The Republican Road to Medicare for All
DR. MICHAEL BUSLER, public policy analyst, economist and professor at Stockton University, is available discuss Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tenn.) misnamed “Lower Health Care Costs Act” (LHCC) and how he believes the bill will pave the way for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the Democrats to soon implement Medicare for All.
Dr. Busler wrote an article for Newsmax titled ‘Medicare for All’ Lite Won’t Solve Surprise Medical Billing.
THE WRONG REMEDY FOR A SERIOUS PROBLEM – Sen. Alexander released the LHCC as a means of resolving the issue of surprise medical billing. Surprise medical billing is a serious problem that President Trump vowed to fix. It occurs when, in emergency situations, patients are wheeled to emergency care centers that are outside of their insurance networks. This happens without their knowledge, and they rack up giant bills as a result. This is a serious problem that both sides of the aisle agree requires a legislative remedy. However, Alexander’s bill will – according to Dr. Busler – pave the way for Medicare for All.
“MEDICARE FOR ALL LITE” – According to Dr. Busler, Sen. Alexander “is pulling for big-government price controls cloaked under another name: a federal benchmark rate … “On its face, the federal benchmark rate, which would freeze prices [for all out-of-network care] at median in-network costs, may sound like a pragmatic solution; however, there is a reason that some have called out its similarity to single-payer systems like Medicare for All. Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s blueprint, it too is based on government rate-setting and will similarly lead to shortages, lower quality of care, and higher prices for consumers.”
LIKE OBAMACARE, ALEXANDER’S BILL WILL ENRICH INSURANCE COMPANIES AT CONSUMERS’ EXPENSE – Dr. Busler believes that the only party that will benefit from this bill are crony insurance companies, which want to pay as little as possible for their customers. They will, according to him, milk the price-controlled rate by kicking the more expensive and skilled doctors/care centers off their network rolls. This will make the LHCC’s benchmark rate even smaller – good for insurers’ bottom lines, but bad for consumer choice and access in health care. It will result in less doctors to choose from and even more hospitals closing their doors.
The insurers are going so far as to feed Congress a study on the benefits of LHCC created by the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy that is filled with conflicts of interest. The organization’s founding chairman is the CEO of none other than Anthem, the largest insurance company in the United States.
THE ONLY EFFECTIVE, FREE MARKET SOLUTION: ARBITRATION – Rather than embrace a big-government solution that will lead to hospital/doctor shortages and give Democrats the precedent they need to implement Medicare for All, Dr. Busler believes that Republicans should back Dr. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)’s free-market solution, the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act, which relies on free market negotiations through arbitration. Consumers will still be 100% off the hook for their surprise bills, but instead of imposing price controls for the insurance lobby, both insurance companies and hospitals will need to submit their best price offers to an independent arbitrator. This will add competition/pressure to ensure consumers and healthcare professionals are adequately protected.