The national health care debate has continued as more and more candidates enter the presidential field and each is asked to weigh in on ways we need to improve our health care system. These usually include policies such as Medicare for all or a Medicare buy-in option or something else.
What is usually missing from these policy discussions is something simpler: Fixing the system we have.
The Affordable Care Act took some major lifting to get passed nearly a decade ago. We all heard the stories of the “death panels” and other ridiculous scare tactics that never came to fruition. But there were also problems with the Affordable Care Act that continue today. It’s not a perfect system, and there are many ways we can continue to improve upon it, whether that is expanding coverage to those in the lower-middle class who remain uninsured or reducing out-of-pocket costs by introducing new cost-sharing reductions.
As a chamber of commerce, we have worked to improve the lives of our members, their employees and their business in any way that we can. We are proud to host networking events, create promotional opportunities and be a resource for them in the community. We also advocate for policies that will improve their lives. Medicare for all does not do that. It will rip away the health care coverage many businesses offer to their employees. These employees may be happywith their coverage, as most Americans are, but it will be taken from them nonetheless.
This misguided policy will also reduce access to medical care, create a national shortage of physicians, and create long wait times on patient visits. Those factors will simply not improve the lives of our members.
I urge our congressional leaders here in Arizona to work together to create a health care system that improves on what we have instead of tearing it down to create a system with many dangerous unknowns.
Some of our congressional members in the House recently introduced legislation that would protect pre-existing conditions. It has a ways to go, but that is a good example of ways we can protect what we have, in the hopes that we can improve it over time. Nogales and Santa Cruz residents, along with the rest of the country, deserve a health care system that puts their needs first.
(Ainza-Kramer is president/CEO of the Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce.)