Health care changes need to be affordable

The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but many Democrat candidates are already discussing their next phase of health care reform. This was clearly on display in the recent presidential debates.

But while the ACA’s marketplace has come under more control, ironically many of the proposals being discussed today would undermine it. I’m not just talking about Medicare for All, I’m also talking about the Medicare public option. While it sounds like a “lite” version of the larger proposal, the public option would ultimately lead us to the same result in health care. Iowans need to be aware and understand the impact of these proposals.

Vice President Joe Biden’s new health care plan released this week includes an ambitious public option, essentially a large government-run plan offered on the marketplace. While this may sound appealing, I’m wondering why Biden would include a policy counterproductive to his own touted success.

Biden knows that Medicare for All would end the ACA and Medicare as we know it today. But the public option he is proposing could end up causing the same ripple effect of single payer throughout the marketplace — negatively impacting premiums, access, and high-quality care options. This is because Medicare already pays providers well below market rates, and any large expansion would undercut private insurance options which make up a bulk of the marketplace.

Some Iowans would inevitably sign up for the public option, but because of the artificially lower rates the premiums of everyone else would have to rise to offset it. Iowa’s health care system would face even more cuts, and options would begin to disappear. At the end of the day, we would be left with an unsustainable system. Instead, Biden should look in the mirror and take a step back on the public option.

We need to fix health care costs, but it can’t be done with proposals that lead us down a road that’s unaffordable.

Brian Kingsolver

Sidney

Support for Warren

As a resident of your publishing region, I wanted to open a conversation with my fellow southwest Iowans regarding the upcoming Caucuses, and 2020 presidential election. While we work through a crowded primary field of candidates, it is the duty of voters to learn about the candidates that will best serve our interest as Iowans. After much research, I will be supporting Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Senator Warren has been a stand-out candidate from the starting her campaign early on with an event in Council Bluffs. Since then, the senator has released a plan for almost every thinkable challenge our country faces today — health care, consumer protection, income inequality, immigration, environmental sustainability and creating clean energy jobs.

As a mother with a child born with a congenital heart defect, Senator Warren’s adoption of a universal heath program or “Medicare of All” would ensure my son is always able to access the treatment he needs, without risk of being labeled with a pre-existing condition. Our family would no longer have to worry about what would happen if we lost our health coverage for any reason, and we could stop being so concerned about making our monthly “kid payment” (his medical bills) like some people make a car payment. We could use that money to more quickly pay down debt and save for our future.

For her stance on making affordable and accessible health care a right rather than a privilege that so many can not afford, along with myriad other reasons, Elizabeth Warren has earned my support. I hope you will look further into her campaign and reach out to find out how you can help the senator move forward to the nomination.

Amy Phillips

Oakland

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