Author Archive

Report: Hospitals Who Want to Collect Fees should Provide Better Cost Estimates

Hand Holding Cash ca. 1998

Historically hospitals have not really had to worry about collect directly from patients. On average patient cost-sharing is only about 3% when patients enter the hospital. Health care providers generally focus on insurance reimbursement. Maybe that is changing with the growing prevalence of high deductible plans. Now hospital patients can potentially owe several thousand dollars depending on whether they’ve met their deductibles and their cost-sharing arrangements.

Read More » »

Senate Better Care Act: A Big Bunch of Sausage Meat Loaf

Backroom policy deals have been described as akin to making sausage. You don’t really want to see it done or you’d lose your appetite. The new senate health bill is more like meat loaf than sausage, however. By that I mean a recipe composed of delicious ingredients mushed together with really distasteful ones in an unappetizing blob that could have been a great burger but wasn’t. Remember that 1977 song “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” by the band Meat Loaf? That pretty much sums up the senate health reform bill.

Read More » »

Bitter Pill Reconciliation Act of 2017

Capture88(aka Senate version of American Health Care Act)

The Senate health bill has some good things and some not-so-good things. It largely keeps too much of Obamacare, except the individual and employer mandates, and repeals most of Obamacare taxes but allow almost no additional health plan flexibility. Oh, it’s pretty good on Medicaid.

Read More » »

California Money No Good in Georgia’s Special Election

moneyThe special election for Georgia’s Sixth District to fill the seat vacated by Secretary Price was heated. Jon Ossoff was the Democrat who ran for the seat with considerable outside support. He lost, nonetheless. A precinct captain supposedly complained that many of Jon Ossoff’s potential voters were hard to reach because they live with their parents. Democrats purportedly spent $200 per democratic vote, but I guess it wasn’t enough.

Read More » »

This Week in Health Care

StethoscopeThis post was prepared by research associate, Jerrod Attias.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has begun examining the role that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) play in rising drug prices, starting with a hearing this week on the drug delivery system. Drug manufacturers have blamed PBMs for rising prices and Senators from both sides of the aisle have called for more transparency in drug price negotiations. (Morning Consult)

Read More » »

The Silly Appeal of Expanding Medicaid for All

DocsMeanMany people believe Obamacare was a conspiracy, with asinine design features intended to cause the program to fail. The primary goal in the minds of conspiracy buffs’ was to usher in a single-payer program of Medicare for All once Obamacare collapsed under adverse selection. The theory goes something like this: with nowhere to turn except the government, Americans would finally throw up their hands and acquiesce to government intervention. Seniors purportedly all love their Medicare, so why not expand the program to cover even more people?

Read More » »

Newsflash: Hospital ER prices are Outrageous!

stethoscope-on-moneyIn a ground breaking study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered hospital emergency departments overcharge. I know… Who would have thought ER prices are high? The study looked at 12,000 billing records for emergency medicine doctors nationwide.

Read More » »

The Opioid Crisis Obeys the Law of Unintended Consequences

Capture71A letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine back in 1980 is thought to have been the nudge that set the opioid crisis in motion. The letter claimed only four addictions were documented out of nearly 40,000 patients who were prescribed powerful opioid pain pills. The article arguing addiction to prescription opioids is rare has been cited 600 times — often incorrectly.  Doctors and drug makers used this as evidence that it was safe to prescribed opioids to more patients with chronic pain.

Read More » »

Socialized Medicine Goes by Many Names: Budget Buster is But One

DocsMeanMembers of Congress — both Democrats and Republicans — are being asked if various health care proposals they support provide so-called “universal coverage.” Socialized medicine goes by many names: Universal Coverage, Coverage-for-All, Medicare-for-All, Medicaid Expansion and Single-Payer are ones you’ve probably heard of. Perhaps you don’t really understand what all these altruistic-sounding phrases imply. Here’s a dirty little secret: you’re not supposed to know. The average American with good employee health insurance already pays for coverage (albeit indirectly) in addition to a Social Security payroll tax surpassing 15 percent. Most Americans would balk once they discovered the ugly truth: universal coverage requires a near doubling of payroll taxes. A case in point is California, New York State, Vermont and Colorado.

Read More » »

CBO: Other Peoples’ Money is Popular, as is Freedom to Choose

stethoscope-on-moneyThe big news on Thursday was that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The CBO claimed 23 million people would lose coverage within a decade under provisions found in the AHCA.

  • About 10 million people would purportedly lose coverage due to the repealing of the individual and employer mandates.
  • Another 5 million are low-income individuals living in states that did not expand Medicaid.

Basically, this is another way of saying 10 million people will decide they’d rather keep their money than have poor-value health coverage. It’s hard to understand how someone can lose something they never actually had?

Read More » »