House Democrats are launching a serious effort to create a single-payer health care system branded as ‘Medicare for All,’ but a leading health care policy expert says the idea is a Utopian fantasy that is unaffordable and will lead to far worse care.
Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner joined experts from multiple perspectives testifying Tuesday before the House Rules Committee. Chairman James McGovern is an enthusiastic supporter of eliminating private health insurance and tasking the federal government with running health care on the U.S.
“People aren’t going to lose their healthcare with Medicare for All. You would actually get to keep your doctors and go to the hospitals you currently have. The only difference is you wouldn’t have to deal with insurance companies,” said McGovern.
Turner told McGovern we’ve heard promises before about keeping doctors that were not true.
But while three House committees are pushing forward on Medicare for All, Turner says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems less convinced it is a good idea.
“Even Speaker Pelosi has been reluctant to get behind Medicare for All, I think because she sees how incredibly disruptive this would be to our health sector. Everybody, except people in the VA and Indian Health Service, everybody else would lose their coverage.
“That means 173 million Americans with coverage through the workplace would lose their coverage. People on Medicare would lose Medicare because this will be a new program replacing it. People on Obamacare, people on the Children’s Health Insurance Plan; all of that would be wiped out,” said Turner.
In addition to imploring lawmakers to have less government involvement in the health care sector, Turner says a single payer program is impossible, with estimates suggesting a $32-38 trillion price tag over ten years. She says Democrats are promising excellent care, quick access, and low costs and Medicare for All simply won’t achieve those goals.
“That’s not the way the world works. Resources are limited. Doctors will leave. We can’t afford the Medicare program we have now. In other countries, we see the vulnerable, people who are the sickest are the ones who are put at the back of the list for care. That’s not the kind of system we want,” said Turner.
Listen to the full podcast to hear what Turner detail what life is like for patients in single payer systems and what approach she thinks would bring us quality, affordable, accessible care.