CBO Report Highlights Risks from Single-Payer Health Care Proposals

WASHINGTON, DC (May 1, 2019): The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC)  – a coalition of employers, insurers, life science companies, PBMs, brokers, agents, patient groups, and physician organizations – responded to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office entitled, "Key Design Components and Considerations for Establishing a Single-Payer Health Care System."

CAHC President Joel White released the following statement:

"CBO's findings echo our past warnings that the 'Medicare for All' misnomer simply will not live up to the hype. Patients have heard lofty and questionable promises of what single-payer health care can give them, but this report shows all that it threatens to take away: the coverage that millions of Americans trust and enjoy, access to treatment and cures, and any hope of getting our arms around federal spending on health care." 

"Patients need 
real-world solutions that unleash market forces to improve health care access and affordability. As this report reminds us, single-payer policies fall woefully short of that goal." 


CBO's findings warn that, under a single-payer system, "Government spending on health care would increase substantiallyand access to treatment could decrease, saying that "Increasing financial pressure for providers to lower their costs could adversely affect access to and quality of care by causing providers to supply less care to patients covered by the public plan."  

CBO also highlighted the threat to prescription drug coverage, writing: "A single-payer system could decide to exclude certain drugs or place those drugs on a nonpreferred drug list because they are too expensive or because they do not have any additional benefit. In such cases, enrollees would either not have access to those drugs or face higher cost sharing." 

The agency confirms that, under most single-payer proposals, some 181 million Americans in the employer-sponsored market would see their coverage disrupted, writing: "Under a single-payer system, people who currently have private insurance would enroll in the public plan.

Earlier this year, CAHC offered the Senate HELP Committee a detailed list of market-based policy recommendations to lower health costs by $100 billion annually. Read the coalition's recommendations here.