Parsing The Policies: Trump And Association Health Plans; What About Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs?
Opinion writers examine a range of health policy issues, including the Trump administration's proposed rule to pave the way for the creation of more association health plans and a push for Congress to restore funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program.
The New York Times:
Remember Trump’s Pitch On Health Care Associations? Now We Know What He Meant
When President Trump claimed last week that “I know the details of health care better than most, better than most,” it now appears he had a point in at least one area. His meandering comments about health care and “associations” were confusing, and not totally accurate. But, in his remarks to Michael Schmidt of The New York Times, Mr. Trump previewed several tenets of a major regulation that was proposed by his Department of Labor on Thursday. And he articulated how the rule could interact with other health policy changes — and the consequences that could follow. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 1/5)
Out-Of-Pocket Health Costs Rising, But Not That Much
“Dad, I got a bill for $1,113.” One of our daughters was incensed. “I went to my doctor with a simple question. She sent me downstairs where they drew a few tubes of blood for tests. It took two minutes. How do I owe over $1,000?” She's not the only one outraged by out-of-pocket health costs in the U.S. Many of us feel we are paying more for less and less insurance coverage. We blame high-deductible plans, rising co-pays and other policies that seem to shift more costs onto patients. But health-care costs overall increased 4.3 percent, so as a percentage of total health-care spending, out-of-pocket costs actually fell. And this has been the case for several years. (Peter Orszag and Ezekial J. Emanuel 1/4)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Restore Long-Term Funding For Children's Health Programs
Last month's congressional funding Band-Aid to keep the federal government in business included $2.85 billion in stopgap money for the Children's Health Insurance Program. That's far short of the five-year $8 billion CHIP extension advocates had sought. Even more worrying, after partisan squabbles allowed the program to lapse Sept. 30, is that "it's unclear how long [that funding] will actually allow all states to continue operating their CHIP programs," warns the National Academy for State Health Policy. (1/5)
The New England Journal Of Medicine:
Removing ERISA’s Impediment To State Health Reform
States are assuming an increasingly important role in driving U.S. health care policy. Hyperpartisanship has made it difficult for Congress to enact reform — and what action is possible is likely to reduce federal involvement in health care. Despite the growing importance of states in this arena, however, many state-led health care reforms have been thwarted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a 1974 federal law that established minimum standards for private employer-sponsored benefit plans known as ERISA plans. (Erin C. Fuse Brown and Ameet Sarpatwari, 1/4)
Lexington Herald Leader:
Patients Shouldn’t Have To Pay For Anthem’s Poor Business Decisions
Even though physicians, hospitals, nurses and other medical providers give care to people every day, they have very little control over how that care is delivered. That control, unfortunately, rests with health insurers. Their policies dictate not only what is covered, but how care is delivered, and they say a great deal about what insurers really value. (Patrick T. Padgett, 1/4)