Backgrounder posted January 29, 2015
Q3 2014 Health Insurance Enrollment: Employer Coverage Continues to Decline, Medicaid Keeps Growing
During the third quarter (Q3) of 2014, enrollment in employer-sponsored coverage continued to decline, while Medicaid enrollment continued to grow. However, enrollment in individual-market plans—which substantially increased in both of the first two quarters—also declined by 357,000 during the third quarter. The net result was that total enrollment decreased by 160,000…
Issue Brief posted January 21, 2015
Replacing Medicare’s SGR: Four Bipartisan Options to Finance a Permanent Fix
The new Congress must stop irresponsible federal spending. This applies to replacing the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that annually updates Medicare physician payment with a workable alternative.
In 2014, House and Senate negotiators, representing three major congressional committees, worked long and hard to hammer out a compromise SGR replacement…
Backgrounder posted December 29, 2014
Reforming Graduate Medical Education in the U.S.
The U.S. health care system has some of the most highly qualified, competent doctors in the world, and the care that they provide is generally as good as—and in many cases, superior to—that in other nations. However, America’s current system for training doctors after graduation from medical school needs substantial reform.
The primary deficiency is an uncoordinated and…
Issue Brief posted December 22, 2014
Measuring Choice and Competition in the Exchanges: Still Worse than Before the ACA
My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. That’s how the market works. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75 percent of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90 percent is controlled by just one company. And without competition, the price of insurance goes up and…
Backgrounder posted December 8, 2014
The Affordable Care Act’s Mounting Budgetary Pressures
Throughout the development of their ambitious national health insurance plan, President Barack Obama and his congressional allies vowed that the sprawling new entitlement program would not worsen the government’s already disturbing fiscal outlook. “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits,” the President had declared, “either now or in the future.” It…
Issue Brief posted November 20, 2014
Medicare’s SGR: Fixing It the Right Way, Not in a Lame Duck Session
Congress needs to junk the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment. Under the formula, if Medicare physicians’ payments in any given year increase by more than the economy’s growth, an automatic and proportionate reduction in their reimbursements is imposed the following year. Conceptually flawed and practically draconian, the formula…
Backgrounder posted November 6, 2014
Understanding the CBO’s Changes in Medicare Spending Projections
Changes in the Medicare spending projections by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) have prompted a new debate over the fiscal health of the Medicare program. Some journalists and commentators have interpreted the CBO’s lowering of its Medicare spending projections over the past nine years as a possible indication that Medicare’s fiscal crisis is tapering. The New York…
Backgrounder posted October 30, 2014
A Fresh Start for Health Care Reform
Despite President Barack Obama’s insistence that the national health care debate is over, and that he will not “re-litigate” the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the practical concerns, aggravated by implementation glitches and policy failures, guarantee that the debate over the PPACA is far from over.
In the next phase of the health care…