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, November 25, 2014
    We’ve heard similar stories many times before. The largest insurer in Georgia, WellPoint’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, has been unable or unwilling to negotiate a contract renewal with Grady Memorial Hospital, the home of one of the most prominent trauma centers in the nation.

  • Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014
    The Affordable Care Act included Senator Ted Kennedy’s Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) which would have provided long-term care. Unfortunately the specifics of the CLASS Act proved to be unworkable and thus it has been suspended. But according to this new study, unless you are wealthy, you do not need long-term care insurance anyway. Most of us can simply spend down our assets and then Medicaid will take care of us.

  • Posted on Friday, November 21, 2014
    The experience of the homeless population under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) demonstrates both the benefits of reform under ACA and the flaws of ACA that call for replacement with a single payer system. ACA was better than nothing, but we can have so much more through enactment of a single payer system.

  • Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2014
    This international comparison of health care in older adults in eleven nations is the latest in the series sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund. For the United States, it is unique in that it compares only patients over 65 in our public Medicare program with older patients in other nations that already have universal health care systems.

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    There has been an explosion in the introduction of very high cost drugs. At the same time the generic drug market is being manipulated to enable exponential increases in the prices of generic drugs. So what innovations are the insurers introducing in response?

  • Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014
    This report is written for the health care industry. It provides advice on potential strategies to deal with an increasing problem in health care today: the impacts of rising out-of-pocket health care costs. Although Deloitte’s advice is directed more towards the medical/industrial complex that provides health care services, our concern is with what Deloitte calls consumers, though we know them as patients.

  • Posted on Monday, November 17, 2014
    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided the private health insurance industry with the greatest stimulus to its industry that it could possibly have achieved, and it is reaping great rewards as a result.

  • Posted on Friday, November 14, 2014
    Health reform was supposed to make health care more affordable, yet underinsurance is increasing. The deductibles are more difficult for people to afford and a delay in needed care has been the result. Single payer would eliminate underinsurance. It’s time.

  • Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014
    Two-thirds of medical students in Ontario and in California do not have accurate knowledge of the policy basics of their own health care systems and nine-tenths fail to understand the basics of the neighboring country's health care systems.

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014
    Quite a furor has been caused by Jonathan Gruber’s controversial comments at a conference last year - comments on the importance of preventing transparency over the transfer of funds from the healthy to the sick. Yet the press has remained silent on Mark Pauly’s disconcerting comments at the same conference. So what does this mean, and what does it have to do with single payer?

  • Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
    If any organization should be able to devise policies that would correct the deficiencies of narrow provider networks, it is the AMA. When you read their new recommendations, clearly they leave in place the fundamentally flawed policy of restricting patient choices of physicians. Tweaking a policy that needs to be eliminated is not an adequate response.

  • Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014
    During the crafting of the Affordable Care Act it was decided that prevention should have the highest priority in the delivery of health care services on the basis that it would reduce health care costs by preventing more expensive care, and, more importantly, that preventing disease is better than managing it. Although there is little evidence that preventive care saves money, preventing disease is certainly beneficial.

  • Posted on Friday, November 7, 2014
    Pay for performance (P4P) continues to be promoted as a means of improving quality while reducing costs. This 338 page OECD/WHO report adds to the abundance of the policy literature that shows that P4P does not achieve these goals, and may actually impair equity.

  • Posted on Thursday, November 6, 2014
    Today two new papers were released designed to give us greater insight on the relative value of the traditional Medicare program and the private Medicare Advantage plans. What can we learn from these reports?

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2014
    New Republic’s Senior Editor Jonathan Cohn, an astute and very well-informed observer of the health care reform scene, provides us with a quite plausible response of the new Republican majority in the next session of Congress. They will likely fulfill their promise to introduce legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), though knowing that the effort will end with either a filibuster or a presidential veto. The real action will take place over individual provisions of ACA.

  • Posted on Tuesday, November 4, 2014
    Although this is a typical Fox News anecdotal report not based on any scientific study and designed to discredit "ObamaCare," nevertheless it does make a very valid point. People obtaining their coverage through the insurance exchanges are finding that, with the narrow networks and high deductibles, they “can’t even use” their plans.

  • Posted on Friday, October 31, 2014
    Great. The insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act have created a shoppers paradise for health insurance. People can choose from different premiums, different plans, at different levels of coverage, with different benefits, and different cost-sharing deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance, with different networks of physicians and hospitals, and different rules on out-of-network coverage, not to mention different insurance structures such as PPOs, HMOs, EPOs, and ACOs, whatever they are.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2014
    One of the more alarming trends in health insurance innovation is the increasing use of narrower provider networks. Patients are losing their choice of their health care professionals and hospitals. Not only can this result in impaired access and longer wait times, it also can unfairly benefit the insurers by discouraging sicker patients from enrolling because of concerns about being unable to access the care that they need - especially specialized services.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2014
    Assuming the allegations of this lawsuit prove to be true, it appears that private Medicare Advantage insurers contracted with a private company that hired health care professionals to do in-home health assessments, not for treatment purposes but merely to collect data that, combined with innovative coding, could be used to increase government payments based on inflated risk scores.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
    Many consider Vermont to be the trailblazer for a state single payer program, serving as a model for other states to enact single payer reform. Vermont does have lessons for the rest of us. Let’s see what they are so far.