Tag: "Health Care Costs"

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

risingHealth care spending rose at the fastest pace in 10 years last quarter.

If you make playgrounds safer, kids will have more accidents.

Avik Roy hosts a paean to ObamaCare by Gene Sperling.

ObamaCare has had 38 significant delays.

Fifty-seven million Americans live in states where Tesla cannot legally sell its cars.

Imperial Presidency

index1The Obama administration has decided that the sequester’s mandatory spending cuts no longer apply to part of ObamaCare.

The health care law provides subsidies to help low-income people cover some of their out-of-pocket costs. Last year, the administration said those subsidies were taking a 7 percent cut because of the sequester, which imposed across-the-board reductions in federal spending.

But now, the White House has changed its mind. It removed the cost-sharing subsidies from its list of programs that are subject to the sequester, eliminating the 7 percent cut for 2015.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which noticed the change, said the reversal would likely restore about $560 million to the subsidies — and require $560 million in cuts to other programs to make up for it. (National Journal)

The cost-sharing subsidies are expected to total $8 billion this year and $156 billion over the next decade.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

money-rollsThe CBO estimates that 6 million people will pay a total of $8 billion in (ObamaCare) fines in 2016.

Vacation in China: We paid for this?

Drudge pays ObamaCare penalty tax and so will other self-employed individuals who have to pay their taxes quarterly.

Before ObamaCare, a 27-year-old man in Dallas could have purchased catastrophic coverage for $69 per month; now, the cheapest plan available on the federal exchange is $173 per month

90% of papers that have been published in academic journals are never cited and as many as 50% of papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, referees and journal editors.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

wine-glassRed wine is healthier when it’s non-alcoholic (sorry).

ObamaCare premiums are about to skyrocket; they will double in some parts of the country.

The Obama Administration is will spending $17 million a month advertising for ObamaCare.

Emergency room visits increased after Massachusetts health reform was enacted.

Half of callers to Covered California give up as deadline looms.

A Better Way to Cut Medicare Spending

Over the next 10 years, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is scheduled to cut Medicare spending by $716 billion, primarily by reducing payments to doctors and hospitals. Further, those cuts in spending will continue indefinitely into the future. By 2060, one-fifth of Medicare will be gone. The Medicare actuaries and others have warned that these cuts will reduce access to care for seniors.

iStock_000002100130XSmallFortunately, there is a better way ― proposed by Liqun Liu, Andrew J. Rettenmaier, Thomas R. Saving and Zijun Wang in a study for the National Center for Policy Analysis: The reform consists of two changes to current law: (1) raising the Medicare eligibility age to the same age as Social Security (and thereafter indexing it to increases in longevity) and (2) requiring higher income seniors to pay a greater share of their medical costs (or so-called means testing). This reform ensures that low income workers receive full benefits (defined as the average benefits retirees would receive if the ACA’s cost-cutting provisions are not realized) upon attaining the new eligibility age. Once seniors reach the new eligibility age:

CMS Backs Down from Medicare Part D Changes

Seniors-CelebratingSeniors should celebrate the administration’s decision to reverse its proposed restrictions of the Medicare Part D drug benefit plan.

By virtually all measures, Medicare Part D has been a great success. Seniors’ satisfaction rates average about 90 percent to 95 percent.

In January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to change how Medicare Part D plans are regulated. To save money, CMS wanted to block seniors’ access to drug plans that offer lower premiums (and lower copays) in return for patronizing a preferred pharmacy network. The changes would also have limited seniors’ access to certain medications.

After criticism launched from many fronts, including the NCPA, CMS this week announced it had backed away from its earlier recommendations to micromanage Medicare Part D drug plans.

Study: Drug Insurance Reduces the Cost of Other Therapies

Results indicate that obtaining prescription drug insurance through Medicare Part D was associated with an 8% decrease in the number of hospital admissions, a 7% decrease in Medicare expenditures, and a 12% decrease in total resource use. Gaining prescription drug insurance through Medicare Part D was not significantly associated with mortality. (NBER)

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen


Healthcare organizations of all kinds are being routinely attacked and compromised by increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Fourth Georgia hospital closes due to ObamaCare payment cuts.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s largest outside New York City, owes so much for retiree health care that paying off its debt would cost $17,500 for each student — and there are 640,000 of them.

Does a higher minimum wage cause more crime?

Update on Doctor Pay Fix

  • CBO says a fix will cost $153 billion over the next ten years.
  • Rs and Ds have agreed on a fix, but they haven’t found a way to pay for it.
  • But if they don’t do something doctors are about to get a double digit pay cut under Medicare.
  • Under the deal, 9% of doctor fees will be based on conformance to quality indicators by 2021. But since we know that P4P doesn’t work, it’s not clear why they are going through the motions.

The plan. Sarah Kliff commentary.

Are Young People Better Off Being Uninsured?

The Affordable Care Act makes health insurance more expensive for young adults while simultaneously making it far less risky to go without insurance according to a study by Conor Ryan, a health care analyst, and Chris Holt, the director of health care policy, at the American Action Forum. They find that opting out of coverage and paying their own costs out-of-pocket would be the most financially advantageous decision for most young adults.

  • In 2Uninsured1014, 86 percent of young people would be better off opting out. As the penalty rises, that number will drop, down to 66 percent in 2019.
  • By reducing the sample down to only those households who had medical expenditures in 2011, the study determined that 72 percent of those young adult households would be better off opting out of health coverage, with that number dropping to 59 percent in 2019.
  • In a third scenario, which accounted for the inherent value of health insurance, 63 percent of young adults would see a financial advantage from opting out of health insurance, that number dropping to 41 percent in 2019.By reducing the risks of forgoing insurance while at the same time increasing the cost of health coverage, the Affordable Care Act incentivizes young adults to cover their own health expenses and opt out of insurance.