NAHU Coalition Releases New Materials on the Risks of Public Option

The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future released a series of new videos on the differences (and lack thereof) between Medicare-for-All and Medicare Buy-In. The overall campaign encourages meaningful reforms to the nation’s healthcare system that preserve market-based, employer-provided healthcare rather than attempting to implement a disruptive one-size-fits-all system. NAHU is a member of the Partnership, which includes industry stakeholders opposed to Medicare-for-All or similar single-payer programs and committed to delivering affordability, expanding options, improving access, and fostering innovation in the healthcare system.

The Partnership highlighted a new study by Navigant Consulting that reveals the intense risk that a public option system would pose for rural hospital systems. “As many as 55% of rural hospitals, or 1,037 hospitals across 46 states, could be at a high risk of closure under the public option,” the statement reads. “The implementation of a public option on health exchanges presents significant risks to rural hospitals and communities nationwide. Even with a conservative estimate, the public option would exacerbate the already significant financial risks rural hospitals face. If a substantial percentage of the commercial population were to shift to reimburse at Medicare rates, a large proportion of high-risk hospitals would see a grave threat to their viability, and hundreds of rural hospitals presently at lower levels of risk would move to the high-risk category.”

The Partnership also released a statement in response to former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s public option proposal. Biden is currently leading the crowded Democratic field in most public opinion polls. “We strongly believe that every American deserves access to high-quality health care, and we agree with the majority of Americans who believe the best way to achieve this is to build and improve upon what is working, while coming together to fix what isn’t,” Lauren Crawford Shaver, the Partnership’s executive director, said in the statement. “Unfortunately, Vice President Biden’s proposal for a new government insurance system through a ‘public option’ would undermine the progress our nation has made and ultimately lead our nation down the path of a one-size-fits-all health care system run by Washington. From driving up premiums in the private market, to threatening our nation’s already at-risk hospitals, to diminishing Americans’access to the quality care they need, research warns that such an approach could be disastrous for patients and consumers.”

The new videos, “Closer Look” and “Same Thing,” highlight the potential effects of a public option system and how the impacts would not stray far from the impacts of a Medicare-for-All system. The videos compare Medicare-for-All and Medicare Buy-In, emphasizing that both systems could lead to higher taxes, higher premiums, and lower quality of care. “Closer Look” stresses the impact of more Americans buying into Medicare, and notes that this could destabilize the Medicare market and worsen the system that serves seniors so well. The Partnership argues that Medicare-for-All and Medicare Buy-In do not offer real answers to these questions, such as how to lower costs and protect patient choice, but instead only creates more problems.

Source: National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)