Okay, time to dig into what this election means for health care. I’m still working thru how this will affect workers’ comp; my first post next week will focus on that.
To my loyal readers, thanks for your patience while I diverted from health care and work comp and used MCM to discuss the election and its impact on me. For those friends and colleagues who thoughtfully and kindly contributed to the conversation, I deeply appreciate your insights and views. We may not agree and that’s fine as long as we seek to understand.
I’m really working to keep my inner snark under control here, so bear with me folks.
The biggest problem in crystal-balling about the election’s impact on health care is Trump has been all over the place. He’s advocated for a Canadian-style system, vowed to repeal Obamacare, lauded single-payer, and gone off in other directions enough to convince me he doesn’t have any firm plan.
His party does have a “plan”, at least current Speaker Paul Ryan detailed one earlier this year. It includes
- Selling insurance across state lines (an air sandwich if ever there was one),
- block grants for Medicaid;
- no mandate but no coverage for pre-existing conditions without continuous coverage;
- cap employer tax break for health insurance;
- refundable tax credit for individual purchase of insurance;
- end the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Here’s the problem. Nothing here will reduce the cost of health care.
The voters who backed the GOP and Trump expect health care costs to come down, insurance to be cheaper, less complicated, and provide better coverage, and the whole system to function better/easier/faster with less hassle.
But mostly they want it to cost less.
These initiatives will not do that.
Reducing cost will require narrower networks (you can’t keep your doctor), lower benefits (what, this isn’t covered?!), price controls (anathema to conservatives) and/or tight utilization control (don’t get between me and my doctor).
Yes, forcing people to buy insurance and not covering pre-existing conditions if they don’t is going to make more people buy insurance and that’s good. But it’s still unaffordable for many, and they will won’t sign up.
What does this mean for you?
It’s easy to criticize; now that Trump et al own this, they’re going to see just how hard it is to fix health care.