California’s leading progressives are currently debating — amicably, for the moment — when the right time will arrive to destroy the state’s healthcare system.
The frontrunner in the race for the governor’s mansion, current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, has long championed single-payer health care. But he recently softened his support. “[Single-payer] is not an act that would occur by the signature of the next governor,” he recently said. “There’s a lot of mythology about that.”
A group of policy wonks has been working since last fall to develop the next generation of patient-centered health policy recommendations that they unveiled at a rollout event at the Hoover Institution in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
The plan, called the Health Care Choices Proposal, takes a federalist approach in moving power and control of the health sector away from Washington, through the states, and ultimately to consumers.
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The critical flaw in Graham-Cassidy is that it bore the potential to make health insurance markets worse, not better, because due to design flaws in the bill, most states would have been strongly incentivized to eliminate their private individual insurance markets and replace them with an enlarged expansion of Medicaid, a program whose enrollees have health outcomes no better than those who are uninsured.
The Consensus Group proposal improves upon Graham-Cassidy by requiring that “at least 50% of the block grant goes toward supporting people’s purchase of private health coverage” in the individual insurance market. Under the new program, states would be required to offer Medicaid enrollees the opportunity to purchase “commercially available coverage” with their Medicaid dollars, and plans sold under the block grants would be exempted from costly Obamacare rules, like 3:1 age bands that double or triple the cost of insurance for young people.
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Canada’s single-payer healthcare system forced over 1 million patients to wait for necessary medical treatments last year. That’s an all-time record.
Those long wait times were more than just a nuisance; they cost patients $1.9 billion in lost wages, according to a new report by the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think-tank.
Lengthy treatment delays are the norm in Canada and other single-payer nations, which ration care to keep costs down. Yet more and more Democratic leaders are pushing for a single-payer system — and more and more voters are clamoring for one.
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The Trump administration is not sabotaging the nation’s insurance system — it’s trying to make health plans more affordable. That’s the intent behind the administration’s recent proposal to expand access to short-term plans.
“These plans aren’t subject to many of the regulations that have sent exchange premiums soaring. As a result, they’re significantly cheaper. The average premium for a short-term individual plan at the end of 2016 was only $124 per month. Obamacare-compliant plans, on the other hand, cost an average of $393 per month.”
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People with ACA plans drop their plans at a much higher rate than in the pre-Obamacare era. The average monthly attrition rate under Obamacare in 2015 (3.6%) was nearly two-thirds higher than the average monthly attrition rate in the non-group market in 2006 (2.2%). This occurred even though 86% of Obamacare enrollees were receiving subsidized coverage. We can only imagine what would have happened had enrollees borne the full cost of their premiums (as was the case in 2006). The reality is that while the non-group market was never perfect, it performed much more smoothly before the ACA than most critics ever gave it credit.
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Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., recently introduced the “Choose Medicare Act,” which would give every American the option to buy into Medicare. Their colleagues have already rolled out three other bills that would provide for a more limited Medicare buy-in, a Medicaid buy-in, and a full-fledged, government-run, single-payer system.
All of these bills would lead to the same inevitable outcome — a federal takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Each of the government-sponsored buy-in plans could operate at a loss indefinitely. Private insurers don’t have that luxury; they’d ultimately go out of business.
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Yes. They could do it. But only if they accept two principles:
- All the Obamacare money must be used for health care – it can’t be used to cut taxes for the rich or for special interests.
- There must be a clear and sustainable path to lower premiums and better access to care.
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On Friday, the administration released a 44-page blueprint for executive action on drug pricing entitled “American Patients First.” The blueprint represents the most comprehensive, serious, and thorough effort by any presidential administration to address the problem of high prescription drug prices.The Trump plan involves two categories of reform: things the administration can do unilaterally, and things that it will call on Congress to enact. Friday’s release focused mainly on unilateral actions, but the Congressional piece is arguably more important, and has gone underappreciated by many observers.
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This fall’s midterm election ballot just got a little longer in Utah. In mid-April, progressive activists announced that they’d gathered enough signatures to force a November referendum on Medicaid expansion.
Utah isn’t the only red state flirting with extending free government health insurance to able-bodied, childless adults. Within weeks, activists in Idaho will surpass the number of signatures required for their own ballot referendum. Groups in Nebraska just launched a signature-gathering campaign, too.
If voters choose to expand Medicaid, they’ll surely regret it.
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