The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee today held a hearing on proposals to achieve universal health care coverage. Two proposals would create a national health insurance program for all U.S. residents (H.R. 1384 and H.R. 2452). Other proposals would create a federal public option (H.R. 2000, H.R. 2463 and H.R. 2085) or Medicaid buy-in option (H.R. 1277) on the health insurance exchanges; allow individuals aged 50-64 (H.R. 1346) or qualified first responders (H.R. 4527) to buy into Medicare; or give states expanding Medicaid a 100% federal medical assistance percentage for three years (H.R. 584).
“While the AHA shares the objective of achieving health coverage for all Americans, we do not agree that a government-run, single-payer model is right for this country,” the association said in a statement for the hearing. “Such an approach would upend a system that is working for the vast majority of Americans, and throw into chaos one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy. Moreover, we are concerned that the alternative approaches being considered – mainly those creating opportunities to buy government-run health insurance coverage through one of the existing public programs or a new program – are equally detrimental to the health care system, without achieving the desired coverage results. … The better path to achieving comprehensive coverage for all Americans lies in continuing to build on the progress made over the past decade.”
Specifically, AHA said it supports continued efforts to expand Medicaid in non-expansion states, including providing the enhanced federal matching rate; providing federal subsidies for more lower- and middle-income individuals and families; strengthening the exchanges by reinstituting funding for cost-sharing subsidies and reinsurance mechanisms, and reversing the expansion of “skinny” plans; and adequately funding robust enrollment efforts to connect individuals to coverage.