What’s at Stake for Health Care and Welfare in Blue D.C.
- BY Nick Stehle
With Democrat control in the House, Senate, and White House, Democrats are ramping up for the ride of their lives. Control of both the executive and legislative branches could give them unchecked power to advance their agenda of more government and more spending. And with Democrats’ sights set on sweeping health-care and welfare reforms like “Medicare for All,” Americans should brace themselves for a potential tidal wave of change.
Despite its skyrocketing premiums, canceled health insurance plans, and fewer health-care choices, Joe Biden adamantly defended Obamacare throughout his presidential campaign. Going several steps further, he signaled his support for the addition of a public option — at a cost of nearly $1 trillion — during the campaign; chose Kamala Harris, Senate co-sponsor of Medicare-for-All legislation, as his running mate; and put forth Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Becerra, another staunch defender of Obamacare, has also gone on record supporting a Medicare for All–type system.
No matter how many times Biden suggests that he wants incremental change, the truth is any kind of public option in our health-care system is likely to destroy the system as we know it. Rural hospitals — many of which are already struggling — could be forced to close as reimbursement rates drop. Indeed, estimates suggest that as many as 55 percent of rural hospitals would be placed at a high risk of closure under the Biden public option. Many doctors won’t participate, resulting in fewer options for patients. And long wait lists could begin to characterize the American health-care system, as they already do in Canada.