Daily Policy Digest
|The Administration Believes Obamacare's Costs Went Down!
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just made the remarkable claim that medical costs paid by health insurers operating in Obamacare's exchanges declined in 2015 from 2014. In fact, the average Obamacare premium increased 5.2 percent in 2015, more than employer-sponsored coverage, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...
|Do You Have A "Right to Shop" For Health Care?
Anyone who has undergone a medical procedure knows it is very difficult to figure out how much an insured patient will pay out-of-pocket. This has led to a bunch of state laws attempting to impose "price transparency" on medical providers, which do not work. A new proposal would legislate a "right to shop," writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...
|Incentives Matter: Medicare's Hospital Readmission Penalties Are Having An Impact
In 2012, Medicare began to penalize hospitals which had too many readmissions. For a small number of targeted conditions, the program compares actual readmissions within 30 days to what an acceptable readmission rate should be. Evidence so far suggests reducing readmission was low-hanging fruit, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...
|The Dead-Weight Cost of Obamacare's Confusing Tax Credits
Obamacare's tax credits (which reduce premiums) for Obamacare coverage phase out in such a way that beneficiaries face very high marginal income tax rate hikes at household incomes up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. However, even those who increase their incomes despite the higher tax burden face the hassle of figuring out how much they owe in tax and premium at the end of the year. This imposes a dead-weight loss on the economy, wasting people's time and energy writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...
|The "Public Option:" Obamacare's Last Bailout
A "public option" would be profitable and low-risk for health insurers, while significantly increasing Obamacare's risks to taxpayers. Expect the "public option" to become the centerpiece of Democrats’ post-Obamacare health reform agenda in this election, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...
|Hillary's Plan Won't Lower Drug Costs
Newsflash! Hillary Clinton is concerned about your drug costs. Unfortunately, her plan could actually raise drug prices and force you to pay more, albeit indirectly. She proposes to accomplish both feats simultaneously by capping your prescription drug co-pays at no more than $250 per month. This reckless proposal is central planning of the ilk you would find in Cuba or Venezuela, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick...
|Double-Digit Premium Hikes Debunk California's "Active Purchaser" Claim
With some embarrassment, Covered California (the state's Obamacare exchange where people can purchase health coverage) has announced the average premium hike next year will be 13.2 percent. For many subscribers, the hike will be much greater because of the way federal tax credits discount premiums, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...
|Health Construction Shrinks Twice As Fast As Other Construction in June
The see-saw in health facilities construction continues. Health construction starts dropped 1.4 percent in June, versus a drop of 0.6 percent for other construction. However, there was a significant difference between the private and public segments. The remarkable volatility in health construction starts from month to month suggest more uncertainty in the health facilities market than previously data had indicated, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham.
|First, Do No Digital Harm: Regulating Telemedicine
Telemedicine, whereby physicians use email, phone, text, or video for prescribing and consultations, is growing rapidly. Seeking to encourage faster uptake of telemedicine, many well-intentioned parties are prodding Congress to take actions which will likely have harmful unintended consequences, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...
|Obamacare's Perverse Job Creation Program
The latest jobs report gave the stock market a boost and injected some optimism into public sentiment about our economic prospects. Unfortunately there's a problem with the current employment situation that few understand: Obamacare has likely led to too many jobs in health care, drawing labor from more productive functions, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...