In the case of Democrats using statewide numbers for people with preexisting conditions for votes concerning the AHCA, that’s worthy of Four Pinocchios. They’ve taken high-end estimates for the entire insurance market, even though the law affected only the individual market. Different states also would have had to proactively seek waivers. The Congressional Budget Office found that in states with one-sixth of the U.S. population, there could be turmoil in the insurance markets – but that meant it might be fine in other states. There’s little excuse to apply numbers for the entire insurance market to the much-smaller individual market.
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.
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.
Many Democrats have embraced “Medicare for All,” but there’s a big variation in the policies they propose under that banner. This poll asked respondents two related questions—what they think candidates mean by “Medicare for All,” and what they want that policy to mean, if they support it at all. Overall, just 52% of those surveyed said they think “Medicare for All” refers to a single, government-run health care program covering everyone. Voters were more divided over what they want “Medicare for All” to be: 34% said they would favor a single-payer system; 33% said they would prefer an optional public plan alongside private insurance; 30% wanted neither. This poll shows that Medicare for All has different meanings to different people.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, which celebrated its 70th anniversary on July 5, is imploding. Vacancies for doctor and nurse positions have reached all-time highs. Patients are facing interminable waits for care as a result. This August, a record number of Britons languished more than 12 hours in emergency rooms. In July, the share of cancer patients who waited more than two months to receive treatment soared. Yet enthusiasm for government-run, single-payer health care continues to build in the U.S. One look across the Atlantic, to the disaster unfolding in the U.K.’s government-run healthcare system, ought to curb that enthusiasm.
President Trump’s administration says on average prices for 2019 are 1.5% lower than they were last year on the federal health exchange. After years of double-digit price hikes on exchange plans, health insurers are starting to turn a profit on the ACA exchanges. For 2019, there are more carriers getting back into the market and offering new plan options. The Trump administration extended the length of cheaper, short-term plans with fewer benefits to provide up to 12 months of coverage. Some analysts predict those cheaper plans could attract healthier members.
The battle over coverage for pre-existing conditions has become a central front in the 2018 midterm elections, but however heated their rhetoric and whatever their positions have been in the past, there is operatively no difference between Republicans and Democrats on the issue.
What I mean by that is no matter who controls Congress at the end of this process, Obamacare’s ban on allowing insurers to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions is going to remain intact.
Amgen announced on Wednesday it is creating much lower pricing categories for its innovative biologic, Repatha, reducing the list price by 60%—from the current $14,600 to $5,850 a year. Patients who pay a share of the list price through co-insurance can see immediate savings. The company says it hopes that insurers will see the value of adjusting their formulary tiers to include the drug and make it more accessible and affordable to patients. The list price cut is a market-based approach that is much more likely to succeed in lowering drug prices while allowing investments in research for new innovative therapies to continue.
State proposals to allow residents who don’t qualify for Medicaid to buy into the program are gaining steam, but providers are concerned that could cut deep into state budgets, drive physicians out of Medicaid’s already-skimpier networks and shift more costs to the commercial insurance market.
Providers’ worries about state Medicaid buy-in options are similar to their unease over the “Medicare for all” plan pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), which is gaining steam with progressive Democrats in Congress.