Horn op­poses Medi­care-for-All con­cept

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris Cas­teel Staff writer ccas­[email protected]­la­homan.com

ED­MOND— U.S. Rep. Ken­dra Horn said Wed­nes­day that she op­poses so-called Medi­care-for-All pro­pos­als be­cause sin­gle-payer-cov­er­age wouldn't

re­solve prob­lems in the health care sys­tem.

“Ex­pand­ing ac­cess to in­surance doesn' t nec­es­sar­ily ex­pand ac­cess to care,” Horn said, not­ing that some in­sured peo­ple can't af­ford in­sulin and other crit­i­cal drugs and that health in­surance com­pa­nies are deny­ing pay­ments for tests that physi­cians have or­dered for pa­tients.

Medi­care-for-All pro­pos­als, which would ef­fec­tively put all Amer­i­cans un­der the govern­ment-run pro­gram that now cov­ers peo­ple 65 and over, are plat­form cor­ner­stones of two Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial con­tenders, U.S. Sens. Bernie San­ders, of Ver­mont, and El­iz­a­beth War­ren, of Mas­sachusetts.

Oth­ers, like for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bid en, have ar­gued that the Af­ford­able Care Act, for­mer Pres­i­dent Ba rack Obama's sig­na­ture achieve­ment, is work­ing and that pri­vate in­surance com­pa­nies should re­main in the sys­tem.

Meet­ing with con­stituents in an Ed­mond cof­fee shop, Horn said, “I don't agree with oth­ers that would do away with pri­vate in­surance.”

Horn said peo­ple shouldn't have their cov­er­age op­tions lim­ited. And she said states with uni­ver­sal cov­er­age still have unin­sured res­i­dents.

“I want to do whatever is go­ing to be the best to get more peo­ple cov­ered in a smart, sus­tain­able way,” she said.

Horn re­it­er­ated her sup­port for ex­pand­ing Med­i­caid, say­ing the state has al­ready for­feited $7 bil­lion in fed­eral fund­ing avail­able un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act.

“These are our tax­payer dol­lars that we have sent in that re­ally should be com­ing back to take care of the health of in­di­vid­u­als,” she said.

Ok­la­homa is one of 14 states that have not ex­panded Med­i­caid, a fed­eral-state health in­surance pro­gram for low-in­come peo­ple. There is cur­rently a pe­ti­tion drive to put Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion on the bal­lot in Ok­la­homa next year. Sup­port­ers es­ti­mate that an ad­di­tional 200,000 Ok­la­homans would be eli - gible for cov­er­age un­der an ex­panded pro­gram.

Asked whether there was a con­flict in sup­port­ing Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion but op­pos­ing Medi­care for All be­cause it wouldn't “nec­es­sar­ily ex­pand ac­cess to care,” Horn said there was a dif­fer­ence.

Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion would sim­ply pull more peo­ple into a sys­tem al­ready setup to pro­vide cov­er­age to a sim­i­lar pop­u­la­tion, while putting ev­ery­one into Medi­care would be a ma­jor over­haul be­fore nu­mer­ous health care prob­lems were ad­dressed, she said.


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