As health care spending continues to rise, Americans are not receiving the commensurate benefit of living longer, healthier lives. Health care bills are too complex, choices are too restrained, and insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs are climbing faster than wages and tax revenue. Health care markets could work more efficiently and Americans could receive more effective, high-value care if we remove and revise certain federal and state regulations and policies that inhibit choice and competition.
The Trump administration on Monday urged states to scale back their certificate-of-need laws and scope of practice rules, as the executive branch promised to push back against hospital consolidations. In a sweeping 120-page report encompassing more than 50 policy recommendations, the White House blamed government and commercial insurance for putting up barriers to patients and hurting price transparency.
The Trump administration has made important progress in loosening the federal government’s grip on private health insurance, freeing up more options for affordable health insurance. But the administration has veered off this free-market track with its recent proposal to, among other things, slap a form of imported price controls on a specific class of prescription drugs in Medicare.
Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who has become a darling of the progressive left, was quoting from an article in The Nation about “massive accounting fraud” committed by the Pentagon from 1998 to 2015. But her suggestion that the $21 trillion in military transactions could have “already” paid two-thirds the cost of a “Medicare for all” health care system goes beyond what the article reported — and is misleading.
Supporters of the nation’s health law condemn them. A few states, including California and New York, have banned them. Other states limit them.
But to some insurance brokers and consumers, short-term insurance plans are an enticing, low-cost alternative for healthy people.
HHS wants to cut down on the effort it takes providers to put information in electronic health records and to meet regulatory requirements, according to a new draft strategy. To achieve those goals, HHS, led by the CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, recommended simplifying Quality Payment Program and Promoting Interoperability reporting requirements, standardizing clinical information in EHRs, and improving the user experience of software for better workflows.
The November elections left us with a lot to digest—it wasn’t the decisive “blue wave” that some were predicting, but the tea leaves did tell us some interesting things about what voters believe and value, particularly when it comes to healthcare.
Interestingly, pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies found a notable phenomenon in exit polls: in races where Democrats won GOP seats, the number one issue was healthcare. Whereas in races where Republicans won Dem seats, the number one issue was jobs and the economy.
The blue ribbon for the Dumbest Tax in Obamacare goes to its tax on health insurance premiums, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates as raising $161 billion in revenue between 2019 and 2028. (The number would be higher, but for the fact that Congress passed a one-year premium tax holiday for 2019.) The problem is this: Health insurers aren’t in the business of going broke. So they pass along the cost of the tax in the form of higher premiums for consumers. According to estimates developed by consultants at Oliver Wyman, for every dollar Washington raises in taxes, premiums go up by around $1.27.
It shouldn’t shock most observers to realize that Congress gave itself a better deal than it gave most ordinary citizens. But Ocasio-Cortez’ complaints about the lack of affordability of health insurance demonstrate the way liberals who claim to support Obamacare’s pre-existing condition “protections”—and have forcibly raised others’ premiums to pay for those “protections”—don’t want to pay those higher premiums themselves.
Many observers dismiss single-payer health care as a political non-starter , but this traditional view ignores an explosion of support for the idea in recent years. In one recent poll, over 70 percent of Americans said they would support “a policy of Medicare for All”, including 85 percent of Democrats and even 52 percent of Republicans. A subsequent poll asked “do you support providing Medicare for every American” and found nearly identical results, including majorities of support from respondents in the South, those who live in rural areas, and those who say they “lean conservative.”