Quote of the Day Category

This paper was authored by a team of prominent economists (some names you may recognize) who are members of the National Academies of Sciences’ Committee on the Long-Run Macroeconomic Effects of the Aging U.S. Population. It is an important paper because it demonstrates the disproportionate distribution of Social Security, Medicare, and other public benefits to wealthier individuals by virtue of the fact that they live longer and thus collect benefits for a longer period of time.

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The last paragraph sums up today’s message: “We can think of the extraordinarily high overhead imposed on insured individuals and patients in the United States as the price they seem to be willing to pay for the privilege of choice among health insurers and, for each insurer, among multiple different insurance products.

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Lessons from Canada on block grants

In: Quote of the Day

Republicans intend to change the financing of Medicaid to giving states an annual lump sum – block grants. The primary purpose is to reduce the federal contribution to state Medicaid programs, placing more of the burden on the states – a problem for residents of states with high poverty levels or with stingy governors and legislators.

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Perhaps the most fundamental principle of health insurance is to pool risk – the high costs of the few are distributed amongst all participants in the pool. Since health care has become so expensive, distributing costs has made each person’s share – the insurance premium – unaffordable for many.

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Paul Song: What is California to do?

In: Quote of the Day

Paul Song’s article is particularly helpful in understanding the health care reform challenge before us in that it describes one of the most successful programs in the nation – California’s – while noting the gross inadequacies of reform limited by our current federal laws and regulations.

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We hear often of healthy individuals remaining uninsured because of the very high cost of health insurance, but it is a risk that they are willing to take because they have very few health care needs…though they hope nothing really bad happens. Well, bad things do happen, and this study confirms that 70 percent of those who lost the bet face destitution.

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Believe me. Take a few minutes (9 to be precise), and read this (at link above). Then send it to others and strongly recommend that they read it, and then have them send it on to yet others who might also care. This needs to go viral. You will not find a better description of why we need a single payer system.

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Physician and patient churning in ACOs

In: Quote of the Day

Under the MACRA replacement for the flawed SGR method of determining Medicare payments, CMS is moving forward with shifting the delivery system into alternative payment models, the predominant model being the accountable care organization (ACO). This study of one of the premier ACOs in the nation (Partners HealthCare) should make us question whether such a shift is wise policy.

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Inappropriate medical debt collection

In: Quote of the Day

The United States is unique in having a massive amount of personal medical debt when we are spending twice the amount per person on health care than the average of other wealthy nations in which medical debt is much less common. What is wrong here?

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Elisabeth Rosenthal: ‘An American Sickness’

In: Quote of the Day

In her book, “An American Sickness,” Elisabeth Rosenthal has provided an excellent description of the dysfunction of the business model of health care delivery in the marketplace. On this basis alone it is an invaluable resource for every health policy library – home or institutional.

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Physicians for a National Health Program's blog serves to facilitate communication among physicians and the public. The views presented on this blog are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of PNHP.

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