The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Magazine

By Alan Katz | The policies and politics surrounding health care reform in a Donald Trump world.

Medicare For All: Sounds Good, But What Does It Mean? | Health Affairs

Medicare is a popular program that enjoys broad political support. Perhaps seeking to borrow a popular brand name, some have proposed “Medicare for …

2 Moves By Trump This Past Week Could Reshape U.S. Health Insurance In Big Ways

In a span of less than 24 hours this past week, the Trump administration took two seemingly contradictory actions that could have profound effects on the insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act.<p>Health analysts say that at least one of the efforts, coupled with previous changes …

1,495 Americans Describe the Financial Reality of Being Really Sick

The whole point of health insurance is protection from financial ruin in case of catastrophic, costly health problems. But a recent survey of people facing such problems shows that it often fails in that basic function.<p>The survey, of some of the country’s most seriously ill people, found that even …

Public Opinion on Single-Payer, National Health Plans, and Expanding Access to Medicare Coverage

For many years, Kaiser Family Foundation has been tracking public opinion on the idea of a national health plan. Our polls have shown a modest …

Medicare

Senators Unveil Legislation To Protect Patients Against Surprise Medical Bills

With frustration growing among Americans who are being charged exorbitant prices for medical treatment, a bipartisan group of senators Tuesday …

UC Berkeley study finds link between hospital consolidation, higher prices for patients

A UC Berkeley study published in September found increasing hospital consolidation in California has been associated with significant increases in …

Senate Republicans Move to Defend Popular ACA Provision

Bill would ban insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, but comes with caveats<p>A group of Republican senators is moving to defend part of the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, putting the lawmakers at odds with the Trump …

Alphabet invests $375 million in health insurance start-up Oscar

Alphabet Inc. is putting $375 million into health insurance start-up Oscar Health, the latest healthcare investment from Google’s parent company.<p>Oscar — which has been selling health plans under the Affordable Care Act since 2013 — plans to use the funds to help fuel its entrance into the lucrative …

Nothing free about Canada’s ‘free’ health-care system: Fraser report

A typical Canadian family of four will pay a staggering $12,935 for health care in 2018, a new Fraser Institute report suggests. And our health-care system is far from being a free ride. The eye-opening data was released Tuesday by the Fraser Institute. Among the findings: — Most Canadians are unaware of how much the medical services they use cost because they never see a bill and may only pay a small public health insurance premium. — Government revenues fund health care so it’s nearly impossible to determine how much of their taxes go towards medical care. The money comes from general government revenue. — Using data culled from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the study shows a family of four (two parents, two children) with a household income of $138,008 will pay a pocketbook painful $12,935 for public health care in 2018. — When adjusted for inflation, that’s 68.5% increase since 1997, the first year estimates could be calculated. — A couple earning roughly $57,000 each would pay $12,878 annually while a single parent with a child earning $60,000 would pay $4,357, according to Fraser. — For single Canadians earning less, the numbers are starker: Their health care costs doubled from $2,115 (in 2018 dollars) to $4,460 this year. — And disparity in incomes also plays a factor. The 10% of Canadian families with the lowest incomes ($14,885 for an average household) will pay $496 for health care this year. For Canadian households in the top 10% (earning $291,364 on average), their bill will be a bill of about $38,903. QUOTE: “Health care in Canada isn’t free — Canadians actually pay a substantial amount for public health care through their taxes, even if they don’t pay directly for their medical services.” — The Price of Public Health Care Insurance 2018, co-author Bacchus Barua

Does Bernie Sanders’s health plan cost $33 trillion — or save $2 trillion?

Congressional Republicans seized on a new study Monday estimating that a universal health-care plan by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would cost the federal government $33 trillion by 2031, arguing that it proves Democrats have moved too far left.<p>Sanders, looking at the same study, says it shows his …

House votes to delay Obamacare insurance tax, loosen health savings accounts restrictions

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday on bills to delay an Affordable Care Act tax and allow consumers broader use of health savings accounts.<p>In a 242-176 vote, House Republicans joined one dozen Democrats to support a bill that would postpone the health insurance tax through 2021. The tax, …

U.S. House of Representatives

Government shuts down website for doctors searching for treatment guidelines

<b>(CNN) —</b> After Monday, the website for the National Guideline Clearinghouse, which provides access to guidelines for practicing medicine, will no longer be available to its users -- mostly doctors -- due to a lack of funding, according to an announcement posted on the site in April.<p>No stranger to …

HHS Plans to Delete 20 Years of Critical Medical Guidelines Next Week

The Trump Administration is planning to eliminate a vast trove of medical guidelines that for nearly 20 years has been a critical resource for …

Trump administration cuts grants to help people get Obamacare

FILE PHOTO: The federal government forms for applying for health coverage are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act, widely referred to as "Obamacare", outside the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi, U.S. on October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan …

Maryland governor signs federal all-payer health contract

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has signed a contract with the federal government to enact the state’s unique all-payer health care model.<p>Hogan signed the five-year contract Monday with Seema Verma, who is the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid …

Paul Ryan's Budget Cuts Children's Hospitals At The Wrong Time

Of the more than 74 million Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollees, nearly 40 million are children"> Of the more than 74 million Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollees, nearly 40 million are children<p>“Any kind of cut you make on the public side …

Trump administration freezes billions in Obamacare payments, outraging advocates

The Trump administration is freezing billions of dollars of payments to Obamacare health insurers, another blow to the fragile markets as health plans begin to set premiums and get ready for the next enrollment season.<p>The so-called risk adjustment payments are supposed to protect insurers from big …

Read The Fine Print Before Picking An Association Plan For Your Small Business

If you own a restaurant, plumbing company or other small business, you may be intrigued by the expected expansion of association health plans under a new rule that got a stamp of approval from the Trump administration last week.<p>Those are important questions for small businesses and self-employed …

‘You Can’t Have Perfection’: Lawmakers Who Forged ACA Look Back

Former Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and former Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) and retiring Rep. …

Atul Gawande's Aim For Health Care: 'Make It Simpler To Do The Right Thing'

Dr. Atul Gawande, the surgeon-writer-researcher chosen to lead a joint health venture by three prominent employers who hope to bring down health costs, says his biggest goal is to help professionals "make it simpler to do the right thing" in delivering care to patients.<p>Gawande elaborated a bit on …

Sky-High Deductibles Broke the U.S. Health Insurance System

When Carla Jordan and her husband were hit with a cascade of serious medical issues, she knew that at least her family had health insurance through …

Is Statewide Single-Payer Feasible, Or Is It Just California Dreamin'?

I cover health policy as President of the Pacific Research Institute<p>California's leading progressives are currently debating -- amicably, for the moment -- when the right time will arrive to destroy the state's healthcare system.<p>The frontrunner in the race for the governor's mansion, current …

Medicare

DOL Releases Final Regulation Expanding Association Health Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Tuesday released final regulations modifying the Association Health Plan (AHP) rules to expand their …

The Bezos-Buffett-Dimon health care venture: Eliminate the middlemen

The new health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced June 20 that Harvard professor and well-known author …

Feds say health mergers would increase costs, threaten care

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The U.S. government is suing to stop two major health insurance mergers, a move regulators say is needed to protect Americans from potential cost hikes and lower quality care.<p>The Department of Justice said Thursday that the combinations of Aetna and Humana and Anthem and …

Trump administration to allow businesses, individuals to band together for health insurance

Small businesses and individual workers will be allowed to band together to provide medical coverage that will be less expensive than Obamacare …