There’s a lot lawmakers could do to fix America’s broken health care system so that it works better, but instead, some politicians seem more focused on undermining it further by insisting on moving everyone into a massive, government-run health program like Medicare for All. Such an approach would raise taxes for hardworking American families while undercutting choice and flexibility — and it would make accessing quality care and vital treatments significantly harder for America’s seniors.

Medicare and Medicaid are valuable programs to be sure, but each is fraught with its own challenges that prevent them from maximizing their benefits for the seniors, low-income, and disabled Americans that are currently enrolled. If we can’t even make Medicare work for the tens of millions of seniors who currently rely on it to access the health care they need, then how can anyone justify massively increasing it by pushing hundreds of millions more people into it?

We need to fix the problems that currently plague programs like Medicare before we go about trying to radically expand them. Instead of pushing pipe dreams like Medicare for All, lawmakers like Sen. Tina Smith should focus on strengthening Medicare and our entire health care system so more Americans can afford the care they need. That will take smart, pragmatic policy changes — not some radical, government-controlled health care system. Ultimately, that is the kind of reform that will benefit seniors and all Americans.

Bob Andrews