WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — If healthcare access were expanded to everyone in the United States, what would that look like? Democrats paint a hopeful future, while Republicans’ views are bleak, as the House Ways and Means Committee explored the Democratic plan for universal healthcare during a hearing Monday.
“It represents real progress to present a bold idea to address the shortcomings in our system,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.
The bill would cover medical care, vision, dental and mental health services. Democrats argue it could make healthcare affordable nationwide.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, characterizes it as a potential “disaster.”
“Many Americans will pay more, wait longer for health care and get worse care than you receive now,” Brady said.
Both Republicans and Democrats are concerned about the bill’s effect on hospitals, especially those in rural areas. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., noted many people have hospitals in their districts that are the largest employers in their state or region, and he wants to make sure they stick around.
Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kansas, says if hospitals receive a 40% cut in reimbursements, they could be forced to close.
“We just can’t have that,” he said.
The committee will hold another hearing on the bill in the coming weeks.