The House on Tuesday passed a bipartisan bill aimed at reversing the maternal mortality crisis in the U.S. in what supporters say is the strongest action yet that Congress has taken on the issue.
The bill from Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) would support state-level efforts to track and investigate pregnancy-related deaths, and then look for ways to prevent future deaths from occurring.
A membership-based primary care model, known as “direct primary care,” provides patients with a set number of health care services in exchange for a flat monthly fee. For example, Epiphany Health in North Port, Florida charges $65 per month for an adult membership and $25 for one child. In exchange for that fee, they offer physical exams, EKG testing, strep and urine testing, blood-thinner monitoring, minor surgical procedures, joint injections, and much more. Patients don’t pay a single penny more for these services beyond the cost of their membership fee. When patients need additional tests and services, such as a CT or MRI scan, Epiphany Health has discovered ways to provide these tests at affordable rates, too, by cutting out health insurance companies with third-party partners in the area.
The blue ribbon for the Dumbest Tax in Obamacare goes to its tax on health insurance premiums, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates as raising $161 billion in revenue between 2019 and 2028. (The number would be higher, but for the fact that Congress passed a one-year premium tax holiday for 2019.) The problem is this: Health insurers aren’t in the business of going broke. So they pass along the cost of the tax in the form of higher premiums for consumers. According to estimates developed by consultants at Oliver Wyman, for every dollar Washington raises in taxes, premiums go up by around $1.27.
The free market leads to tangible savings across many sectors, and there’s no reason why that can’t be the case for health care, too. Rather than pushing for feel-good yet meaningless legislation such as Pelosi and Schumer’s price enforcer, congressional leaders should create an atmosphere ripe for competition.
Most Republican candidates failed to adequately address the issue of pre-existing conditions ahead of the midterm elections and for this they paid a political price. Voters said they trusted Democrats more on pre-existing conditions than Republicans (58-34 percent) and health-care voters broke for Democrats 3-to-1. The GOP sorely needs to demonstrate leadership on the issue of pre-existing conditions, not just by rejecting the ACA, but by offering a better solution.
Health care is one of the most regulated industries in American life.
Consider the myriad regulations preventing Americans from accessing quality care — and these potential solutions for giving health care reform a shot:
Short-Term, Limited-Duration Health Insurance Plans
Health Reimbursement Accounts
Repeal State Certificate of Need Laws
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed polices for 2020 to strengthen and modernize the Medicare Part C and D programs. The proposal would ensure that Medicare Advantage and Part D plans have more tools to negotiate lower drug prices, and the agency is also considering a policy that would require pharmacy rebates to be passed on to seniors to lower their drug costs at the pharmacy counter.
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.
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.