Category: Health Care

By Kelly McCutchen From an economic perspective, it’s not surprising that health care costs keep rising. Although we may not believe it so, most of us are insulated from the majority of health care costs by a tax code that favors employer-purchased health insurance. We pre-pay the majority of our health care expenses through health insurance. But because employers bear most of the cost of insurance for the average employee, most people have no idea how much their insurance really costs. Employees who complain, for example, when their co-payments for an office visit increase from $10 to $25, often are  oblivious that their annual insurance premium – paid for by their employer – may have increased by $1,000.  Co-payments and… View Article

Maine strategy no prescription drug solution

By Nina Owcharenko The United States Supreme Court recently issued a decision (PHRMA v. Walsh) to allow Maine Rx, a Maine government program requiring prescription drug discounts, to move forward.   While the Court’s decision focused on matters of law, and not policy, health policy makers at the federal level and in every state of the Union should resist accepting this as an endorsement of policy and instead re-evaluate the real effects such a government pricing proposal would have on the delivery of health care.   Unintended Consequences of Maine Rx Under the Maine Rx program, states would provide prescription drugs at a discount to residents who are without coverage by requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide a rebate similar to… View Article

End Health Care Discrimination: Give Cash a Chance

By Kelly McCutchen The customer with cash is often rewarded with a discount, but try paying cash for your next doctor’s visit and you most likely will pay up to twice as much as everyone else. It’s not that doctors don’t like cash. They are simply caught up in the crazy Rube Goldberg machine that we call our modern health care system. When managed care organizations establish their provider networks, they are often able to negotiate steep discounts from the providers’ standard rates. By setting their standard rates higher, doctors and hospitals are able to increase their discounted payments from managed care organizations. These standard rates, inflated far above the actual cost of service, are the prices that everyone outside… View Article

Georgia Should Lift Ban on Mail-Order Prescriptions

By Kelly McCutchen It seems that just about everyone has caught on that ordering prescriptions by mail can help health-care consumers save hundreds and even thousands of dollars. But Georgians can’t count their savings just yet: Georgia law prohibits Georgia pharmacies from mailing prescriptions to individuals. The purpose of the law is to protect the walk-in retail trade of corner drug stores. That well-intended protectionism carries a hefty price: Georgians are unable to reap the cost-savings and convenience that consumers across the nation are enjoying. The General Assembly should consider putting the benefits of millions of consumers over the parochial interests of a few pharmacists. Ordering pharmaceuticals by mail is so popular and cost-effective that most large employers give employees… View Article

Expanding Health Insurance Coverage in Georgia

William S. Custer There are two primary reasons why the number of Georgians without health insurance is an important public policy issue.  First, there is a public health concern that lack of health insurance may result in sicker, less productive individuals.  Second, health care is not denied to those without health insurance. In fact, they consume a considerable amount of health care resources.  The cost of treating the uninsured is borne by taxpayers, by purchasers of private insurance, by providers, and by local communities.  These costs are not distributed efficiently or equitably. The uninsured face a much different process of health care than those with insurance.  They are much less likely to have a usual source of care, more likely… View Article

Georgia Denies Seniors Choice

Kelly McCutchen My great-grandfather lived through the Depression and, like many of his peers, was fiercely independent. At the age of 92 he decided that, due to his age, living by himself in the home where he had spent the previous 25 years was no longer realistic. However, a nursing home was not only a threat to his independence, he simply did not need the level of care provided by a nursing home. Luckily, one of the first assisted-living homes in the nation had recently opened in his neighborhood, and he became one of its first residents. For him, assisted living was very similar to moving into a condominium. He could use his own furniture, he had his own entrance,… View Article
By Merrill Matthews, Jr. The following article originally appeared in the August 1998 issue of the Georgia Policy Review. Reprinted with permission from the National Center for Policy Analysis. Merrill Matthews Jr. is the vice president of domestic policy at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas. A National Public Radio story on William Delashmit, 72, recently highlighted the problem of Medicare private contracting. Delashmit suffers from Cogan’s dystrophy, an abnormality of the cornea that has caused him to lose sight in his right eye. There is a 95 percent chance laser surgery could restore his sight. Unfortunately, Dr. William Stark of Johns Hopkins University, Delashmit’s physician, may not be able to help him. According to… View Article
John G. Malcolm Introduction Long before I was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority, which oversees the entire Grady Health System (hereinafter referred to as “Grady”), I had heard and read, in essence, that Grady hemorrhages money, that it was inefficiently run and mismanaged, and that it was a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. However, in a recently-conducted Strategic Opportunity Assessment, APM Management Consultants, an internationally-recognized health care consulting firm, found that Grady “is relatively efficient on a cost per ad- justed discharge basis compared to national and regional institutions” and “very efficient from a clinical utilization perspective.” In other words, APM found that the opportunity to reduce the length of stay of the average… View Article

Bringing Health Care Back to the Free Market

By Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. THE PROBLEM Two factors are central to developing a good public health care policy for Georgia. Health care costs are enormous, and the federal portion of the indigent health care burden is likely to be shifted to the states. The government pays 45 percent of America’s health care costs. This burden has far exceeded anyone’s expectations.  When Medicare was created in 1965, it was estimated that its budget would reach $9 billion to $12 billion by 1990. The real cost in 1990 was $107 billion. Medicaid was predicted to cost some $1 billion by 1991. The actual cost was $56 billion. For Georgia, health care is the second largest budget item, with only education receiving more… View Article

Georgia Enacts Significant Health Care Reform

Kelly McCutchen During the prolonged debate over health care policy in Washington, one of the few remedies that both Democrats and Republicans could agree upon was portability — the ability to take your health insurance from job to job. Although a simple bill requiring portability would have received bipartisan support, no such bill ever surfaced. For those of us who think the states can solve many of our public policy problems far better than Washington can, Georgia has emerged as a shining example. In just three pages, Section Three of House Bill 616 solved one of the major health care problems facing Georgians by enacting portability. This law will provide peace of mind for the many people who live in… View Article

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Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers more quotes