Late last month, key members of Congress heard important testimony kicking off a national public forum on Medicare for All. While the current political climate makes it unlikely that any large-scale legislation like Medicare for All would pass, this is an important start to a longer and more in-depth discussion about how we fund and provide health care in the future.
The issue will be raised again, as the House Budget Committee is expected to hold another hearing on Medicare for All later this month.
The day after the hearing, I had the opportunity to attend a private meeting with California’s Democratic members of the House of Representatives. This platform afforded CHA an opportunity to lay out for these leaders important health care objectives — coverage for all, improved access, affordability, high-quality care, and greater transparency — and why Medicare for All creates concerns:
- Paying hospitals below-cost Medicare rates for all patients will cause significant financial losses and make it impossible for hospitals to serve our communities.
- As one of the largest employers in our communities and a key contributor to the economy of the state of California ($268 billion), it would be unwise for our economic stability to let the federal government make all of the health care and hospital payment decisions.
Mixed into this debate is a seminal report released last week by the Congressional Budget Office on Medicare for All. For those who want a thorough look at this proposal — one that raises important questions about the practicality of a single-payer system — this is a must-read. Among key considerations it aims to provide insight on are things like:
- Who would own hospitals and employ the providers?
- How would the system be financed?
- How would health care costs be contained?
As we closely monitor the situation on Capitol Hill, here in California we will continue to support Gov. Newsom’s efforts to expand coverage, through the Affordable Care Act, to the remaining 7 percent of Californians who currently don’t have health insurance.