(CNN)As attention on Medicare for All continues to grow, the industries that would be most affected by the shift are determined to chill the fervor.
A coalition of lobbying groups for insurers, hospitals, doctors and drug makers, as well as the US Chamber of Commerce, are ramping up efforts to highlight the downsides of Medicare-for-All-type proposals. They are launching ad campaigns, talking to lawmakers, conducting polls, utilizing social media and speaking out against the concept of a single-payer health care system.
Considered fringe not too long ago, Medicare for All has been garnering more support in recent months, especially after a progressive wave helped Democrats take control of the House this year. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington is expected to release the House version of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal in the coming days, which would create a system where all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan. Also, Democratic lawmakers in both chambers have been refloating more moderate bills that would allow younger Americans to buy into Medicare or Medicaid.
What’s raising Medicare for All’s profile even more is the debate among declared and prospective Democratic 2020 presidential candidates over just how far they would go to get more Americans covered. Some want to fully shift to a government-run program, while others prefer to expand the reach of Medicare or Medicaid while keeping the private insurance system in place.
Still, most of these proposals would diminish or eliminate the role of private insurers, cut payments to hospitals and doctors and allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices. They would also chip away at or get rid of employer-sponsored policies, which now cover more than 150 million Americans, who generally like their plans.
So it’s no surprise that the massive health care industry — which Medicare for All proponents paint as greedy players focused on profits — is fighting back. And they’ve hired a former top Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama administration official to lead the way.
The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, the coalition that formed last year, recently launched two digital campaigns warning that a sweeping Medicare for All measure or even the more moderate proposals would upend the nation’s health care operations, raise taxes and give consumers fewer choices.
“The American people are going to pay more to wait longer for worse care,” said David Merritt, executive vice president at America’s Health Insurance Plans, a member of the coalition. “That is the exact opposite of what they actually want.”
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