Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold an online town-hall meeting next Tuesday regarding his single-payer health-care legislation. Mr. Sanders calls it “Medicare for All.” But the text of the bill itself reveals a more accurate name: Medicare for None. The Orwellian way in which Mr. Sanders characterizes his plan speaks to the larger problem facing the left, whose plans for health care remain so radical that speaking of them honestly would prompt instant repulsion from most voters.
. . .
House Republicans are considering adding a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as delays of certain ObamaCare taxes, to a short-term government funding bill this week, sources say.
A battle is brewing in the courts over the Trump administration’s move to let states impose work requirements for recipients of Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. Advocacy groups are gearing up to sue the administration, arguing that it doesn’t have the power to allow work requirements and other rules for Medicaid without action from Congress.
But the administration is defending the legality of the shift. When unveiling guidance Thursday on the work requirements, top Medicaid official Seema Verma said the administration has “broad authority” under current law to allow states to make changes through waivers.
. . .
A day after the Trump administration announced that it would allow states to compel poor people on Medicaid to work or get ready for jobs, federal health officials on Friday granted Kentucky permission to impose those requirements.
Becoming the first-in-the-nation state to move forward with the profound change to the safety-net health insurance program is a victory for Kentucky’s Republican governor, Matt Bevin, who during his 2015 campaign for office vowed to reverse the strong embrace of the Affordable Care Act by his Democratic predecessor.
. . .
Mainstream Democrats are clamoring for Canadian-style single-payer health care — a demand once relegated to the far-left fringe of the party.
Sixteen Senate Democrats, including several with aspirations for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020, have signed onto Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” plan. Fealty to single-payer is already proving a litmus test for Democrats running for public office in blue states like California.
The increasing idolization of our northern neighbor’s health system is ironic, as Canada’s single-payer system — which I grew up under — just experienced its worst year ever.
. . .
Due to the inexorable aging of the country—and equally unstoppable growth in medical spending—it was long obvious that health-care jobs would slowly take up more and more of the economy. But in the last quarter, for the first time in history, health care has surpassed manufacturing and retail, the most significant job engines of the 20th century, to become the largest source of jobs in the U.S.
In 2000, there were 7 million more workers in manufacturing than in health care. At the beginning of the Great Recession, there were 2.4 million more workers in retail than health care. In 2017, health care surpassed both.
. . .
The Trump Administration is on a mission to rescue health-care markets and consumers from ObamaCare’s shrinking choices and higher prices. Witness the Labor Department’s proposal to allow small businesses to band together to provide insurance on equal footing with corporations and unions.
The share of workers at small businesses with employer-sponsored health benefits has dropped by a quarter since 2010 as insurance costs have ballooned in part due to government mandates. About 11 million workers employed by small businesses are uninsured. Some businesses have dropped their workers onto state insurance exchanges where premiums are subsidized by taxpayers.
. . .
The skyrocketing cost of insurance and diminishing plan choices have driven Americans away from the marketplaces — not presidential malfeasance.
Even before open enrollment started November 1, Obamacare’s proponents tried to lower the public’s expectations and shift blame for the coming drop in enrollees. They predicted that President Trump’s decision to cut Obamacare’s advertising and outreach budget from $100 million to $10 million — as well as his decision to shorten the open enrollment period from 12 to six weeks — would lead to lower enrollment.
The truth is, the administration’s gymnastics have little impact on whether people purchase coverage. Those decisions are dictated by simple things like the price of a plan and how much they value the benefits it provides.
. . .
State lawmakers in Maryland are looking to replace ObamaCare’s individual mandate, which was repealed by Republicans in Congress last month.
A proposal in Maryland would require people to pay a penalty for not having insurance. The money, though, could be used as a down payment for a health insurance plan.
People would also have the option to pay the penalty and get nothing in return.
. . .
The Trump administration is estimating there are now only 700 issuers in the individual and small group markets, which is down from 2,400 in an earlier estimate.
The CMS cited the updated figure in an information collection notice posted Jan. 8. The agency is seeking permission from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to continue collecting data annually from exchange plans about their enrollees’ risk profiles.
In an earlier version of the request submitted to the executive branch last month, the agency estimated there were 2,400 issuers in the individual and small group markets.
. . .