The Return of the Obamacare Death Spiral – Hit & Run : Reason.com

August 18, 2016

And it is because of those losses that we are seeing what looks more than a little like the start of a health insurance death spiral in the exchanges. This is far from certain, and will depend in significant part on the results of the next open enrollment period, which starts later this year, as well as the decisions made by other health insurers under the law. But there are a number of warning signals to be watching.

We know what a health insurance death spiral looks like because we’ve seen them before, in states such as New York, New Jersey, and Washington. The experience in those states varied somewhat, but they all shared several essential qualities: The states put in place regulations requiring health insurers to sell to all comers (guaranteed issue), and strictly limiting the ways that insurance could be priced based on individual health history such as preexisting conditions (community rating). As a result, insurers ended up with large numbers of very sick customers who were very expensive to cover. Because they were subject to limits on how they could price health history, they responded by signficantly raising premiums for everyone. The new, higher premiums caused the healthiest, most price sensitive people to drop coverage entirely, which caused insurers to raise premiums further, resulting in yet more individuals dropping coverage, and so on and so forth, until all that remained was very small group of very sick, very expensive individuals.

Source: The Return of the Obamacare Death Spiral – Hit & Run : Reason.com


Bridging the Divide on Health Savings Accounts to Higher Value Health Care | RealClearHealth

August 18, 2016

To begin to harness more fully the power of both consumerism and managed care in controlling costs, the rules for HSAs should be modified substantially to allow HSA holders to use their balances to purchase care from integrated systems in more creative ways than on a fee-for-service basis.  For instance, HSA holders should be allowed to pay a fixed monthly fee to integrated plans to secure access to a wide variety of services, including access to electronic records and the ability to connect with their providers remotely.  Moreover, HSA holders should be allowed to purchase options contracts allowing them to access an integrated plan’s network and care protocols in the event they incur large medical expenses, such as in the course of cancer treatment.  Giving consumers more leeway over the use of their HSA resources will allow them to exert more pressure on those supplying medical services to them, and thus also allow them to get services provided to them in ways that they prefer and at prices they find acceptable.

Source: Bridging the Divide on Health Savings Accounts to Higher Value Health Care | RealClearHealth


The “Blurred Lines” of Trump’s Health Plan (He Knows You Want It) | Economics21

March 1, 2016

Trump appears to be borrowing some of the language behind a traditional conservative Republican health reform proposal, which involves facilitating competition in health coverage through the sale and purchase of insurance products across states. It’s sometimes referred to as interstate competition or competitive federalism, or even just “consumer choice.” The origins of this proposal have a history of almost 15 years. Some business groups in the small-group market started floating the outlines of this idea in 2001. I wrote the first draft in policy terms at a Cato conference in July 2001, and subsequently published the academic-style version in the Cato Journal the following year. Then-Rep. Ernie Fletcher (R-KY) proposed the first legislative bill on this front in 2002. Subsequent tweaks to those concepts on Capitol Hill were championed by then-Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), and, in later years, by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Presidential candidate Ted Cruz introduced a bill similar to Blackburn’s in the U.S. Senate.

Source: The “Blurred Lines” of Trump’s Health Plan (He Knows You Want It) | Economics21


CRS | Private Health Insurance Market Reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

February 17, 2016

Private Health Insurance Market Reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Annie L. Mach Analyst in Health Care Financing Bernadette Fernandez Specialist in Health Care Financing February 10, 2016

Full report: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42069.pdf


HEALTH CARE 2.0, Part 1: How to Think About Market Forces in Health Care | Manhattan Institute

January 24, 2016

The Manhattan Institute’s HEALTH CARE 2.0: USHERING IN MEDICINE’S DIGITAL REVOLUTION series delves into the details of how government policy stifles innovation in the delivery of health care. This paper, Part 1, surveys the key economic principles that drive innovative, dynamic sectors of the economy—and explains why American health care does not live up to those principles.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Health care-market distortions have considerably worsened since Kenneth Arrow famously described them in 1963; but in other industries less dominated by misguided government intervention, similar distortions have gradually eroded, thanks to technology, especially the rise of the Internet.
  • The tech world is full of stories of individuals who dropped out of college to design software and hardware that changed the world; but such innovation is far less common in health care—for reasons largely determined by public policy.
  • Each current barrier to a more innovative, competitive, affordable health care system was created for a reason; but the cumulative weight of these policies has been to make U.S. health care less innovative, less patient-centered, and less affordable.

Source: HEALTH CARE 2.0, Part 1: How to Think About Market Forces in Health Care | Manhattan Institute


Health Policy Briefs

November 11, 2015

Five years after the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act took effect, access to equal benefits and qualified providers remains elusive for many insured Americans.

Source: Health Policy Briefs


The Future of Healthcare Reform in the United States, Malani, Schill

November 2, 2015

In the years since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or, colloquially, Obamacare), most of the discussion about it has been political. But as the politics fade and the law’s many complex provisions take effect, a much more interesting question begins to emerge: How will the law affect the American health care regime in the coming years and decades?

This book brings together fourteen leading scholars from the fields of law, economics, medicine, and public health to answer that question. Taking discipline-specific views, they offer their analyses and predictions for the future of health care reform. By turns thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and even contradictory, the essays together cover the landscape of positions on the PPACA’s prospects. Some see efficiency growth and moderating prices; others fear a strangling bureaucracy and spiraling costs. The result is a deeply informed, richly substantive discussion that will trouble settled positions and lay the groundwork for analysis and assessment as the law’s effects begin to become clear.

Source: The Future of Healthcare Reform in the United States, Malani, Schill


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