How Price Controls Contribute to High Medicare Bills

From Peter Suderman at Reason:

The basic issue here is that when you cap prices on services, you end up creating a system in which providers have a huge incentives to bill for more services. As Brookings health policy scholar Dr. Darshak Sanghavi tells the Times, “The notion is you can make end runs around price controls by increasing the number of things you do and bill for.”

Indeed, pricing systems end up creating opportunities for consultants and middlemen to help doctors figure out how to maximize their billing

More: How Price Controls Contribute to High Medicare Bills.

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Filed under Medicaid/Medicare/SCHIP

Mark Sklar: Doctoring in the Age of #ObamaCare

In The Wall Street Journal, Mark Sklar writes about endlessly entering data or calling for permission to prescribe or trying to avoid Medicare penalties—when should I see patients? Sklar writes:

The patient should be the arbiter of the physician’s quality of care. Contrary to what our government may believe, the average American has the intellectual capacity to judge. To give people more control of their medical choices, we should move away from third-party payment. t may be more prudent to offer the public a high-deductible insurance plan with a tax-deductible medical savings account that people could use until the insurance deductible is reached. Members of the public thus would be spending their own health-care dollars and have an incentive to shop around for better value. This would encourage competition among providers and ultimately lower health-care costs.

Mark Sklar: Doctoring in the Age of ObamaCare – WSJ.

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Filed under Policy - National, regulation

#ObamaCare Exchanges Recklessly, Often Unlawfully, Throwing Taxpayer Money At Health Insurance Companies

Michael Cannon at Cato:

This is part of a deliberateconsistent strategy by the Obama administration to throw money at individual voters and key health care industry groups—lawfully or not—to buy support for this consistently unpopular law.

More: ObamaCare Exchanges Recklessly, Often Unlawfully, Throwing Taxpayer Money At Health Insurance Companies | Cato @ Liberty.

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#ObamaCare: Taxpayers bailout insurers, and more uninsured within 10 years?

Michael Ramlet writes:

We estimate that within 10 years, the number of uninsured Americans may increase by 10 percent. At the same time, premiums will rise faster than federal subsidies. The latter problem will be most severe when insurers release their 2017 rate increases in the summer and fall of 2016—perhaps the most awkward timing for the law’s supporters.

More: A 10-Year Prediction for the Affordable Care Act – NationalJournal.com.

See also Risky Business: Will Taxpayers Bail Out Health Insurers? by John R. Graham.

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Privatize #Medicare? The success of Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Health care economist John C. Goodman writes:

Paul Ryan proposed a private health insurance alternative to Medicare for future retirees, liberal critics pounced. It’s another scheme to undermine health care for the elderly by “privatizing” and “voucher-izing” the program, they said.

Yet, almost one third of seniors are already in private health insurance plans. They are called Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, plans. And you would be hard pressed to find any Democratic office holder who wants to abolish them. The reason? Seniors choose to be in these plans because they like them better than traditional Medicare.

Read more: Let’s Privatize Medicare – John C. Goodman.

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#ObamaCare Update: premium increases, paperwork troubles, competition lowers prices, Congress exempt from own rules

From a recent NCPA Washington Update:

As the implementation of Obamacare moves forward, more people are buying insurance and many of the early problems that plagued the website seem solved. But public approval ratings remain dismal. Maybe it is the complex labyrinth of paperwork. Or the rising cost of premiums. Many businesses are still coping with the effects of the new health care law, while many individuals are still trying to send the right documents to the government.

It turns out that health insurance premiums tend to be more affordable in states with more competition among insurance companies. That is a predictable outcome based on what we learned in Econ 101. Another predictable conclusion: Congress will always try to play by their own rules. You may remember that the Obama Administration exempted Congress from a provision in the law that requires members of Congress and their staff to purchase health insurance in the Obamacare exchange without a taxpayer subsidy. That’s why Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and other Republicans opposed the exemption. Now there are a group of Democrats who are introducing legislation that would require Congress to play by the same rules as everyone else. Just in time for the election.

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Filed under insurance, tax code, HSAs, Policy - National

#ObamaCare harms small business

At Forbes.com, John C. Goodman writes:

In about a year and a half, the ObamaCare employer mandate kicks in. Firms with 50 or more employees will be required to provide expensive health insurance for their workers and their dependents or pay a fine of $2,000 per employee. What difference will that make? …

Something similar already exists in France, where firms that hire a 50thworker become subject to a 3,200 page labor code that makes it difficult to fire employees or reduce their hours or their pay during down turns. How are French employers responding? They are remaining small. In France there are more than twice as many companies with exactly 49 employees as there are with 50 or more.

More here.

See also: The Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Small Business.

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Filed under insurance, tax code, HSAs