10 Risks of Establishing a One-Size-Fits-All Health Care System Based On CBO Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today released a report entitled “Key Design Components and Considerations for Establishing a Single-Payer Health Care System,” which outlined many of the risks of establishing a one-size-fits-all health care system, much like Democrats’ Medicare-for-All.

According to the CBO report, these risks could affect:

  1. Spending. “Government spending on health care would increase substantially under a single-payer system because the government (federal or state) would pay a large share of all national health care costs directly.” (pages 3, 5)
  2. Revenue. “Shifting such a large amount of expenditures from private to public sources would significantly increase government spending and require substantial additional government resources.” (page 6)
  3. Choice. “Because the public plan would provide a specified set of health care services to everyone eligible, participants would not have a choice of insurer or health benefits. Compared with the options available under the current system, the benefits provided by the public plan might not address the needs of some people.” (page 6)
  4. Control of Care. “By owning and operating hospitals and employing physicians, the government would have more control over the health care delivery system, but it would also take on more responsibilities.” (page 15)
  5. Quality of Care. “The transition from the current system to publicly owned hospitals and publicly employed physicians would entail significant changes for providers, and those changes could lead to lower quality of care for patients.” (pages 15, 18)
  6. Resources for Care. “Government spending and total national spending on health care would be lower if provider payment rates under a single-payer system were set at Medicare FFS [fee-for-service] rates rather than at a higher level, such as average commercial rates. Setting payment rates equal to Medicare FFS rates under a single-payer system would reduce the average payment rates most providers receive—often substantially.” (page 22)
  7. Supply of Care. “Such a reduction in provider payment rates would probably reduce the amount of care supplied and could also reduce the quality of care. Studies have found that increases in provider payment rates lead to a greater supply of medical care, whereas decreases in payment rates lead to a lower supply.” (page 22)
  8. Innovation. “Decisions about which new treatments and technologies would be covered would have a significant effect on patients’ access to those innovations, as well as on the development of new treatments and technologies over time and the costs of the single-payer system.” (page 9)
  9. Labor Market. “In addition to its potential effects on the health care sector, a single-payer system would affect other sectors of the economy that are beyond the scope of this report. For example, labor supply and employees’ compensation could change because health insurance is an important part of employees’ compensation under the current system.” (page 6)
  10. Information Technology (IT). “A standardized IT system could help a single-payer system coordinate patient care by implementing portable electronic medical records and reducing duplicated services. … Establishing an interoperable IT system under a single-payer system would have many of the same challenges as establishing an interoperable IT system in the current health care system with its many different providers and vendors.” (page 7)

To read Ranking Member Womack’s statement on the CBO report, click HERE.

To learn more about Democrats’ one-size-fits-all health care proposal and their plan to pay for it (or lack thereof), click HERE.

To watch Budget Committee Republicans’ new video “We’re Gonna Pay,” about Medicare-for-All’s price tag, click HERE.