Viewpoints: Health Spending On The Rise; GOP’s New ‘Passion For The Pill’
The New York Times: The Ebb And Flow Of Health Spending
The latest federal estimates of health care spending offer some good news: The growth rate for spending in 2013 will remain at a low level for the fifth straight year. But the bad news is, spending is expected to rise faster than growth in the economy over the next 10 years. The big unanswered question is what role the Affordable Care Act has played and will play in prodding the health care system to adopt more efficient practices (9/7).
The Wall Street Journal: The ObamaCare Escalator
Recall that in 2009 White House economists tried to sell ObamaCare as a health cost-control bill, and some liberals still claim the recent spending deceleration is a result of the law. Well, the federal government's bookkeepers—and reality—beg to differ. On Wednesday the actuaries at Health and Human Services released their new annual projected measurement of national health expenditures for last year and through 2023. Spending in 2013 grew at a relatively low rate in historical terms for the fifth consecutive year below 4%, though at 3.6% it still outpaced real economic growth. They expect the rate to climb to 5.6% in 2014 and continue rising by 6% a year on average through the decade (9/7).
The Wall Street Journal: Why Democrats Packed The Court
Exactly as President Obama and Senate Democrats planned, the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has moved to suppress a major challenge to ObamaCare. The gambit is no less remarkable for its nakedness. Last week the full D.C. Circuit vacated the July decision that some insurance subsidies violate the law's plain language and agreed to rehear Halbig v. Burwell en banc. ObamaCare's text authorizes subsidies only through exchanges "established by the State," so a three-judge panel ruled that the Internal Revenue Service was dispensing them illegally across the 36 exchanges established by the federal government (9/7).
The New York Times: Obamacare Life Spiral
[T]he huge surge in enrollments late in the day meant that the risk pool this year is better than insurers expected, and they now expect 2015 to be better still. ... the better the deal the more people will sign up: success feeds success. ... Are those who bought into the death spiral stories, who seized on every hint of bad news, asking themselves how they got it so wrong? Are they, maybe, considering the possibility that they’re listening to the wrong people, that maybe Jon Gruber knows what he’s talking about and John Goodman is a hack? Hahahaha (Paul Krugman, 9/5).
Vox: The Obamacare Train Keeps Not Wrecking
Imagine taking a time machine back to 2010 and telling Republicans in Congress, who were arguing that the CBO was wildly underestimating Obamacare's cost, that the law would be cheaper than predicted and, at least in the states that accepted its Medicaid dollars, cover more people than the Congressional Budget Office thought. ... the law is quietly losing its toxicity: fewer members of Congress are running against it, and Republican policy elites are actively trying to persuade their party to give up on repeal and instead "transcend" Obamacare — which is to say, use it as a platform for their own health-care ideas. ... the law, at this point, is doing more than simply defying the doomsayers; it's proving to be a real policy success (Ezra Klein, 9/5).
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Refusal Of Medicaid Money Is Hurting Louisiana
Some Louisiana hospitals that treat uninsured residents are already struggling. Baton Rouge General Mid City Hospital announced in late August that it would have to close its emergency room because of the burden of uncompensated care. The Jindal administration provided $18 million to keep the ER going. But the strain is going to continue on that hospital and others with so many low-income Louisianians without health coverage. The Medicaid expansion would give the state an extra $16 billion for health care for the poor over the next decade (9/7).
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Intersection Of Medicaid And Ferguson
In 2014, more than 700 Missourians will die for lack of health insurance and the failure to expand Medicaid. And that brings us back to Mike Brown, Ferguson and a moral Missouri. A moral state values every life equally. Mike Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, cried over her son’s body. A test of our moral center is whether we cried with her. Are we able to join Rev. Baker mourning his daughter? And when the mourning time has passed, are we willing to challenge public officials to shift the reality which led to those senseless deaths? (Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, Rev. Dr. Emmett Baker and Rev. Dr. Rodney Williams, 9/7).
The New York Times: Passion For The Pill
Republican candidates are falling madly in love with contraception. Who knew? "I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter, round the clock, without a prescription — cheaper and easier, for you," declares Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner in a new ad. He's running against the Democratic incumbent, Mark Udall, in a close race. ... The same thing, more or less, has happened in Senate races in Virginia and Minnesota. Republicans in close elections suddenly turn into cheerleaders for over-the-counter birth control pills. A negative and suspicious mind might almost suspect they were following a script (Gail Collins, 9/5).
Bloomberg: Let Livers Go Where They're Needed
About 3,000 people die in the U.S. each year for lack of a liver for transplantation. One in six of those lives could be saved with a simple adjustment in the way the 6,000 or so livers from deceased donors are allocated -- to see that the organs more often go to the Americans who need them most. Under the existing system, managed by the United Network for Organ Sharing, donated livers are prioritized for use in the geographic regions from which they come. In regions where the organs are relatively plentiful -- in the South, for instance, where death rates are higher -- they sometimes go to people who could easily wait longer for a transplant, rather than to sicker patients who may die without them. As a result, the death rate for patients on a liver wait list can vary by a factor of 10 from one part of the U.S. to another (9/7).
The Washington Post: The E-Cigarette Quandary: Helping Smokers Quit While Enticing New Addicts The E-Cigarette Dilemma
E-cigarettes pose a public policy conundrum. They are a gateway drug — but it's not, or hasn't been, entirely clear in which direction most traffic through that gateway flows. ... Whatever the precise balance, it has become increasingly clear that e-cigarettes require far tighter oversight and regulation than are now in place — especially as the Big Three tobacco companies have moved into the e-cigarette market (Ruth Marcus, 9/5).