Perspectives: Explosive Health Care Spending Keeps Chipping Away At Poor And Middle Class; Warren’s ‘Medicare For All’ Has Major Benefits For Businesses
Editorial pages focus on how to combat rising health care costs.
The Washington Post:
Yes, Americans Are Feeling The Squeeze. It’s Coming From Health Care.
The idea that most middle-class Americans have been treading water economically is conventional wisdom. It is already playing a role in the 2020 campaign, as the Democratic presidential candidates propose policies (Medicare-for-all, free college tuition at state schools, subsidies for child care, to mention a few) intended to relieve the financial stress on millions of middle-income families. But the conventional wisdom is wrong — or at least misleading. Although the squeeze is not a myth, it’s highly localized: uncontrolled medical spending. (Robert J. Samuelson, 12/1)
The Wall Street Journal:
Warren Has The Remedy For Health Costs
A millstone hangs around the neck of every company in America, and this dead weight gets heavier each year. Americans currently spend nearly 18% of gross domestic product on health care, with some projections suggesting this will reach 21% by 2027 before continuing to rise. Since the 1970s the U.S. has failed to control the cost of care, and a great deal of this burden falls directly on companies and new entrepreneurs. These costs undermine competitiveness and make it harder to create jobs and pay decent wages. (Simon Johnson, 12/1)
Medicaid Covers Sick Or Dying Children. But It Takes 'Going To Battle' To Get It
One of the first things that happens when you find out your child has a life-limiting illness, before the exhausting hours of treatments and the Make-a-Wish vacation, is that you learn you need to enroll in Medicaid. Hours after being told that my daughter, Calliope, had metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), a disease that destroys nerves throughout the body, a social worker at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia kindly told my husband and me, “You can’t leave this hospital until we start this paperwork.” As a sociologist who has written books about poverty in America, that surprised me. I assumed that Medicaid is for low-income families.“ Oh, you are going to need this, honey,” she said with a smile. (Maria Kefalas, 12/2)
The Detroit News:
Public Option Health Plan Would Kill Private Insurance
Most Americans like private health insurance. That's the key finding of a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Fifty-six percent of voters oppose Medicare for All if it eliminates private coverage. Many moderate lawmakers are well aware of these polling figures. So they're calling for an expanded version of Medicare — or the creation of a new government-run plan to compete against private insurers. All these approaches — whether Medicare for All, Medicare for All Who Want It or a public option — would be disastrous. Each would raise taxes, reduce the quality of care and eliminate the private health coverage that most consumers have, like and expect to keep. (Janet Trautwein, 12/1)
Drug-Pricing Proposals Are The Wrong Way To Reform Health Care
Here’s what good health care looks like: it emphasizes prevention, is accessible and affordable, and puts patients’ needs first. Unfortunately, recently proposed health care reforms from Congress don’t look like that at all. Instead, they seem to be leaving patients behind. Lawmakers in Washington are turning to overly complex alterations of the market and restrictive models of care that do little to directly help patients now. To get a clearer picture, they need to start listening to patients. They especially need to listen to those with chronic illnesses, who know all too well the damage that unexpected changes to treatment plans can cause. (Liz Helms, 11/29)