- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Trump administration cranked its criticism of “Medicare for all” to full blast Thursday, saying a government health plan would wipe out choices and expose patients to the whims of Washington.

In a speech on market reform, Health Secretary Alex M. Azar II said a single-payer program would force taxpayers to foot its “staggering costs,” undercut public insurance for seniors and amplify one of the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s noted foibles.

“Under the ACA, you were promised that if you liked your plan, you could keep your plan, and if you liked your doctor, you could keep your doctor,” Mr. Azar said at Lipscomb University in Nashville. “But under Medicare for All, no one’s even promising that you can keep your plan, or keep your doctor. The main thrust of Medicare for All is giving you a new government plan and taking away your other choices.”

Mr. Azar’s broadside is notable because a single-payer bill is nowhere close to becoming law — Republicans who currently control Congress loathe it, and it spooks centrist Democrats who’d rather attempt a more limited expansion of taxpayer-funded insurance.

Yet the plan from Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and other progressives polls relatively well and is gaining serious traction among the left ahead of November’s midterms, however, so the administration is pushing back.



Administration officials said their push to lift people up and off of Medicaid coverage for the poor and expand choices in the Obamacare marketplace is the smartest way to go.

He said proponents of a single-payer system are “demonize” private insurance that works for many people, including seniors who use private Medicare Advantage plans with government support, in favor of a unified plan that will micromanage their decisions.

“The promise of Medicare for All is that every American could get high quality care like seniors receive today,” Mr. Azar said. “But the reality of a single government system would be that no American gets that kind of quality — not the working Americans who lose their employer insurance and not the seniors whose program would now be altered beyond recognition.”

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