Viewpoints: Conservative Alternative To Health Law Critiqued; Rare Slowdown In Premium Costs
Los Angeles Times: What's Wrong With The New Conservative Answer To Obamacare
The best sign that conservatives have finally given up their childish campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act is that they've been cooking up proposals to keep some of the ACA's most important provisions in place, without fully abandoning Republican nostrums like tort reform. Most of these proposals are what social policy expert Harold Pollack aptly calls "vaporware" -- schemes designed to show that the GOP has something to offer, but that are essentially unworkable structurally or politically. But the most serious effort yet has now arrived from Avik Roy of Forbes and the conservative Manhattan Institute. Titled "Transcending Obamacare," Roy's plan has lately been receiving respectful attention from ACA experts and progressives (Michael Hiltzik, 9/10).
The New York Times: Stop The Anti-Obamacare Shenanigans
So far, opponents of the Affordable Care Act have lost every major battle to repeal or invalidate it. Some of them are now urging the courts to interpret the health reform law in a way that would guarantee its failure. This is a significant threat — potentially as grave as the previous main legal challenge to the law, which the Supreme Court rejected, 5 to 4, in 2012. If the new effort succeeds, it would create total chaos (Henry J. Aaron, David M. Cutler and Peter R. Orszag, 9/10).
USA Today: Medicaid Expansion Gets A Boost
[In Alabama] and in a handful of other red states, the pressure to expand Medicaid got a big boost last month. An ongoing study by Families USA concluded that workers make up many of those who could benefit from this provision of the Affordable Care Act. And working people make up more than half the potential beneficiaries in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia (David Person, 9/10).
WBUR: Surprise In Mass. Primary: 21 Percent For Single-Payer Candidate Berwick
Note to politicians: Backing "Medicare for all" is looking less and less like electoral poison. If, deep in your heart, you believe American health care would be better off with a Canadian-style, single-payer system, you might now consider coming out of the closet. (In Democratic primaries in blue states, at least.) That's my suggested takeaway from the striking Massachusetts Democratic primary showing of Dr. Donald Berwick, who rocketed from near-zero name recognition among general voters to 21 percent at the polls. Catch him saying forcefully in the video above: "Let’s take the step in health care that the rest of the country hasn't had the guts to take: single payer. Medicare for all" (Carey Goldberg, 9/10).
The New York Times' The Upshot: Latest Good News In Health Spending: Employer Premiums
We're in the midst of a rare slowdown in the growth of health spending. That slowdown just hit the employer health insurance market. On Wednesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation published its annual survey on the health plans that employers are offering their workers. It's large and comprehensive and generally regarded as the most reliable measure of what's happening in the employer market (Margot Sanger-Katz, 9/10).
The Washington Post: Curb Your Enthusiasm About Those Medicare Savings
Contrary to some media reports, the Medicare monster hasn't been tamed. But it has been made a little less unruly. To be precise: Spending is regularly falling below projections, creating the prospect of hundreds of billions of savings over decades. ... True, the savings are significant. Still, they don't alter the nation’s central budget problem: Rising spending on the elderly is dictating government's priorities. It's squeezing other programs — from defense to medical research — while feeding big deficits and creating pressure for higher taxes (Robert J. Samuelson, 9/10).
Bloomberg: Sell Birth Control Over-The-Counter
The Republican idea is to make birth-control pills available over-the-counter rather than a prescription item. This is an excellent idea. ... But it won’t have the effect that they seem to imagine. The administration can still require employer-sponsored insurance to cover over-the-counter medications that are prescribed by a doctor. And it probably will, because did I mention that the Base Wants It? Obviously, this keeps the conflict very much alive. It also diminishes much of the benefit of making the pills available over-the-counter (Megan McArdle, 9/10).