'Medicare for all' would limit health care choices even more

Will those who say they promote the ideology of choice be the ones to limit your choices when it comes to health care and coverage?

The drumbeat for socialized medicine — nowadays often referred to as “Medicare for all” or a “public option” — is becoming relentless. The truth is this is a deliberate effort to eliminate choice. “Medicare for all” would, by definition, eliminate all other forms of health coverage.

As Diane Archer explains in Salon, “Members of Congress who support bringing everyone in America under one federally administered health insurance program are proposing ‘Medicare for all.’”

Everyone in America.

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She goes on to explain, “It is true that ‘Medicare for all’ will require you to switch to Medicare from the commercial insurance you currently have.”

This anti-choice movement began with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has been anything but affordable or caring for most Americans.

According to a study conducted by the left-leaning organization, Physicians for a National Health Program, the ACA has failed to reduce the proportion of bankruptcies that were driven by medical bills.

“The current study found no evidence that the ACA reduced the proportion of bankruptcies driven by medical problems: 65.5 percent of debtors cited a medical contributor to their bankruptcy in the period prior to the ACA’s implementation as compared to 67.5 percent in the three years after the law came into effect,” the study notes. “The responses also did not differ depending on whether the respondent resided in a state that had accepted ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The researchers noted that bankruptcy is most common among middle-class Americans, who have faced increasing copayments and deductibles in recent years despite the ACA.”

Although this study was conducted with an eye to push a single-payer agenda, it may have done the opposite.

The ACA was been touted as the solution to protect those with pre-existing conditions, though it did nothing of the sort. In fact, the ACA has made health care substantially less affordable for those with medical conditions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Even those who received subsidies to help pay their premiums have no way of covering the high deductibles and coinsurance amounts that are a result of the high (and rising) cost of health care. The truth is that having a nice insurance card in your wallet has become the illusion of safety, not assurance that you’ll be able to get the care you need, when you need it.

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“Pre-existing condition” is a term used by the insurance industry, not in health care. Physicians usually just call them conditions. So any argument about pre-existing conditions is a financial one, and it’s about health insurance coverage — not health care. The 25 million people in this country who are uninsured due to a pre-existing condition need a safety net that is comprised of more choices than just traditional insurance models — not fewer.

States are best positioned to establish platforms that promote all legal and viable coverage options. That’s because health care is local and best delivered in states, counties, and cities, where people reside. And innovation in coverage must adapt to the needs of a community. This is why federally mandated programs — such as “Medicare for all” — that are invariably one-size-fits-all regularly fail and become so expensive.

Some of the positive innovations at the local level include Association Health Plans, which are seeing tremendous growth and offer the same protections as large employers. Secular medical cost-sharing models as well as Christian cost-sharing ministries are also seeing significant growth as the ACA prices have continued to rise. Physicians and other providers have also gotten involved in direct care models that have greatly reduced expenses associated with basic services.

These are but a few of the little-known but growing number of options — and options are what we need. Without choice, we will continue leave untreated the problems that could soon lead to government control and one very poor option.

Margaret Thatcher said it best, “When people are free to choose, they choose freedom.” 

David Balat is the Director of the Right on Healthcare initiative with the Texas Public Policy Foundation; follow him on Twitter @DavidBalatHC.