Is It Fair to Ask the Internet to Pay Your Hospital Bill? — The Atlantic

March 13, 2015

Before the donors can choose who to fund, the sites themselves make a choice about who will be allowed to ask for funding at all. In September 2014, GoFundMe made headlines after it shut down the fundraising page of a woman named Bailey, who was collecting money for an abortion. She had no insurance, Bailey wrote on her page, and complications from a “rough, unplanned, and unexpected” pregnancy had left her unable to keep a job.

“We do not permit campaigns that could be considered divisive. Abortion would be a good example.”

After removing Bailey’s fundraiser (she was allowed to keep the money that had been donated up until that point), the site issued a list of causes that would be prohibited going forward, including “directly funding an abortion (human or animal).”

“As we scale, it’s important that GoFundMe is used in ways that our community and company can be proud of,” the company said in a statement. (Lee, of YouCaring, said his site has a similar policy: “We do not permit crowdfunding campaigns that could be considered divisive to our community,” he said. “Abortion would be a good example.”)

via Is It Fair to Ask the Internet to Pay Your Hospital Bill? — The Atlantic.


How Much of Your Taxes go to Health Care? Do the Math. – The Experts – WSJ

February 20, 2015

Between state, federal and Medicare taxes, and insurance premium growth potentially displacing wage increases, you paid a high price for health care in 2014—even if you were healthy and never used the system once.

via How Much of Your Taxes go to Health Care? Do the Math. – The Experts – WSJ.


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

 

 


An Estimated $84.9 Billion In Uncompensated Care Was Provided In 2013; ACA Payment Cuts Could Challenge Providers

May 5, 2014

Millions of uninsured people use health care services every year. We estimated providers’ uncompensated care costs in 2013 to be between $74.9 billion and $84.9 billion. We calculated that in the aggregate, at least 65 percent of providers’ uncompensated care costs were offset by government payments designed to cover the costs. Medicaid and Medicare were the largest sources of such government payments, providing $13.5 billion and $8.0 billion, respectively. Anticipating fewer uninsured people and lower levels of uncompensated care, the Affordable Care Act reduces certain Medicare and Medicaid payments. Such cuts in government funding of uncompensated care could pose challenges to some providers, particularly in states that have not adopted the Medicaid expansion or where implementation of health care reform is proceeding slowly.

via An Estimated $84.9 Billion In Uncompensated Care Was Provided In 2013; ACA Payment Cuts Could Challenge Providers.


Donald Boudreaux and Liya Palagashvili: The Myth of the Great Wages ‘Decoupling’ – WSJ.com

March 7, 2014

Many pundits, politicians and economists claim that wages have fallen behind productivity gains over the last generation. This “decoupling” explains allegedly stagnant (or in some versions of the story, declining) middle-class incomes and is held out as a crisis of the market economy.

This story, though, is built on an illusion. There is no great decoupling of worker pay from productivity. Nor have workers’ incomes stagnated over the past four decades.

The illusion is the result of two mistakes that are routinely made when pay is compared with productivity. First, the value of fringe benefits—such as health insurance and pension contributions—is often excluded from calculations of worker pay. Because fringe benefits today make up a larger share of the typical employee’s pay than they did 40 years ago (about 19% today compared with 10% back then), excluding them fosters the illusion that the workers’ slice of the (bigger) pie is shrinking.

via Donald Boudreaux and Liya Palagashvili: The Myth of the Great Wages ‘Decoupling’ – WSJ.com.


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