Health Policy Updates: February 17, 2018

US health care spending is projected to pick up again, and continue to grow faster than inflation over the next decade. Still on track to hit 20% of GDP by 2026!

“Projected national health spending and enrollment growth over the next decade is largely driven by fundamental economic and demographic factors: changes in projected income growth, increases in prices for medical goods and services, and enrollment shifts from private health insurance to Medicare that are related to the aging of the population.”

Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 17, 2018

Health Policy Updates: February 10 2018

Congress has been working on new budget legislation with bipartisan support. Some parts are clearly positives, such as the restoration of funding for community health centers, and an even-farther-into-the-future extension of CHIP funds. On the other hand, it proposes the death of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, an Obamacare institution intended to hold down health care costs (though the board itself has never actually materialized). This may represent an important symbolic (if immediately immaterial) retreat from the idea of “bending the cost curve”.

“In a rare show of bipartisanship for the mostly polarized 115th Congress, Republican and Democratic Senate leaders announced a two-year budget deal that would increase federal spending for defense as well as key domestic priorities, including many health programs…The deal does appear to include almost every other health priority Democrats have been pushing the past several months, including two years of renewed funding for community health centers and a series of other health programs Congress failed to provide for before they technically expired last year.”

Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 10 2018

Health Policy Updates: February 3 2018

Aaron Carroll goes after one of the most pervasive myths in health care  – that preventive care saves money:

“But money doesn’t have to be saved to make something worthwhile. Prevention improves outcomes. It makes people healthier. It improves quality of life. It often does so for a very reasonable price…Sometimes good things cost money.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 3 2018

Health Policy Updates: January 27 2018

Kentucky is set to begin imposing health literacy requirements in order to maintain Medicaid eligibility.

“For one thing, many Americans, not just those who seek Medicaid, struggle with health and financial literacy. And to some, literacy quizzes — however well intentioned — evoke the tests used to impede voting registration of black Americans in the Jim Crow South.”

Continue reading Health Policy Updates: January 27 2018

Health Policy Updates: January 20 2018

The proportion of uninsured Americans has started to inch up again, after falling for several years post-ACA. But why? The Trump Administration has been doing what it can to chip away at the ACA’s foundation, but without any major legislative victories. And it seems that this trend predating this, anyway.

“A recent estimate of the connection between a lack of insurance and mortality suggests that for every 800 people without insurance for a year, one will die — meaning that 4,000 more people may have died during the year than would have had they been covered. That increase in the percentage began in the first quarter of Donald Trump’s presidency.”

Continue reading Health Policy Updates: January 20 2018