The sober reality of health politics

With health care THE domestic political issue, there’s hope that finally something will be done.
Bob Laszewski tempers that hope with his critique of the current administration’s approach, noting that health care was nothing more than a political cudgel wielded in a cynical, and apparently unsuccessful attempt to shift voter sympathies.
Bob’s analysis is sobering.


Medicare sneezes

The adage goes something like – when the US sneezes, the world catches a cold, signifying just how much influence this country has on the rest of the world.
That’s analogous to Medicare’s impact on the health care sector. And Medicare is about to change the way it pays hospitals, a change that will have a dramatic effect on every private payer from HMO to individual carrier to workers comp insurer to self-insured employer.

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CMS denies off-label Actiq coverage

The latest shot in the battle against drug costs comes from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which is reported to be denying coverage for off-label use of drugs such as Actiq and Fentora.
Whenever CMS moves, the healthcare world shakes, and this is no exception. There are a host of possible ‘downstream implications’ in areas as diverse as workers comp, formulary management, and hospice.

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Murdoch is out! WSJ taken over by Chicken Little!

To listen to some, you would think single payer health care will cause the sky will fall, and it will be full of really large rocks when it hits our heads.
At least that’s what the editors at the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) would have you believe will happen if Wisconsin adopts a single payer system.
While I’m no fan of single payer, I’m even less enamored of junk economics masquerading as policy analysis. And junk is what the editors’ arguments are.

Continue reading Murdoch is out! WSJ taken over by Chicken Little!


Universal coverage is bad – Part Nine, Socialism

The last argument against universal coverage is that it is socialist, and therefore bad.
Whenever critics start throwing labels around, its obvious their position is not based on facts, data, and logic. And/or they are just lazy, as not much is simpler than saying “that’s bad because it is socialist/fascist/communist/libertarian”.
(have you noticed that as we get to the bottom of the list the I-Hate-Universal-Coverage crowd’s arguments get thin to the point of invisibility?)

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Universal coverage is bad – Part Eight

Universal coverage is not needed because its just a replacement for a failed Medicaid/Medicare system that should be covering those folks without employer-based insurance. Once we fix the ‘M’ programs we’ll be fine.
That’s another argument against UC, and the one we’ll tackle today.
(Again, we will narrowly construe this argument; corollaries and complementary/supplemental positions have been addressed in detail previously.)

Continue reading Universal coverage is bad – Part Eight


Universal coverage is bad – Part Seven

This morning we address the “if they have insurance, they’ll use it, which will drive up costs…and inevitably lead to rationing” reason to not favor universal coverage.
I used to agree with the first part of the statement; the ‘moral hazard’ argument. Now, after reading comments on this blog and others,and doing more research, I don’t agree with it at all.
Rationing” is one of those scare words designed to make people think they’ll die before getting an MRI to diagnose cancer. But first things first.

Continue reading Universal coverage is bad – Part Seven


Universal coverage is bad – Part Six

Perhaps the most puzzling condemnation of universal coverage is the contention that “A mandate is not necessary as the free market will solve the problem”.
Proponents of the free market argue that the problem is today’s market is not “free”, but rather over-regulated. And once we completely de-regulate the insurance market, the Invisible Hand will produce products and services that will provide coverage for a lot more folks.

Continue reading Universal coverage is bad – Part Six