Tag: Health Care

Checking Up on Health

                                           A Health Policy Checkup Supreme Court schedule for federal health care law case: For those who are interested in following the litigation regarding the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, here is a link to the timetable between now and the end of oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 28: http://tinyurl.com/6r9cdzf. There are four distinct questions before the Court: 1. Individual mandate: Whether Congress went too far in requiring all Americans to purchase and maintain individual health insurance. 2. Severability: The Severability Clause, language that describes the right to remove a line or portion of a bill without changing the rest, was not included in this legislation, so that if any part… View Article
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 back to the states,… View Article
Georgia should establish a small business health insurance marketplace outside the “additional layers of cost, complexity and rigidity” associated with federal health care reform mandates. That is the recommendation from a twenty-five member committee appointed by Governor Nathan Deal.   The political question will soon become:  Should Georgia begin that process now or wait until after next summer’s highly anticipated U.S. Supreme Court health care reform decision? The Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee report issued Monday proposed development of an exchange “through private or limited quasi-governmental means” as either a non-profit or public corporation.  The report did not establish a timetable.  A minority view said the 2012 Legislature should “authorize a basic structure for an individual health insurance exchange” that… View Article

What Should You Pay for Your Dog’s Knee Transplant?

What should you expect to pay for your dog’s knee replacement?  Should what you pay for your dog to have his knees fixed bear any relationship to fixing your own knees?   What determines the cost for knee replacements, whether the surgery is done here or overseas? Writing this week on his national Health Care Policy blog, economist John Goodman asked, “Why is the price of a knee replacement for a dog — involving the same technology and the same medical skills that are needed for humans — less than 1/6th the price a typical health insurance company pays for human operations?” Goodman also posed this question: “How is a Canadian able to come to the United States and get… View Article
One supposed benefit of socialized medicine is access to low-cost medicines, right? A new study by the Fraser Institute highlights some important facts when comparing the U.S. and Canada. By observing per capita drug spending as a percentage of per capita income the study compares the average personal affordability of drug costs for Canadians and Americans.  The method provides a way to estimate the actual economic burden of prescription drug costs on consumers in Canada and the United States relative to the differences in living standards. Consumers in Canada and the United States spend nearly the same proportion of their per capita gross domestic product on prescription drugs (1.6 percent in Canada and 1.8 percent in the United States) and… View Article

Myth Busters #1: Roemer’s Law

If you ask anyone who has studied health economics or health policy in the last 40 years, “what is Roemer’s Law?” they will each be able to tell you in an instant — “that means a built bed is a filled bed.” Milton Roemer, MD, was a researcher and professor, mostly at UCLA, who spent a lifetime (he died in 2001) advocating for national health systems around the world. He was involved in creating the World Health Organization in 1951 and Saskatchewan’s provincial single payer system in 1953. His “law” was based on a single study he did in 1959 that found a correlation between the number of hospital beds per person and the rate of hospital days used per… View Article

Rationing Care for Children in Medicaid and CHIP

Physicians experience much greater difficulty referring children in Medicaid and CHIP to specialty care, compared to privately insured children. On the basis of the physician survey, more than three times as many participating physicians—84 percent—experience difficulty referring Medicaid and CHIP children to specialty care as experience difficulty referring privately insured children—26 percent. For all children, physicians most frequently cited difficulty with specialty referrals for mental health, dermatology, and neurology. Full GAO report here. View Article

Why is There a Primary Care Physician Shortage?

This is Richard Posner, writing at the Becker/Posner blog: Third-party payment is a pervasive feature of American medicine. Why anyone should want health insurance other than “major medical”—that is, insurance against catastrophic medical bills—is a great mystery, as is the fact that Medicare subsidizes routine health care of upper-middle-class people. Since disease and injury tend to be unpredictable, health insurance smooths costs over time, which is efficient, but a person could achieve that smoothing simply by saving the money that he now pays in health-insurance premiums and investing it to create a fund out of which to pay future health expenses as they occur. But we are stuck with third-party payment, and it systematically favors specialists over primary-care physicians,… View Article
Another interesting report from the National Center for Policy Analysis: About 5 percent of the population is responsible for almost half of all health care spending in the United States and for rising premium rates, according to a new report from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, says the National Journal. The report stated about half of the U.S. population accounted for only 3.1 percent of all expenditures. But 10 percent of the population hogged 63.6 percent of all health spending, the survey found. The top 5 percent of the population accounted for 47.5 percent of all spending, and the top 1 percent accounted for 20.2 percent. While the average person incurred about $233 in costs in… View Article
Consumers have no idea how much they pay for health care, so it’s not surprising they often overpay, but 683 percent?! Patients pay as much as 683 percent more for the same medical procedures, such as MRIs or CT scans, in the same town, depending on which doctor they choose, according to a new study by a national health care group, reports USA Today. For a pelvic CT scan, they found that within one town in the Southwest, a person could pay as little as $230 for the procedure, or as a much as $1,800. For a brain MRI in a town in the Northeast, a person could pay $1,540 — or $3,500. Howard McClure, CEO of Change:healthcare says… View Article

The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.

Senator Herman E. Talmadge more quotes