Good morning, friends, and happy Friday! Welcome to the weekend!
On a less inspiring note, Obamacare.
PwC’s Health Research Institute recently released a report titled “Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers 2017” in which analysts project a 6.5 percent growth rate for medical costs next year.
Their estimates run parallel to increases in health spending. Late last year, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that health spending grew by 5.3 percent in 2014. The average health spending inflation rate grew at 3.7 percent between 2008 and 2013. An economist associated with the Office of the Actuary attributed the increase to Obamacare and prescription drugs.
Further, the American people are facing double-digit increases in health care premiums. Kaiser Health News reports, “Next year’s premiums for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act could rise more than in past years in most markets and declines might be rare.” An insurer in Colorado seeks a 34.6 percent premium increase, and the largest insurer in Texas wants to increase its premiums by nearly 60 percent.
So much for affordable.
After six years since Obamacare was imposed on them, Americans deserve a better way forward for health care reform.
As Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, wrote earlier this week in USA TODAY, “We need a new 21st century health care system that is affordable and flexible enough to move with us as we move through life – no matter our age or circumstance.”
Fortunately, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Republicans outlined a blueprint for just that earlier this week. Their plan provides for more choices and lower costs. Their plan empowers consumers, allowing the American people to choose the care that works best for them. Their plan increases the purchasing power of individuals by permitting them to pool together to negotiate lower prices with insurers. Their plan opens the insurance marketplace so that individuals may purchase plans licensed in different states. Their plan preserves employer-based insurance and ensures low premiums.
Learn more about Speaker Ryan and House Republicans’ plan here. To learn about conservative reform approaches to health care reform, check out Grace-Marie Turner’s book on consumer-centered health reforms (here) and Neil Bradley’s piece on how the Medicare prescription drug program can guide health care reform (here).
These ideas will help contain health care costs, provide the American people with an improved system for care, and protect the critical doctor-patient relationship.