|California lawmakers are headed for a showdown over how many illegal immigrants should qualify for government-subsidized health care. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed allowing unauthorized immigrants under age 26 to enroll in Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. Some members of the legislature, which is dominated by Democrats, have proposed that low-income people of all ages should be eligible, regardless of their immigration status. Both would be first-in-the-nation expansions and represent another step by California to enact economic and social policies in defiance of the Trump administration, including more financial support for those in the country illegally.|
Would expanding Medicaid in Alabama bankrupt the already cash-strapped state budget and further sink our country into unsustainable levels of national debt? “When you expand Medicaid, the administrative costs and the cost of expansion will eventually swamp the state,” warned U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL). “It has in other states. Illinois is about to go bankrupt.” States that expanded Medicaid have signed up more than twice as many “able-bodied adults” than expected and per-person costs have exceeded original estimates by a whopping 76%, according to a 2018 report by the Foundation for Government Accountability. This led to cost overruns of 157%, the report showed, with Medicaid now accounting for one of every three state budget dollars.
|For generations, the prices that hospitals charge patients with private insurance have been shrouded in secrecy. An explosive new study has unlocked some of those secrets. It finds that employers and their insurers are failing to control hospital costs, increasing calls for transparency into insurer-hospital agreements. The analysis, by Chapin White and Christopher Whaley of the RAND Corporation, finds that hospitals are charging the privately insured 2.4 times what they charge Medicare patients, on average. The authors were able to access the actual contracted prices used by employers representing four million workers.|
The Medicare for All plan embraced by leading 2020 Democrats appears more lavish than what other advanced countries offer, compounding the cost but also potentially broadening its popular appeal. The plan from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would charge no premiums, copays or deductibles, allowing only limited cost-sharing for some prescription drugs. It would cover long-term care, dental, vision, hearing coverage and much more. But while other countries do guarantee coverage for all (but with often significant restrictions in access to actual care), the promised benefits vary significantly—and none are as comprehensive. [Supporters of the plan might want to read this scathing review of a book, “The Socialist Manifesto,” that chronicles the disasters that have ensued from this utopian political philosophy.]
- New federal costs under M4A would be unprecedentedly large
- We do not know how or whether the federal government could successfully finance its additional spending under M4A
- The projected additional costs of M4A’s coverage expansion would exceed the potential savings from eliminating private health insurance administration
- Current M4A proposals would sharply cut payments to health providers while increasing health service demand, most likely causing supply shortages, and disrupting Americans’ timely access to health care, and
- The costs of M4A would be borne most directly by health providers and those most in need of health services.
|HHS Secretary Alex Azar has been almost singularly focused in delivering on the administration’s promises to increase transparency and lower prescription drug prices since President Trump released his American Patients First blueprint in a Rose Garden ceremony a year ago. The blueprint offered nearly 30 policy recommendations to modernize payment policies, including bringing down out-of-pocket costs for patients. Just last week, HHS issued a final rule to give patients and doctors more tools to monitor and control costs in Medicare. For example, after a start-up period, Medicare Part D plans will be required to provide doctors and other prescribers access to price information for different prescription drugs when they are writing the script.|
In a year already marked by a wide variety of congressional health care legislation, Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Thursday released the details of a plan they hope will help bring down health costs and eliminate surprise medical bills for patients. Alexander and Murray are the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“These are common-sense steps we can take, and every single one of them has the objective of reducing the health care costs that you pay for out of your own pocket,” Alexander said in a statement. “We hope to move it through the health committee in June, put it on the Senate floor in July and make it law.”