Replacing our health care financing system with a single-payer system could have profound and unforeseeable consequences on the capacity of doctors, hospitals and other providers to deliver quality care. Substituting government financing for ESI would: 1.) Place fiscal burdens on taxpayers that the private sector now voluntarily bears; 2.) Require workers with ESI to pay more to finance care for others; and 3.) Eliminate the higher reimbursement rates that private insurers typically pay for medical care.
The Trump administration has again approved new rules for some of Kentucky’s Medicaid population, requiring them to either get a job, volunteer in the community or go to school to keep their government-funded health coverage.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced the approval on Tuesday, nearly five months after a federal judge blocked the state’s first attempt. State officials say the new rules can begin as soon as April 1 and will be phased in regionally over several months. They will require adults ages 19 to 64, with some exceptions, to complete at least 80 hours per month of “community engagement” to keep their health benefits. That includes getting a job, looking for a job, going to school, volunteering for community service or taking a job training course.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed polices for 2020 to strengthen and modernize the Medicare Part C and D programs. The proposal would ensure that Medicare Advantage and Part D plans have more tools to negotiate lower drug prices, and the agency is also considering a policy that would require pharmacy rebates to be passed on to seniors to lower their drug costs at the pharmacy counter.
Texas v. Azar likely will incite another episode of Washington hysteria and irrationality. It also will give states the chance to divert health care policy from its calamitous course.
Congress should proceed deliberately and let states lead the way.
In May New Jersey imposed a health-insurance mandate requiring all residents to buy insurance or pay a penalty. More states will feel pressure to follow suit in the coming year as the federal mandate’s penalty disappears Jan. 1 and state legislatures reconvene, some with new Democratic majorities intent on “protecting” ObamaCare. But conflicts with federal law will make state-level health-insurance mandates ineffective or unduly onerous, and governors and legislatures would do well to steer clear.
We’ve entered the last two months of the 115th Congress, the last Congress under Republican control for who-knows-how-long. Many Republicans think the midterm disappointment was an aberration, and that reclaiming control of the House is more-or-less a given thing in the next election cycle. But the future is a foreign country. Democrats controlled the House of Representatives for years, until they didn’t. Who is to say when the House returns to Republican control?