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 Monday, August 31, 2015
    This is scandalous. The co-authors of this article, Eugene Wang and Grace Gee (with Harvard degrees in Applied Mathematics), have shown that the largest insurance issuer in each federally-facilitated and state-partnered ACA insurance exchange had a 75% higher premium increase this past year than did other insurers in the same states. But what is really shocking is that they have shown that, based on claims-to-premium ratios, these excess premium increases are in no way warranted.

  • Posted on Friday, August 28, 2015
    It seems ironic to celebrate profits in the not-for-profit and public health care sector, but at least this Moody’s report does show that the not-for-profit/public sector has moved from negative to stable as cash flows increase. That is reassuring.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2015
    In lieu of adopting comprehensive health care financing that actually would improve value - a single payer system - our national leaders have elected to continue with our current dysfunctional system and try to make it work. One measure that has been introduced is the assessment of penalties for patients who are readmitted within 30 days of being discharged from a hospital - on the theory that the patients should be fully stabilized at discharge with followup arranged that would prevent the need for readmission.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2015
    One of the major deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act is that undocumented residents were deliberately excluded from mandated coverage. It has been estimated that roughly one-third of the 30 million or so who will remain uninsured are these undocumented residents. Was Congress following the wishes of the people when they excluded these individuals from coverage? Not if you judge by the views of Californians: 58% support expanding Medi-Cal to low-income undocumented residents.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2015
    During the markup process for the Affordable Care Act it was common to hear our legislators talk about patients demanding too much health care as an explanation for why our health care spending was so high. They blamed health plans that provided extra-rich benefits - plans they labeled Cadillac plans. The problem is that their premise was wrong.

  • Posted on Monday, August 24, 2015
    Today’s article is presented in its entirety since it is important to view the topic from a broad perspective as opposed to simply considering isolated policy topics contained in the article.

  • Posted on Friday, August 21, 2015
    It is nice to know that health insurance and paying for health care do not create a financial burden for 44% of those who are insured. The system is working well for the almost half of the insured who have decent incomes who remain in good health. But what about the other half?

  • Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2015
    One of the more prominent problems with our dysfunctional system of financing health care is that the first decision faced by health care “consumers” is how much they are willing to pay towards the insurance premium, whether paying in full or sharing the cost with an employer or public program. People who are relatively healthy and do not expect to need much health care and whose incomes are limited will tend to select a plan with a lower premium regardless of the plan benefits.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2015
    Much has been written this week about the proposals of presidential candidates Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio for replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) once it is repealed.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015
    Sen. Bernie Sanders told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “We spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as do the people of any other country.” You’ve probably heard, or thought you heard, similar statements from others, including some of the PNHP leadership. But this specific statement is technically incorrect.

  • Posted on Monday, August 17, 2015
    The origins of California Children’s Services (CCS) (formerly Crippled Children’s Services) date back almost a century (1927). It has been a phenomenal program ensuring care for these children with special needs. Now the state wants to transfer these children into Medi-Cal managed care programs (Medicaid). Ouch!

  • Posted on Friday, August 14, 2015
    This NBER study by Amy Finkelstein and her colleagues on the value of Medicaid is important in that it is being used by conservatives to discredit Medicaid, giving fodder to opponents of this program. For that reason, it is important to understand the limitations of the narrow assumptions used in the study, and that is why the article by Harold Pollack and his colleagues is so important.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 13, 2015
    This report is ideal for those who say that we should forget single payer and instead move forward with fixing what we have - the Affordable Care Act. The authors list some of the more obvious problems and provide suggested solutions. Although their contribution to the reform dialogue is commendable, there are two major problems with their approach.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2015
    The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) shows the success of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in reducing the number of uninsured in the United States - down to 29.0 million, from a 2014 level of 36.0 million. Although it is great news to know that so many gained coverage, it is disappointing that 29 million will still remain uninsured.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2015
    Considering the administrative complexities of the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (insurance exchanges) established by the Affordable Care Act, these deficiencies in determining eligibility for the exchange health plans and for the premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions do not really demonstrate bureaucratic incompetence but rather would be expected based on the complex program design authorized by the legislation.

  • Posted on Monday, August 10, 2015
    Although supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) celebrate the reductions in the numbers of uninsured into the second year of plan enrollment, those of us who believe that everyone should be covered certainly do not have cause to celebrate.

  • Posted on Friday, August 7, 2015
    Forty percent of the 4.5 million households that received tax credits in 2014 for the health plans offered in the ACA exchanges have failed to complete the tax filing requirements for these credits and thus will be ineligible for tax credits for 2016, unless they follow through with their delayed filings.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 6, 2015
    Probably the greatest problem with government financed and government administered health care systems is that, whenever conservatives gain control of the government, they attempt to privatize the systems, believing that markets work better than the government. Currently we are seeing such efforts in England, Canada and Australia.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2015
    The intent of health care reform, reinforced through the Affordable Care Act, was not only to improve the financing of health care by increasing the numbers insured and providing more government support through insurance subsidies and Medicaid, but it was also to improve the health care delivery system through structural changes that theoretically would improve quality while controlling costs.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 4, 2015
    Because of the political resistance to single payer, some have suggested that we adopt an all-payer system instead, especially since we already have an example of such a system in Maryland, and it has even introduced a form of global budgeting for hospitals - a policy feature of the single payer model. Would this be an incremental step towards single payer?