Different Takes: Just Why Do Americans Have Better Hearts And Lower Medical Bills?; Understanding Costs Of Care Is Mind Boggling
Editorial pages focus on these and other aspects surrounding the costs of health care.
The Washington Post:
Americans Have Healthier Hearts. We Have A Healthier Budget, Too.
Thanks to preventive medicine, older Americans have healthier hearts. Which also means, incidentally, that federal budgets are healthier, too. At the turn of the millennium, health spending growth was spiraling out of control. Economists projected that the already ginormous health-care sector would soon gobble up monster portions of the federal budget and the entire economy. But something strange happened over the past decade and a half. (Catherine Rampell, 2/7)
The Wall Street Journal:
Why The Cost Of Health Care Is So Hard To Understand–And What To Do About It
Your 10-year-old car is a wreck. It’s time for new wheels. At the dealership, you find the model and color you want. You then look for the sticker price, but there isn’t one. Instead, a salesman hands you a binder about five inches thick, filled with thousands of pages of microscopic print. It’s an endless list of parts and prices: alternators, brake pads, floor mats, tailpipes, sunroofs, catalytic converters, tires, mufflers and more. Which ones do you need? Which are even in the car you’re buying? (David Blumenthal, 2/7)
Secrecy In Medicare Advantage Plans Can Lead To Fraud
Over the last two decades, federal and state governments have dramatically increased their payments to private health care companies that manage Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed care plans, now paying them around $400 billion a year. For the more than 20 million Americans enrolled in one of these plans, these companies function as the control center for payment decisions, receiving payments from the government and making payments to providers. Although these companies take in a tremendous amount of taxpayer money, and have immense power regarding how to distribute these funds, a cloud of secrecy shields from public view their financial operations and profitability. (Jeanne A. Markey and Raymond M. Sarola, 2/8)
New England Journal of Medicine:
A Step Toward Protecting Payments For Primary Care
A proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would revise evaluation-and-management payments but would maintain features of the current system for assigning relative value units to services that have exacerbated distortions in payment. (Bruce E. Landon, 2/7)