Category: Health Care

Health Care: A Road Map to Innovation

By Ross Mason The United States spent $2.4 trillion on health care in 2011. If that represented a country, it would be the world’s sixth-largest economy. Health care accounted for more than 17.3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, a larger share of GDP than any other developed nation. “Moore’s Law,” which states that “computing capacity will double every 18 months” on smaller, cheaper processing platforms for larger and larger markets, was the driving force behind U.S. global IT dominance. By contrast, health care seems to be driven by “Moron’s Law.” Costs have been increasing over 18 percent each year – year after year – without corresponding improvements in quality, access or outcomes. To remain globally… View Article

Georgia Wise to Halt Health Exchange

By Kelly McCutchen and Christie Herrera In a few weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments from Georgia and 25 other states who are challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s 2010 health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, another battle has been quietly taking place, as Georgia and other plaintiff states decide whether they should implement one of the law’s key components, a health insurance exchange. Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and officials in the Legislature wisely agreed to halt implementation of the exchange – new government bureaucracies to regulate and subsidize health insurance – until the nation’s highest court rules in June. Last December, the governor’s advisory committee had recommended the… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman In July 2012, the headline that throws the country into turmoil could just be, “Supreme Court Rules Against Health Reform; Now What?” If the 26-state lawsuit succeeds against the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, then what? Part or all of the federal law will immediately be null and void. Insurance laws will revert to the inadequate state laws that existed before. Even before the new law, there was bipartisan agreement that health insurance needed reforms. In Georgia, those laws created 1.8 million uninsured Georgians; fewer than one in 4 Georgians working in small businesses were insured. The battle cry is “repeal and replace” from federal politicians, but if the major responsibility for reform goes… View Article

Time to Replace the Medical Liability Tort System

By Richard L. Jackson Have you ever been to the doctor and suspected him of ordering a test just to cover his bases, not because you actually needed it? Anyone who has worked with doctors, nurses and hospitals over the years knows it happens and understands that this practice of “defensive medicine” is a major cost driver. Defensive medicine – doctors ordering unnecessary and typically expensive tests, treatments and procedures to avoid malpractice suits and litigation – is a major contributor to still-skyrocketing health care costs. These tests, of questionable clinical value, add up to as much as $650 billion each year, according to a poll of physicians. In Georgia alone, the amount is an estimated $13.25 billion. That’s money… View Article

Medicare or Medi-scare?

By Ronald E. Bachman Frightening seniors about Medicare changes is often referred to as Medi-scare. All Americans should be scared: In the coming years, 78 million baby boomers will place unprecedented demands on Medicare. Meanwhile, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Fund will run out of money in 2024, according to the 2011 Medicare Trustees Report. Standard & Poor’s recently downgraded its financial outlook for the United States; federal budget deficits are projected to exceed $1 trillion annually. This country has borrowed more than $14 trillion. Medicare alone has a $38.2 trillion unfunded deficit. Just like families that have outspent their income and borrowed too much, the federal government must now make reductions. Every politician wants to solve financial problems by eliminating “waste,… View Article
By John C. Goodman This is a speech Mitt Romney should have given last year. It may even work this year. If he waits until next year, I’m afraid it will be too late. My fellow Americans, as governor of Massachusetts I presided over the most important state-level health reform in our nation’s history. From that experiment I’ve learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t work in the ongoing effort to lower costs, raise quality and improve access to care. We accomplished four things that are worth emulating nationwide. First, we cut the number of uninsured by more than half in my state. If that were replicated nationwide, we would have 25 million newly insured citizens. Second,… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman There are major problems brewing with the long-term care program created under the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Effective since Jan. 1, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or CLASS program, is a controversial new national entitlement program with significant financial concerns. The program is similar to a private long-term care plan that pays cash benefits to help purchase non-medical services such as home health care and adult day care services for those unable to perform certain “activities of daily living” (ADLs). It is estimated that more than 10 million Americans need long-term services to assist them with ADLs. That number is expected to grow with the aging of the population and… View Article

Medicaid Program Needs a Dose of Reality

By Benita M. Dodd Much like the tale of the blind men and the elephant, proposals to reform Medicaid are influenced by the perspective: Taxpayers see lighter paychecks; beneficiaries see increased coverage; state budget writers see a spiraling commitment. Liberals see a need for a bigger program to cover more people and conservatives see an opportunity to do better with less government. Still, all are aware of this elephant in the room. Without a doubt, the entitlement program for qualified low-income elderly, disabled, children and families is consuming an increasing portion of the state budget. That was one reason thatformer Gov. Sonny Perdue implemented a managed care program for Georgia to cover low-income Medicaid and PeachCare beneficiaries. Three HMO-like organizations… View Article
By Brian E. Hill, M.D. If physicians treated symptoms, they would never cure. Prescribing a cough suppressant to a patient with an intractable cough without searching for an underlying cause, for example, is obviously foolhardy. If cancer were present, it would inevitably progress and take that patient’s life. Cure comes through recognizing symptoms and parsing them to diagnose and treat disease. Problem-solving in health policy should employ the same approach. The ideological banter surrounding health care reform has mistakenly focused on symptoms, however, missing the disease that inhibits the system’s ability to provide readily accessible, high-quality, cost-effective health care. Unsustainable costs and access problems do exist, but these are merely symptoms of the underlying disease. Other symptoms are readily apparent.… View Article

Healing Health Care Policy in Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd After a historic three days of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, the fate of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as ObamaCare lies in the hands of nine justices. Until the expected high court ruling in June, pundits and policy wonks will pick apart the questions and answers in the oral arguments. But Americans know that whether the law stands, crumbles or collapses, health care policy in these United States needs a fix. Voters in the states know the answer is not in this federal, top-down health law, in essence cracking a nut with a sledgehammer. Just 37 percent of likely voters want the federal law upheld while 50 percent want… View Article

Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle more quotes