Although we have already passed the 100 day mark since Donald Trump took office, this will be my first time hosting the Health Wonk Review. In this Trump-themed edition, we take the man at his word. We not only identify some of the best health care posts on the internet, but we also organize them based on some of Donald Trump’s most well-known health care related comments.
“Repeal and Replace”
- Whatever new legislation comes to replace the Affordable Care Act–such as the proposed American Health Care Act–any new policies and regulations must make sure to have patient outcomes and patient values at their core. This is the argument made by Alan Balch and Darius Lakdawalla in their post in the Health Affairs blog. They write that “If our goal is to create a well-functioning and competitive market for insurance, that too will revolve around patient perspectives. Firms succeed in competitive markets when they best meet the needs of their customers. Therefore, if health insurance reform succeeds in building more competitive markets in which consumers can directly choose from an array of options, payers will view patient preference as more salient to their own business decisions.”
“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good”
- Trump defunded the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Joe Paduda of Managed care reaction is a blog piece titled ‘Trump de-funds Drug Policy Office…WTF!‘. He writes “30,000 dead people, thousands of devastated communities, huge societal costs, dead moms and kids and drug-addicted newborns, fentanyl and elephant tranquilizers coming in from China and he de-funds ONDCP?!”
“Obamacare is collapsing, and we must act decisively to protect all Americans”
- Here, Trump may be right. Obamcare markets are unraveling. InsureBlog‘s Mike Feehan explores the implications of Aetna’s planned exit from the individual health insurance market. Is the blocked merger with Humana to blame for Aetna’s exit? Read and find out.
“We’re going to save billions of dollars”
- One of the reasons why drug prices are high is the federal government’s 340B drug pricing program. In fact, Tom Adam Fein of Drug Channels participated in one of HHS Secretary Tom Price’s listening sessions. His recent blog post highlights four ways that the 340B Drug Pricing Program is raising drug costs. He then shares the recommendations he gave HHS for improving the program by addressing the widespread channel distortions the program has caused.
- America is one of only two countries in the world that allow Direct To Consumer drug advertising. Is this a good thing? On the one hand patients are informed of new treatment that could benefit them. On the other hand, physicians may feel pressured to prescribe treatments that may not be necessary in order to please their patients. Tom Lynch examines the impact of direct to consumer advertising in his post Pharma’s Nine Words at Workers’ Comp Insider, and even captures reader reactions to the article.
“Drain the swamp”
- Donald Trump campaigned that he would get rid of lobbyists in Washington. It seems like the opposite has happened. Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal provides a wrap-up of another slew of appointments of industry insiders to important US government positions that have great influence on health and health care. The appointments included industry lobbyists and former health care corporate CEOs.
“Stop experimenting with Americans’ health”
- This quotation actually came from Tom Price, the current Secretary for Health and Human Services in the Trump administration. The comment was made in reference to new bundled payment and value-based purchasing initiatives by Medicare’s Innovation center (CMMI). While bundled payments to providers are likely to reduce cost, it is unclear whether they will be able to improve patient outcomes. In my recent post at Healthcare Economist, I identify five key barriers that bundled payments schemes must overcome for their implementation to both reduce cost and improve patient outcomes.
Note: The post title echoes President Trump’s quotation “I will build a great wall . . . and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.”