Not even 24 hours after the latest “repeal and replace” proposal ran out of steam, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) ignited a new round of health policy speculation by predicting, during a cable news interview, impending Trump administration action on a longtime Republican go-to idea: association health plans. “If [consumers] can join large groups, get protection…

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Republicans and Democrats are engaging in warfare over a traditionally bipartisan program to insure children. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is marking up legislation to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program by five years. However, Democrats have objected to the legislation because of measures to pay for the program. “Here we are with a…

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It’s sort of poetic, in a sad way, that the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on September 29 coincided so closely with the expiration of the 2017 budget resolution on September 30.  Those two events signaled the end, at least for now, of Congressional Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare through reconciliation–that being the arcane…

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Seeing, hearing, reading, and feeling the new grassroots ferment among progressive Americans for a single-payer health care system, my gut reaction is: I get it. As newly documented in Elizabeth Rosenthal’s book, An American Sickness,1 and the Commonwealth Fund’s report, Mirror, Mirror 2017,2 our health care system provides shockingly poor value and outcomes, and rests on a foundation of…

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Republicans have now failed twice to repeal and replace ObamaCare. But their whole focus has been wrong. The debate centered, like ObamaCare, on the number of people with health insurance. A more direct path to broadening access would be to reduce the cost of care. This means creating market conditions long proven to bring down…

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People will be able to enroll in Obamacare plans directly through web brokers and health insurers for 2018, which will reduce the need for federal outreach funds. That feature will likely be included in an upcoming Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule under review at the Office of Management and Budget, Joel White, president of…

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The actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced on Twitter that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. We all wish her a speedy and complete recovery. Still, this would not normally be a topic for The Apothecary, except that in making her announcement, she used her diagnosis as a plug for “universal health care,” with the implication that universal health care…

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Republicans are willing to provide insurers with two years of ObamaCare subsidies under a bipartisan market stabilization bill, according to the Senate Health Committee chairman. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said continuing cost-sharing reduction subsidies for two years is a key part of the stabilization package he is trying to negotiate with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Alexander and Murray are…

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The #3 reason Medicare-for-All as conceived by Senator Sanders is a bad idea is because of the inevitable rationing it will produce. In other well-known single-payer systems, this rationing takes several forms, including restrictions on the availability of treatments or, more commonly, rationing by waiting.

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The #2 reason this plan is a bad idea is the enormous amount of waste it would create due to moral hazard. Moral hazard is the technical term used by health economists, but it refers to something every reader intuitively understand even if the term itself is unfamiliar.  If you give something to someone for…

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