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.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 18 2017
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:
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: December 17 2016
If the US healthcare system isn’t going to provide clear and transparent prices to patients, then others are trying to provide that information on their own. Several companies are trying to inform consumers to the lowest-cost sources for generic drugs.
“One company, GoodRx, collects drug prices at pharmacies around the country and connects consumers to coupons to help them pay. Another, Blink Health, takes the process a step further by allowing customers to pay for their drugs online, then pick up the prescription at nearly any pharmacy.” Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 20 2016
One of the parts of the ACA/Obamacare law was the creation of insurance companies known as “coops.” These consumer-run organizations were intended to increase competition and offer lower-cost insurance options to patients. However, many of the coops have been folding in recent months, for a variety of reasons, and now less than half of the 23 original coops are still standing.
“Several co-ops said they wouldn’t be able to enroll new customers in 2016 after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that certain reimbursement rates would be only 12.6 percent of what had been expected. Eighteen co-ops were denied money they were expecting, according to Martin Hickey, CEO of New Mexico Health Connections and chairman of the National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs.” Continue reading Health Policy Updates: December 5 2015
Growth in health care spending, low for the past several years for reasons that are still unclear, has been increasing again. This is reflected in a new projection of health care spending over the next decade.
“Recent historically low growth rates in the use of medical goods and services, as well as medical prices, are expected to gradually increase.” Continue reading Health Policy Updates: September 19 2015