Back to Basics: Single Payer & Medicare-for-All

Estimates from the Urban Institute project that in 2020, the federal government will spend $732 billion on Medicare, $464 billion on Medicaid and CHIP, $60.4 billion on the health insurance marketplaces, and $27.5 billion to hospitals for uncompensated care. Households will spend $931 billion, employers will spend $955 billion, state governments will spend $285 billion on Medicaid and CHIP and $17.2 billion for uncompensated care, and providers will spend $24.1 billion.

We’re talking about an insane amount of money – honestly seems like Monopoly money to me.

Reigning in healthcare spending has to be a policy priority, it’s simply unsustainable. Medicare-for-All would shift most of the spending to the federal government, to the tune of $34 trillion over a decade.

Continue reading “Back to Basics: Single Payer & Medicare-for-All”

Congressional Committees with Health Care Jurisdiction

Health care is such a massive topic that it takes more than one Congressional committee to handle all the health-related legislation. It’s important to know which committee a bill will be referred to for any advocacy work! Speaking with committee members should be a priority.

Once a bill is introduced in the House or the Senate, it is referred to the committee with jurisdiction over the topic or program addressed in the bill. Committees then refer it to the appropriate subcommittee and conduct an evaluation of the proposed legislation. Let’s take a look at what is under the jurisdiction of the major health care committees on both sides of Capitol Hill.

Continue reading “Congressional Committees with Health Care Jurisdiction”

Tap Dance Dreams & ACA Open Enrollment

Happy Monday!! I always enjoy the early morning sunshine after we “fall back” but boy do I hate the darkness at 6pm. I am usually an early morning studier but with an exam coming up on Wednesday, I was at it later than usual yesterday. As soon as I realized it was pitch black out, it felt like my brain turned off. So I watched the magnificent PBS broadcast of 42nd Street and did some light studying. I don’t know how I’ve never seen 42nd Street before but I AM OBSESSED.

I actually learned how to tap dance a few years ago and for one of our performances (yes, we had performances and no I won’t share the video!) we learned the opening to 42nd Street. But to see it done by professionals, holy smokes, the tapping in this show out of the stratosphere incredible! I was literally on the edge of my seat watching it. There’s a pretty good chance (like approaching 100%) that I will watch it again this week, but I’m going to do my *best* to wait until after my exam.

And since it is Monday, I think it’s time for a little MPH Monday lesson. It’s the perfect time to talk about open enrollment for 2020 ACA Marketplace health insurance, which began on Friday, November 1 and will end on Sunday, December 15th.

Continue reading “Tap Dance Dreams & ACA Open Enrollment”

This Week in Health Policy #9

This Week in Health Policy #9

This week has been a mixture of watching lectures, reviewing material for the 100th time, and having a few “ah-ha” moments, which are always oh so welcome! I’m a week into renal (allllll about the kidney) and it’s HARD. So much movement of salt and water and lots of other little molecules in such a balanced little dance. I also had another standardized patient this week focused on motivational interviewing (MI), a technique to assess and help patients regarding behavior changes like smoking cessation or weight loss. No matter what specialty I go into, I know it will come in handy! One area I hope to use MI in the future is persuading parents (and kids!) to have healthy eating habits, especially cutting down on soda and juice. What we eat and how policy impacts our food was a serious driver for my graduate work – and I love sharing ongoing work in this area!

The food industry is hooking kids on sugar through sweetened drinks.

A ban on sugary drinks in a California hospital led to health improvements for employees.

Instead of implementing Medicaid work requirements (which are onerous and don’t work!), Pennsylvania is connecting interested folks to employment training programs upon Medicaid enrollment. [States currently seeking to implement work requirements would require proof of employment to remain insured on Medicaid. It has not gone well in Arkansas.]

Continue reading “This Week in Health Policy #9”

This Week in Health Policy #8

This Week in Health Policy #8

There is nothing I love more than sitting in my bed with a steaming hot mug of coffee and reading the news. I usually put on some classical music from NPR’s WETA and lose track of time. It wasn’t in the cards for me this week to spend more than 30 minutes a day on the news (except for Sunday!) but I still think I’ve got a pretty diverse and interesting health policy round-up for you today!

The Annals of Internal Medicine published new guidelines indicating that there is not enough evidence to support cutting back on meat consumption, but there’s much more to the story.

Accountable care organizations (ACO’s) experience continued but slow growth after changes to the Medicare ACO program.

Continue reading “This Week in Health Policy #8”

Access to Health Care Isn’t Enough

Access to Health Care Isn’t Enough

We’re well into the 2020 presidential election cycle and there are a lot of health care proposals floating around. Most of them want to increase access to insurance and some have a plan to reduce the cost of care. But unfortunately, universal access to health insurance does not equate to health equity or better health outcomes. Health care systems are designed to handle individual medical needs, not the most critical causes of poor health – socioeconomic factors. In the United States, the development and provision of health care has fundamentally misunderstood what health is and what it requires.

A 2017 study in Health Affairs conveyed that the U.S. has one of the largest income-based health disparities in the world. Among the poorest third of Americans in the study, 38.2 percent reported being in “fair or poor health,” compared with 12.3 percent of the richest third. Most of the nations studied had an income-based health disparity, with the exception of Japan and Switzerland.

Continue reading “Access to Health Care Isn’t Enough”

This Week in Health Policy #7

This Week in Health Policy #7

There is just something overwhelming about reading the news these days. I haven’t been spending as much time keeping up and its freed up more brain space (and stress) for school. If it’s not one thing, it’s another?

The health policy world isn’t slowing down just because I have to study. And honestly, there’s so much going on!! Here are just a few of the stories I’ve been following this week.

Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise – according to the CDC, nearly 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and other STDs were reported in 2018.

As America’s population ages and demand outpaces supply, a physician shortage will intensify.

A federal appeals court isn’t sold on the Administration’s enthusiasm for letting states compel some poor people to work or engage in job training in exchange for health insurance.

Continue reading “This Week in Health Policy #7”