One political party is touting skimpy health plans and Medicaid work requirements. In their view, affordable health insurance is a gift to the poor, not a right. My experience suggests it is a gift—to employers that offer substandard wages and no benefits.
It's too early to say the era of cost control, which stretched roughly from 2010 to 2016, is over. But as the latest CMS cost projections suggest, the U.S. appears headed into another period when healthcare spending routinely exceeds the economy's overall rate of growth.
Until we build a bipartisan consensus that access means everyone in our society has the right to obtain high-quality healthcare at an affordable price, we will never move beyond the sterile "repeal and replace" debate.
Cancer is the better comparison for the healthcare system's unsustainable costs. The system is growing too quickly, like a tumor. To restore health, you have to eliminate the cancer, not the vital organ on which the tumor grows.
Hospitals have long been bedeviled by shortages and price spikes for the generic drugs that are essential to their day-to-day operations.
The individual mandate to buy health insurance is out. Unpaid community service for unemployed workers who sign up for Medicaid is in.
Healthcare has a cost problem. No one disputes that. But what many would dispute is the assertion that rapidly rising drug prices are the root cause of the problem. They are, as the latest data from the CMS and major hospital systems clearly show.
Now that a U.S. District Court has postponed the hospital industry's legal challenge to cutbacks in the 340B drug discount program, it falls to Congress to reverse the Trump administration's egregious new rules.
Talk about a New Year's hangover. Healthcare will dominate the news in 2018 as it has for much of the past decade. It's not shaping up as a good news story.
'Tis the season of miracles. A year that began with lumps of coal for the healthcare industry ends with Christmas presents wrapped in ribbons of cautious optimism.
The architects of major healthcare deals offer a common rationale: The combinations will lower costs and improve care. But these deals don't get to the root of healthcare's cost problems.
The GOP's strategy of delaying reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program serves their broader agenda.