NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Daily Policy Digest

Health Issues

A Bipartisan "Yes" On A Health Care Tax Credit

Ready for some good news on health reform? Both the presumptive Democratic candidate for President and the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives agree people should be able to spend more money directly on medical care without insurance companies meddling, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R Graham.

Should Dissent Be Allowed in Health Care?

Published treatment guidelines should be accompanied by dissenting expert opinions, much like the U.S. Supreme Court does. We are entering a period when access to care will be centrally determined by political appointees who project an inappropriate degree of certainty when they issue their guidelines. They could at least allow dissenting experts the right be heard, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham.

More Evidence Against Health Insurance

If you have a high-deductible health plan, you should always ask providers for a cash price, rather than wait for health insurance to process your claim. You will save a lot of money. So, what is the purpose of health insurance, asks NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham.

E-Prescribing: A Commonsense Solution to Opiod Abuse That is Being Ignored

Congress has taken up the growing problem of opioid abuse. Yet for all the talk there appears to be little discussion of a commonsense solution: mandatory electronic prescribing (e-prescribing). This would allow doctors, pharmacies and law enforcement to better monitor inappropriate opioid use, drug-seeking behavior and reduce drug diversion, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick.

A Prescription-Free Way to Affordable Health

To ease the problem of rising prescription costs, doctors and patients should give more consideration to over-the-counter medications which can be just as effective as many, more expensive prescription options. In an op-ed in Newsweek, NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick explains how wider OTC use could reduce the percentage of patients who are not taking their prescribed medications because of the expense...

Health Services Half of GDP Growth

The third estimate of GDP for the first quarter significantly increased the estimate of health spending, such that it comprised one half of GDP growth in the first quarter. Although health services spending accounts for just 12 percent of GDP, these estimates continue to indicate it will grow faster than GDP. There is no slowdown in health services spending, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...

The Fantasy of Single Payer Health Care in the States

In NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham's new op-ed in the Washington Examiner, he says individual states are most likely to lead the push for a single-payer health care system. As single-payer advocates focus on the debate at the state level, Graham sees Colorado, Oregon and Hawaii as the most likely to endorse the change but, he adds, it is extremely unlikely that Congress will support a Canadian-type system in the foreseeable future.

A Bogus Solution for High Drug Costs

Liberal politicians and some lobbyists for pharmacies and drug makers are blaming some high drug prices on the administrators of employee drug plans. Proponents worry that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) mark up drug prices well above the PBMs' costs and have suggested that employers and their workers could potentially benefit if PBMs were forced to disclose the wholesale prices they paid for drugs. However, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is concerned that mandating disclosure of wholesale prices will remove a bargaining tool used by some firms to compete with others. The loss of proprietary pricing information could reduce aggressive bargaining or potentially encourage price collusion among manufacturers, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick.

Transparency Tools Work - But Require Appropriate Incentives

A recent New York Times article blames the slow adoption of online transparency tools on "health care's complexity." Transparency tools are mostly ineffective at reducing health care spending because patients aren't using them. In his Health Alert, NCPA senior fellow, Devon Herrick, argues out that patients will use them if given the appropriate tools, training -- and incentives -- by health plans. He cites the example of an experiment from California which dramatically lower prices and increased hospital competition through cost-sharing incentives.

Reforming Medicare Part D to Improve Access to Medicines

Specialty drugs are typically high-cost prescription drugs used to treat complex chronic and/or life threatening conditions. The Medicare Part D benefit has imposed high out-of-pocket costs as a way to control costs of specialty drugs. Some patients may be adding costs to the system by getting drugs more expensively by injection in doctor' offices, where they are covered by Medicare supplemental insurance, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John Graham.

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