There are two reasons why this article from the Annals of Internal Medicine is so important.
In designing a health care financing system that is efficient and effective in ensuring affordable access to health care, it seems that the nation’s actuaries should be up to the task. So it is informative to see what recommendations were elicited when the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, assisted by Milliman, Inc., issued the Actuarial Challenge, calling for an exploration of approaches to stabilize the individual health insurance market.
UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, is accused in a scheme that allowed its subsidiaries and other insurers to improperly overcharge Medicare by “hundreds of millions — and likely billions — of dollars,” according to a lawsuit made public on Thursday at the Justice Department’s request.
Over this decade, with no further changes in our health care financing system, national health expenditures are expected to increase to one-fifth of our GDP. Unfortunately, our current health care financing system remains incapable of containing health care costs.
CMS today released a new proposed rule allegedly designed to “protect patients” by stabilizing the plans offered in the ACA insurance exchanges. A cursory reading of the press release would tend to confirm this intent, but a careful reading of the release and especially the executive summary of the proposed rule will reveal that the rule is designed to improve the market for the insurers with a detrimental impact on potential enrollees of the insurance plans.
This lesson on accountable care, from the Dartmouth Institute, shows us that we still have much to learn. The respected authors state that a long-term commitment to alternative payment model evaluation is necessary. In the meantime, “we know little about the key ACO capabilities that are important to ensuring their success in different organizational or market contexts.”
There could not be better evidence that the Republicans never did have an effective plan to replace the Affordable Care Act than the fact that they are now advancing legislation to protect the private insurers in the ACA exchanges – reinforcing them rather than shutting them down.
Man your stations.
Without being given a list of choices, when asked “what is the biggest concern facing your family right now,” the most common response was “health care costs” (25%). That places this concern well in front of job security (14%) and household bills (12%) with which it was tied two years ago.
There are two potential adverse consequences of requiring high deductibles in health insurance plans. Developing a serious medical problem can expose the individual to financial hardship. Even more serious is that the potential for financial exposure can cause an individual to make a terribly consequential decision in electing to forgo medical care because of the deductible.
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