insurance system that would kick people off their current plans and provide free health care to everyone – but how he would manage to fund this, he’s been unable to say.  What we do know is that his proposal is expected to double everyone’s income taxes, a sizable cost most Floridian families can’t bear.

… In a recent interview, Rep. Donna Shalala – whose Congressional district covers the entirety of the state House district I represent – hit the right note: “People who have very good private health insurance, they don’t want a lesser program. Medicare is not as good … Why should we spend money when people have good private health insurance?  We need to cover those who don’t have coverage.”

Ali Sarram, Doctor, Colorado:

… In Colorado, as lawmakers contemplate a public option, rate setting and other measures, we simply cannot afford to take high quality health care for granted.

… Changes proposed by current legislative discussions will dramatically impact the way health care is financed and delivered in this state.  I fear the changing medical environment will endanger the public’s access to subspecialized programs such as blood cancers, organ transplants, and high-level trauma care.

… As patients, we should be worried about the potential for decreased access to high quality care.  Many predict that younger physicians will leave Colorado and older ones will cut back on work.  Hospitals will likely eliminate high cost but necessary programs.  Our economy and our health will suffer.

Katie Maes Sealey, Dentist, Montana:

… We’ve begun to hear more about Medicare for All as a potential fix.  The reality is more complicated.  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded a government insurance system could cause a decline in the number of hospitals and other health care facilities.  The same study found there would likely be less investment in new and existing facilities, leading to a shortage of providers, longer waiting times and changes in the quality of care.

As a dentist, I see the same concerns in my profession.  The best way forward is to examine the accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act, enhance and expand what it does well, and fix what needs improvement … As with many of Montana’s problems, the best solution strikes me as one that improves an existing system, rather than one that depends on a radical overhaul.

Randi Thompson, Nevada:

… One proposal, called Medicare-X, which is “Medicare-for-all” by another name, would create a government-run plan where Americans could “buy in” to Medicare in lieu of traditional employer-based health coverage … the proposal does nothing to address the actual cost of providing health care — and as a result it would affect providers’ ability to continue to offer services, endangering patients’ access to doctors and care.

In rural areas like Pahrump, Beatty, and hundreds of other small towns across our state, such a plan would likely lead to a reduction of services, and the closing of hospitals, which we have already seen in Tonopah … a study released by Navigant Consulting found that “Medicare-for-all” proposals could force hospitals to limit the care they provide, cause significant layoffs and “potentially force the closure of essential hospitals.”  Because the “capacity to reduce/manage cost will vary markedly from system to system and hospital to hospital,” the report finds single-payer proposals “appear to have financial effects that exceed the capacity of hospital managements to reduce their expenses.”

Through constructive, common-sense changes to our existing health care system, we can increase the number of Americans covered by more than 9 million, while also ensuring competition, choice, patient control and our quality of care remain strong — and without disrupting coverage for people who have what they like.

Let’s improve what is working, fix what is broken and avoid proposals such as Medicare-X, which inevitably lead to government-run health care eliminating patient choice and control altogether, and forcing massive tax and cost increases on American families.

Joe Hernandez, Nevada:

… Another consequence [of Medicare for all] is the impact on hospitals.  Currently, the losses hospitals incur from lower Medicare payments are offset by higher payments from private insurers.  Without private insurance, hospitals would collect only the lower payments.  Hospitals would suffer from the financial constraints, leading to reduced wages and closures.

… A recent Bloomberg News article quoted Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “Raising the more than $30 trillion needed to fund Sanders’ health plan over a decade would require doubling all personal and corporate income taxes or tripling payroll taxes.”As employers are charged higher payroll taxes, wages and jobs will be cut.

… We cannot afford to go backward.  Our health care system needs improving, but Medicare for All is not the answer.



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