The administration’s guidelines for “Opening Up America Again” rely heavily on the ability of states to develop a robust COVID-19 testing capacity, and Congress is negotiating adding as much as $25 billion to this week’s funding bill to significantly expand testing.
A dramatic increase in coronavirus testing is needed before people will feel safe to return to work and the marketplace, but an equally dramatic shortage of testing capacity threatens to cripple the recovery.
State and federal laws and regulations are hindering the private sector’s efforts to help fight the outbreak.
Effectively responding to the coronavirus epidemic requires innovation from private companies, medical professionals, and entrepreneurs. These folks are ready to perform heroic acts, but government rules and red tape are getting in their way. To take one tragic example, it appears that problems at the Centers for Disease Control led to early delays in testing and unreliable tests.
We must untangle this red tape to save lives. Hospitals and medical facilities in hotspots already are overwhelmed with patients, and the demands placed on them will only increase in the coming months. They need to rapidly expand capacity now to avoid being forced to ration care, as we already see happening in Italy, later.
If Medicare for All should ever become reality, America would face a far greater cost than the multi-trillion dollar price tag. This government controlled, single-payer health care system would come at the expense of Constitutional rights that are supposed to be preserved, protected, and defended. This should come as no surprise where health care is concerned.
The current multitude of health care rules and regulations have essentially buried the prohibition against federal interference in the practice of medicine (42 USC 1395). Therefore, it is no wonder that lawmakers are considering socialized medicine as a supposedly viable solution to our health care coverage challenges. However, in exchange for that universal coverage, with private health insurance practically eliminated, Medicare for All legislation overlooks the conscience rights of medical professionals in the effort to prohibit patient discrimination.
New York state is grappling with a Medicaid shortfall in the billions of dollars. And one of the main reasons is improper enrollment.
Using annual information from the Census Bureau to assess the demographic make-up of Medicaid enrollees over time, researcher Aaron Yelowitz and I estimated that 2.3 million to 3.3 million Medicaid enrollees nationally make an income in excess of what is allowed.
This is of increasing importance given that ObamaCare massively expanded what was historically a welfare program for vulnerable populations like the disabled and low-income children and pregnant women — and tens of billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.
If Democrats don’t like Obamacare plans for themselves, then why did they force all Americans to buy this insurance under penalty of taxation?
Last week, the wife of Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) went on a self-described “rant on social media” about her health coverage.
New video: Dem congressman Joe Cunningham's wife is outraged her taxpayer-subsidized Obamacare plan doesn't pay for her therapy, their marriage counselinghttps://t.co/HQLyf1g4Iy pic.twitter.com/3NXD4qD98c
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) September 9, 2019
Amanda Cunningham’s comments echo claims by Democratic lawmakers like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) about the problems with their health coverage. For many members of Congress that comes via Obamacare-compliant policies sold on health insurance exchanges.
The comments raise one obvious question: If Democrats don’t like Obamacare plans for themselves, then why did they force all Americans to buy this insurance under penalty of taxation? But beyond demonstrating the bipartisan dissatisfaction with Obamacare, Amanda Cunningham’s story illustrates the larger problems plaguing the American health care system.
|Republicans undermine their own long-term interests by supporting elimination of the Cadillac Tax. The GOP opposes government-imposed cost controls, and supposedly favors market-driven discipline as an alternative. Most GOP members in Congress fail to understand that the Cadillac tax is a market-driven reform. Currently, federal tax law confers an open-ended benefit on employer-paid premiums, which are exempt from income and payroll taxes. The more a company spends on health benefits, the greater the tax subsidy. The result is higher-costs than would exist if the tax subsidy were limited, as the Cadillac tax does.|
On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill to increase the federal budget and lift the debt ceiling for the next two years. The Trump administration provided a list of $574 billion in savings options from the president’s 2020 budget to offset some or all of the proposed deal’s domestic and defense spending increases over the next two years. And whenever big numbers in government spending are debated, Medicare is always on the table. Early reports said that a big chunk of the spending offsets were expected to come from “Medicare savings,” including by imposing an inflation cap on Medicare Part D “reinsurance” spending. The issues is complex but the politics aren’t: The deal could have led to charges that Medicare cuts were being used to pay for more government spending.
Politicians are depicting a system in meltdown, but the numbers tell a different story, not as dire and more nuanced. Government surveys show that about 90% of the population has coverage. Independent experts estimate that more than one-half of the roughly 30 million uninsured people in the country are eligible for health insurance through existing programs. The bigger issue than lack of coverage seems to be that many people with insurance are struggling to pay their deductibles and copays.
Health insurance is expensive because spending on hospital and physician services is high. Insurers are unpopular because they bear the main responsibility for controlling this spending—but in doing so, they save consumers money and focus resources toward better care. A comparison of plan options under Medicare can quantify the value added by private insurance management. Private plans reduce costs by about 10%, allowing them to provide more than $1,000 in extra health services to each Medicare enrollee every year.
Acting on the principle “Why put it off until tomorrow when you can do the wrong thing today?” the House of Representatives last week voted to repeal the Cadillac Tax, the tax of 40% on a portion of the most lavish employer-provided health care plans. The Cadillac tax was proposed not just to help fund Obamacare but also as an incentive for restraining the rapid growth of health care costs. Because the tax break—treating important compensation as untaxable—is unlimited, Alan D. Viard of the American Enterprise Institute says, it encourages employers to provide high-cost plans “that cover routine care and feature low deductibles and copayments. Those plans increase the demand for medical services and drive up costs for other patients.”