Health care is a complex issue, and solutions that improve access to quality care at a lower cost must be carefully constructed. Real, lasting change with minimal to zero unintended consequences requires a bipartisan approach.
Working together, we can build upon policy successes like Arizona’s Medicaid Program to improve health care.
Lawmakers in Washington are pushing ideological policies that, if enacted, would threaten our entire health care system. Such proposals would undermine critical access to care for vulnerable patients and increase taxes on hardworking Americans.
Hijacking the national health care debate with unaffordable, unachievable proposals such as Medicare expansion and/or the public option are not the way to fix health care in America.
During my tenure in the Arizona legislature, I worked hard to remove politics from policy enactments, and I did so by reaching across the aisle. Working together, we found commonsense solutions that worked for Arizona’s diverse communities and helped build one of the best health care systems in the country. Let’s take a closer look at these harmful DC proposals:
First, the proposal to drastically expand Medicare by allowing millions of new, younger Americans into the program could well be the breaking point for a program that is already being pushed to its limits. According to both the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Congressional Budget Office, one aspect of the Medicare program — the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund that pays out Part A benefits — will be bankrupt in the next five years.
It would be reckless and irresponsible to massively expand a program that is already facing financial woes. Any proposal must, first and foremost, do no harm. It must not disrupt access to quality care for the millions of seniors who are already enrolled in Medicare. These are the taxpayers who have worked and contributed to the program their entire lives and we owe it to them to protect their access to high-quality care.
Second, the push to introduce a government-controlled public option to compete with private and employer-sponsored health care plans is being presented as a means for lowering costs. The real result would be lower quality care, and less of it. Hard to serve areas, particularly rural and minority communities would be most impacted.
Government-controlled proposals, like Medicare expansion and the public option, are not good policy. I hope Sen. Sinema will oppose proposals that would harm our vulnerable populations, including seniors and rural and underserved communities.
I ask that she do what leaders do — work together to find what’s best for their constituents — Republicans and Democrats alike — and implement reasonable, bipartisan solutions that will actually lower costs and improve access in all Arizona communities.
Editor's note: Kate Brophy McGee is a former member of the Arizona Senate, where she was the chair of the Arizona Senate Health & Human Services Committee.