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Policy, Regulation and Healthcare Reform


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2016 National Health Costs at $10,348 per person (est.)  Editor's Pick

Health spending increased 4.3% in 2016 to a level of $10,348 per capita (per person), representing 17.9 percent of GDP, $3.3 trillion. Which means every man, woman and child spent on average $28 EACH DAY (either through insurance, out-of-pocket costs or taxes) to pay for America's healthcare. Medicare spending grew 3.6%, Medicaid growth finally slowed to 3.9%; private insurance was up 5.1%. Out of pocket grew 3.9%. Includes nursing home and drug costs. CMS data

Employment and Health Insurance Coverage, 2010

Detailed look at sources of health insurance and characteristics of the Uninsured, for people under age 65, based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS). About 69% of workers age 18-64 (60% of adults ages 18-64) had employment-based insurance. More than one-third of workers in private sector companies with fewer than 10 employees, were uninsured. The rate of workers in companies of 10 to 49 employees, and self-employed people without health insurance was 28%. Self-employed workers had the highest rate of purchasing health insurance themselves (21.7%), compared to 5% of those in firms of 1000 or more workers. Public sector workers had the best rate of employment-based coverage (85%), with 6% purchasing their own insurance. EBRI Issue Brief No. 362, published September 2011

MEDICARE TRUSTEES 2017 Report - hospital fund runs out of money in 2029

July 2017 report by CMS discusses the state of the Medicare Trust funds - a $679 billion program for 56.8 million people in 2016. Medicare expenditures alone are estimated at 3.6% of gross domestic product (2016). The depletion of the hospital trust fund is projected occur by 2029. In 2016, the average benefit per enrollee was $12,829.

NFIB Small Business Priorities Survey Results Aug. 2016

Survey from National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB Research Foundation) identified cost of health insurance as the number one concern of small businesses. It has reportedly shown cost of health insurance at the top of the list for 30 years. Data from Jan.-April 2016 mail survey; 2831 respondents (14% response rate). Most respondents have fewer than 10 employees.

Obama Health Reform Affordable Care Act (archived)

Archived for the record of the Affordable Care Act during President Obama's terms. Although health reform plans called for a slowing in the rate of GROWTH of annual healthcare spending. it contrasted with the bold campaign promise of actually lowering spending. A 2008 Campaign quote: [Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year. If you donít have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options]. Those who experienced cost reductions likely were getting income-related federal subsidies. During Obama's tenure, the percent uninsured was reduced by about 44%.

States in Action - New State Initiatives in Healthcare

The Commonwealth Fund tracks and reports on state-level developments relative to health reform, controlling Medicaid costs, changes in health policy, transparency in health care and quality improvement

Other Helpful Listings

CBO Analysis of Roadmap for America's Future 2010

Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the Roadmap for America's Future Act of 2010 is contained in Jan. 27, 2010 letter to Rep. Paul Ryan. The Roadmap reportedly reduces Social Security benefits for individuals who are (in 2010) about 54 or younger, and would change Medicare to a voucher system to purchase private health insurance beginning in 2021. While policy has changed as of 2017, many of the principles in this 2010 analysis are still in play.

Cost-Shifting adds $1788 to health insurance cost for family of four (Study)

Study by Milliman released December 2008 shows that cost-shifting from Medicare and Medicaid underpayments accounted for about 15% of the amount paid for hospital and physician costs for privately insured people. Premiums paid through employer-provided insurance were estimated to be 10.6% higher due to the cost-shifting. Study uses 2006 and 2007 data; commissioned by the AHA, AHIP and Blue Cross Blue Shield Assn/Premera Blue Cross

Covering Health Issues - for journalists (pdf)

Covering Health Issues is a large document from the nonprofit Alliance for Health Reform that provides baseline information on a wide variety of healthcare issues, including long term care, mental health. Written with reporters and journalists in mind; 220 pages; 2011, with portions updated 2012

Estimates of Uninsured in Each County, US Census Bureau  Editor's Pick

Estimates of the number and percent uninsured under age 65, by state and county for 2015, provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) released 2017. Once you've located your counties of interest, click on TABLE to see the actual numbers and recent trends. Remember 2014 was the first year subsidized insurance was available on the health insurance exchange

Factors Affecting Rising Health Insurance Premiums 2016-2017

A report prepared by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) addresses causes for increased premium costs for individual plans on the Insurance Exchange for 2017. Published May 2016

Long-Term Uninsured, People under Age 65 (Dec. 2014 pdf)

Using MEPS data, the largest segments of US population without health insurance for 4 years (2009-2012) include Hispanics (18.5% of the under-65 population, but 42.2% of the 4-year uninsured); the Poor Income group (17.5% of population, but 27.2% of long-term uninsured); those in Fair/Poor Health (11.1% compared to those in Excellent Health at 6.1%) and 25-29 year olds (15.8% rate). Note, this is before the ACA expanded coverage occurred in 2014. AHRQ Statistical Brief #464, Dec. 2014

Medical Technology and Growth in Healthcare Costs - CBO, 2008 (pdf)  Editor's Pick

Technology-related changes in medical practice are estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to account for about half of the long-term growth in health care spending. CBO pub. 2764 [Technological Change and the Growth of Health Care Spending] released January 2008 also discusses the contribution to rising costs from population aging, health insurance, rising personal income, price increases, defensive medicine and more. Also shows the 75-year forecast for health spending to reach 49% of GDP at the rate we're going in the US

MIB - Consumer - Request Your Record shared by health insurance companies  Editor's Pick

If you have applied for individually underwritten life, health, or disability insurance during the last 7 years, MIB may have a record on you. Call toll-free 1-866-692-6901 to get a copy of your record (automated system takes about 5 minutes). Formerly known as the Medical Insurance Bureau, MIB is an association of life insurance companies providing information and database management services to the financial services industry

Private Health Insurance (Denial of Coverage) 2012 policy archive

See Health Systems tutorial on Private Health Insurance which uses 23 powerpoint slides and audio presentation to walk consumers through the basics. Our favorite is slide #13, which gives examples of Health Conditions Denied by Individual Market Insurers (such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Pregnancy, and stroke). Let the truth be known. KaiserEDU's tutorials (from the Kaiser Family Foundation) are multimedia presentations on health policy issues, research methodology or the workings of government. Last updated 2012; ARCHIVED only

Tobacco Lobbying Spending, 2010-2011  Editor's Pick

The Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org) has identified $16.7 million spent lobbying by the tobacco industry in 2010. Altria spent over $10 million of it. See who else contributed those monies, and where the $13 million year to date 2011 is coming from

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