Hard Truths about Health Care ‌ by Michael Tanner

Micheal Tanner

Michael Tanner

“Every health-care system in the world rations care in some way, either through bureaucratic fiat (Scandinavia, the U.K.), waiting lists (Canada), or price (that’s us). One can argue about which of these rationing mechanisms is fairest or most efficient, but let’s not pretend that it won’t occur.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/446439/health-care-basic-facts-and-hard-truths

Republican Health Care Fiasco, Part II

John C. Goodman

“Only a few years ago, the party was united behind three reforms that are consistent with individual empowerment and limited government: (1) a universal health refund that transfers all government tax and spending subsidies to ordinary citizens each year with no strings attached other than the requirement that it be used for health care, (2) a flexible Health Savings Account that allows people to manage some of their own health care dollars and (3) pre-existing condition protection for people who lose their insurance because of government policies.

For well over a decade House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was a steadfast supporter of all three ideas, including replacing tax and spending subsidies for health care and health insurance with a universal tax credit. John McCain ran on these ideas in the 2008 election. The legislative embodiment of McCain’s plan was the Patients Choice Act, which Ryan cosponsored in 2009 along with Devin Nunes (R– CA) in the House and Tom Coburn (R–OK) and Richard Burr (R–NC) in the Senate.”

“The American Health Care Act (AHCA), proposed by the House leadership, was not about health care. It was about taxes. Over and over, Ryan said he needed to do health reform before tax reform. In particular, he said he needed to reduce Obamacare taxes by $1 trillion and to reduce spending by more than $1 trillion.

As noted, a tax cut tied to health care is part of good health reform. But the Ryan tax cut wasn’t tied to health care. It consisted of repealing the very revenues that were funding Obamacare. (See below.)  Since the tax cut took money out of the system, the spending cuts paired with it also removed money from the system.”

Source: Republican Health Care Fiasco, Part II

Paul Ryan’s Health Bill: Good, Bad and Ugly

John C. Goodman

Remember how the Democrats did it. They created Obamacare behind closed doors. There was no real pubic vetting. No real attempt to make sure the pieces fit together in a sensible way. And no possibility of a single vote from the other party.

The House Republican Leadership seems enamored of that approach. The latest GOP replacement plan was announced last Monday after weeks of secrecy. The two relevant committees began their markup two days later – with no hearings, no vetting, no CBO score and no amendments.

It does not lower costs. It insures many fewer people. It does not stop the race to the bottom in the exchanges that is so harmful to the chronically ill.

Instead, the GOP plan seems designed to make the individual market work better. That means helping Obamacare work better. For all the apparent differences, the Republicans are just as committed to the managed competition model as the Democrats were.

Source: Paul Ryan’s Health Bill: Good, Bad and Ugly

David Goldhill on Cost Drivers and Price Distortions in Healthcare

Minus the introduction and Q&A, the 45 -50 minute presentation is well worth your time. Engaging delivery and compelling case to consider… the cost drivers and distortions come from HOW we access and bill, as opposed to WHAT services are actually exchanged or provided. The key to understanding healthcare costs and pricing is to acknowledge that the answer is contained within our insurance card…and the processes it dictates and the tax/regulatory environment that it operates in. It is kind of like hiding something right out in the open; we look for clues everywhere except for what’s right in front of us. We tend to point fingers at easily identifiable components but fail to see what links them.

Bloomberg, Opinion: “Healthcare is a business, not a right.”

This piece by Megan McArdle is one of the best treatises I’ve read on the economic conundrums facing healthcare and the philosophical wars that rage on around it. Despite the altruistic disguises that insulate much of centrally controlled healthcare systems financed by other people’s money, the price tag is still a consideration; not to mention freedom of choice is largely absent in those top-down budgeted systems.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-23/health-care-is-a-business-not-a-right

The Direct Primary Care Journal

“The health of Americans should not be a profit center. Health care is a right. Full stop.” That comes from the Twitter feed of personal finance writer Helaine Olen. But it could have issued straight from the heart of any progressive in the land. Subjecting health care to the sordid whims of the marketplace strikes many people as simply immoral.

opinionAUGUST 23, 2016 – “The health of Americans should not be a profit center. Health care is a right. Full stop.”

That comes from the Twitter feed of personal finance writer Helaine Olen. But it could have issued straight from the heart of any progressive in the land.  Subjecting health care to the sordid whims of the marketplace strikes many people as simply immoral. Nor is this feeling confined to the left. Conservatives may be less enthusiastic about socialized medicine, but talk to one about the health care system…

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Best Kept Secret In Washington DC: The Future Of Medicare – Forbes

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John C. Goodman

The fact that Medicare has been put on a sound financially footing – for the first time in its history – has never appeared in any official government announcement. Ditto for the fact that the disabled and the elderly may bear a heavy cost along the way.

These facts have not been in the headlines of any major newspaper. They have not been addressed in any news article. To my knowledge they have never been discussed in any opinion editorial. Even more surprising, they are repeatedly ignored by scholars and in scholarly reports at think tanks around the country (other than my own).

Eerie as it may seem, the entire country has been acting as though these incredible public policy changes have never occurred.

Here is a third thing l bet you don’t know. Although Republicans have criticized the “Obama cuts in Medicare spending” as threatening access to care for the elderly, the GOP alternative essentially does exactly the same thing.

What no one bothered to discuss was the much bigger budget story: an enormous reduction in future Medicare spending and its impact on the health and financial well-being of the 54 million people in Medicare.

Here is a bit more detail.

Source: Best Kept Secret In Washington DC: The Future Of Medicare – Forbes

Free The Patient – Forbes

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John C. Goodman

Who is likely to negotiate the lowest fee with a doctor, hospital or some other health care provider? The federal government? A large employer? An insurance company? Or, a patient spending her own money? Strange as it may seem, the answer is often the patient. One of the most persistent myths on […]

Canadians coming to the United States (and paying a cash price upfront) were paying almost half as much as US employers were paying and even less than the typical payment by Medicare. Think about that. These patients not only lacked a big bureaucracy to bargain on their behalf; they were foreigners.

The other factor is third party payment. After the deductibles and copayments are exhausted (which is almost immediately in the case of a knee replacement) the only payer is the third party. The incentive of the hospital is not to lower charges, but to raise them. In fact hospitals typically try to maximize against third-party payment formulas and they have sophisticated computer programs to help them do it.

An individual patient, paying with his own money and willing to travel to another city for care, is a different kind of buyer. If the hospital wants his patronage, it has strong incentives to compete on price.

This very large insurance company, representing tens of thousands of people and their very large employer (the state of California), achieved a remarkable reduction in costs by doing nothing more than sending patients into the hospital marketplace with the knowledge that the money they had to spend totaled no more than $30,000.

http://edge.quantserve.com/quant.js

Source: Free The Patient – Forbes

The Solution to Making Our Healthcare System Affordable May Be a Lesson From Our Past | Jeffrey Gold | LinkedIn

Jeff Gold

Dr. Jeff Gold

For a state that prides itself on providing superior healthcare services for its citizens, Massachusetts is emerging as the state that no other state wants to emulate. No matter how much policymakers

Source: The Solution to Making Our Healthcare System Affordable May Be a Lesson From Our Past | Jeffrey Gold | LinkedIn

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