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.
Badger has updated an important paper from last year showing that some states are succeeding in lowering premiums and increasing enrollment in health insurance by doing a better job of targeting existing resources. Obamacare established a regime of subsidies, mandates, regulations, and tax penalties that resulted in substantial increases in premiums for individual insurance coverage. But seven states obtained waivers to target subsidies for high-cost patients, and they saw premiums fall by nearly 7.5%, while premiums in the other states rose by more than 3%. He examines estimated premiums in five additional states that have applied for risk-mitigation waivers for 2020. Premiums for benchmark plans rose in all five states in 2019, but actuarial analyses forecast that premiums will decline in all five states if the federal government approves their waiver applications.
|The U.S. House put to a vote this week a bill that would threaten the health coverage of 1.5 million people. H.R. 987 would overturn a Trump administration regulatory-relief policy while wastefully allocating new taxpayer money to programs proven to fail. Among other changes, the bill would block the Trump administration’s relief efforts that help consumers access “short-term, limited-duration” insurance. While these plans were unnecessarily restricted by the Obama administration, the Trump administration has eased regulations to make incremental progress toward expanded affordable health coverage choices. The House bill would reverse this progress, capping duration of the plans at 90 days, and stripping consumers of the right to renew their coverage.
|Policymakers are debating whether Congress should enact a single-payer health care system or create a system based on personal choice and market competition. The fundamental question is whether government officials or individuals and families will make the key health care decisions. The adoption of a single-payer system requires major trade-offs: a loss of personal and economic freedom, the loss of existing health coverage, the imposition of unprecedented federal taxation, major payment reductions for doctors and medical professionals, long waiting lists, and care delays and denials.
Even here in the United States, government-run health care programs such as those of the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Services have appalling records of patients dying while waiting for care.
For anxious mothers like me who don’t want to wait three days for results from a lab culture while my child suffers, government-run health care doesn’t promise speedy service.
“This legal verdict is a reminder that Obamacare’s faulty architecture was created by Washington and we should not expect Washington to make it better. Congress should resist any knee-jerk reactions that prop up a failing health law.
And they don’t need to buy into the false dilemma that only Obamacare allows Americans with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. Instead, Congress should let states review their health insurance regulations and pursue innovative ways to make coverage more affordable and accessible to Americans—regardless of their income or medical status.”
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.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar recently outlined an ambitious health care policy agenda that is positively Reaganesque. The states’ diverse health insurance problems, he noted, are best resolved by the people of the states themselves.