What They Are Saying: State Leaders Prefer Building On What’s Working
WASHINGTON – As negotiations over our nation’s health care continue in Congress, state lawmakers are voicing their support for building on what’s working in health care and expressing concerns about the unaffordable consequences of proposals like federal or state public options and Medicare at 60:
- West Virginia State Senator Chandler Swope argued the public option would “slowly but surely push private and employer-sponsored plans out of the insurance market. Plans that remain would likely see premiums skyrocket, having a direct, negative impact on West Virginia’s small businesses and small-business owners, many of whom already struggle to keep up with the rising cost of providing health care coverage for their employees.” (Lootpress, 10/08/21)
- Arizona State Representative Cesar Chavez said in an op-ed that “similar government-run health care proposals, like the public option, could exacerbate existing disparities in health care for historically underserved or marginalized Arizonans, including rural and minority communities.” Instead of enacting costly proposals like Medicare expansion and the public option, Chavez proposes “we should be working together to improve our current health care system under the Affordable Care Act, not undermining the ACA and critical programs like Medicare.” (AZ Central, 09/10/21)
- Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said creating the public option would be a mistake: “pushing through an untested, ill-advised state government-run option for health insurance doesn’t serve the best interests of Coloradans, particularly those already facing major health care disparities.” Instead of a public option, Webb suggests, “state legislators should look for opportunities to build upon what is working in our current system while passing more practical policy measures to address what isn’t.” (Denver Post, 05/12/21)
- Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont opposed the state’s public option bill and instead proposed legislation to build on our current system “that makes [health insurance] much more universally available.” Lamont’s opposition to the public option comes from his “job, as [Connecticut’s] governor, to make sure that [he] find[s] a way to pay for something that will really pay benefits.” (Connecticut Post, 05/24/21)
- Maine State Representative Fran Head opposed the public option because it risks “making care more costly than it already is, but also making it more difficult to see providers.” Rep. Head cited “recent studies [warning] that the public option could also raise taxes on American families by several thousand dollars every year, with the long-term costs potentially being even higher and leading to increased debt.” (Sun Journal, 05/13/21)
These comments reflect most Americans’ viewpoints across the country. According to a recent nationwide tracking poll conducted by Locust Street Group, most Americans are satisfied with their current coverage and prefer to build on and improve what’s working in health care rather than start over.