Humana’s shift from fee-for-service medicine to value-based payments for physicians continues to reduce costs and improve quality of care for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, the insurer says, citing a new internal study. Medical costs were nearly 16% lower for seniors enrolled in Humana Medicare Advantage plans that paid physicians via value-based models in 2017 compared to costs of those in traditional fee-for service Medicare, the Louisville-based insurer’s study, released Tuesday showed. Medicare Advantage plans contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines, with some even providing vision and dental care and wellness programs.

The midterm elections abruptly shifted the health-care landscape across the country, resulting in a divided Congress that could mean most changes unfold on the state level. Health care was the No. 1 issue among voters this election, according to an AP survey of about 90,000 people. The voting results suggested a rebuke to repeated Republican efforts to roll back the health law, and that many Americans care deeply about issues such as coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. The split between red and blue states means that statehouses will continue to pursue opposite directions in health care. Voters approved Democratic-backed ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid in three states—Idaho, Utah and Nebraska—while rejecting a similar proposal in Montana.

Remember when Democrats promised that if you liked your plan or your doctor you could keep them? Now they’re pushing another bogus claim, accusing Republicans of wanting to take away health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Here’s the truth: everyone — Republicans and Democrats — support protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

 

A group of free-market health care reformers have developed a reform that would sharply reduce premiums for individuals, wouldn’t cause millions to lose coverage, and would save taxpayers money.

Called the “Health Care Choices Proposal,” it would continue to have the government subsidize individual insurance, but would do so through block grants to states, rather than payments to insurance companies under ObamaCare.

The plan would let consumers apply subsidies to any type of plan they wanted, not just overpriced ObamaCare plans. And to lower insurance costs, it would lift many of ObamaCare’s costliest and most disruptive mandates, while continuing to protect those with pre-existing conditions.

And to encourage people to stay insured, the plan would also offer premium discounts for those who continuously enrolled.

Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in U.S. elections next month, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday, calling a failed 2017 push to repeal the healthcare law a “disappointment.”

In a forecast of 2019 policy goals tempered by uncertainty about who would win the congressional elections, McConnell blamed social programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, for the fast-rising national debt.

President Trump on Wednesday signed two bills banning “gag clauses” that keep patients in the dark about how to save money on prescription drugs.

The clauses are sometimes included in the contracts insurers have with pharmacies — preventing pharmacies from telling customers they can save money on a drug if they pay with cash instead of using their health insurance.

“This is very strong legislation to end these unjust gag clauses once and for all,” Trump said during a signing ceremony at the White House.

Congress must get back to work, repeal the dysfunctional status quo, and make a serious start on comprehensive health care reform.

The “Health Care Choices Proposal,” developed by a broad range of conservative think tanks, would replace Obamacare’s spending schemes with state block grants to help the poor and the sick to get health coverage. It would restore regulatory responsibility to the states, and it would allow people enrolled in public programs such as Medicaid to redirect public dollars to private health plans of their choice—if they wished to do so.

The Center for Health and Economy found that our recommendations to replace Obamacare entitlements with formula grants to the states would reduce premiums for individual coverage by as much as a third.  The Health Care Choices Proposal also would modestly reduce the deficit, increase the number of people with private health insurance, and cut Medicaid spending.

In June, the Health Policy Consensus Group released a health care reform plan called “The Health Care Choices Proposal.” The stated purpose of this plan, referred to in this report as the Proposal, is the expansion of choice and lowering of costs. The Proposal’s key feature is a block grant allocated to the states beginning in 2020, giving states resources and authority to design their own programs aimed at making insurance more affordable. All impacts projected in this report are relative to H&E’s March 2018 baseline.

  • Premium Impact: The Proposal is projected to decrease the cost of premiums for private individual market health insurance coverage. Silver plans would see the largest impact, as premiums would decrease by 15 to 32 percent beginning in 2020 relative to the baseline.
  • Coverage Impact: The Proposal is projected to result in nearly 1 million fewer people purchasing insurance by 2028, with enrollment holding steady earlier in the 10-year window.

The Health Care Choices plan would let Idaho find its own solutions to help the working poor.  The state would receive a formula grant and gain new flexibility to approve policies that are more affordable than Obamacare.

If Idaho votes instead to accept Medicaid expansion, taxpayers, the privately insured, and especially those who need traditional Medicaid would pay an unfortunate price.