The United States healthcare system is in need of constant improvement to help drive down costs and improve quality. But scrapping the entire current system and replacing it with a “Medicare for All” plan would cause more harm than good, MHA President & CEO Steve Walsh said last week.
Policy makers in Washington now debating various “single-payer” plans should instead “prioritize preserving and expanding the gains that have been made nationally through the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” Walsh said.
“Despite delivering promising results in many states, not every area of the country has been able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this comprehensive package of policies,” he added. “Even more disturbing, efforts to dismantle the ACA continue through funding cutbacks coupled with ongoing legal and regulatory challenges. Proposals such as “Medicare for All” carry significant risk for our complex system of patients, healthcare providers, and taxpayers. We should instead focus our attention on stabilizing the ACA.
Walsh noted that Medicare is currently an “essential program” for seniors and disabled Americans, and that “because of its importance, its support remains a national priority.” But he warned that “the long-term effect of Medicare expansion comes with the risk of an underfunded program, resulting in a two-tiered system of care – middle-class and low-income elders would struggle with limited coverage, while wealthy Americans could supplement the available benefit. We fear that the many proposals grouped under the ‘Medicare for All’ banner put the viability of the program – which is already strained – directly at risk.”
Walsh said, “Without doubt, more work needs to be done to improve healthcare services, to close the coverage and access gaps that remain, and to make healthcare more affordable and sustainable. But, ‘Medicare for All’ is not the answer. As we’ve learned in Massachusetts, there is no single solution that will cure the many challenges of our complex healthcare system. Instead, we should focus on building upon all that is currently working. Let’s defeat the challenges to the ACA and secure its full implementation nationwide.”
Read Walsh’s full blog posting here