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 Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Many books have been written about the problems and potential solutions for our health care system. This one stands out because it represents the informed views of a noted physician educator who is also a health and social justice activist. He hopes the book is "of some value," and it assuredly is.

  • Posted on Friday, May 22, 2015
    Yesterday’s Quote of the Day discussed the harm done by our health care reform agenda that overemphasizes attacking overutilization while neglecting more compelling goals of reform. Atul Gawande has been one of the more credible and outspoken voices in raising the alarm on overutilization, especially with his widely referenced 2009 New Yorker article on the excessive use of health care services in McAllen, Texas. But where does Dr. Gawande stand when he is faced with health care utilization questions regarding his own patients?

  • Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Yesterday's Quote of the Day message on the prevalence of underinsurance and its consequences, largely caused by the increased use of high deductibles designed to decrease utilization of health care, is a prime example of the pervasiveness of the misguided concept that "overutilization" needs to be the primary target of reform.

  • Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    This update of The Commonwealth Fund’s continuing study of the rate of underinsurance confirms that the problem persists, and the trend of increasing deductibles may well make it worse.

  • Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) tout the fact that premiums for plans offered in the ACA exchanges did not increase in the second year, showing that ACA has been effective in slowing the cost of health care. Yet Kim Holland, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association director for state affairs, warns that private insurers will be requesting higher rates for 2016. How can we explain this?

  • Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015
    To better understand what this PwC report is all about, think about the recent pervasive shift to high-deductible health plans and what that means for the way the majority of us pay our health care bills, or at least the way that many in the policy community believe that we should be paying our bills.

  • Posted on Friday, May 15, 2015
    This is yet one more highly credible report that indicates that the quintessence of health insurance coverage - employer-sponsored health plans - is deteriorating.

  • Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2015
    Today Families USA released their report that confirms, once again, that many adults insured with high-deductible health plans are likely to forgo needed medical care, especially if they have lower to middle incomes. So what are their recommendations?

  • Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2015
    Wasteful administrative services are the private insurers’ primary product that they are selling us, and the only product when they administer the plans of our nation’s large, self-insured employers. The insurers have devised many devious methods of diverting risk pool funds into their own coffers, but this report shows us that they are truly nefarious to the core when they are fraudulently padding the bill for their administrative services alone.

  • Posted on Tuesday, May 12, 2015
    Regarding whether or not individuals make sensible decisions when purchasing health insurance, these authors conclude, “many health plan choices likely reflect heuristic choice strategies grounded in a fundamental deficit of health plan literacy.” That is, individuals do not understand health plan options well enough to make sensible choices on their own.

  • Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015
    Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, are warning us of an imminent threat to global health.

  • Posted on Friday, May 8, 2015
    In designing the Affordable Care Act, one of the highest priorities was to protect employer-sponsored health plans since they were source of health care coverage for the majority of us. Certainly amongst the most reliable coverage are the plans provided for our police officers and firefighters. No.

  • Posted on Thursday, May 7, 2015
    The landslide victory for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Alberta appears to represent not only a shift to supporting progressive values and away from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's conservative politics, but it also appears to be an endorsement of NDP's strong support of Alberta's single payer health program, with a rejection of recent trends in privatization of their system.

  • Posted on Wednesday, May 6, 2015
    Last week in a Quote of the Day it was described how pharmaceutical firms such as Gilead were paying outrageous amounts for drug rights and then passing these extra costs onto patients through much, much higher drug prices, while tacking on exorbitant profits.

  • Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2015
    Although most reports about the initial experiences with the Pioneer ACO model have been relatively disappointing, nevertheless HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in a press release states, “The Pioneer ACO Model has demonstrated that patients can get high quality and coordinated care at the right time, and we can generate savings for Medicare and the health care system at large.”

  • Posted on Monday, May 4, 2015
    The insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act function much like an insurance broker, adding additional administrative costs beyond the administrative costs of the insurers and the costs of the administrative burden placed on the health care professionals and institutions. Private insurance brokers in many states also may sell exchange plans, and, of course, they have their own overhead expenses.

  • Posted on Friday, May 1, 2015
    Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli criticizes the Medicaid program, but for the wrong reasons, while failing to acknowledge that Medicaid does improve health care access and affordability for low-income individuals and families.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2015
    The BlueCross BlueShield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for nearly 105 million members – one-in-three Americans. They now intend to establish a health insurance exchange that will promote transition of employer-sponsored plans to Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap), Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

  • Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015
    Patient advocates were rightfully upset when Congress included a prohibition in the Medicare Part D drug program preventing the government from instituting a price structure for the reimbursement of covered drugs. The OIG has now released another report showing that the net cost of drugs under the Part D program, which relies on private sector negotiations, are much higher than the net cost of drugs under the government-administered Medicaid program.

  • Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
    Stuart Butler’s name may be familiar to you as he was the policy expert that described the Heritage Foundation’s model of health care reform that was a counter proposal to the Clinton effort, and later became the model that formed the basis of the Affordable Care Act. We should take heed of his words on the potential of the state innovation waivers authorized by Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act.