ACA critic Stephen Parente nominated as HHS deputy secretary
By Dave Barkholz
Modern Healthcare, April 10, 2017
Stephen Parente, a healthcare economist, has been nominated to be HHS’ assistant secretary of planning and evaluation.
The University of Minnesota professor would fill a post vacated in June by Harvard economist Richard Frank. In that role, Parente would be a principal advisor to HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price, consulting on policy, legislative efforts, strategic planning and research.
Parente is familiar with the work of Price. In 2013-2014, he analyzed Price’s ACA replacement proposal in conjunction with the conservative think-tank American Action Forum.
The White House announcement:
Stephen Parente discusses a key option for the Affordable Care Act
By Christopher Snowbeck
StarTribune, December 3, 2016
With Republicans in Washington, D.C., promising to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act, or ACA, the focus is shifting to how the GOP might try to replace it. Stephen Parente of the University of Minnesota is well-positioned to describe what could be coming. In 2013-14, Parente worked with the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank, to evaluate the budget and coverage impact from the Empowering Patients First Act, an ACA replacement plan from U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. Last week, President-elect Trump selected Price as his health secretary. More recently, Parente worked with staffers to model the economic impact of “Better Way,” the replacement plan put forward by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Q: I gather that the dollar value of tax credits under Better Way would be smaller than with the Affordable Care Act, but this reduction fits with lower premiums for coverage, too. Is that right?
A: Correct. One of the biggest changes is the risk-rating piece. The ACA has a 3-to-1 ratio for modified community rating, which means insurers can’t sell coverage to an adult age 64 or older for more than three times what they’d charge a 21-year-old for the same health plan. Better Way proposes a 5-to-1 ratio.
There are fewer caps on deductibles and out-of-pocket spending with Better Way, so that’s another way deregulation brings lower premiums. Finally, fewer health benefits are required to be covered by health plans under Better Way, compared with the ACA.
Q: Minnesota is one of those blue states that has offered generous benefits via Medicaid, plus the MinnesotaCare health insurance program. Will federal funding for the state’s programs decrease?
A: I think many states are probably going to see less Medicaid funding, because it’s going to have to be spread around and there will be some budget constraints. There will definitely be, in that sense, some winners and losers.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
Stephen Parente is the policy genius behind Tom Price’s “Empowering Patients First Act” and Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” – two of the cruelest policy proposals of the past decade that shift health care costs from the government to patients in need – all under the guise of “it’s about access” (but not about being able to afford health care).
Parente says that there definitely will be winners and losers, but he didn’t specify that the winners will be wealthy taxpayers and the losers will be patients.
Now Stephen Parente is going to guide policy, legislative efforts, strategic planning and research for the Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of HHS Sec. Tom Price. When we desperately need new public policies to help make essential health care more affordable for all of us, the man in charge of policy will begin to tear down and destroy what we do have. He may become the most dangerous individual in government as far as our health care is concerned.
Remember that name – Stephen Parente – and be prepared to use all civil means available to ward off his pending nefarious ventures. Then go out into the streets and march for an improved Medicare for all.