It has not been a good week for US health care.
This week the Senate passed “a health care bill disguised as a tax cut.” The result, argues Sarah Kliff, will be a sweeping change to many parts of the US health care system, starting with (per the CBO) 13 million Americans dropping health insurance coverage.
“First, the bill repeals the individual mandate, a key piece of Obamacare that requires most Americans get covered. Economists expect its elimination to reduce enrollment in both the Affordable Care Act’s private marketplaces and Medicaid by millions. The money saved will be pumped into tax cuts for the very wealthy. The bill also includes tax cuts so large that they would trigger across-the-board spending cuts — including billions for Medicare. The last time Medicare was hit with cuts like this, patients lost access to critical services like chemotherapy treatment.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: December 3, 2017
Health care journalist Sarah Kliff at Vox.com recently started a brand new (and yet to be named!) podcast. The first episode was out last week, and covers the politics of why the US has much high prescription drug costs than other wealthy countries. I can’t really add anything to her excellent coverage and explanation of the issue, and will just say that I HIGHLY recommend taking a listen. I am eagerly awaiting episode #2!
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: December 3 2016
This week, an update on the future of the federal budget and health care’s role in it.
To summarize, health care spending is still a major problem. The federal government is going to add almost $1 trillion in spending over the next decade, and the bulk of that will be in increased health care spending. Health care still threatens to strain federal balance sheets in coming decades. Interestingly, the vast majority of this increase is coming from Medicare spending; Medicaid and the ACA exchanges are projected to have a much smaller impact.
“Turning to the economy more broadly, for every additional dollar of real GDP per capita expected 10 years from now, 20 cents will go just to support the rise in federal health insurance programs costs…health care continues to eat up a very large fraction of economic growth.” Continue reading Health Policy Updates: July 2 2016
It was deja vu all over again, when a federal court judge laid down a ruling that (if it ultimately stands) would be a severe blow to the ACA/Obamacare.
What was the legal question this time? Apparently, the ACA cannot spend money to subsidize health insurance (all of the reduced-price insurance plans on the health care exchanges) without first having appropriated the money through Congress. Read more, from Sarah Kliff at Vox, here.
“This victory in Washington isn’t the final word on the lawsuit. But it does allow it to move forward, and means that the legal battle over Obamacare — one that has already included four Supreme Court cases — still isn’t over yet.”
Hillary Clinton made the health policy news this week for new statements regarding her ideas for new health care legislation. In contrast to Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” single-payer type of plan, her new proposal for expanding health insurance coverage is being characterized as “Medicare for More.”
“The Medicare program covers Americans once they reach 65. Beneficiaries pay premiums to help cover the cost of their coverage, but the government pays the bulk of the bill. Mrs. Clinton’s suggestion was that perhaps younger Americans, ‘people 55 or 50 and up,’ could voluntarily pay to join the program.” Continue reading Health Policy Updates: May 14 2016
Health care reform happened, in the form of the ACA/Obamacare, and a lot of people still can’t afford health care. Here are some thoughts on why, and what can be done going forward, in Health Affairs.
“While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made health insurance more affordable for the uninsured, premiums and cost-sharing are still too high for many Americans. And cost-sharing has been edging ever higher for the majority of Americans who have coverage through employer-based plans.” Continue reading Health Policy Updates: March 3 2016