KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

IOM Report: Tax Medical Care, Double Public Health Spending

An Institute of Medicine panel recommended a new tax on medical care to generate more funding for public health initiatives to help prevent disease.

The Wall Street Journal: Report Urges New Tax On Medical Care
An influential federal advisory body called for levying a new tax on medical care to finance improvements to public-health services in the U.S. A report Tuesday from the Institute of Medicine says the U.S. health system has a "fixation" on clinical care, or treating people when they get sick, rather than preventing them from getting ill in the first place. More money from reliable sources is needed to fix the problem, said the report, which calls for the U.S. to close a gap in life expectancy with other high-income nations within 20 years (Radnofsky, 4/10).

NPR: Panel Proposes A New Tax To Pay For Public Health
It may sound counterintuitive, but a panel of experts from the Institute of Medicine has concluded that the best way to slow the nation's breakneck spending on medical care is to impose a tax on every health care transaction. That tax -- amount TBD, but possibly a half-percent or so -- would go to replenish the coffers of the nation's state and local public health agencies. In so doing, according to the IOM panel, the public health workforce could renew its historic role in looking at population rather than individual health care, and thus "offer efficient and effective approaches to improving the nation's health" (Rovner, 4/10).

The Hill: Report Calls For Doubling Nation's Public Health Spending
The United States spends more on health care but lags behind the rest of the industrialized world in life expectancy and childhood mortality because the government "chronically" underfunds public health systems, the Institute of Medicine argues in a new report out Tuesday. The report calls for doubling federal spending on public health from $11.6 billion to $24 billion a year "as a starting point to meet the needs of public health departments." The report points out that Americans spent $8,086 per person in medical care in 2009 versus $251 in public health spending (Pecquet, 4/10).

Modern Healthcare: IOM Urges HHS To Set New Life-Expectancy, Health-Spending Goals
HHS should set new goals for life expectancy and per-person health spending in the U.S. to help the country achieve better health outcomes, according to new study from the Institute of Medicine. Those recommendations are among several the IOM included in a 236-page report that is the third and last in a series related to public health. In 2009, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked the IOM to establish a committee that would evaluate measurement, the law, and funding about public health (Zigmond, 4/10).

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