As if voters didn’t have enough reasons to question government-run health care, the Wall Street Journal provided yet another last week. The paper ran a lengthy expose highlighting numerous cases of doctors previously accused of negligence receiving “second chances” in the government-run Indian Health Service (IHS), resulting in incidents wherein at least 66 patients died in IHS care.

Earlier this year, the Journal ran a separate investigative article explaining how the Indian Health Service repeatedly ignored warnings about a physician accused of sexually abusing patients, moving him from hospital to hospital. Together, these articles describe a broken culture within the Indian Health Service, demonstrating how government-run health systems provide poor-quality care, often harming rather than helping vulnerable patients.

The share of recipients who aren’t eligible has grown sharply since the expansion began in 2014.

Medicaid expansion was a key component of ObamaCare. In 2014 when the expansion started, the feds stopped doing audits of states’ Medicaid eligibility determinations. The Obama administration’s goal was to build public support for the new law by signing up as many people as possible. Now, after a four-year hiatus, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have begun auditing program eligibility again. According to a report released Monday, the audits found “high levels of observed eligibility errors,” meaning a significant number of people are enrolled in Medicaid who shouldn’t be.

On November 1, 2019, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) published a lengthy monograph describing how she would pay for her plan to replace the U.S. health care system with a single, federally-run insurance agency: what she describes as “Medicare for All.”

 

In this paper, we analyze each of Warren’s proposals in detail. While some of Warren’s proposals would in fact succeed in raising taxes or reducing spending, others would not.

Most Democratic presidential candidates are supporting some version of Medicare for All, a radical proposal to put Washington in complete control of the health-care system. Joe Biden, however, promises to “protect and build on the Affordable Care Act,” the last Washington health-care experiment, which is better known as ObamaCare.

Yet ObamaCare largely failed in its primary goal—to create a better market for individual health insurance. The ObamaCare exchanges are performing much worse than expected when they were launched in 2014. And this has nothing to do with the Trump administration. Rather, the law failed because of its perverse construction.

“Before now, Warren’s radical proposal never would have been introduced by someone with a serious shot at becoming president,” Galen Senior Fellow Brian Blase explains in a piece for RealClearPolitics.

“But the health care status quo is failing too many Americans. She is right that health care prices are generally too high, that provider consolidation is a serious problem, and that health outcomes are generally disappointing,” Brian writes.

However…“Her prescription to address these problems is all wrong,” he explains, including evidence of the harm a Washington-centric system does to innovation.

“For evidence of the devastating impact of Medicare’s control of payments, look no further than the sorry state of American kidney care, with high death rates and outdated, inefficient treatments. Only 12% of American patients undergo dialysis at home, where they could receive treatment while they sleep, compared to 80% in Hong Kong and 56% in Guatemala.

Last month’s Census Bureau report on the uninsured overlooked an important point: More than 99 percent of Americans have access to health coverage, regardless of their income or medical condition.

The overwhelming majority of those lacking insurance could have obtained coverage but did not enroll.

Many of those with lower incomes may not sign up for subsidized coverage because they know they can receive care at little or no cost to themselves even if they remain uninsured until they arrive at a clinic.

Those in the top two income quintiles may remain uninsured because government intervention in health insurance markets has created a menu of unattractive products at unattractive prices.

One item on voters’ short list for congressional action is addressing the growing problem of surprise medical bills.

Insured patients should be confident that if they receive care at a facility that is in their health plan’s network or have a medical emergency, they will be responsible only for their share of the plan’s negotiated rates.

But all too often, a patient receives a bill afterward from an anesthesiologist, for example, that wasn’t “in network.” The insurer says the charge isn’t its responsibility, and the patient is on the hook—often for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

The House of Representatives this week will begin acting on a bill that would limit Americans’ access to lifesaving medicines, impede the development of new treatments for deadly and debilitating diseases, and increase health spending over the long term.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3), introduced last week with the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would double down on the failures of existing government policies that have distorted prescription drug prices and contributed to higher health care costs.

July’s Democratic presidential debates left seasoned health policy professionals confused, struggling to understand both the candidates’ policies and the differences among them. But working families should find Democrats’ health care debate taxing for another reason. For all their vows that Americans can obtain unlimited “free” health care while only “the rich” will pay, the major candidates are writing out checks that will end up on middle class families’ tab.  The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget believes the tax increases Sen. Sanders has proposed to date will pay for only about half of the more than $30 trillion cost of his single-payer scheme he envisions.  Other candidates fare no better in realistic plans to pay for their utopian health care promises.

Medicare buy-in is seen as a moderate proposal, but it would set off a domino effect of cost shifting that would leave few people untouched. It would mean that services for more people would be covered by insurance that reimburses providers at below-cost Medicare rates, placing more pressure on providers to negotiate higher rates with private insurers to offset the loss in income. Such a shift would place upward pressure on individual market premiums.  Providers would also try to limit the number of Medicare patients they see, making it more difficult for today’s seniors as well as the buy-in populations to access care.