What They Are Saying: Building on What’s Working in Health Care
WASHINGTON – As Congress continues to negotiate health care priorities, many lawmakers prefer to build on and improve what’s working in health care rather than start over by creating new government-controlled health insurance systems like the public option or opening up Medicare to younger Americans through Medicare at 60 that are unaffordable and could reduce access to care. Meanwhile, research shows that building on what’s working in health care could result in substantial coverage gains, more so than the public option.
Influential members of Congress are making arguments to build on our current system:
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi has long been a key figure in working to shore up current health care law. In 2019 Pelosi said, “We all share the value of health care for all Americans — quality, affordable health care for all Americans. What is the path to that? I think it’s the Affordable Care Act.” ( Washington Post, 09/25/21)
- Speaker Pelosi’s goals to build on our current system remain unwavering, as recent coverage demonstrates: “In the House, Pelosi and her fellow leaders — as well as the chairs of relevant panels — are adamant that the party has a responsibility to the millions of people using Obamacare to shore up subsidies indefinitely while they can. ” ( Politico Playbook, 09/03/21)
- Senator Joe Manchin has been clear that the costs of goverment-controlled health care plans cannot come at the cost of our current health care system: “I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending…This is even more important now as the Social Security and Medicare Trustees have sounded the alarm that these life-saving programs will be insolvent and benefits could start to be reduced as soon as 2026 for Medicare and 2033, a year earlier than previously projected, for Social Security.” ( Wall Street Journal, 09/02/21)
- Representative Abigail Spanberger has said, “My priority is ensuring the ACA exchange programs and Medicaid expansion—that those valuable resources continue to be available for America’s working families.” ( Wall Street Journal, 09/08/21)
- Representative Suzan DelBene, when asked how she felt about potential health care provisions in the reconciliation package such as adding a public option, said: “The top priority that I have is making sure that we build on the Affordable Care Act…That’s a top priority of mine [and of the] New Democrat Coalition, where I serve as chair.” ( Med Page Today, 09/09/21)
These comments reflect most Americans’ viewpoints. According to a recent nationwide tracking poll conducted by Locust Street Group, most Americans are satisfied with their current coverage and prefer to build on and improve what’s working in health care rather than start over.