Viewpoints: Cynical Surprise At Co-Ops’ Problems; Bernie Sanders On His Health Plan
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
The New York Times:
A New Attack On Health Care Reform
In recent months, several nonprofit insurance plans that were created to compete with for-profit insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act have run into financial difficulties. Republicans and other critics of health care reform are cynically pointing to their problems as evidence that the whole reform effort is a waste of money that ought to be repealed. They neglect to mention that the nonprofit plans, known as health insurance cooperatives, were created as a weak, underfunded alternative to a much stronger option that the Republicans blocked from passage. (10/20)
The Chicago Sun-Times:
Obamacare A Job Killer? Not Likely
Ever since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, opponents have warned that it would be a job killer. At that time, with the national unemployment rate above 9 percent and the economy still struggling to recover after the Great Recession, this was a particularly worrisome concern. But five years later, though the unemployment rate now is around 5 percent, that argument still is being made. (Robert Kaestner and Bowen Garrett, 10/19)
Obamacare Delivers. Just Not Very Much.
Obamacare has undoubtedly produced a large drop in the number of uninsured. But if the administration is correct, then that decline will be less than half of what was originally expected, both because of the underenrollment in exchange policies and because so many states didn’t expand their Medicaid programs. The program may be shaping up as a modest expansion of Medicaid, coupled with a more robust version of the old high-risk pools. Obamacare's architects can justifiably say that this is more than we had before. But it is less than anyone expected. (Megan McArdle, 10/16)
Enrollment Opens As Elections Loom
Open enrollment on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges starts in less than two weeks. Coverage expansion supporters are worried about whether the exchanges will succeed in luring a large number of new enrollees for 2016. Despite the law's partial successes, there is lingering uncertainty about its effectiveness in establishing affordable, universal healthcare and about its political future heading into the 2016 elections. (Harris Meyer, 10/17)
Los Angeles Times:
Jeb Bush's Health Plan: If You Don't Anticipate Getting Sick, You Might Like It
Last week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush put forward a healthcare proposal as part of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The plan, which has many moving parts, is intended as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. If you don't anticipate getting sick, you might like it. (Dean Baker, 10/19)
Bernie Sanders: 'Now Is The Time For Bold Action'
When the United States is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all, or paid family and medical leave, we end that international embarrassment. A Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system would be less expensive than our current system. We also pay for family and medical leave with a very modest increase in the payroll tax. It is time to create an economy that works for all Americans, not just the people on top. (Bernie Sanders, 10/19)
Bernie Sanders, Big Spender: Our View
According to an estimate by The Wall Street Journal, [Sen. Bernie] Sanders’ spending plans would cost $18 trillion over 10 years, increasing the federal government’s size by roughly a third. ... To be sure, fully $15 trillion of the $18 trillion would come from Sanders’ health plan, which seems unlikely to cost that much. Bringing all Americans under the umbrella of a single-payer system would create enormous power to hold down prices. Even so, there’s no doubt that Sanders, who's running a surprisingly strong second to Hillary Clinton in the latest polls, is talking serious money. (10/19)
Bernie Sanders' 'Medicare For All' Would Be A Disaster For All
This month, Bernie Sanders took his vision for the future of American health care to a national television audience in the first Democratic presidential debate. “We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway and learn from what they have accomplished,” Sanders said. He wants the United States to copy Denmark’s single-payer healthcare system. This idea electrifies his supporters. ... But a closer look demonstrates that single-payer — in Denmark or anywhere else — devastates a nation’s healthcare system. (Sally Pipes, 10/19)
I Thought People Should Shop More For Health Care. Then I Actually Tried It.
I recently decided to select a medical service strictly on price. This is something many economists think ought to happen more, to lower health spending. I was ready to do my part. Most patients, though, don't do this, even when they have to spend way more out of pocket to get the more expensive care. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't either. The lower-cost procedure — in this case, an MRI — did indeed save my insurance plan money. But it created a worse medical experience for me, and was helpful in highlighting the trade-offs that patients must make in the shopping experience. (Sarah Kliff, 10/19)
The Washington Post:
Politicians Are Invading Our Medical Exam Rooms
For all the hissy fits about Obamacare and the feds interfering with the sacred doctor-patient relationship, over the past few years, state-level politicians have orchestrated far more egregious intrusions. (Catherine Rampell, 10/19)
The Dallas Morning News:
Texas’ Latest Harassment Tactic Against Planned Parenthood
Texas, eager to plunge with both feet into the yodeling, pitchfork-waving Planned Parenthood defund-a-thon, gleefully told the women’s health agency Monday: Get ready to shut your doors. We’re pulling the plug. Only they’re not. The announcement by the Texas Office of the Inspector General that it intends to cut off Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood affiliates for routine women’s health services is a legal maneuver, not an eviction notice. States dominated by religious conservatives, like ours, have had an extra big bag of harassment tricks to pull on Planned Parenthood since the summer, when a splashy series of undercover videos was released by pro-life activists. (Jacquielynn Floyd, 10/19)
The State Of Medicaid In New York: Progress And The Road To Value-Based Payments
As states throughout the nation work to change how health care is delivered and paid for, New York is undertaking its largest effort yet to transform the state’s Medicaid health care delivery and payment system through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program. One of six states in the United States to implement a DSRIP initiative, New York has a program designed to move its delivery system from a place that’s fragmented and overly focused on inpatient care in hospitals toward an integrated system that proactively focuses on patients and the community. Organizations and agencies are working together to address the same goals and to care for each patient. Should be a piece of cake, right? (Katharine McLaughlin, 10/19)
Medicare, Medicaid, And Mental Health Care Historical Perspectives On Reforms Before The US Congress
In 2015, after 50 years of Medicare and Medicaid, mental health reform bills in both houses of Congress (House HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act; Senate S 1945, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015) may help to reduce mental health coverage gaps in these programs. When established, Medicare and Medicaid provided new mental health benefits and new processes for delivery of care.1 However, these programs also created significant coverage gaps in both inpatient and outpatient care. For many of these mental health coverage gaps, the proposed legislation marks a meaningful attempt at closure. (Thomas R. Blair and Randall T. Espinoza, 10/19)