States. They’re just as perplexed as the rest of us over the ever-rising cost of health care premiums.
Now some states — including Montana, North Carolina and Oregon — are moving to control costs of state employee health plans. Their strategy: Use Medicare reimbursement rates to recalibrate how they pay hospitals. If the gamble pays off, more private-sector employers could start doing the same thing.
“Government workers will get it first, then everyone else will see the savings and demand it,” says Glenn Melnick, a hospital finance expert and professor at the University of Southern California. “This is the camel’s nose. It will just grow and grow.”
The American people – and just about all our elected officials – frequently and justifiably complain about the high cost of health care. But unless Congress acts, a tax increase on medical devices will take effect Jan. 1 and needlessly raise those costs even higher.
The 2.3 percent tax on medical devices was signed into law by President Obama and took effect in 2013. Fortunately, Congress passed legislation in 2015 and again in 2017 to temporarily suspend the tax. However, without further congressional action the tax will kick back in at the beginning of 2020.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker claims Medicare for All would “save lives.” Vermont’s own Senator Bernie Sanders promises it would end “the disgrace of tens of thousands of Americans dying every year from preventable deaths.”
But a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds little evidence to support those assertions. The authors examined people who gained government health coverage in recent years and found no “statistically significant pattern of results consistent with . . . mortality changes.”
Recently, I chaired a discussion at CPAC on the importance of choice in health care, and specifically health care coverage. My fellow panelists talked about government rule-making, Medicare waivers and the many problems that approaches like “Medicare for All” create — such as interposing Uncle Sam between physicians and patients. All important aspects of the health care puzzle — but nothing that hasn’t been turned over more than once in a wonky world of $5 words and inside the Beltway policy chatter.
The Trump administration slammed “Medicare for All” in its annual economic review Tuesday, claiming thatcreating a new government-run health care program would be expensive, damage the economy and hurt Americans’ health.President Donald Trump and his top health officials have repeatedly blasted Medicare for All, which several Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers are backing.”M4A will be neither more efficient nor cheaper than the current system, and it could adversely affect health,” said the report, which is prepared by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, using a shorthand acronym for the proposed reform.
A House panel on Wednesday sent the latest Medicaid expansion bill in the Idaho Legislature on to the House floor, but without a recommendation to pass it.
The bill — from Nampa Republican Rep. John Vander Woude — includes controversial provisions, such as a work requirement. It also requires people who are just above the poverty line to buy private health insurance plans from Idaho’s insurance exchange.