Daily Policy Digest
|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.
|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...