The Congressional Budget Office’s initial assessment of Senator Kennedy’s Affordable health Choices Act is that it would increase deficits by about one trillion dollars over the next ten years, but only increase the number of covered citizens by about a net 16 million people.
Many unions and some disease advocacy groups are objecting to the wellness and prevention provisions proposed in some health reform measures. In a USA Today article, the difficulties of our “system” once again point out the impediments to improvement.
Republican Senators have now introduced a bill to essentially gut federal funding or use of comparative effectiveness research, continuing an attack on the proposed expansion of such research for the purpose of controlling costs
The Wall Street Journal article summarized some research results regarding the potential cost savings of prevention and wellness efforts, particularly for persons with chronic diseases. The overall conclusion is that not much money is likely to be saved by such methods, primarily because the cost of these programs when applied to a large population tends to outweigh the health care cost savings which eventually accrue.
The work of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is always worth reading carefully. (Medpac website) It is one of the government groups that seems to do its job with a high degree of professionalism. MEDPAC’s reports contain useful data and it often provide unvarnished analysis and insight into America’s health care cost issues.
The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association, in conjunction with a number of physician specialty organizations, have each released statements regarding proposals to help control health care costs by changing, even reducing payments to providers.
Several of the country’s largest health plans have recently issued reports or statements relating to health care reform. While the source needs to be considered in reading any discussion of health reform, these plans do have a significant body of experience regarding coverage, cost and quality issues and they retain formidable lobbying weight.