On Tuesday, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released an overview of sixty contracts involved in the development and operation of the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace, which began with spectacular failure last fall.
The story of slow health care spending growth is best told as a series of vignettes, one of which features prescription drug innovation.
The shortage of primary care physicians is a well-known, well-documented, and generally accepted fact of American health care. The Health Resources and Services Administration has identified 6,100 areas with less than one primary care physician for every 3,500 people and estimate that the medical workforce would need over 8,000 additional physicians to address the shortage.
The mainstream coverage conversation is dominated by talk of adults. As it is adults who make purchasing decisions, contribute to the economy, and vote, they are an important group, but children are equally significant and often looked over.
Spending growth is slowing, and recent data released from the Bureau of Economic Analysis hints that growth may remain low as the economy recovers—though these estimates are subject to revision. If the current trend of growth continues, it would certainly improve the nation’s fiscal health.
Recent expensive innovations, from hepatitis drugs to proton beam therapy, raise a recurring and uncomfortable question: how much is too much to pay for new innovative treatments?
Unsurprisingly, high per-inmate health care spending results from similar problems that plague other national health care programs.
Premium rate increase submissions are the health reform metric of the summer. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are looking to double digit rate increases as a harbinger of the program’s collapse, while supporters are pointing to moderate increases as evidence that the new Marketplaces will survive.
Competition is good. The adage has been a mantra for free market economists, antitrust lawsuits, and now, the Health Insurance Marketplace.
From a 30,000 foot view, subsidy eligibility requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) seem straight forward. A household applies for coverage through the newly created insurance exchange and receives assistance if the household’s income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL).