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, October 21, 2016
    This article is a great resource that explains why the Affordable Care Act has not and will not provide us with the health care reform that we need.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2016
    Interesting. When the nation is upset about the very high increases in the insurance premiums for plans offered on the insurance exchanges, CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt says that the insurers should have started with higher premiums, and the annual premium increases should have been greater.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2016
    As Kip Sullivan explains, MACRA is bringing us considerable administrative complexity and grief without evidence that it will achieve its goal of containing costs while improving quality. You may want to use the link above to read the rest of his article, including the footnote on CMS not being forthright.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2016
    The mantra today is to pay for quality instead of quantity, and the government and private sector are rapidly moving ahead with administratively burdensome programs to implement this vision. But they left out a step. As this GAO report reveals, they have not developed a program that can adequately measure quality.

  • Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016
    The authors note that “most physicians are not explicitly racist and are committed to treating all patients equally,” but, importantly, “they operate in an inherently racist system.” Further, “structural racism is insidious, and a large and growing body of literature documents disparate outcomes for different races despite the best efforts of individual health care professionals.”

  • Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016
    One of the major concerns with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is that many of the exchange plans have narrow to ultra-narrow provider networks. Since it is difficult to determine the breadth of providers included, CMS is providing a network rating system to provide more transparency, as if the problem of narrow networks wasn’t much more serious than simply lack of adequate information.

  • Posted on Friday, October 14, 2016
    Yesterday’s message described how insurers were using the deductibles to avoid paying anything for covered drugs while collecting a significant proportion of the patient’s payment for the prescription. Today’s shows how UnitedHealth is establishing co-payments much larger than the retail value of many of its authorized prescriptions, then requiring a kickback of the balance of the co-payment.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2016
    Private health insurers may argue that they should be rewarded for negotiating drug discounts for patients. But scooping up the entire discount and running away with it?

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2016
    Many public option supporters have this concept that the government would create a public insurance plan that would successfully compete with private insurance plans, eventually displacing them and becoming a single payer national health program. Is this realistic?

  • Posted on Monday, October 10, 2016
    California’s aggressive implementation of the Affordable Care Act has made it one of the more successful states in expanding the numbers of individuals with insurance coverage while reducing, for the previously uninsured, the financial burden of health care. But what if California had had a better designed health care financing system with which to work?

  • Posted on Monday, October 10, 2016
    Churning - moving in and out of health plans, whether or not there are gaps in coverage - is clearly bad for the patient’s health. In this study, the rate of churning did not differ between states with different approaches to implementing the Affordable Care Act.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 6, 2016
    “Healing Health Care” by Sen. John Marty is not only a description of a health care reform proposal for Minnesota, more importantly it is a discussion of policies that all of us desperately need to improve the functioning of our health care financing and health care delivery systems.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 5, 2016
    The single payer model in Canada is closest to the ideal model of public financing/private health care delivery supported by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). That model is now under legal challenge in Canada.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 4, 2016
    Creeping deterioration of employer-sponsored health insurance seems to lie in the background as concerns are directed to many other more obvious deficiencies in America’s dysfunctional health care financing system. But creeping deterioration is occurring and the seriousness of it is demonstrated by Harvard.

  • Posted on Monday, October 3, 2016
    We keep hearing that ACA is working as intended, that all we need to do is enroll more younger, healthier individuals in the plans and all will be well. Ask the people in Minnesota how it is going. And they certainly are not the only state with problems.

  • Posted on Friday, September 30, 2016
    There is considerable enthusiasm for expanding on the advances of the Affordable Care Act by adding a Medicare buy-in for those 55 to 64, and by adding a public option - an insurance program run by the government competing with private health plans. What is lacking in this discussion is a precise description of either proposal considering that there are a multitude of policy options that must be decided on in order to construct these programs.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2016
    In this seminar Gerald Kominski discusses the health care proposals of presidential candidates Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump plus those of Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2016
    The largest health insurer in Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is discontinuing their more comprehensive gold tier plans and is discontinuing the promotion of its PPO plans with wider provider networks. They are also introducing a new HMO plan “designed to help consumers understand the true value of care through simple copay plans” (i.e., making them better shoppers by having to bear more of the costs).

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2016
    We still hear that employers are adopting wellness programs in order to reduce the future costs of their health benefit programs by making their employees healthier. There could be no better evidence that these programs do not work than the fact that the top award for a workplace wellness program went to an employer whose employees’ health deteriorated.

  • Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016
    Merrill Goozner certainly understands the political realities about health policy. To a question on health costs that could be part of tonight’s presidential debate, he suggests an answer for the candidates that aligns with the current financing system under the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, because of the restrictions he apparently placed on himself, it’s a terribly deficient answer.