McConnell attacks ‘Medicare for All,’ says he favors ‘niche fixes’

Bret Baier of Fox News interviews U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell told Fox News April 10 that he favors “niche fixes” for health care, while vowing that next year’s elections will include a debate “about whether we want to turn America into a socialist country.”

The day before, McConnell targeted “Medicare for all” and other health plans of Democrats at the annual meeting of the American Hospital Association, and the group’s leader endorsed more modest changes to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“The hospital lobby already opposes Medicare for All and says bolstering the exchanges and getting more states to expand Medicaid is a better path toward universal coverage,” Chelsea Cirruzzo and Michelle Stein of Inside Health Policy report. “McConnell told the group that his health-care plan is ‘keeping what works and fixing what doesn’t,’ but he didn’t elaborate as he targeted Medicare for All as the wrong solution.”
McConnell said hospitals “should not be the guinea pigs in some far-left social experiment,” which would cost $32 trillion over 10 years by shifting most health-care costs to the government. “He similarly blasted other health care proposals being considered by Democrats, naming the public option and Medicare buy-in, which he said would take the power from patients and give it to the government.”
Asked the next day by Bret Baier of Fox what the Republican plan is for health care, McConnell said, “Look, we made that effort last Congress, it didn’t work. Clearly the Democratic House is not going to pass it. So we’re not going to spend time in the Senate on things that have literally no chance of becoming law.”

AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack “suggested improvements to the Affordable Care Act as a better way to expand coverage,” including expanding Medicaid in Republican-dominated states that have not expanded it, and giving them the same deal that Kentucky and most other states took: full federal funding for the first three years, then declining to 90 percent over four years.

Pollack also called for “restoring cost-sharing subsidies for low-income consumers and implementing well-designed reinsurance mechanisms” to protect insurance companies who may get stuck with disproportionately ill policyholders. “He also said an alternative should include bigger subsidies for low-income individuals who want to purchase exchange coverage and adequate funding for enrollment efforts,” Cirruzzo and Stein report.

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