Category: Health Care

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN It’s been a rough summer for health care. Sixteen of the 23 federally funded, not-for-profit Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (co-ops) have now failed. Humana reduced its Georgia coverage area and Cigna, UnitedHealthcare and Aetna have completely pulled out of Georgia’s federally managed insurance exchange. Most premium rate increase requests for 2017 are in the double digits – the weighted average increase is 27 percent. We got ours in the mail last week: 16 percent. In some parts of Georgia, the outlook is worse. With little competition, rural Georgia has the dubious distinction of some of the nation’s highest health care prices and worst health care outcomes. Four rural hospitals recently were forced to close,… View Article

Checking Up On Health: August 17, 2016

Health Policy News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD   Trucks line up on the Ambassador Bridge to cross from Detroit into Canada. I visited Canada briefly over the weekend, driving into Windsor, Ontario, from Detroit. Did you know? The first eatery visible after you cross the Ambassador Bridge into Canada is a McDonald’s; the second is a Popeye’s! What was really interesting, however, was the proliferation of pharmacies in Windsor. I assume — I can’t vouch for it — that it’s as a convenience for U.S. citizens who want to zip over there to purchase Canada’s lower-priced prescription drugs. That began a discussion in the car about why Canada drugs are cheaper: lower prices because of the… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Health Care

Principles: Sound health care policy should have the following characteristics: Patient-centered– Putting economic purchasing power and decision-making in the hands of participants minimizes third-party reimbursements, which foster an environment of entitlement and unlimited demand for health care services. Security for the sickest– Any health care reform must work for the healthy as well as those who are sick or chronically ill. Equitable tax treatment– Tax policy should not favor health care purchased by employers over policies purchased by individuals, should not favor financing health care through insurance over paying out-of-pocket and should not favor high-income employees over low-income individuals and families. Personal responsibility– Health care reform should combine personal responsibility with financial involvement to incentivize program… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Long-Term Care

Principles Long-term care programs should be reserved for Georgia’s most vulnerable populations. Long-term care programs should be designed to avoid “crowding out” private solutions and personal responsibility. Recommendations Seek ways to target publicly funded long-term care (LTC) services to the neediestGeorgians. Middle-class and affluent people should prepay for care or repay from their estates. Now that the maintenance-of-effort restriction in the Affordable Care Act has expired, Medicaid LTC eligibility criteria should be tightened as much as possible under federal law so as to avoid “crowding out” private sources of LTC financing and encourage a privately financed home- and community-based services infrastructure. Seek waivers to eliminate or severely reduce the home equity exemption under Medicaid from its current level of $536,000… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Medicaid

Principles: Government should be willing to spend what it is already spending, but in a more rational manner. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually in Georgia on uncompensated care for the uninsured. The uninsured may not have coverage but they do get sick; one way or another, we all pay for their care in a way that is terribly inefficient. Money should follow people. It is important to support the institutions and providers that make up Georgia’s safety net, but solutions should be people-centered, not institution-centered. Innovation requires flexibility and choices. Micromanaging every last detail is a recipe for the status quo. Facts: The accompanying table shows the most recent data on the average enrollment and cost per… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Medical Malpractice

Principles:  Medical malpractice reforms should accomplish the following goals: Reduce the rates of preventable patient injuries. Promote open communication between physicians and patients. Ensure patients have access to fair compensation for legitimate medical injuries. Reduce liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Recommendation:  Replace Georgia’s current expensive and ineffective malpractice system with one thatreduces medical errors, enhances patient access to fair compensation for legitimate medical injuries and lowers liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Facts: The current approach to medical errors is failing: Expensive: Billions of dollars are wasted each year on “defensive” medicine, unnecessary procedures and tests ordered to protect health care providers in case of a lawsuit. Ineffective: There is “scant evidence that tort liability… View Article
By John R. Graham Ready for some good news on health reform? Both the presumptive Democratic candidate for President and the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives agree people should be able to spend more money directly on medical care without insurance companies meddling. Both sides would be shocked to have their respective health reforms described as sharing any common ground. However, identifying this common ground might be necessary if either side wants to fix the worst aspects of Obamacare. If Republican politicians in Congress want to give people any relief from the burden of Obamacare, they need to be prepared for the possibility they will have to deal with Hillary Clinton’s White House next year. Speaker… View Article

Above All, Do No Digital Harm

John Graham of the National Center for Policy Analysis writes a column in Forbes warning against congressional overreach as telemedicine moves forward across the nation. The article is printed below; the Forbes link is here. First, Do No Digital Harm: Regulating Telemedicine By John Graham Telemedicine, whereby physicians use email, phone, text, or video for prescribing and consultations, is growing rapidly. Seeking to encourage faster uptake of telemedicine, many well-intentioned parties are prodding Congress to take actions which will likely have harmful unintended consequences. So far, Congress has done well. With respect to regulating actual devices, the 21st Century Cures Act, passed by the House in 2015 with overwhelming bipartisan support, is forward thinking. If passed into law,… View Article

Georgia Must Correct Dental Care Disparities

By Nicoleta Serban  More than 58 percent of Georgia’s children – about 1.5 million youngsters –  qualify for public dental benefits through the state’s Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids programs, according to a new Georgia Tech study. Unfortunately, of the 3,872 licensed dentists providing provide preventive services in Georgia, just 337 – 8.7 percent – accept public insurance for children, according to InsureKidsNow.gov. Research conducted by scientists in the Health Analytics Group at Georgia Tech details the extreme oral health care disparities between children eligible for public insurance and those whose families can afford care through other financial means.    Considering common access barriers, there are roughly 865,000 Medicaid- or PeachCare-eligible children in Georgia who need to travel to reach a… View Article

“I am here today to thank the Georgia Public Policy Foundation for your role in building a fiscally conservative, pro-growth state. Not only did you help pave the way for a new generation of leadership, you continue to provide key policy advice and to hold us accountable to the principles we ran on. In short, you have had a transforming influence on this state. We are healthier, stronger, and better managed because of your efforts.

State Senator Eric Johnson, President pro tempore, Georgia State Senate more quotes