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By Rep. Dennis Lenz

In the wake of the tumultuous 2020 elections, Americans now face additional uncertainty over just how far the Democrats in control of Congress will try to push their radical plans to reshape our country.  These next few years promise to be increasingly volatile if Democrats follow through on threats to force us down a socialist path.

The centerpiece of their leftist agenda is BidenCare, a plan to establish full government control of your healthcare, eventually arriving at full-on Medicare for All.

BidenCare centers around creating a “public option” that would crowd out private insurance. Under Biden’s plan, millions of Americans who now have private insurance would be forced into poorly-managed, government-run, health care.

The consequences of this plan are dire.  The public option would put pressure on private insurance by increasing premiums, resulting in the elimination of many private plans offered by employers.  As the pool of private insurance shrinks, premiums will go up even more, eventually spiraling out of control.

And that is the point.  Rather than outright ban private insurance, as would be done with Medicare for All, BidenCare slowly and insidiously eliminates private insurance over time. These two bad proposals represent different roads to the same destination—single-payer healthcare.

At the present time, government healthcare programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, do not pay enough to cover the full cost of many services at hospitals.  To make up the shortfall, healthcare providers depend on the higher payments provided by private insurance. In effect, private insurance is subsidizing government healthcare programs.

This already tenuous arrangement would disappear under BidenCare as private insurance is crowded out.

BidenCare would mandate that doctors and hospitals take lower payments than they receive from private insurance.  Many of our healthcare providers already operate on razor-thin margins. BidenCare would force many to close.  This problem will be especially severe for rural areas where healthcare facilities already struggle to keep the doors open.

For the healthcare facilities that remain open under BidenCare, this mandated payment reduction will mean cuts to many services and much lower quality of care.

Worst of all—BidenCare comes at an astronomical cost to taxpayers.  With a price tag of $800 billion over ten years, this scheme could increase personal income taxes by eighteen percent for all taxpayers.

Talk about adding insult to injury—Americans will be forced off their existing health insurance and in return they’ll get less access, lower quality, and a higher tax bill.

There are many solutions before us to provide more affordable and better access to healthcare for all Americans.  A government takeover of healthcare does none of these things.  But the socialist mentality that has infected the Democrat Party cares for nothing but equality of outcome, even if the outcome is equally bad for everyone involved. The cost of this will be nothing less than the destruction of our healthcare system.

BidenCare’s public option is designed to do away with private insurance altogether and leave Americans with no choice, other than Medicare for All.  Our Congressional delegation—Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and Congressman Matt Rosendale—must stand up for Montana taxpayers, Montana hospitals, and Montana healthcare professionals by rejecting any plan for a government takeover of our health care.

Rep. Dennis Lenz represents House District 53 in Billings and Laurel.  He is the Chairman of the Montana House Human Services Committee.

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