Tag: Medicare

Can Obamacare Be Fixed? Part II »

The reason we have so many problems in health care is that almost everywhere we look, people face perverse incentives—patients, doctors, employers, employees, etc. When they respond to those incentives, they do things that make costs higher, quality lower, and access to care more difficult than otherwise would have been the case. At the...
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The Coming U.S. Government Default? »

Social Security, Medicare, and the federal component of Medicaid are easily the leading sources of the U.S. government’s worsening fiscal nightmare. By 2037, the ongoing growth in spending for these programs will have pushed up total federal spending to 35.7 percent of GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This share is about 75...
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A Better Way to Cut Medicare Spending »

Over the next 10 years, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is scheduled to cut Medicare spending by $716 billion, primarily by reducing payments to doctors and hospitals. Further, those cuts in spending will continue indefinitely into the future. By 2060, one-fifth of Medicare will be gone. The Medicare actuaries and others have warned that...
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Take the Money and Run? GAO Reports Significant Dropping Out of Government Electronic Health Records Program »

A previous blog entry noted that Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have utterly failed to execute a plan to develop an interoperable Electronic Health Record (EHR), despite five million beneficiaries receiving health benefits from both bureaucracies. Despite its inability to manage this for two closely related federal departments, the federal government decided...
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Intergenerational Transfers and Political Support for the Welfare State »

Supporters of the welfare state might see it as a mechanism for transferring income from rich to poor with the idea of helping those at the bottom end of the income distribution, but in the United States, the welfare state is increasingly transferring income from the young to the old, regardless of the wealth...
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What Republicans and Democrats Don’t Understand About the Insurance Company “Bailout” »

Last week I testified before the House Oversight committee on the “risk corridors” in the (ObamaCare) exchanges. Republicans claim that this is a device to bail out the insurance companies. Democrats, in the unusual position of defending the insurance companies, actually claimed that the government was going to make a “profit” because of it....
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Medicare Advantage »

Uwe Reinhardt had a column the other day in which he argued that: We are paying Medicare Advantage plans more than we pay for similar patients in traditional Medicare. Enrollees in traditional Medicare are paying higher Part B premiums in order to subsidize the higher MA payments. This is bad public policy; we should...
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Hooray! The Medicare “Doc Fix” Is Fixed Until March 31 »

Hooray! The Medicare “Doc Fix” Is Fixed Until March 31. Once again, Congress pretends to have fixed the unfixable: The way Medicare pays doctors. An earlier blog entry describes how Medicare pays physicians by using a method that puts the old Soviet Gosplan to shame. The simplest description is that a government-authorized committee determines...
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Hospitals’ Bad Debt: Part of the Problem—or Part of the Solution? »

My previous blog entry tried to shed some light on the phenomenon of hospital charges that are out of control, such as $500 for a single stitch. Well, the hospitals have their challenges, too. They increasingly have to worry about collecting money directly from patients, instead of insurers. According to recent articles, it is...
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Sky-High Hospital Prices Are a Result of Government Interference »

Despite its editorial position in favor of more government control of people’s access to medical care, the New York Times has an excellent track record of journalism covering the real problems in U.S. health care. A fine example is Elisabeth Rosenthal’s report last Monday (“As Hospital Prices Soar: A Stitch Tops $500”, December 2,...
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