Viewpoints: Donald Trump On Imported Prescription Drugs; In ‘Shadow’ Of GOP Convention, Obamacare’s Impact
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
Say What You Will About Donald Trump. He’s Right About Drug Companies
As a physician, I believe that Trump is absolutely right about allowing cheaper pharmaceutical drugs manufactured abroad to be sold in the United States. He is right that the pharmaceutical companies essentially sell their products to the federal government via Medicare and Medicaid without competitive bidding. In other areas of the budget, such as defense, federal laws require competitive bidding. It is outrageous this doesn’t occur with drugs and devices, especially since the health care budget is right behind defense in terms of expense. Trump is right when he says that drug companies control the landscape. (Charles D. Rosen, 7/22)
The Huffington Post:
In GOP Convention’s Shadow, Obamacare Is Paying Big Dividends
The Republicans gathering inside the Quicken Loans Arena don’t care too much about the nitty-gritty of policy. But if there’s one substantive issue that generates passion among convention delegates and party leaders, it’s Obamacare. They think it crushes freedom. They think it’s a handout. And they think it’s a policy disaster. (Jonathan Cohn, 7/21)
The Washington Post:
Costs Skyrocket For Feds’ Long-Term-Care Insurance
Federal employees and retirees who participate in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) are in for some serious sticker shock. They pay the full cost of that insurance, and on Nov. 1, it will jump by up to 126 percent. The average increase will be 83 percent or $111 per month. That leaves retirees livid. (Joe Davidson, 7/21)
Health Insurance Mergers That Are Too Big Not To Fail
For the past year, federal authorities have been reviewing a $48 billion offer from Anthem – already a dominant supplier of employer-based insurance – to acquire its smaller competitor Cigna. Officials have also been studying a $37 billion proposal from Aetna to acquire Humana. These massive deals would give Anthem the largest enrollment in the nation and allow Aetna to capitalize on the demographic growth generated by baby boomers in the Medicare Advantage market. But an even bigger driver for health insurers has been the sense that, post-Affordable Care Act, size matters. (7/21)
Los Angeles Times:
Starbucks Unveils A Private Health Insurance Exchange. Is That A Good Thing?
To hear Starbucks tell it, the company’s introduction this week of expanded insurance choices for workers represents a major advance in health coverage. “Providing industry-leading benefits for eligible full- and part-time partners is a cornerstone of who we are as a company,” Ron Crawford, Starbucks’ vice president of global benefits, said in a statement. “Much like a travel site, our partners will be able to navigate an easy-to-use online platform to choose between more insurance carriers and coverage levels at more competitive prices to help them find the right plan for their own needs.” (David Lazarus, 7/22)
The Des Moines Register:
Why More Psychiatric Beds Aren't The Solution
The Register’s editorial on June 13 (“Iowa ranks last for psychiatric beds”) and subsequent coverage of mental health care June 19 (“Mentally ill Iowans stranded for months in hospitals”) fail to convey a complete picture of the state of mental health delivery in Iowa and the progress underway. The United States is in the midst of health care reform. As a part of this reform, many states — including Iowa — are redesigning their mental health care delivery systems to provide the best patient care in the least restrictive setting. While placing mental health patients in institutions was once considered the standard of care, clinical research has proven that non-institutional, community-based care provides better patient outcomes for most patients while reducing the cost of that care. (Dennis Duke, 7/21)
The Washington Post:
My Brother Loves Politics. But He Thought His Disability Meant He Couldn’t Vote.
My brother and I sat in stiff chairs in a government office, a clipboard of paperwork in front of us. He’d recently moved, and we were there to sign him up for health care. Flipping through the papers, he came upon a voter-registration form. “People like me can vote?” my brother asked. I had to look away from him for a moment so that I wouldn’t cry in the middle of the waiting room. Like millions of Americans, my older brother lives with a disability. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which means he hears voices and battles mood fluctuations. He also struggles with some learning disabilities that resulted when doctors used forceps to help deliver him as a baby. Thanks to good doctors, medication and a remarkable day program, he is doing well. He is strong, compassionate and funny. He watches the news and is well informed; we’ve discussed the Islamic State, North Korea, the poor, jobs, what to do about the homeless and the presidential campaign. But he didn’t know he could vote. (Wendy Button, 7/22)