My Turn: Improving health care doesn’t mean increasing government control

For the Monitor
Published: 9/3/2020 6:00:10 AM

America’s health care system is a complex, interconnected web comprising nurses, doctors, and specialists; hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers; as well as private insurers, public programs, and nonprofit groups like Dismas Home New Hampshire.

The key to the successful delivery of health care lies in collaboration between these groups to ensure patients can access the critical treatments and services they need.

That is why I am deeply concerned by government-controlled health care plans like Medicare for All or the public option. If enacted, this kind of one-size-fits-all system would only introduce more bureaucracy in the health care system while at the same time increasing costs for working families and reducing access for at-risk patients.

At Dismas Home, we strive to provide the highest quality of alcohol and drug rehabilitative services for our residents. As a small nonprofit organization, a significant amount of time is spent inundated with government paperwork and protocols. We barely have the resources to keep up with the bureaucracy in our current system; introducing more through a government-controlled health care insurance system would only further detract from helping our girls re-enter society.

Anyone who has worked in the nonprofit sector and dealt with government agencies regularly will tell you that a government-controlled health care system will absolutely come with its fair share of bureaucratic obstacles. Just look at our state Medicaid program – navigating it means taking excessive amounts of time ducking and dodging all the red-tape barriers, which ultimately impedes the time we spend serving our residents.

However, one thing we do know for sure is that such a system would come at an exceedingly high cost for working families in New Hampshire. According to one study, paying for a public option could require a nearly 5% payroll tax increase on the average American worker, which would total roughly $2,300 per year in higher taxes. At a time when so many families in New Hampshire and across the country are struggling to regain their footing after the economy tanked, it seems incredibly shortsighted to even consider increasing taxes.

Additionally, a public option could have a detrimental impact on local hospitals. According to the New Hampshire Hospital Association, hospitals across the state are projected to lose $700 million by the end of the year due to the economic impact of COVID-19. A public option system would exponentially increase these losses, potentially forcing many hospitals out of business, especially in our rural communities, where budgets are already stretched thin.

More bureaucracy, higher taxes, and diminished access to care is not the recipe to improve health care in America. Lawmakers in D.C. and Concord should think twice before pushing government-controlled health care proposals like the public option.

(Sara Lutat is the executive director of Dismas Home New Hampshire.)




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