Nearly 150 Republican members of Congress this week released a visionary health reform plan, “A Framework for Personalized, Affordable Care,” that represents a new generation of reform.
A Framework for Personalized, Affordable Care
The 66-page report from the Republican Study Committee begins with a solid analysis of the problems the ACA has created, from doubling premiums in the individual market, driving up deductibles dramatically in the employer market, to, most importantly, making it more difficult for people with serious health conditions to get the care they need.
It shows there is not one silver-bullet solution but instead acknowledges the complexity of the problems in our $3.7 trillion health sector and offers targeted policies—from more portability of insurance, federal funding for states to create Guaranteed Coverage Pools for people with pre-existing conditions, greater tax fairness for health insurance, support for more coverage options—including direct primary care, health sharing ministries, and association plans—and support for lower-income people to obtain coverage.
It gives members a more robust answer to Medicare for All proposals as they head into the 2020 elections, this time with more support from allied groups. While some of the recommendations may be a heavy lift, RSC chairman Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Health Care Task Force co-chairs Roger Marshall, M.D., of Kansas and Phil Roe, M.D., of Tennessee, and the hard-working RSC team deserve huge credit for this impressive report. It adopts many of the recommendations from the Health Policy Consensus Group’s Health Care Choices plan and is compatible with the Personalized Healthcare proposal from the Job Creators Network and the Goodman Institute, also released this week.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidates are racing to see who can come up with the “best” system for turning all health care and coverage decisions over to federal bureaucrats. For anyone who thinks this could work, take a look at this article from Reuters about “Fewer emergency surgeries, more deaths in British hospitals vs U.S.”
Researchers found patients in the National Health Service are much less likely to receive surgery for seven abdominal conditions, from appendicitis to perforated ulcers and abdominal aortic aneurysms. The result: The number of deaths in the hospital were significantly higher in England for all seven types of abdominal emergencies analyzed in the study than in the U.S. In fact, only half as many patients in English emergency rooms get surgery, and many more die.
The researchers say limited resources in England’s socialized healthcare system could explain a more “frugal approach to utilization of interventional treatment…including life-saving treatment in an emergency setting.” (The NHS calls its lack of surgical intervention “noncorrective care.”)
And looking north, an independent Canadian think tank reports in a new study that Canadians actually suffer the same out-of-pocket burdens as Americans, while also enduring years-long waiting lists, outdated equipment, and staff shortages.
In a new paper, “Canada’s Medicare for All: The wrong prescription for US citizens,” Peter St. Onge, author of the publication and Senior Economist at the MEI, writes “Canadian health care is cheaper, yes, but that’s because Canada’s provincial governments cut corners wherever they can.”
“The feel-good promises of a Canadian-style health care system are built on a myth,” he writes.
The average waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and treatment by a specialist is nearly four months, in addition to the original wait to see the family doctor in the first place. Canadian emergency rooms are packed, too—so packed that many Canadians just give up and go home. Of Canadian ER visitors who are seen, 29% report wait times of over four hours—three times longer than in the U.S.
Canadians who can afford it escape. In 2017 alone, Canadians made 217,500 trips to other countries for health care, paying out-of-pocket to skip the waiting.
Medicare administrator Seema Verma testified before Congress Wednesday to respond to charges by Democrats that the Trump administration is sabotaging the ACA. To the contrary, she told the Energy & Commerce Committee, they inherited a troubled law and have taken steps to stabilize it and also “advance efforts to make sure every American has access to affordable coverage.”
Galen Senior Fellow Brian Blase answers House Democrats’ charges that the Trump administration is promoting “junk” insurance with short-term limited-duration policies. In Not ‘Junk’: Setting the Record Straight on Short-Term Health Coverage Plans, Brian writes: “Short-term plans are useful for the uninsured, those between jobs, retirees near 65, and people in the middle-class without an offer of employer coverage. Premiums are usually significantly less than Obamacare plans.”