Viewpoints: The Role Of High-Priced Drugs In The Nation’s Health Care Spending; Ushering In A New Age Of Preventive Health Care
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
The New York Times' The Upshot:
Health Spending Forecast: No Drastic Rise, But Slowdown Seems Over
New projections by federal government actuaries suggest that the nation’s five-year run of tiny increases in health care spending is coming to an end. The projections released on Tuesday estimate that health spending will average 5.8 percent a year through 2024, higher than the 4 percent annual growth measured between 2007 and 2013. That means health spending will be growing faster than is expected for the overall economy, but it isn’t expected to grow as fast as it did in the years before the Great Recession. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 7/29)
Los Angeles Times:
How A Hugely Overpriced Hepatitis Drug Helped Drive Up U.S. Health Spending
There's one especially eye-catching number in a new report by Medicare actuaries about U.S. healthcare spending: 12.6%. That's the leap in prescription drug spending last year over the year before. How sharp an increase is it? It was five times as much as the increase for 2013 over 2012, which was a mere 2.5%. (Michael Hiltzik, 7/28)
The Wall Street Journal:
How To Usher In A New Era Of Preventive Health Care
Laboratory tests drive 70% of all clinical decisions in health care. They’re used to determine whether a patient should start taking medication and, if so, which one. They help doctors decide whether a patient should undergo medical procedures or be admitted to the hospital. And they’re used to identify an individual’s risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. (Elizabeth Holmes, 7/28)
The Washington Post's Plum Line:
Here’s Some More Good News About Obamacare. Too Bad It Won’t Dent The Debate.
Whenever a health insurer announces that it will be requesting significant premium increases in the coming year, it’s guaranteed to generate news stories that are waved triumphantly by conservatives as proof that the Affordable Care Act is a failure and, just as they predicted, premiums are skyrocketing because the government is messing around in health care. (Paul Waldman, 7/28)
Los Angeles Times:
Covered California's Good News On Premium Hikes Comes With Trade-Offs
The 2010 federal healthcare reform law made it easier for millions of Americans to obtain insurance coverage, but it didn't stop the cost of that coverage from rising considerably faster than inflation. So it was a welcome surprise Monday when officials at Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, announced that the average premiums for individual policies in 2016 would be only about 4% higher than they are this year, and only about 2% higher in Los Angeles County. Mixed in with the good news for consumers, though, were some trade-offs that won't make everyone happy. The announcement offers lessons for consumers and policymakers, not all of which are easy to stomach. (7/28)
The Kansas City Star:
How Do We Prepare For The Realities Of Dying?
Why is it that Americans seem to be the only people on the planet who live their lives as though death were an optional event? For many of us who have worked for years helping families and clinicians grapple with difficult choices in “shared decision making,” we’ve been challenged by that convention despite the evidence that 75 percent of us claim that preparing a living will and appointing a health care proxy are critically important. Yet fewer than one-third of us do anything to make it happen. Perhaps it’s our willing adherence to myths, most notably our believing that when the time comes, we’ll know, and we’ll have time to get our affairs in order, making our wishes known. This “just in time” approach may be comforting but, in reality, it’s magical thinking. For most of us, the “right time” never comes, but the crisis does. Believing in a scenario that we’ll luck into a peaceful passing without ever having so much as an uncomfortable conversation with anyone doesn’t support the reality that 80 percent of us will eventually rely on a proxy to make decisions for us. (John G. Carney, 7/29)
The Detroit Free Press:
A Look At ADA's Lasting Impact In Metro Detroit
Twenty-five years ago, America took a bold leap toward becoming a more perfect union when we rejected the old prejudices that restricted people with disabilities to institutions, isolation and exclusion from American life. In enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, our nation embraced the idea that all Americans should be able to participate fully in our society. The ADA guarantees equal access for Americans with disabilities to education, jobs, health care, transportation, housing, polling places and other public places such as restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues. (Barbara McQuade, 7/28)