Category: Health Care

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

Not-So-Happy Birthday for ObamaCare

By Ronald S. Bachman The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commonly referred to as ObamaCare was signed into law on March 23, 2010. One year later, the law remains unpopular with the public and a core fiscal concern for many voters, while many are learning just how intrusive are the government mandates. Supporters believed that once passed, the law would gain in popularity. It has not. This law of the land may not be for long. In January this year, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled the individual mandate in the new law to be unconstitutional. He further declared that the entire bill is unconstitutional because the act lacks a “severability clause,” typically part of any… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman Under the table, over the top and in need of bipartisan repeal is a little-understood mandate in the new federal health care law called the Minimum Loss Ratio (MLR).  Rejected by vote in the Senate Finance Committee version of health reform, this competition-crushing mandate crept into the new law when a new Senate bill was developed bypassing the normal process. The recent regulations on the mandate from the Department of Health & Human Services follow recommendations made by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The association relied heavily on a technical study by Milliman, a nationally recognized actuarial company. Unfortunately, the association’s recommendations ignored the most important aspects of the Milliman study that would have recognized… View Article

Home Remedies for What Ails Health Care

By Benita M. Dodd In a week in which the crafters of the new federal health care law probably needed trauma care, two of Georgia’s best known physicians were attending a Georgia Public Policy Foundation event focused on what’s next. Both are known more for their passion than their profession. Both are authors of new books inspired by this ongoing controversy; both offer solutions, not snake oil. Three-term Georgia Congressman Tom Price, a speaker at the Foundation event, is a key opponent of President Obama’s cornerstone legislation. Just this week, in a 26-state challenge that included Georgia, a Florida judge ruled the entire health care law unconstitutional because of the mandate that everyone have insurance. A Virginia judge had ruled… View Article

Reform lacking in Feds’ Medicaid Vision

By Nina Owcharenko Recent coverage of the proposals offered by President Obama’s debt commission managed to gloss over a huge issue that is adding to the nation’s deficit – Medicaid. The impact of this federal-state partnership program on the country’s long-term fiscal future is just as real and consequential as Medicare and Social Security. Plus, Medicaid also adds to the financial burdens on states’ budgets. The problem wasn’t just on the coverage front, but the commission report itself. The final version ignored the massive expansion of the Medicaid program included in the new health care law. At the very least, the commission should have acknowledged this costly addition and suggested repealing the Medicaid expansion, as it did with the CLASS… View Article

Redistribution of Health Care Dollars Hurts Seniors

  By Ronald E. Bachman   One of the most controversial parts of the new federal health care law is the redistribution of funding from Medicare to other programs. If Obamacare is left unchanged, it will take $500 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years. Medicare beneficiaries will see higher premiums; doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical suppliers will get lower payments. The Medicare reductions will be used to subsidize expanded Medicaid to low-income recipients and to fund insurance for the uninsured.   For the 78 million baby boomers eligible for Medicare over the next decade, this is more than a redistribution of wealth. It is a redistribution of health and wellness. They will get less health care; others will get more.… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman If ObamaCare is upheld as constitutional, Americans will spend a lifetime trying to understand the complexities and contradictions. Worse, every American is likely to be in violation of some aspect of the law at some time. An example of the complexity is the confusion surrounding lifetime limits on benefit coverage. Under the new federal law, coverage cannot include lifetime limits on plan coverage. Or can they?  Maybe yes, maybe no. The lifetime coverage mandate applies to any individual covered by an insurance plan or a self-insured contract providing group or individual health coverage. It is effective for plan years beginning on or after Sept. 23, 2010. For most plans, this date is likely to be Jan.… View Article
  By Ronald E. Bachman   In most families, moms are the caregivers, and most moms have a medicine “box” or tray with all kinds of cures for middle-of-the-night pains and fevers. If it’s not in the “box,” a quick trip to a local 24-hour pharmacy usually secures the needed treatment. When that doesn’t work, a doctor’s visit secures a prescription to be filled at the local pharmacy. But for most situations a caring mom, Mother Nature and over-the-counter medications get children well and avoid unnecessary physician visits and expenses.   Under ObamaCare, much of that is about to change.   For years, consumers have been encouraged to use lower cost generics and less expensive and easily available over-the-counter medications. In the past… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.

Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State more quotes