As Democratic presidential hopefuls discussed America’s health care future on the debate stage last week, voices throughout the nation encouraged our leaders 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.

John Curtis, Executive Director, Yuma County Chamber Of Commerce, Arizona:

It is important to note that with Medicare-for-all, business owners would not be able to offer their employees an insurance plan where an employee could pick and choose what is best for him or her.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office recently released a report on what a Medicare-for-all plan would do to our current health care way of life.  It stated that it would be “complicated, potentially disruptive.”  It also concluded that the implementation of Medicare-for-all would lead to reduced access to care, less options when it comes to our health care choices, and longer wait times for the medical services we need.  Additionally, there have been numerous polls conducted showing the majority of Americans actually like their current health plan and don’t want it to be taken away in favor of a government-run, one-size-fits all plan.  I don’t believe we will solve our healthcare crisis by telling people what is best for them in their health care needs … The Affordable Care Act is the system we have, and it is far from perfect.  Our leaders on both sides of the aisle should make it a priority to fix the holes in it with the goal being to get more people covered and to lower the out-of-pocket costs for all Americans … Simply put, Medicare-for-all would be detrimental to Yuma and its businesses.  Our leaders can do better.

Michael Kitchell, Doctor, Iowa:

Many Democrats, including some of the 23 or so who are currently running for president, have been proposing a “Medicare for All” plan to achieve full coverage of all Americans … The CBO did warn Congress that switching to a single payer MFA would be very complicated and disruptive … Many hospitals and physicians have been concerned about MFA because Medicare is paying far less than the cost to deliver services, and few physicians in Iowa are happy with policies of Medicare that pay most other states’ physicians far more than in Iowa, called geographic adjustments.  Without higher payments from private insurers, many Iowa physicians and hospitals would have major disruptions if the current underpayment by Medicare continues.  Universal coverage for all Americans is a goal of Obamacare, and improving Obamacare would be far easier than switching to a very complex and disruptive single-payer system.

Catherine Prato, Ph.D., Nurse & Nurse Educator, Nevada:

While these proposed government health insurance systems – including “Medicare for all,” “Medicare buy-in,” “Medicare for America,” or “public-option” – may have catchy names, that isn’t the only thing they have in common.  For one thing, these plans are short on important details, like how much they would cost taxpayers.  And they would all ultimately lead to the same result: a one-size-fits-all government-run system that would hurt patients … the sad reality is that these systems would not only threaten patients’ access to quality care, but could even cause hospital closures, a shortage of health care professionals and less innovation for new treatments and cures … Also concerning is the fact that these systems would drastically cut payments to hospitals to levels that are not sufficient to cover the costs of care.  Research shows that this would produce many of the same negative effects as Medicare for all when it comes to patient choice and quality care, threatening patients’ access to their doctors and treatments as they are forced to endure longer wait times … So, let’s work to improve and build upon our current system, because Americans’ health care is too important to put at risk.

Joe Jackson, Arizona:

I feel like with all the Medicare-for-all talk, we are forgetting the fact that the Affordable Care Act has done a lot of good in our healthcare system.  It has given us Medicaid expansion, more rural healthcare, and millions of people health insurance who previously did not have it.  It has its problems, but moderate Democrats, including Senator Sinema, have introduced small measures that are helping improve the program.  Medicare-for-all is not realistic.  The actual policy has several flaws, like reduced access to our doctors and higher taxes, but most importantly it has no chance of passing in this divisive Congress.  Working on real solutions for the system that is here is what our leaders should be focusing on.

Tammy Cullen, Iowa:

… [E]very single Iowan will tell you they want lower health care costs and more choices to finding the care they need … I do know that single-payer health care is not the answer: it doesn’t lower costs, it raises them.  The proposal also reduces health care choices and replaces decisions between patients and their doctors with health decisions handed down by our government.  This should not be the option we turn to.  More than half of all Iowans rely on health insurance through their employer.  If single-payer becomes a reality, that also means more than half of all Iowans will lose their insurance plan.  That’s a drastic change that I don’t think most Iowans want to risk, not to mention the delays and higher taxes that would also come with it.

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