America's Health Insurance Plans, a group that represents insurers, slammed the single-payer healthcare proposal set to be introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Wednesday, saying it "cannot work."
"Whether it's called single-payer or 'Medicare For All,' government-controlled health care cannot work," David Merritt, executive vice president at AHIP, said in a statement. "It will eliminate choice, undermine quality, put a chill on medical innovation, and place an even heavier burden on hardworking taxpayers. We should build on private-sector successes, not abandon them."
Under the Sanders bill, people between the ages of 19-64 would be phased into Medicare over the course of four years and be taken off of their private health insurance plans, whether they buy them direcly through an insurer, the Obamacare exchanges, or receive coverage through work.
Private health insurance companies would be used to pay for elective treatments, like plastic surgery.
AHIP encouraged politicians to instead partner with the healthcare industry to come up with solutions, and said the problem with the system rested with the high cost of providing healthcare.
"Let's build on proven solutions that work – not theoretical, one-size-fits-all approaches that don't," Merritt said. "Proven solutions like value-based care; new tools, technology, and treatments driven by data; social services that coordinate around patients; market competition that drives down costs; community partnerships between the private sector and public programs; and more effective approaches to treat chronic illnesses."
He noted government was partnering with private insurance companies to offer coverage, both through Medicare Advantage at the federal level, which covers a third of people on Medicare, and Medicaid managed care, which is through 39 different state governments and partially paid for by the federal government.
"The most effective way to ensure affordable care and coverage is to strengthen the private market's ability to serve the American people, whether it's building upon private plans serving nearly 180 million people who get their coverage through their employer or the tens of millions who depend on private plans that partner with public programs," Merritt said.