The original intent of the architects of Medicare was to eventually expand the program to cover everyone. Yet the Republicans have been reluctant to do so, and now the Democrats have specifically excluded it from their party platform. The leadership of both parties need to listen to conservative Republican Jack Bernard, an expert in our health care system.
The individual insurance market has always been unstable. The struggles insurers face are not only how they can make their products more effective and accessible to more individuals, but especially how they can ensure that revenues exceed expenditures. So what can we learn from the response of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to unfavorable market conditions?
There was certainly no uniformity of opinion on what impact Brexit might have on their National Health Service. Now that the results are in, we still will not know until the destabilization begins to settle down.
As usual, Professor Gerard Anderson is right again. Between patents for brand products and consolidation in the generic market, drug prices are out of control. He argues that the government should more aggressively regulate prices.
As their vision states, the House Republicans have organized their previous concepts on health care reform into a single policy paper. It is heavy on rhetoric that is deceptive and bordering on dishonesty in that their proposals are cloaked in language suggesting that these are beneficial policies when many of them are actually detrimental.
The headlines reporting the results of this Gallup survey are celebrating the decline in health care insecurity (e.g., “Fewer Americans Are Having Trouble Paying Health Care Bills, Gallup Finds” – Kaiser Health News). Although any improvement is always good news, a 17 percent decline in health care insecurity is not much to celebrate (declining from 18.7% to 15.5%). Filling the glass less than one-fifth full is disappointing when we could have had a full glass.
Although this paper is quite technical, the conclusions are straightforward. Health insurance makes expensive products and services affordable for patients and thus they will use them – a desirable policy outcome since patients will then receive the care they should have. But beyond that, by bundling services and products into the same insurance package, it allows monopoly manufacturers of high value products, such as expensive pharmaceuticals, to charge prices that exceed the value their products – an undesirable policy outcome.
Health care costs for the typical working family of four now average over $25,000 (2016 Milliman Medical Index). The only way low- and middle-income individuals and families can afford health care is through progressive redistribution. How are we doing?
AMA members understand that the financing of health care in the United States is highly flawed, even after implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Although the AMA’s official position has been to oppose single payer reform, it has become clear that it is time to take another look at various models of financing health care, including single payer.
Many European nations, in addition to having some form of universal or near-universal health insurance, also have optional voluntary health insurance plans (VHI). These have raised concerns about access, inequity, two-tiered care, queues, inefficient use of public funds, and the excess costs and inefficiencies due to greater administrative complexity. “Private insurers have not been seen as providing good value,” according to this report.
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