WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Americans Urge Elected Officials To Protect What Is Working, Reject One-Size-Fits-All Health Care
As we mark the ninth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act this month (March 23), voices throughout the nation are encouraging elected officials to come together to protect and improve upon what is working and fix what is broken in America’s health care, while opposing a one-size-fits-all system.
Patrick Cobb, Physician, Montana:
Health care in this country needs changes, and there are many opinions on both sides of the aisle regarding what those changes should look like. But the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion are working. We have the proof, and we see it every day; uninsured rates are significantly down and more people are able to receive care and live healthy lives.
In Montana and nationally, it’s critical that we protect these reforms which are working, like the ACA and Medicaid expansion, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater to start from scratch. There are changes that can and should be made to bring down costs and expand access to coverage, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of the progress that has already been made. By building on what we have today, we can maintain the coverage that so many people already enjoy, while continuing to provide patients with more options and eliminate barriers to receiving care that currently exist.
[M]any voices on the left are calling for a complete overhaul of the health care system, calling for various versions of a single-payer system. These kinds of systems would take away consumer choice in health care, create a vast amount of uncertainty in health care costs, and perpetuate a trend of swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other with each election cycle. Houston voters showed they wanted common sense policies on health care, like protections for pre-existing conditions, not complete disruption of the care they have and enjoy.
What Texans need right now is to stabilize what we have, focus on driving costs down, and expand our current system so that everyone has access to affordable health care. Universal health care is an achievable goal but it does not require starting over. To achieve this goal, we need an administration that supports rather than attacks federal law, states that do everything they can to drive costs down and cover those who have limited access to health insurance, and a public-private partnership that ensures consumers have the options they need. We can create a more robust and responsive overall health care system, but we won’t get there by swinging to extremes on either side of this debate.
Medicare-for-all has been a lofty, ambitious goal for many of the Democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail. While it’s unknown what exactly Medicare for all will look like, many proposals have it as a socialized, single-payer system.
I think a lot of people are forgetting that we already have a system like that, and it’s called the VA system. Ask myself or any other Arizona veteran about the VA and you will hear how badly mismanaged a single-payer system can get. In 2014, many veterans died on waiting lists and there were many administrators in leadership positions forced to resign or retire. A single-payer system like Medicare-for-all may sound good in theory, but in reality, we only need to look at 2014 to see how badly it can become. I hope our elected officials will keep that in mind when they’re asked to support a government-run system.
Rather than fighting about how to restructure the healthcare system, Congress should focus on protecting policies that have expanded coverage and push forward with policies that can actually be accomplished now, and most importantly, which will make care more affordable and accessible. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of successful policies and programs that have expanded coverage. Congress should focus on keeping the good and fixing the bad…
A one-sided partisan proposal just won’t get through a divided Congress. By working together like we do in Montana, and focusing on areas we all agree need improvement, our leaders in Washington can actually put policies in place that will make a real difference to people who need care the most.
Edward Marcus, Former Chairman, Democratic State Central Committee, Connecticut:
Take a look at who is leading the pack in the race for the Democratic nomination for President … each trying to outdo the other with giveaway programs without ever considering how to pay for them. [Proposals like] Medicare for all … sound like great ideas – but who is going to pay the enormous costs? … The leaders of the Democratic Party both statewide and nationally have to start steering the party to the center, or a lot of people are going to jump ship.