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. […]

The GOP Needs to Play Offense on Healthcare

By Rick Santorum

RealClearPolitics, July 4, 2019

Democrats running for president are determined to make the 2020 election a referendum on single-payer health care. My advice: Bring it on. This is a fight President Trump and the GOP should welcome. Fortunately, President Trump has promised to make the GOP the “party of health care.” A plan already exists for the president to consider called the Health Care Choices proposal. This plan, which creates a patient-centered system that delivers more choices, better access, improved quality and lower prices, was developed by a group of grassroots leaders and policy experts. Our story is about freedom, choice and human dignity. Republicans have not only the better story, but also the better policy. We have no reason not to be bold in 2020.

Trump’s Healthy Tax Break

By Editorial Board,

The Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2019

The Trump Administration published a final rule giving businesses a new option to help employees get the health coverage of their choice. The new Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) rule allows an employer to give a worker tax-exempt dollars to buy a health-insurance plan in the individual market. The practical effect of the new rule is to extend the tax advantage for employer health care to individuals who purchase their own insurance. The Trump Administration predicts that over time some 800,000 employers will offer HRAs to more than 11 million workers and their families. Some 800,000 would otherwise be uninsured. […]

Appeals Court Seems Skeptical About Constitutionality of Obamacare Mandate

By Abby Goodnough

The New York Times, July 9, 2019

A panel of federal appeals court judges on Tuesday sounded likely to uphold a lower-court ruling that a central provision of the Affordable Care Act—the requirement that most people have health insurance—is unconstitutional. But it was harder to discern how the court might come down on a much bigger question: whether the rest of the sprawling health law must fall if the insurance mandate does. If the mandate is indeed unconstitutional, the next question is whether the rest of the Affordable Care Act can function without it. […]

Three Democratic Deceptions on Health Care During the Debates

By Sally Pipes

Fox News, July 1, 2019

Health care dominated the first two Democratic presidential debates. Among the most dramatic moments was when moderator Lester Holt asked the candidates to raise their hands if they supported outlawing private insurance and forcing everyone onto a new government-run, “Medicare-for-all” plan. During each debate, only two candidates—Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Bill de Blasio on night one, and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris on night two—said they would. Hours later, Harris claimed she didn’t understand the question and walked back her support. But at least the hand-raisers are honest about wanting to kick people off their health insurance. The other 16 envision a much greater role for government in our nation’s health care system as well, one that at the very least includes a government-sponsored “public option” health plan. That may sound like a moderate alternative to “Medicare-for-all.” But it’s just a slow-walk to single-payer. And it’s one of my three Democratic debate deceptions on health care. […]