My take on American Patients First

In broad strokes, the American Patients First plan aims to lower list prices, lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs while maintaining incentives for innovation.   In short, this is a sensible strategy, although there are some concerns about how more restrictive formulary designs could restrict consumer choice. American Patients First in brief To maintain manufacturers incentives to innovate,…

Obamacare premiums rose 32% in 2018

Between 2017 and 2018, premiums Obamacare health insurance plans plans rose by 32%.  To be more specific, the Urban Institute reports that: The national average increase was 32.0 percent for the lowest-priced silver plans and 19.1 percent for gold plans, but the increases varied by states…State changes in average lowest-priced silver premiums ranged from a 22.5…

The costs of quality reporting

Provider pay-for-performance initiatives aim to increase reimbursement to physicians and others who provide high-quality, low-cost care to patients. Medicare has two main programs for physicians to ahcieve these goals: (i) the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and (ii) the Alternative Payment Models (APM).  MIPS measures cost and quality for smaller physicians groups whereas APM requires…

Does episode-based payment reduce cost?

That is the question that Carroll and co-authors try to answer in their latest NBER working paper (WP #23926).  They examine the Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative (APII), which is a state-wide, multi-payer episode-based program.  Unlike most episode-based payment (EBP) models, provider participation  in the program was mandatory (as of 2013).  NBER summarizes the program…

How did the Affordable Care Act affect the U.S. labor supply?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aimed to increase health insurance coverage largely through two pathways: (i) raising the income limits for individuals to qualify for Medicaid, (ii) creating new health insurance exchanges and health insurance subsidies to encourage the purchase of private health insurance among individuals that were not eligible for Medicaid.  Other provisions, such…

Progress on Obamacare Sign-ups

According to the N.Y. Times: Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to scale back the health law, about 300,000 more people have signed up for health insurance in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces in the first weeks of this enrollment period than last year. This is about a 25% increase from last year at this time.  However,…