Quote of the Day

PNHP's Senior Health Policy Fellow Don McCanne, M.D. writes a daily health policy update, taking an excerpt or quote from a health care news story or analysis on the Internet and commenting on its significance to the single-payer health care reform movement. PNHP posts Dr. McCanne's listserv here; to subscribe to the listserv, please visit the Quote of the Day the mailing list website.

  • Posted on Friday, April 29, 2016
    This report of nine focus groups confirms that real people have found that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) often fails to provide access to affordable care.

  • Posted on Friday, April 29, 2016
    The top 10 percent of individuals in spending account for 65 percent of health care costs. By removing them from the standard insurance pools that means that the other 90 percent would have to pay insurance premiums that funded only 35 percent of total health care. [House Speaker Paul] Ryan says that this would lower insurance premiums through competition, but that is nonsense.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2016
    Today’s message is just a reminder of one of our problems that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not fix. A well-functioning health care financing system should be designed to obtain maximum value by spending our funds on health care and not wasting them on excessive administrative services and on profits that add no value to health care. Yet ACA perpetuates policies that turn these priorities upside down, to the pleasure of Wall Street.

  • Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    This highly technical paper is a difficult read, but it provides important lessons for design and application of health policy research. The subjective design of the research model and subjectivity of the resulting decision making impacts the external validity of the experiment. That is, can the results of the experiment be applied generally outside of the experimental model?

  • Posted on Monday, April 25, 2016
    Without additional enabling federal legislation, Colorado is not able to enact a bona fide single payer system. However, their ballot measure - Amendment 69, ColoradoCare - would improve efficiency, equity and coverage through the health care financing system in their state. Strong opposition is expected since ColoradoCare could be disruptive to some of the well-financed stakeholders, especially the private insurance industry.

  • Posted on Friday, April 22, 2016
    We now have an epidemic of physician burnout. It has become a crisis not only because of what it does to physicians’ well-being but also because of a deterioration in the all-important physician-patient relationship and in the medical practice environment.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016
    Blue Cross Blue Shield members are not excited about having to shoulder more of the cost through high-deductible health plans, but these plans are here to stay. So much for consumer choice.

  • Posted on Wednesday, April 20, 2016
    At a time of renewed interest in single payer reform in the United States, it might be helpful to look again at why the voters of Switzerland rejected single payer reform in September, 2014. Although their financing system is superior to ours, it does have several serious deficiencies that would be addressed by converting to a single payer system. In this article, Claudia Chaufan discusses lessons that we can learn from the Swiss that may help us in our advocacy for reform.

  • Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2016
    The Republicans keep talking about coming up with a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But as this New York Times editorial explains, their criticisms of ACA are often not fact-based and the proposals they have telegraphed in net would leave us much worse off. Yet, as the Democrats tout the successes of ACA, it is clear that their model falls far short of the high performance system that we deserve.

  • Posted on Monday, April 18, 2016
    The results of this study are intuitive. Low-income individuals who obtain Medicaid insurance coverage not only are protected from medical bills when they must access health care, they also have a reduction in other unpaid bills and a lower incidence of account referral to collection agencies - a benefit to both the patients and their potential third-party creditors.

  • Posted on Friday, April 15, 2016
    This is yet one more study that shows that deductibles and coinsurance are increasing quite rapidly in employer-sponsored health plans - plans that have been protected and encouraged by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as they are the most common source of health care coverage in the United States. This increase in cost sharing is causing financial hardship, especially for those who have greater health care needs.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2016
    Although single payer advocates may be disappointed with Professor Oberlander’s conclusion that the best way forward now is to strengthen ACA and Medicare and to address underinsurance and the affordability of private coverage, we need to keep in mind that he has described the clear superiority of the single payer model, and that it still has widespread popular support.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2016
    Six years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law we hear opinions ranging from what a phenomenal success it has been to what a miserable disaster it is. This brief excerpt from a discussion between two respected journalists who have followed the process closely, and who are well versed on the policy issues, provides us with a perspective on where we actually are on reform.

  • Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2016
    The costs per enrollee in the individual health insurance plans are skyrocketing as a result of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This was expected since the plans could no longer reject individuals with preexisting conditions, and the required benefits are more comprehensive than they were previously.

  • Posted on Monday, April 11, 2016
    This poll does show that there is significant support for progressive policies amongst these empathetic business executives, including support for health care for American families. But what is really alarming is that the poll is not being used to advocate for the policies supported by these executives, rather it is being used “to help chambers of commerce overcome that empathy and continue to oppose legal policies strongly supported by both the American people and the business executives the chambers tell the press and public that they represent.” How nefarious.

  • Posted on Friday, April 8, 2016
    When you read this exceptional book by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, it becomes clearer why we have such an expensive health care system that is only mediocre in its performance.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2016
    Although the provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allowed individuals up to age 26 to be covered through their parents’ insurance was partially effective, the rate of coverage for young adults was lower in 2013 than it had been 36 years earlier. Some progress!

  • Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2016
    The theme of this article seems to be that physicians should improve their skills in communicating with patients about their out-of-pocket spending for health care in order to enable spending reductions that are the goal of the ever-increasingly prevalent consumer-directed health care plans. But there is a much more important message buried in this study. Physicians do not have the time nor the tools and are basically incapable of assisting patients with their burdensome cost sharing.

  • Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
    If there is any good in the fact that drug companies are gouging patients and payers it is that the citizenry may finally awaken to the fact that we need the government involved to straighten out this crisis, and, by extension, that we can finally get past the anti-government hangup preventing us from enacting a single payer system.

  • Posted on Monday, April 4, 2016
    In announcing their new program that will “improve health and lower employer costs,” Anthem Blue Cross and Dignity Health show us once again that by relying on the private sector to control health care financing, we will continue to see innovations that serve their industries well, but at a cost to patients.