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Analysis

With Industry Backing, American Hospital Association CEO Rebuffs 'Medicare-for-All'

By Steven Porter  
   February 26, 2019

Hospitals have joined with insurers, doctors, and drug makers on a coalition to oppose the policy, which has become a favorite talking point among Democrats running for president.

As liberal politicians begin to flesh out the details of what they each mean when they say they support "Medicare-for-All," healthcare industry lobbying groups are moving to oppose the idea as overly disruptive and potentially harmful.

American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack said in a blog post Friday that the proposals being touted by Democrats in Congress and those running for president "could do more harm than good to patient care."

"Our first priority should be fixing what's broken instead of ripping apart our entire health care system and starting from scratch," Pollack wrote, complaining that government reimbursements are insufficient to cover the cost of care and can be unreliable in the face of government shutdowns.

And hospitals are far from the only industry stakeholders to oppose Medicare-for-All. Insurance companies, doctors, and drug makers, too, have joined with the AHA and other groups in a coalition to oppose the policy. That coalition, the Partnership for America's Health Care Future, is steered by Lauren Crawford Shaver, who worked for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016, as The New York Times reported.

Related: For 2020 Dem Hopefuls, 'Medicare-for-All' is a Defining Issue, However They Define It

Related: Progressive Tout 'Medicare-for-All' But States Eye 'Medicaid Buy-In'

Pollack pushed for policymakers to build on the Affordable Care Act's foundation, expand Medicaid in every state that hasn't done so already, and guard the long-term viability of Medicare and other federal health programs.

"As a politically practical matter, we need to focus on finding consensus to improve the system we have rather than subject the nation to yet another polarizing debate on health care," Pollack wrote.

—Steven Porter is an associate content manager and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The hospital lobby's top executive said policymakers should 'focus on finding consensus' rather than subjecting the U.S. to 'yet another polarizing debate on health care.'

The AHA and other major healthcare industry groups have joined a coalition led by a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer to oppose 'Medicare-for-All.'

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