Joni Ernst: Democrat Theresa Greenfield’s Support for Public Option Could Bankrupt 52 Iowa Hospitals

Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield speaks with a reporter at a picnic hosted by the Adair County Democrats in Greenfield, Iowa, on Aug. 11, 2019. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said during a debate on Thursday night that Iowa Senate Democrat candidate Theresa Greenfield’s support for a public option could bankrupt 52 Iowa hospitals.

The public option that my opponent supports is just really a truck stop on the road to a single-payer system or government-takeover of health care,” Ernst said.

“The public option, as done by a third-party independent study, could bankrupt up to 52 of our rural healthcare systems,” Ernst said. “You know, I depend on one of those rural hospital systems; certainly, all of my family depends on those rural healthcare systems”:

Greenfield supports a public option, which would allow a government health insurance option to compete alongside other private health insurance plans. Conservatives and healthcare experts have contended that because the government option can run indefinitely on a loss, it would collapse the private health insurance market and lead to single-payer health care.

Ernst also cited a study commissioned by the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future and conducted by Navigant Consulting, which found that “adding a government-run insurance plan could decimate rural hospitals.”

The Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote in September 2019, citing the Navigant Consulting study, that up to 52 rural Iowa hospitals could close under a public option plan, and “rural hospitals could experience a loss of more than $476 million under a public health insurance proposal.”

The Navigant Consulting study found that after having millions of Americans switch from their private insurance plan to the public option plan, the public option would pay hospitals at Medicare rates, which is typically lower than private insurance, and would cut rural hospitals’ revenues between $4.2 billion and $25.6 billion.

“They’re in trouble,” Kirk Norris, the president and CEO of the Iowa Hosptial Association, said in 2019. “Our community hospitals are in the worst financial shape they’ve been in over 30 years.”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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