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 Wednesday, January 18, 2017
    Once again about 60 percent of Americans say that the government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for everyone. There are a couple of observations in this particular poll worth considering.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    So far Congress has initiated a process to eliminate health plan subsidies and eliminate individual and employer mandates authorized by the Affordable Care Act. This update estimates the numbers who would be uninsured and estimates the increase in non-group insurance premiums that would occur if insurance reforms such as guaranteed issue remained in place.

  • Posted on Monday, January 16, 2017
    Of the OECD nations, the United States ranks near the bottom in health care justice. And yet Congress is moving forward with legislative action that likely would further diminish justice within our health care system.

  • Posted on Friday, January 13, 2017
    Linda Blumberg and John Holahan explain why premiums in non-group insurance markets can be high, and they suggest policies that can improve the stability of premiums. The proposals would increase the administrative complexity in our system when we are already tremendously overburdened with administrative excesses, and, further, they are designed to protect the private insurance industry - an approach in which providers and patients are considered a nuisance which must be accommodated to benefit the insurers.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2017
    There are two main reasons that the Republicans want to convert Medicaid to block grants for the states. Instead of paying a percentage of Medicaid costs, block grants can be set at an amount of payment that is lower and that does not increase at the same rate as health costs, thus shifting Medicaid costs from the federal government to the states. Also, the states are given much greater leeway on how the block grant funds can be spent, reducing federal regulatory oversight.

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2017
    One of the problems with the various pay-for-performance schemes is that social risk factors play a major role in health care outcomes. Dedicated physicians and hospitals who take care of patients with greater social risks tend to be penalized for factors over which they have no direct control. This 374 page ASPE report was generated at the request of Congress to define this problem and consider solutions.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2017
    Considering the amount of money we spend on health care in the United States, we should be making special efforts to see that we spend it right. This Lancet series, “Right Care,” is helpful because it defines for us where we are not providing enough care (underuse), leaving too many with unmet health care needs, and where we are providing excess care (overuse), wasting resources that could be used elsewhere, not to mention that excessive care is sometimes harmful.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2017
    What is the point of today’s message? Virtually everyone wants affordable access to health care, for themselves at least. Most want a better system than what we have under the Affordable Care Act. But the nation is divided as to whether ACA needs to be repealed prior to improving the functioning of our health care financing system.

  • Posted on Friday, January 6, 2017
    The negative consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act without replacing it with measures that address some of the problems that ACA was designed to fix have been well publicized. President Obama is right to warn us about repealing ACA without replacing it. But the full story is more complex.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2017
    This survey of focus groups composed of Trump supporters confirms the anecdotal reports that many of them have been disappointed by Obamacare, but they want health insurance that is affordable and that works. They believe that President Trump will do the right thing even though they have no idea what that is.

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2017
    Did you get that? Howard Bauchner, the Editor in Chief of JAMA - the Journal of the American Medical Association - says that “all physicians, including those who are members of Congress, other health care professionals, and professional societies (should) speak with a single voice and say that health care is a basic right for every person, and not a privilege to be available and affordable only for a majority.”

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 3, 2017
    It is astonishing that a new Congress that has promised to reduce the government’s support of some of the most important social programs in our nation took as their first action, behind closed doors, approval of “their plan to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics.”

  • Posted on Friday, December 30, 2016
    At this time when threats to our already inadequate health care system are intensifying we need an increase in people power to help carry to the nation the message of health care justice for all through a single payer national health program - an improved Medicare for all.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2016
    In health care, those receiving the funds will design their systems to maximize revenues. The financing system can be designed to optimize the private market business model, as it is now, or it can be optimized to obtain maximum value for patient care, as it would be under a well-designed single payer national health program.

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2016
    Who’s in charge here? Would physicians choose to include these challenges in our health care system? What is the benefit/hassle-factor ratio in these challenges? These intrusions are not originating with health care professionals and their patients.

  • Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2016
    Many of us are concerned about the unmet medical needs of the homeless, yet we fail to see adequate attention being paid to supporting public policies that would better address these needs. As Koh and O’Connell indicate, that means providing housing as well as access to health care and to programs that pay for these needs.

  • Posted on Monday, December 26, 2016
    After an unrelenting campaign of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Republicans are now in a position, having won the election, that they will have to deliver on that promise, or at least appear to do so. But it is the replacement that they are stumbling over.

  • Posted on Friday, December 23, 2016
    Medicaid is a chronically under-funded government health care program for the poor. Private Medicaid managed care organizations have been taking over these programs from the state governments contending that they can provide care at lower costs.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2016
    Although the Republicans have promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act it remains uncertain what the replacement would be. Most likely there would be some form of refundable tax credit to assist with the purchase of coverage in a highly deregulated market of private health plans.

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2016
    Each year forty percent of enrollees leave the insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, and this does not even include the numbers who move to different plans within the exchanges during the open enrollment period.