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PNHP RESOURCES

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, February 27, 2015
    If the Medicaid recipient’s doctor were paid the same as my doctor, this wouldn’t be a problem. And if we were all in the same health plan, the wealthy and well-connected would see to it that their doctors were paid fairly, and the rest of us (and our doctors) would share the benefit. If we’re all in the same boat, we’ll all do better.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2015
    This report from Gartner is instructive in that it demonstrates the profound increase in administrative complexity in health care, much of which is directly attributable to a dependency on markets as opposed what we would have under a publicly administered single payer system. Administrative functions in health care are essential, but it is the private sector that has created a bureaucratic quagmire.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    So far, 52 percent of those receiving a tax credit last year to help pay their premiums for the ACA exchange plans are having to pay back an average of $530 - certainly an unpleasant surprise for individuals subsisting on modest budgets.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
    Considerable attention has been directed to the phenomenon of provider consolidation. It is celebrated by some as a means of providing greater efficiency and quality by means of integration of services, advancing the model of accountable care organizations. Others have criticized consolidation because of its anti-competitive influence on markets, driving prices ever higher.

  • Posted on Monday, February 23, 2015
    The 2016 base rate for private Medicare Advantage (MA) plan payments was to have decreased by 0.95%, phasing in a correction of the overpayments that have been made to the MA plans. Instead, CMS will increase the payment rates by 1.05%, a full 2.0% increase over the projected base rate. This is the fourth year in a row that CMS has violated the intent of ACA and other legislation to bring MA rates down to the equivalent of payments made in the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program.

  • Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015
    Those who wish to repeal or at least drastically reduce the provisions of the Affordable Care Act realize that they must come up with a replacement.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2015
    I had the honor of delivering the opening address – entitled “Where We’ve Been and Why We’ll Win – at the 4th annual SNaHP summit. The talk focused on the century-long struggle for national health insurance, what we can learn from these efforts, and why students are well-positioned to spark a broad, social movement for single payer.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
    In the United States, innovation and research in health care have been well rewarded… too well rewarded. The hepatitis C drugs, and now the PCSK9 inhibitors for high cholesterol are cases in point.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015
    It is reassuring when we see representatives of the business community shining light on the deficiencies in our system of health care financing. In this article, the editors of Bloomberg View explain that higher out-of-pocket spending shifts costs away from premiums, which are designed to spread the risk, and instead concentrates spending on those who get sick. As they state, this undermines the basic purpose of insurance.

  • Posted on Monday, February 16, 2015
    In this paper, John Geyman summarizes the content of his important new book, “How Obamacare Is Unsustainable: Why We Need a Single Payer Solution for All Americans.” It is already clear that the Affordable Care Act has not and will not provide adequate repairs to our fragmented and dysfunctional health care system. Rather than inflicting more suffering by continuing this flawed experiment in health policy, we should immediately begin the transition to a system that will work - a single payer national health program.

  • Posted on Friday, February 13, 2015
    This week the Forum Club of Sun City Palm Desert (a California retirement community) held a forum on single payer health care. Forum Club Secretary Mike Wedekind, a Canadian, spoke on Canada’s single payer system, and I spoke on the problems with the U.S. system that would be amenable to enactment of a single payer system.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2015
    Some plans in the insurance exchanges are placing all drugs used to treat complex diseases, such as HIV, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, on the highest drug formulary cost-sharing tier. We have covered this terribly abusive process before, but this update shows that they are “increasingly” placing all medications for expensive conditions into specialty drug tiers. In spite of the pushback, it’s getting worse, not better.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2015
    One of the most important changes taking place in the financing of health care is the widespread adoption of high-deductible health plans, not only with the plans offered in the ACA insurance exchanges, but also with employer-sponsored health plans. When high-deductible plans are combined with a personal health account (health reimbursement arrangement or health savings account) then they are referred to as consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs). This study further informs us on the perverse consequences of this model of health care financing.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
    “Forget about our gridlocked Congress. We’ll get an ACA waiver and enact our own state-level single payer system, just like Saskatchewan did in Canada.” Great idea. The problem is that the Sec. 1332 waivers authorized in the Affordable Care Act are extremely limited in their scope. This very helpful article from CBPP explains the uses and limitations of the Sec. 1332 waivers.

  • Posted on Monday, February 9, 2015
    This may be the most important article in Elisabeth Rosenthal’s outstanding series on health care costs and pricing in the United States. She shows that the Affordable Care Act failed to prevent private insurers from reducing their own risks by shifting much more of the costs onto patients, while reducing patient choice by further limiting their networks of approved providers.

  • Posted on Friday, February 6, 2015
    The Affordable Care Act has fallen far short of the health care reform that America desperately needs, and the Republicans have repeatedly voted for its repeal. To supposedly show that they are sincere about wanting to fix our health care system, they have introduced The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (Patient CARE) Act - not formal legislation but rather a nine page white paper.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 5, 2015
    John Geyman has been a prolific writer of books describing the major deficiencies in health care in the United States, but "How Obamacare Is Unsustainable" is set apart from the others for a couple of important reasons. He explains what has been wrong with our five year experiment in reform and what we can do about it, and, especially pertinent, it is timed to coincide with a moment in history in which there will be an intense national dialogue recognizing the health care failures of the past and present, with a demand for political solutions as we enter the season of the 2016 presidential election.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2015
    Last night, Rep. John Conyers reintroduced in the 114th Congress H.R. 676, his single payer bill based on an expanded and improved Medicare that would cover everyone. Although the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has diverted attention from this model of reform that actually would provide affordable care for everyone, nevertheless, its reintroduction provides us with actual legislation that we can use in our advocacy for a more efficient and effective health care program for the nation.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2015
    Last night, Rep. John Conyers reintroduced in the 114th Congress H.R. 676, his single payer bill based on an expanded and improved Medicare that would cover everyone. Although the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has diverted attention from this model of reform that actually would provide affordable care for everyone, nevertheless, its reintroduction provides us with actual legislation that we can use in our advocacy for a more efficient and effective health care program for the nation.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 3, 2015
    Using the rhetoric of encouraging Medicare beneficiaries “to seek high-value health care services,” President Obama is recommending in his FY 2016 Budget the application of more consumer-directed, moral hazard suppressing, skin-in-the-game measures that shift more costs away from the government and onto Medicare beneficiaries. Although the recommended measures are not dramatic, they are steps that move away from a position of egalitarian social solidarity (a progressive view), and toward a position of encouraging greater personal responsibility for health care (a conservative view).