October 24, 2014

Health Care Blogging

Health Care reform is moving quite quickly on the Hill and it is almost impossible to keep up with all of the developments in Congress and all of the great reporting in the media on what is needed for fiscally responsible health care reform. So, over the next 90 days as health care dominates the political agenda, we are going to try to briefly highlight developments as they occur by linking to other sources and throwing in Concord material as it is published.

The links brought to you today cover the fundamental cost control issues being discussed (or unfortunately not discussed) as legislation makes its way through the House and Senate Committees.

  • The big news today, as reported in The Washington Post, CNN and elsewhere, is that CBO director Elmendorf testified in front of the Senate Budget Committee and proclaimed that the legislative developments he has seen (the House bill and the Senate's HELP committee bill) seem to "significantly expand the federal responsibility for health-care costs," without proposing "the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount." 
  • Another Washington Post article from this morning lays out some important steps we can take through Medicare to bend the curve.
  • A unique New York Times article explores how the country might ultimately "ration" health care, the math that might be involved and how other countries do it. It also points out that we ration care already -- just not in any reasonable way that can control costs.
  • Blogger Ezra Klein lays out some helpful rules for those who want to criticize legislation for failing to meet CBO's test for "bending the curve" of long-term health care cost growth. 
  • Columnist Steven Pearlstein has a great column on the need for leadership in the reform debate, especially on the issue of paying for reform and changing the tax preference for employer provided health insurance.
  • And finally, I will close with an "oldie, but goodie." In case you haven't read it yet, here is the seminal New Yorker article by Atul Gawande that has become required reading for everyone involved in the health care reform debate, which attempts to explain how and why Medicare spends so much more in some regions in the country than others without any effect on the quality of health outcomes.