Viewpoints: Puzzling Slowdown In Health Spending; Court Decision Could Help End Businesses’ Fears About Health Law
The Fiscal Times: Recession's Upside: Slowdown In Health-Care Spending
Economists will debate the causes of the great slowdown in health-care spending that’s now underway for a long time to come. ... And last year, preliminary government estimates released Tuesday showed, health care spending once again grew at just a 3.9 percent rate. If the economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are correct, it will stay around that level for another two years and cause national health care expenditures to fall to 17.8 percent of GDP in 2013, the year before the reforms of the Affordable Care Act are due to kick in (Merrill Goozner, 6/13).
Roll Call: Court's Health Care Decision Could Help Backers And Foes
Besides giving its remaining Congressional backers a possible reprieve this November by putting voters in a less recriminative frame of mind, a Supreme Court torpedoing of the administration’s flagship social legislation could also help the president and his Congressional supporters on another issue, one where they need it most. The law’s passage spooked American business (Dan Weber, 6/12).
Boston Globe: Health Care System Needs More Freedom And Competition, Not Less
[The] orthodox view is that to shield people with serious medical needs from undue financial hardship, we must suppress the normal workings of a free market — supply and demand, competition, flexible prices. There's just one problem with this approach: It doesn't work. Six years after Romneycare became law, health insurance coverage in Massachusetts is all but universal. Yet a new statewide survey finds that those most in need of medical care are finding it harder than ever to pay for (Jeff Jacoby, 6/13).
Baltimore Sun: Insurers Do The Right Thing On Health Care
Singing the praises of major U.S. insurance companies is not a common pastime on these pages, but recent events require at least a stanza and perhaps even a chorus. Such is the tuneful news that several have decided that no matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules, they intend to retain certain provisions of President Barack Obama's health care reform law. UnitedHealth Group, Inc. was the first to make that announcement and was later joined by Aetna and Humana. The move will allow policyholders to get certain kinds of preventive care without a co-payment, allow adult children up to age 26 to stay on parents' health plans, and avoid lifetime claims limits on individuals with chronic diseases, just as they would under the health care reform act (6/12).
KQED: Why Is Mayor Bloomberg A 'Nanny'?
State of Health has followed the soda tax issue closely. Richmond voters will decide in November whether their city will be the first in California to levy a soda tax. The City Council voted to put the measure on the ballot only after hours of heated public debate. Critics of the tax had many objections, not least of which was concern about an over-reaching government. So when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed limiting portion sizes on sugary drinks, I wasn't surprised when opponents of the idea labeled it a "nanny state" tactic. Then came the full page ad in the New York Times from the Center for Consumer Freedom. I shrugged and confess that I was a little amused (Lisa Aliferis, 6/12).
Miami Herald: Reason For Skepticism
WellCare continues to do business in Florida and other states, and there has been no hint that the "bad stuff" has been repeated. Given the depth of its experience in this arena, WellCare stands a good chance of continuing to do business here, but not so fast. No matter how reformed this company is, the state can't blithely give it a pass. Under a new state law, a company will lose other contracts if it stops providing services in one area. That's a start in accountability. Florida must monitor healthcare outcomes and audit WellCare's books to make sure taxpayers’ money is being spent on good care, not squandered — saving the millions promised.
Boston Globe: Access To Sleep Testing Will Make A Big Health Impact
The number of people in Massachusetts living with obstructive sleep apnea would fill Fenway Park 10 times over. Sadly, the majority of them don't know it and fewer still are being treated. … This is a shame, since addressing this disease, with its connections to the country's most expensive health conditions — obesity, diabetes and heart disease — reduces health care costs and improves the quality of life for millions (Dr. Michael Coppola, 6/12).
JAMA: The Cost Of Drug Coupons
Drug coupons raise two primary financial concerns. First, coupons can increase out-of-pocket spending for the coupon user in either the short or long term because co-pays may still be higher compared with therapeutic alternatives (ie, direct costs). Second, coupons can increase health care spending for coupon users and nonusers by increasing aggregate health spending and thus health insurance premiums (ie, indirect costs) (Dr. David Grande, 6/13).