By Reed Abelson
The New York Times, February 10, 2021
In an unusual display of unity, groups representing nearly all the major players in the American health care system — hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and employers — are joining forces to urge Congress to embrace President Biden’s broad vision of building on the Affordable Care Act to reach the long elusive goal of universal coverage.
It released a detailed set of proposals on Wednesday morning, including an increase in the federal subsidies available to help people afford coverage and a three-year re-establishment of the generous match in federal funding to states to entice more of them to expand their Medicaid programs. The coalition also urged the government to spend more money on enrolling people in plans offered by the insurance markets established under the law, efforts that were slashed by the previous administration.
The recommendations signal a strong show of support for the beleaguered health care law, which had been under fierce attack not only from Republicans under the Trump administration but from progressive Democrats who have urged replacing it altogether with a government-run “Medicare for all” system.
Affordable Coverage Coalition Principles for Extending Coverage and Protecting Patients
Affordable Coverage Coalition, February 2021
We represent the nation’s doctors, hospitals, employers and health insurance providers. Collectively, our organizations include hundreds of thousands of individual physicians, thousands of hospitals, and hundreds of employers and health insurance providers that serve hundreds of millions of American patients, consumers and employers every day across the United States.
With the key objectives of improving all Americans’ access to care, stopping the COVID-19 pandemic and advancing health equity, we support the following steps to make coverage more available and affordable (for details, read the report at the link):
- Tax Credits and Cost-Sharing Reductions
- Insurance Affordability Fund
- Automatic and Facilitated Enrollment
- Federal Funding for Outreach and Enrollment Programs
- Incentives to Close the Low-Income Coverage Gap
- Preventing Increases in the Uninsured
America’s Health Insurance Plans
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Benefits Council
American Hospital Association
American Medical Association
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Federation of American Hospitals
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
By Don McCanne, M.D.
It looks like America’s formidable medical-industrial complex is about to lock in the Affordable Care Act for the indefinite future, as they lock out any consideration of single payer Medicare for All.
This approach does not save money but rather pours more money into the most expensive system in the world. The administrative excesses are to blame for much of the high costs, yet this only adds more administrative services to benefit the industry itself. Innumerable studies have shown that we need to restructure the financing system by removing the private insurers, saving billions of dollars that can be used for health care.
The steamroller is on its way. Can we redirect it to where it is needed?
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