NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Daily Policy Digest

Health Issues

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...

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...

Drain the Health Care Swamp that's Awash in Other Peoples' Money

Health care is not a right nor is it a privilege; it is a costly service. Health care consumes nearly 20 percent of our economy. The answer to reining-in runaway medical costs is to put consumers in charge of the funds, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick...

Technology and Cost Containment in Health Care

Technology is a significant driver of high health care spending. For instance, many treatments common today were not available 40 years ago. Yet, treatments and therapies that have been in use for decades are still quite expensive, writes Senior Fellow Devon Herrick...

Liberals Pining for (Single-Payer) Universal Medicaid-for-All

Single-payer is the ultimate government control of the health care system. Most Liberal politicians quietly support the idea, but many are afraid to voice their opinions. During her campaign, Hillary Clinton criticized Bernie Sanders' health proposal likely because she did not want to lose support from doctors, hospitals, drug companies and constituents with good employee health coverage, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick in Townhall...


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