It hasn’t been a good week for Obamacare. More insurers are pulling out, and the Trump Administration seems to be split on whether it wants the exchanges to die now or hang around a little longer to provide for a smooth transition.
“The administration’s zigzags haven’t placated worried insurers, who see another year of red ink from enrollees that are older and sicker than they had expected. Congress’ paralysis on repeal and replacement translates into precisely the kind of uncertainly that makes risk-averse insurers want to run for cover. And Trump’s executive order, signed just hours after his inauguration, unnerved the health plans with its call for government agencies to abolish as much of the law as possible through administrative action. That fueled fears that his administration won’t enforce the individual mandate requiring most Americans to get coverage.”
I spent way too long looking at the maps in this article, which shows how the death rates from various causes have shifted over time in the US. Amazing to see how much drug related deaths really are up, and how much heart disease really is down. Sample below, for heart disease:
Health care cost growth is back on the rise, as reported in Health Affairs. During 2014 and now 2015, health care spending has increased at a rate faster that inflation, after having move in line with inflation for the first few years post-recession. That means health care is a growing share of the US GDP again.
This chart, published by the Wall Street Journal, gets my vote for the best of the week. Especially in a time of modest wage growth, the rapidly rising burden of health care costs on consumers can make people feel “underwater” – like their standard of living lower than it had been in the past. Even as other goods and services get cheaper, health care costs are greedily taking up more of families’ monthly budgets.
“The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care research nonprofit, found deductibles for individual workers have soared in the past five years, rising 67% since 2010 without adjusting for inflation, roughly seven times earnings growth over the same period. ” Continue reading Health Policy Updates: September 10 2016→
With the prices of many new specialty pharmaceuticals skyrocketing, the number of patients qualifying for Medicare’s “catastrophic” prescription drug provision is skyrocketing as well.
“Experts say the rapid rise in spending for pricey drugs threatens to make the popular prescription benefit financially unsustainable. Nonpartisan congressional advisers at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission have called for an overhaul. The presidential candidates, as well as the Obama administration, have proposed giving Medicare legal authority to negotiate prices.”