Shortly after the US House of Representatives passed its latest iteration of health care reform, President Donald Trump said that Australia has “better health care than we do.”
The bill is actually a step toward the Australian ‘universal’ health system.
White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders clarified that Trump did not intend to suggest that he favors shifting to an Australian-style system, but was merely complimenting an ally. As Sanders explained, “[w]hat works in Australia may not work in the United States.”
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Last week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions met to consider legislation that would reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) user fee programs. These programs make up a large part of the agency’s budget. This process will continue over the next several weeks.
Earlier this month, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce also held a hearing to consider improvements to the regulation of medical technologies. This will most likely become a part of the reauthorization legislation. While an admirable goal, the true goal that policy makers should pursue is to create an environment in which innovation and entrepreneurship can thrive with as few barriers as possible.
Continue reading in RealClearHealth
As House Republicans revive a revamped Affordable Care Act replacement bill with more support from the libertarian wing of the Republican party, Republicans and Democrats have gone back-and-forth over the impact of the bill on people with pre-existing conditions. As The New York Times noted in a recent review of each party’s claims, both have played fast and loose with their evaluations of the policy. Republicans have overstated the degree to which the bill protects those with pre-existing conditions, and Democrats have overstated the negative effect it might have on the same group.
Health insurance policy is notoriously complicated, and both liberal and conservative policy experts disagree on how to unravel a 50-year-old mess created by bureaucracy and bad bills.
Continue reading in TownHall
Ever since President Donald Trump won the White House, Democrats, interest groups, and even some Republicans have argued that rolling back Obamacare would harm the health of millions. But a new study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests Obama’s healthcare law does little to actually improve patient’s health outcomes.
The research shows that while Obamacare expanded patient access to doctors, nurses, and hospitals, it’s provided little-to-no actual health benefits. The authors analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual medical survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. After two years of observations, survey respondents reported they enjoyed greater access to health insurance, primary care, and routine check-ups. Yet the authors observed almost zero overall improvement in physical health after the patients got covered by Obamacare.
While President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have dominated the news, he also plans to reform a larger and arguably more broken program: Medicaid. In an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said Trump wants to “block-grant Medicaid to the states” to ensure “those who are closest to the people in need will be administering.”
Conway’s comments echo Trump’s campaign promise to “maximize flexibility for states via block grants so that local leaders can design innovative Medicaid programs that will better serve their low-income citizens.” Block grants would cap federal Medicaid funding and let states decide how to use those dollars. It would introduce flexibility and budget discipline to a program that sorely needs both.
Medicaid Soaks Money Away From Other Priorities
Since its inception in 1965, Medicaid has operated as an open-ended entitlement. The more state Medicaid programs spend on health-care programs for designated recipients, the more the federal government reimburses them. On average, states receive $1.33 for every $1 they spend on Medicaid.
While Medicaid’s current framework sounds like a generous deal for states, Medicaid’s funding formula incentivizes policymakers to expand the program at the expense of core state government functions. A report by the Mercatus Center shows that as Medicaid’s share of state budgets grow, state spending on roads, schools, and public colleges shrink.
Continue reading at The Federalist.