NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Daily Policy Digest

Cost Transparency Improves Collections and Boosts Satisfaction

Historically hospitals have not really had to worry about collect directly from patients. is changing with the growing prevalence of high deductible plans. The average deductible has about doubled in the past decade. Now hospital patients can potentially owe several thousand dollars depending on whether they've met their deductibles and their cost-sharing arrangements. Americans may be more apt to pay their outstanding hospital bills if they were given an estimate of what their bills are going to be in advance of receiving care, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick in Managed Healthcare Executive...

Senate Better Care Act: A Big Bunch of Sausage Meat Loaf

Backroom policy deals have been described as akin to making sausage. You don't really want to see it done or you'd lose your appetite. The new Senate health bill is more like meat loaf than sausage, however. By that, I mean a recipe composed of delicious ingredients mushed together with really distasteful ones in an unappetizing blob that could have been a great burger but wasn't, writes Senior Fellow Devon Herrick...

Wind Power's Future in U.S. Could Be Thwarted by Grassroots Opposition

The luster is coming off wind power as an economically viable, environmentally friendly, community-friendly source of America’s energy future--and for some very good reasons. To start, rural residents across America are increasingly rejecting the encroachment of wind-energy projects in their communities whenever they get a chance to voice their opinions in local ballots, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill...

California Money Couldn't Buy Georgia’s Special Election

The special election for Georgia's Sixth District to fill the seat vacated by Secretary Price was heated. Jon Ossoff was the Democrat who ran for the seat with considerable outside support. Ossoff had nearly nine times as many donors from California (four times as many from the San Francisco Bay area) as donors from his district. He lost, nonetheless. He raised nearly six times the funds as his victorious opponent, Karen Handel, writes Senior Fellow Devon Herrick...

Legislating Drug Price Transparency

Some states are proposing laws requiring pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent about how drugs are priced, but such laws could run afoul of state and federal laws protecting trade secrets, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill...

Last Week in Health Care

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has begun examining the role that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) play in rising drug prices, starting with a hearing this week on the drug delivery system. Drug manufacturers have blamed PBMs for rising prices and Senators from both sides of the aisle have called for more transparency in drug price negotiations. (Morning Consult)...

The Silly Appeal of Expanding Medicare for All

Proposals to expand Medicaid to all are little more than feel-good gestures that purport to cover everybody without actually providing universal access to care. On paper Medicaid is a very generous health plan, with no deductibles and little (if any) copays. The reality is far different, however, writes Senior Fellow Devon Herrick...

Maryland's Drug Price Gouging Law: The Potential Consequences

On May 26, Maryland became the first state to pass a law which applies specifically to "price gouging" practices by generic pharmaceutical manufacturers of essential drugs. This law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, 137-2-2 in the Maryland House of Delegates, and 38-7-2 in the Maryland Senate, had more than enough votes to override the Governor's veto. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R), in a letter to the speaker of the Maryland House, explained that he withheld his signature because the bill vaguely defines what constitutes "price gouging" and may not withstand a legal challenge on constitutional grounds. Moreover, the Governor said, "I am not convinced that the legislation is truly a solution to ensuring Marylanders have access to essential prescription drugs, and may even have unintended consequences of harming citizens by restricting their access to these drugs," writes NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill...

The Opioid Crisis and the Law of Unintended Consequences

The opioid crisis isn't just due to a letter to a medical journal back in 1980; it is also due to risk aversion at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and trial lawyers. More than 100 million people took pain relievers Vioxx and Bextra before they were removed from the market due to rare side-effects. How many of the people in chronic pain who became addicted to opioids could have safely taken Vioxx or Bextra? We will never know. The ones who suffer the consequences are the patients, and they should be allowed to decide whether drugs are worth the risk, rather than having the decision made for them by a risk-averse FDA and other people's lawyers, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick...

Texas Legislature moves on cyber issues after latest global attack

The United States avoided the brunt of the WannaCry ransomware that wreaked havoc internationally. Ironically, the attack came just as two pieces of legislation, House Bill 8 and House Bill 9, update state law to account for the use of malware and upgrade public-sector cyber capabilities. These necessary and timely bills, introduced by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, have also illuminated how far behind the state remains in becoming digitally resilient, writes NCPA Senior Fellow David Grantham...


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