As a growing chorus of leaders casts aside Medicare for all-style proposals to focus instead on strengthening and improving our current system, voices throughout the nation are encouraging elected officials to come together to protect what is working and fix what is broken in America’s health care, while opposing a one-size-fits-all government-run approach.

J.W. Cowan, Hospital Administrator, Alabama:

Later this month, another Alabama hospital will close.  This marks the state’s thirteenth hospital closing in eight years.  Unfortunately, this has become all too common in the state and it puts many lives at risk.  Our state and nation’s health care system should be the number one priority, but we need to focus on appropriate solutions that will solve this problem, not create new ones 

The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) recently released a report that examined the Medicare for all plan.  It found that under the government-run plan, hospitals would be faced with $774 billion in cuts.  Alabama specifically would lose $10.9 billion under a Medicare public option proposal.  This would be detrimental to many hospitals, especially in rural areas, which are already facing financial setbacks that could impact patient access and care.

Medicaid has helped millions of Americans receive health-care coverage.  The Alabama Hospital Association estimates that about 326,000 Alabamians could gain health care coverage if Medicaid was expanded in the state.  This is the health care reform we need instead of a complete overhaul of the system that would harm patients and providers.  It’s time we put patients first and focus on solutions that make sense.

Anthony Bartoli, Veteran & Political Activist, Arizona:

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that leaders like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and our own Congressman Greg Stanton are working to improve the Affordable Care Act instead of supporting a single-payer system like Medicare for all.  That is because both Sinema and Stanton were elected leaders in Phoenix when the 2014 scandal In the Phoenix VA system occurred.

They saw firsthand how poorly a government-run health care system could get.  As a Veteran, I know that we can do better.  One way would be to improve the system we have.   We should tinker with the Affordable Care Act until we get it right and more people are covered under insurance.

The private system can work with the right rules and regulations.  We can’t let another healthcare system be the victim of government incompetence.

Theresa Cheng, Retired Dentist & Non-Profit Founder, Washington:

I hadn’t fully realized how under-served our veteran’s community is when it comes to dental care, so I founded the non-profit organization, Everyone for Veterans, to connect a network of dentists to give back to those who’ve served in combat areas …

We can’t afford to move backward at this key point for our nation’s health care system; 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. don’t have dental coverage … Due to an absence of dental coverage, Medicare patients in particular have a higher prevalence of gum disease, which negatively affects their overall health.  Expanding Medicare into a single-payer or Medicare-for-All program won’t get to the root of the problem if dental care remains apart 

We can and should do better to provide, high-quality, affordable care.  But we can’t get there just by scrapping the health care market we have.  As a country, we must work together so that all working families can have access to a more comprehensive slate of preventive services.

John R. Coleman, Colorado:

After waiting six hours to begin my Social Security benefits, I have a better-informed opinion of setting the government up to run anything.  When there is no competition, there is no motivation.

Anybody who is actually for Medicare for all is making a behemoth assumption that is not true: Nothing is going to change with the current health care system except it will be free.  Wrong!  As soon as the government becomes the sole provider, half of the hospitals will be closed.  You will take a number based upon bleeding, broken, missing, age, other pain and the staff will see you when they want.

After a few years, there will be as many hospitals as there are Social Security offices currently.  Why not?  The government agreed the treatment is free, not quick, efficient, maybe effective, and hopefully, while you are alive.

Rob Kole, Small Business Owner, Pennsylvania:

Health care costs continue to rise, and it’s understandable that people are frustrated.  But drastic proposals like Medicare for all would eliminate Medicare as we know it and kick 180 million Americans off their employer-sponsored insurance.  It would also require massive tax increases to pay for its increased costs.

A better solution is to build on our existing system to fill the gaps in coverage for those who still cannot afford health insurance.  We should improve what’s working and fix what’s broken – not start over.  By improving the current system, patients and families have the power to make important health care decisions with the doctors of their choice.  The one-size-fits-all alternative of Medicare for all would lead to less choice and control over doctors, treatments, and coverage, while raising taxes and wait times.

Pennsylvanians deserve the very best care.  Working together, we can solve the problems in our current system without creating a new program that disrupts existing coverage options.

Sallie Bryant, Alabama:

Recently, members of the House unveiled their Medicare for all bill, legislation that would largely overhaul the nation’s health care system … Our country has made strides to improve the health care system and while there’s still work to be done, government-run health care is not the solution 

[T]he recent House bill calls for a one-size-fits all approach to health care through a government-run system that would eliminate private health insurance as we know it.  This plan would negatively impact consumer choice and control over their care.  Today, 91 percent of Americans receive coverage under the current system.  A single payer system would disrupt the coverage millions of Americans depend on.

America’s health care system needs improvement but a health care overhaul that would start completely from scratch and place decisions in the hands of government is not the solution.  We must encourage lawmakers to make strides to improve the affordability of health care without enacting unrealistic policies that hurt all Americans.