Employer-Based Health Insurance ‘Cheaper’ Than Government-Sponsored Insurance? Say What?

August 5, 2014

Every so often in punditry land there appears a column so egregiously flawed that it makes a perfect platform for a homework assignment in undergraduate health-economics courses. With a straight face and little commentary, one mandates students to fact-check the piece and to examine its inherent logic. Students relish taking apart in this way the scribblings of seasoned adults.

So we must thank Sally Pipes for contributing to pedagogy a veritable jewel along these lines in her July 28 Forbes article, entitled “Employer Health Insurance: A Bargain Compared to Government-Sponsored Coverage.”

via Employer-Based Health Insurance ‘Cheaper’ Than Government-Sponsored Insurance? Say What?.


Who Pays for Public Employee Health Costs? | Cato Institute

July 23, 2014

We find that in recent years, when fiscal conditions have been tight, health insurance premiums for state workers have grown materially less rapidly than premiums for comparable private- sector employers; this slower premium growth for state workers reflects, for example, changes from traditional comprehensive plans to networked plans, increases in deductibles, and/or non-transparent reductions in access due to reductions in payments to providers. Interestingly, the share of the premium paid by state workers has tended to rise in states with high rates of public-sector unionization, where the employee share started at a low base, while the share has fallen elsewhere.

via Who Pays for Public Employee Health Costs? | Cato Institute.


CBO | Coverage Effects of Limiting the Tax Exclusion for Employment-Based Health Insurance

July 3, 2014

The results in this presentation expand on those published in Congressional Budget Office, Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2014 to 2023 (November 2013) using the most recent CBO baseline.  The analysis provides estimates of the impact on coverage of 3 alternative policy options:

  • Totally eliminate the tax exclusion for federal income tax and payroll tax purposes;
  • Eliminate the tax exclusion for federal income tax but not for payroll tax purposes;
  • Cap income and payroll tax exclusions at the median premium for employment-based plans

 

 


Veterans Need To Take Ownership Over Their Health Care

June 27, 2014

Revelations of chronic delays at Veterans Administration VA hospitals and inexcusable fraud in record keeping have spurred calls for reform of the VA system. Politicians have been eager to jump in front of cameras to declare their support for veterans. But House and Senate VA reform bills represent only tentative first steps towards empowering veterans to take ownership over their health care and hold the VA accountable.

The bigger problem is the absence of a coherent co-payment system to incentivize veterans to think through their health care decisions. Contrary to conventional wisdom, VA health care is free only to veterans with severe, service-related conditions. A byzantine co-insurance system exists in which the cost of care is linked to the severity of a veteran’s condition and the degree to which the condition is service-related. Veterans additionally receive a monthly tax-free cash payment based on the severity of their service-related health condition. The result is that veterans face perverse incentives to let their health deteriorate to the point where they can avoid copayments and receive higher monthly financial support. Reform should focus on redesigning VA co-insurance to give veterans incentives to embrace preventive care and take greater ownership over their health care decisions.

via Veterans Need To Take Ownership Over Their Health Care.


Fixing the US Department of Veterans Affairs: Prospects for reform – Health – AEI

June 25, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

AEI, Twelfth Floor 1150 Seventeenth Street, NW Washington, DC 20036

About This Event: Recent scandals at medical centers for veterans have trained a spotlight on longstanding inefficiencies within the US Department of Veterans Affairs VA. In the case of the VA’s disability system, a nearly century-old approach to wounded veterans still prevails. The widespread consensus is that the problem goes much deeper than falsified waiting lists and delayed access to care, and necessitates a global overhaul. What would a renewed vision of veteran care look like, and how should we clarify the objectives of the VA’s disability system? In the interim, what short-term reforms are practical?

Please join AEI as former VA Assistant Deputy Secretary for Policy Michael H. McLendon presents a blueprint for reform, followed by a discussion with experts in health care, disability, and public administration.

via Fixing the US Department of Veterans Affairs: Prospects for reform – Health – AEI.


V.A. Punished Critics on Staff, Doctors Assert – NYTimes.com

June 16, 2014

Staff members at dozens of Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country have objected for years to falsified patient appointment schedules and other improper practices, only to be rebuffed, disciplined or even fired after speaking up, according to interviews with current and former staff members and internal documents.The growing V.A. scandal over long patient wait times and fake scheduling books is emboldening hundreds of employees to go to federal watchdogs, unions, lawmakers and outside whistle-blower groups to report continuing problems, officials for those various groups said.

via V.A. Punished Critics on Staff, Doctors Assert – NYTimes.com.


Hospitals aren’t the VA’s only scandal – Health – AEI

June 16, 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs is in the news over a serious scandal. But the focus on VA hospitals obscures a separate but massive problem in the VA’s disability-benefits system, whose function should be to treat and rehabilitate veterans to enhance their ability to work.There are huge backlogs of disability claims, increasing numbers of medical conditions that count as disabilities, and, most important, a set of bureaucratic procedures at the Veterans Benefits Administration that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and create all the wrong incentives for recovery. There’s one common thread with the other VA scandal: In both cases, the agency’s genuine desire to serve veterans has exceeded its ability to deploy a system that works well in practice.

via Hospitals aren’t the VA’s only scandal – Health – AEI.


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