Uniting universal coverage and personal choice: A new direction for health reform – Health – AEI

July 31, 2013
AEI, Twelfth Floor 
1150 Seventeenth Street, NW

Washington, DC 20036

The debate over US health care reform and the resulting Affordable Care Act (ACA) laid out several key priorities: (1) grant Americans universal access to health coverage regardless of health status; (2) grant affordable coverage regardless of ability to pay; and (3) contain rising health expenditures.

The ACA’s implementation process has been bumpy, yet high uninsurance rates and lack of access for those with expensive conditions make reverting to the status quo a nonstarter.

In their forthcoming AEI paper, titled “Best of both worlds: Uniting universal coverage and personal choice in health care,” leading health economists from the nation’s top universities chart a new path: comprehensive, market-based health reform that would guarantee affordability, personal choice, and universal coverage. Join some of the authors, along with notable health scholars from the left and right, for the paper’s release and a new debate over the priorities and policies that will most effectively reform health care.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


11:45 AM

Registration and Lunch

12:00 PM

Opening Remarks:

Henry Olsen, AEI


12:05 PM

Author Presentations:

Amitabh Chandra, Harvard University

Anupam Jena, Harvard Medical School

Darius Lakdawalla, University of Southern California

12:30 PM


Henry Aaron, Brookings Institution

Nina Owcharenko, Heritage Foundation

12:45 PM


via Uniting universal coverage and personal choice: A new direction for health reform – Health – AEI.

Congress Confronts ‘Laws Gone Wild’ – Forbes

July 31, 2013

One new study by economists John W. Dawson and John J. Seater claims that regulatory burdens added since 1949 (when reliable data first became available) have slowed economic growth by two percentage points annually. This means that income per person would be more than $129,000 today, instead of the actual figure of roughly $45,000.

via Congress Confronts ‘Laws Gone Wild’ – Forbes.

Scott Gottlieb: How ObamaCare Hurts Patients – WSJ.com

July 31, 2013

President Obama promised to mend the failings in the American health-care system, and yet for cancer treatment, ObamaCare is taking a rotten feature of the old system and making it worse.The Affordable Care Act expands a program called 340B, which siphons money from drug makers and insurers to subsidize certain hospitals. The program has been expanded as a way to offset some of the cuts that the law imposes on hospitals. One significant side effect: 340B is increasing the cost of cancer care—and harming its quality.When the program began in 1992, its aim was to support hospitals that cared for many uninsured, indigent patients. Over the years, the program was radically broadened, gradually morphing into a government cash cow that hospitals of every description have learned to exploit.

via Scott Gottlieb: How ObamaCare Hurts Patients – WSJ.com.

Community Health Systems to Acquire Health Management Associates – Yahoo! Finance

July 30, 2013

Community Health Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CYH) (“CHS”) and Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA) (“HMA”) announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which CHS will acquire HMA for approximately $7.6 billion, including the assumption of approximately $3.7 billion of indebtedness. When completed, CHS would own or operate approximately 206 hospitals in 29 states with a total bed count of over 31,000.

via Community Health Systems to Acquire Health Management Associates – Yahoo! Finance.

EXography: Many disability recipients admit they could work | WashingtonExaminer.com

July 30, 2013

Recipients of federal disability checks often admit that they are capable of working but cannot or will not find a job, that those closest to them tell them they should be working, and that working to get off the disability rolls is not among their goals.

More baffling, most have never received significant medical treatment and not seen a doctor about their condition in the last year, even though medical problems are the official reason they don’t work. Those who acknowledge they’re on disability because they can’t find a job say they make little effort to find one, according to a Washington Examiner analysis of federal survey results.

via EXography: Many disability recipients admit they could work | WashingtonExaminer.com.

Delay Is Better than Defund | The Weekly Standard

July 30, 2013

There has been a fair amount of discussion in recent days about whether Republicans should try to defund Obamacare. The instinct to do something about Obamacare is right. But Republicans can learn something from the American people. As polls have consistently shown, Americans like the idea of delaying—and of repealing—Obamacare. But they don’t like the sound of defunding it. In terms of policy, either approach would produce essentially the same result. (Whether the Obamacare exchanges are delayed for a year, or its exchange subsidies are defunded for a year, the result would be no taxpayer-funded Obamacare exchanges next year.) Politically, however, framing the effort as one of delaying rather than defunding stands a far greater chance of success.

via Delay Is Better than Defund | The Weekly Standard.

Look out below! Work more, get less in Obamacare ‘cliff’

July 30, 2013

Be careful you don’t fall off the Obamacare “cliff” when the boss asks you to put in some overtime.

Working more could ultimately mean thousands of dollars less for you under a quirk in the new health-care law going into effect this fall. This could prompt some people to cut back on their hours to avoid losing money.

“Working more can actually leave you worse off,” the price-comparison site ValuePenguin.com notes in a new analysis.

via Look out below! Work more, get less in Obamacare ‘cliff’.

Critics Are Wrong About the Medicare Payment Board – Bloomberg

July 30, 2013

In particular, as Medicare experiments with accountable care organizations, bundled payments and other new strategies, the agency will inevitably need to make adjustments. Questions will come up, such as: How should the payments to doctors, hospitals and other providers be changed to reflect what is learned about the quality of care they provide? How much should the penalties or bonuses be? Is it better to have hospitals face all the costs associated with patient (as in an accountable care organization) or only the costs incurred during a specific episode of care (as in bundled payments)?

As even preliminary answers come in, the Independent Payment Advisory Board is supposed to make the adjustments, allowing Medicare to move as smoothly and quickly as possible toward an improved system for rewarding value in health care. Congress could never act so nimbly.

via Critics Are Wrong About the Medicare Payment Board – Bloomberg.

Wrinkle in Health Law Vexes Lawmakers’ Aides – NYTimes.com

July 30, 2013

Under a wrinkle that dates back to enactment of the law, members of Congress and thousands of their aides are required to get their coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

But the law does not provide any obvious way for the federal government to continue paying its share of the premiums for the comprehensive coverage.

If the government cannot do so, it could mean an additional expense of $5,000 a year for individuals and $11,000 for families under some of the most popular plans.

via Wrinkle in Health Law Vexes Lawmakers’ Aides – NYTimes.com.

How the Obamacare “Honor System” Will Encourage Fraud

July 30, 2013

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration—in a 600-plus page regulation—announced that for 2014, Obamacare insurance subsidies will essentially operate on the “honor system.” This will create incentives for fraud, as some applicants may report an income that is actually lower than their true income in order to qualify for the taxpayer-funded subsidy.

In most cases, the IRS will not attempt to verify an individual’s income when he or she is applying for subsidies. Supporters of the law claim that the changes will not encourage fraud, because “applicants who receive [subsidies] for which they are ineligible will have to pay them back when they file their taxes.” Unfortunately, that claim isn’t entirely accurate. Some individuals will only face a maximum $2,500 in repayment, while receiving far more in benefits.

via How the Obamacare “Honor System” Will Encourage Fraud.