Daily Policy Digest
|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.
|Obamacare Slightly Increased Short-Term Uninsured
The National Health Interview Survey, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has released early estimates of health insurance. Between 2013 and 2015, the number of people who were uninsured for one year or more declined by 12.7 million, from 30.5 million to 17.8 million. However, the number uninsured for less than a year increased slightly from 16.9 million to 17.7 million, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham.
|The Real Lesson of John Oliver's Medical Debt Forgiveness Stunt
Late-night TV host John Oliver recently bought $15 million of medical bad debt, and then forgave it all (on TV). Medical debt collection is characterized by much pain for little gain. The real lesson of John Oliver's stunt is that government regulations make it nearly impossible for patients to discharge their debts in an orderly and responsible way, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham.
|Obamacare's 2016 Average Rate Hike 8 Percent
Two pro-Obamacare sources confirm premiums in Obamacare's exchange plans increased by an average of eight percent from 2015 to 2016. General measures of price changes, such as Consumer Price Inflation, were effectively flat over the period. That is, the eight percent Obamacare premium hike was a real, not nominal, price hike, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham.
|Pharmacists Group Pushing for Expanded ‘Preferred’ Medicare Networks
Preferred networks are at the root of how benefits managers have lowered drug costs for Medicare recipients, says NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick in an article from Arizona Business Daily...
|Billions of Dollars Later, Veterans Health Administration Still Failing
Reacting to scandal, Congress bailed out the Veterans Health Administration, camouflaged as a method of allowing veterans more choice of healthcare providers, outside the government bureaucracy...
|Will You Ever Understand Your Hospital Bill?
A new crop of entrepreneurs and the federal government is trying to solve the problem of the medical billing process...
|Do We Have to Work for Nuns to Avoid Obamacare's Mandates?
The Little Sisters of the Poor have been winning their litigation against Obamacare's mandate to cover artificial contraception...