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?
The 2020 presidential election will be consequential for the future of health reform, with the two major-party nominees taking very different views on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the policies needed to lower health costs and continue to expand access to coverage. The Republican nominee will likely signal broad opposition to the ACA and a desire to replace it with a state innovation–based approach to reform, based on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation considered by the Senate in the fall of 2017. This article takes that legislation as a starting point, contextualizes it within the broader health reform discussion, and suggests ways to improve upon it to enhance the affordability of and access to coverage and to ensure that states have adequate flexibility to implement their policy goals.
The Trump administration earlier this year made it easier for small businesses and self-employed workers to band together to buy insurance that didn’t have to abide by all of Obamacare’s rules. This story out of Nebraska highlights an early success of an association health plan. Under the new Trump administration rule, employer Land O’Lakes now offers workers comprehensive coverage at up to 35% less than exchange plans in the state. Land O’Lakes, several Nevada chambers of commerce, and the National Restaurant Association have formed association plans this year and each say they want to do what’s best for small businesses and their workers by providing an option that may be a better fit for a family than what’s available in the traditional individual and small-group markets.
California’s next governor Gavin Newsom is an avowed single-payer supporter in the country’s most populous state. But how much of his stand is principle and how much is policy is not totally clear. And no matter how he handles it, he’ll inevitably anger part of his base.
That, in a nutshell, is a preview of the Democrats’ health policy dilemma heading into the 2020 election cycle. Single payer, or “Medicare for All,” has become a litmus test for the growing number of Democrats who are contemplating challenging President Donald Trump. Newsom’s stance gives supporters some cover, turning the issue mainstream. But making good on the promise carries big risk — even for a politician who won by a nearly 20-point margin.
Health care is still a top concern for many Americans. Members of Congress must now decide how to move forward. Their task: providing a coherent answer to our national anxiety over health care. We can expect repeated efforts from Democrats to push various forms of a government-run health system over the next two years. Fortunately, conservative policy experts, working together at the national, state, and grassroots levels, have developed just such an alternative. The Health Care Choice Proposal would make coverage far more affordable—lowering premiums by up to 32%, according to the Center for Health and Economy. Moreover, it would ensure that everyone could access a quality, private coverage arrangement of their choice.
Progressive Democrats are pushing for a vote on a controversial health-care bill after the party takes control of the House early next year.
But the left’s push for “Medicare for all” legislation would likely divide Democrats and pose a headache for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi(D-CA), who is poised to become Speaker in the next Congress.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who is co-chair of the Medicare for All Caucus in the House, told supporters on an organizing call Tuesday night that simply expressing support for the idea is not enough.
Supporters say they are going to push for a vote and organize grass-roots efforts to pressure Democratic holdouts to sign on to the legislation. However, any floor vote would probably fail, with all Republicans and some Democrats rejecting the measure.
Republicans have a health-care checklist they would like to accomplish before losing their House majority early next year. But they’re well aware Democrats have little incentive to help them out — especially given the growing resistance top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi appears to be facing in her quest to assume the speakership.
Even still, some things to watch on the health policy front include: Reversing drugmakers’ extra “doughnut hole” contributions; passing the CREATES Act; and repealing the medical device tax.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday said Medicaid may soon allow hospitals and health systems to directly pay for housing, healthy food or other solutions for the “whole person.”
In a speech supported by the Hatch Foundation for Civility and Solutions and Intermountain Healthcare in Washington, Azar said Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation officials are looking to move beyond existing efforts to partner with social services groups and try to manage social determinants of health as they see appropriate.
In June the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convened a meeting around the problem of illegal opioids sold online and through social media.
“Millennials and those younger rely heavily on social media,” says Alex Khu, assistant director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Global Trade Investigations division. “Criminal organizations recognize that trend and we’re starting to see advertisements and sales of counterfeit or substandard prescription drugs on social media sites.”
At best, counterfeit medications aren’t what they are supposed to be, like sugar pills. At worst, they’re dangerous and even deadly, particularly when fentanyl is involved.
Nationwide “Medicare for all” would cost more than $32 trillion over its first decade. Doubling federal income and corporate taxes wouldn’t be enough to pay for it. No doubt, that cost would be used to justify further restrictions on health-care access.
But the problems with single-payer go well beyond cost. In the past half-century, nationalized programs have consistently failed to provide timely, high-quality medical care compared with the U.S. system. That failure has countless consequences for citizens: pain, suffering and death, permanent disability, and forgone wages.