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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 Thursday, April 27, 2017
    The last paragraph sums up today’s message: “We can think of the extraordinarily high overhead imposed on insured individuals and patients in the United States as the price they seem to be willing to pay for the privilege of choice among health insurers and, for each insurer, among multiple different insurance products.

  • Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2017
    Republicans intend to change the financing of Medicaid to giving states an annual lump sum - block grants. The primary purpose is to reduce the federal contribution to state Medicaid programs, placing more of the burden on the states - a problem for residents of states with high poverty levels or with stingy governors and legislators.

  • Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2017
    Perhaps the most fundamental principle of health insurance is to pool risk - the high costs of the few are distributed amongst all participants in the pool. Since health care has become so expensive, distributing costs has made each person’s share - the insurance premium - unaffordable for many.

  • Posted on Monday, April 24, 2017
    Paul Song’s article is particularly helpful in understanding the health care reform challenge before us in that it describes one of the most successful programs in the nation - California’s - while noting the gross inadequacies of reform limited by our current federal laws and regulations.

  • Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017
    We hear often of healthy individuals remaining uninsured because of the very high cost of health insurance, but it is a risk that they are willing to take because they have very few health care needs…though they hope nothing really bad happens. Well, bad things do happen, and this study confirms that 70 percent of those who lost the bet face destitution.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2017
    Believe me. Take a few minutes (9 to be precise), and read this (at link above). Then send it to others and strongly recommend that they read it, and then have them send it on to yet others who might also care. This needs to go viral. You will not find a better description of why we need a single payer system.

  • Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017
    Under the MACRA replacement for the flawed SGR method of determining Medicare payments, CMS is moving forward with shifting the delivery system into alternative payment models, the predominant model being the accountable care organization (ACO). This study of one of the premier ACOs in the nation (Partners HealthCare) should make us question whether such a shift is wise policy.

  • Posted on Tuesday, April 18, 2017
    The United States is unique in having a massive amount of personal medical debt when we are spending twice the amount per person on health care than the average of other wealthy nations in which medical debt is much less common. What is wrong here?

  • Posted on Monday, April 17, 2017
    In her book, “An American Sickness,” Elisabeth Rosenthal has provided an excellent description of the dysfunction of the business model of health care delivery in the marketplace. On this basis alone it is an invaluable resource for every health policy library - home or institutional.

  • Posted on Friday, April 14, 2017
    Would people prefer that their health care coverage be adequate and affordable or would they prefer that their insurers thrive in the market even if to the detriment of the beneficiaries? That’s a ridiculous question though the Trump administration has given a ridiculous answer: cater to the private insurers and forget the patients.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 13, 2017
    The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is an independent federal commission that advises Congress on the administration of Medicare. It currently is evaluating the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Alternative Payment Model (APM) established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) - the replacement for the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) method of determining Medicare payments.

  • Posted on Wednesday, April 12, 2017
    Health care is, or at least should be, about the patient. This study shows that physicians are splitting their time fairly evenly between direct face-to-face patient care and desktop medicine, especially through the electronic health record.

  • Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2017
    Stephen Parente is the policy genius behind Tom Price’s “Empowering Patients First Act” and Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” - two of the cruelest policy proposals of the past decade that shift health care costs from the government to patients in need - all under the guise of “it’s about access” (but not about being able to afford health care).

  • Posted on Monday, April 10, 2017
    Although the ACA was an improvement, it still has fundamental structural defects that prevent us from achieving the goals of true universality, affordability, equity, efficiency and access, no matter how much it is tweaked. The Republican AHCA proposal was merely another set of tweaks that went in the wrong direction, and we would have fallen further behind in the goals of reform.

  • Posted on Friday, April 7, 2017
    For those looking for something to read this weekend, you couldn’t do better than this Lancet series on the lack of equity and equality in America and its impact on health care. If you don’t have time, at least you can get the gist of the theme by reading these relatively short excerpts.

  • Posted on Thursday, April 6, 2017
    This poll shows once again that about 60 percent of Americans favor expanding Medicare to cover everyone. To no surprise, about 80 percent of liberals, Democrats and Clinton voters are in support. But what we should be especially aware of is that over 40 percent of conservatives, Republicans and Trump voters also support Medicare for all.

  • Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2017
    Congressman John Conyers is right on target. The time has come for an improved Medicare for all. HR 676 now has 84 cosponsors. Single payer, here we come.

  • Posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2017
    Another welcome editorial making it clear that preventing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was important but not enough. We must begin treating health care as a human right for all people by moving health care coverage to a single-payer, Medicare-like system.

  • Posted on Monday, April 3, 2017
    Why are some people opposed to other people having health care? In the case of Medicaid, some conservatives would deny people health care merely because they failed to meet certain work requirements. It is not as if this is a ubiquitous problem since, according to this report, only a tiny subset of Medicaid beneficiaries are able-bodied adults who do not have a reason for not working.

  • Posted on Friday, March 31, 2017
    The residents of Mississippi have a serious problem with medical bills and resulting debt impacting 40 percent of adults under 65. The fact that their state legislators are not particularly responsive to this problem is represented by the fact that they rejected an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would have provided coverage to an additional 300,000 Mississippians.