SALT LAKE CITY(ABC4 News) – Healthcare is one of the main talking points for Democratic candidates eyeing the White House in 2020.
Some of the top candidates are pitching Healthcare for All, but a member of Utah’s Congressional delegation says it’s not what most Americans want.
Last week, the House Budget Committee took up a report from the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, on Medicare for All.
Utah Representative Chris Stewart sits on that committee. He says the numbers are out of reach.
“Depending on the estimate as much as $32 trillion, and that sounds like so much money most people have no idea what that even means. But, then you explain it this way- it means every American taxpayer and every American business has their taxes doubled, and it still doesn’t quite pay for it,” said Stewart.
He also says a single-payer system removes consumer choice when most want to stay where they are.
“It takes away their private insurance. It takes away they options they now have, and it compels them onto a government program,” Stewart said.
Utah Health Policy Project is an organization dedicated to increasing access to healthcare.
They are not taking a position on Medicare for All. But:
“We clearly do have an access problem in Utah,” said education and collaborations director Courtney Bullard.
She says 10% of Utah adults are uninsured and 7% of children are uninsured in our state.
That accounts for a 20% increase to the child rate from last year.
“A lot of these kids who are eligible for services, for coverage, their parents are uninsured, and so, they go uninsured even though they are eligible. And so, increasing that 10% uninsured adult rate is really going to have effects on the child’s uninsured rate as well,” said Bullard.
She says Utahns clearly favor that after approving Medicaid expansion in November 2018.
Stewart says his goal is to increase access too but insists there is a better way than Medicare for All.
“We can fix this without tearing down a system that has served Americans for generations. You fix it by expanding CHIP, for example, you fix it by driving down costs,” said Stewart.
Stewart says it’s also crucial to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.