Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday LinkFest

■ Longtime readers may recall our post from 2006 (almost 9 years ago!) wherein we introduced (and applauded) a new transparency program from MN Blue Cross. That was just one example of consumer-centric health care, whereby insured's are encouraged to take more control over their own care. Of course, high deductible, HSA-compliant health plans under-gird and simplify this effort, but they're by no means the only such plans to do so.

One of the arguments against such plans has been that folks shouldn't have to direct the ambulance to the least expensive ER:

"The caricature is that consumer-directed health care means that patients have to shop around when having a heart attack. But in the event of a truly immediate or catastrophic illness, insurance will continue to cover the costs. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of health services result not from emergencies but from chronic, long-term illnesses. Most patients do have the time and the ability to make decisions on the source and course of treatment, from knee replacements to cancer care. But the industry today makes thoughtful choice almost impossible."

■ In this Tale of Two Bob's, our good friend Bob Graboyes tips us to an insightful article by uber-wonk Bob Laszewski on why SCOTUScare likely won't go the distance. In 1,000 words:

The obvious point is that the new regime just isn't attractive to the middle class, who made up (and continue to make up) the bulk of folks most affected by it. But he offers a deeper analysis in the article.


■ SCOTUScare proponents like to point to Medicaid expansion as a net positive aspect of the plan. But is it really?

"Two dozen states immediately took the bait, lured by the promise the federal government would pay 100% of costs in the first three years and 90% for the newly eligible on into the future. Several more have joined since."

Of course, Uncle Sugar has his price, as well, and so many of these states are beginning to suffer a bit of buyer's remorse:

"At least 14 of these states have seen enrollment surge unexpectedly, forcing at least half to increase their cost estimates. And we're not talking about a few percentage points."

Oh really?


* The Blue Grass State saw double their anticipated enrollment, thuis increasing their costs twofold.

* Cali experienced an enrollment rate three times what they'd anticipated, and now a **third** of its citizens are on Medicaid.

* That bears repeating: "1 in 3 Californians are on Medicaid."

And the list goes on.

At some point, that dam's gonna break, no?
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