1-Repealing the unpopular mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance or else pay a financial penalty (which millions chose to do) is still part of the new tax bill being worked on in committee now. The CBO originally projected that this would save about $330 plus billion over a decade (a good thing). However, the CBO also predicted that this could result in thirteen million fewer people having health insurance a decade from now. In addition, it could cause insurance premiums to go up by as much as 10% (not good things).
2-The out of pocket expenses for healthcare went up 3.9% this past year, the highest since 2007. Though healthcare spending overall did increase, it did increase at a lesser rate than in the past. It is close to one-fifth of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) at 17.9%.
3-The amount of people signing up for the ACA exchanges got off to a good start but has slowed down quite a lot this past week and unless there is a dramatic change in this coming week, there will be millions less insured through the exchanges this year, which could cause monthly premiums to increase also.
4-Speaker Ryan spoke of getting back to dealing with entitlement reform in 2018 which would probably mean looking into changes to Medicare and Medicaid as far as healthcare spending is concerned. He wants to have more choices and competition in healthcare to help bring down healthcare spending.
5-CVS, the large pharmacy company is going to buy the Aetna health insurance company. UnitedHealth Group is going to buy about three hundred healthcare clinics from DaVita Medical Group. These are companies in the healthcare field that are trying to find new ways to cut down on rising healthcare costs.
It remains to be seen what affect all of these different stories will have on healthcare in the near and far future. However, they all deal with the problems we have as a nation with increasing healthcare costs and trying to provide quality, affordable healthcare for all. While these are serious concerns, they are the results of the problem and not the cause. Until we identify the actual cause and doing something to fix it, we will never get healthcare costs and spending under control.
In Restoring “Health” To Healthcare-The Only Path To Ending Our Healthcare Crisis, I identify this cause and put forth a simple, uncomplicated plan to do just that.