Despite Calls to Start Over, Us Health System Covers 90%

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
Associated Press, July 28, 2019

Politicians are depicting a system in meltdown, but the numbers tell a different story, not as dire and more nuanced. Government surveys show that about 90% of the population has coverage. Independent experts estimate that more than one-half of the roughly 30 million uninsured people in the country are eligible for health insurance through existing programs. The bigger issue than lack of coverage seems to be that many people with insurance are struggling to pay their deductibles and copays. […]

Issues 2020: Private Health Insurance Saves Americans Money

By Chris Pope
The Manhattan Institute, Aug. 1, 2019

Health insurance is expensive because spending on hospital and physician services is high. Insurers are unpopular because they bear the main responsibility for controlling this spending—but in doing so, they save consumers money and focus resources toward better care. A comparison of plan options under Medicare can quantify the value added by private insurance management. Private plans reduce costs by about 10%, allowing them to provide more than $1,000 in extra health services to each Medicare enrollee every year. […]

Medicare For All Has Nothing To Do With Medicare. Call It Something Else.

By Howard Gleckman
Forbes, July 31, 2019

What Bernie Sanders is proposing is not Medicare for all. It is far more generous—and more expensive. It would be funded much differently. And its relationship with private insurance would be nothing like today’s Medicare. Sanders would, in fact, replace the current Medicare program and it would effectively eliminate private health insurance. You can call it many things—from ambitious to unrealistic. But please don’t call it Medicare. […]

Be Wary of Politicians Promising Public Option Competition

By Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D, and Nina Schaefer
The Heritage Foundation, July 29, 2019

Promises like “If you like your health plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it,” shouldn’t be trusted. So-called “public option” proposals are nothing less than single payer on the installment plan, and will erode private and employer-sponsored health coverage in America, just like “Medicare for All.” […]

Public Option Kills Private Insurance

By Scott W. Atlas
The Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2019

A public option is not a moderate, compromise proposal. Its inevitable consequence is the death of affordable private insurance. Government insurance options mainly erode, or “crowd out,” private insurance rather than provide coverage to the uninsured. Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist credited with designing ObamaCare, showed in 2007 that when government insurance expands, six people go off private insurance for every 10 people who go on public insurance. And the public option would cause premiums for private insurance to skyrocket because of underpayment by government insurance compared with costs for services.

I’m the Administrator of Medicaid and Medicare. A Public Option Is a Bad Idea.

By Seema Verma
The Washington Post, July 24, 2019

As the administrator of the two largest public health-care programs in the country, Medicare and Medicaid, I can say these programs face major fiscal challenges. Those who seek to expand them do so because of their expected lower price tag on premiums. But there’s a simple explanation that makes the low cost considerably less alluring: Public programs pay health-care providers less than private payers. Low prices imposed on doctors and hospitals can’t stop health-care costs from rising. Someone has to pay the bill—namely, Americans who purchase their coverage directly or through their jobs. In turn, this causes doctors and hospitals to attempt to make up the lost revenue by charging higher prices to private insurers, resulting in higher health insurance premiums for everybody else. […]

Biden Goes Half Way to BernieCare

By The Editorial Board
The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2019

Joe Biden’s new health-care plan is supposed to show his moderation, but there was strong pushback from Sen. Bernie Sanders who wants a full single payer system. If you cut through the spin, the only debate Democrats are having is whether to eliminate private health insurance in one blow or on the installment plan. Biden supports a new government insurance plan that would “compete” with private insurance. We use quotation marks since a government insurer with zero cost of capital and political backing starts with an unbeatable advantage. The public option would undercut competitors on price, stiff providers with low reimbursement rates, and crowd out private insurance over time. Voila, single payer! […]

Controlling Costs Is Health Care’s Defining Issue

By James C. Capretta
Real Clear Policy, July 15, 2019

The central unanswered question in the U.S. health system is how to discipline costs. The choice is between reliance on regulatory controls put in place by the federal government or injection of stronger financial incentives for consumers into the markets for medical services and insurance. Currently, the U.S. has a mixed public-private system with pricing controls applied to payments made by public insurance, and markets that function poorly because they are hobbled by misaligned incentives, some of which are caused by government policy. The result is widespread inefficiency. Credible estimates put the amount of wasted spending at about one-third of total costs. […]

Health Care Costs Reach $6,348 for the Average American, $28,386 for Hypothetical Family of Four

By Girod, Hart, Liner, et al.
Milliman, July 25, 2019

The 2019 Milliman Medical Index, which measures healthcare costs for individuals and families receiving coverage from an employer-sponsored preferred provider plan, found that health care costs have reached $28,386 for a family, an increase of 3.8% from the year prior. Health care costs for the average American adult are at $6,348. Milliman looks at five components of health care costs, including inpatient and outpatient care, pharmacy, professional, and other services. […]

Thanks to Trump, the Health Care Choice is Yours

By David Balat,

The Hill, June 24, 2019

The Trump Administration has taken action to expand options for consumers to get the health insurance and care that work best for them and their families. The administration has delivered the final rule from the president’s October 2017 executive order. The three resulting rules make it easier for small employers and independent contractors to band together to offer competitive health plans, for people to get bridge health insurance, and for employers to give employees a set amount of money to buy plans of their choice outside the workplace. […]