November 6, 2020
Next Steps –– Issue #106

We will continue to advance patient freedom in health care, whatever outcome the election eventually produces.  Our newly released Health Care Choices 2020 proposal contains a wealth of recommendations—many of which could garner bipartisan support—to do just that.
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American Action Forum president Doug Holtz-Eakin wrote in his daily newsletter this week that  the Consensus Group’s proposal “is a valuable contribution to the debate over what should be the next steps in providing expanded coverage, cost control, and quality care.”

The AAF’s Center for Health and the Economy used its microsimulation capabilities to analyze the impact of replacing the Affordable Care Act with our approach, detailed in the report by Christopher Holt and Doug: 
  • Health Costs: Premiums for benchmark Silver plans would fall by up to 24% “consistent with public’s desire to address the cost of health care.”
  • Coverage Impact: The reduction in premiums makes purchasing health insurance more attractive and, as a result, nearly 4 million more people would purchase insurance by 2030.  Importantly they would be enrolling in private coverage versus public insurance.
  • Medical Productivity Index: The Proposal would begin to “bend the cost curve” but in the right way, with a 17% percent increase in the medical productivity index by 2030. That means it provides incentives for medical providers to provide lower cost, quality care.  (So much better than problematic government edicts to bully doctors into following their rules.)
  • Provider Access Index: The Proposal also increases patient access to doctors and hospitals by 8%, moving in the right direction from ultra-narrow networks that restrict patient access to the health care providers of their choice.
  • Budget Impact: The Health Care Choices 2020 Proposal would decrease federal spending by $36 billion from 2022 to 2030. Of course, the whole point was to spend (essentially) the same money differently. Mission accomplished.
I highly recommend you subscribe to AAF’s free newsletter, The Daily Dish.  It’s short, insightful, and covers a broad range of topics, with the sharp analysis befitting a former Congressional Budget Office director—Doug’s job before founding AAF.

Do No Harm:  In the near term, we are working to make sure policymakers respect the physicians’ creed to Do No Harm in their responses to an increase in reported Covid-19 cases.

But too many governors and local officials are threatening more harmful lockdowns and restrictions.

I wrote about this in an article for The Hill this week, arguing that “A new round of lockdowns would be a terrible mistake.”

Some states and localities are reversing phased openings of their economies and threatening harsh new restrictions. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is requiring travelers to New York from outside the tri-state area to show proof of a negative test taken within three days of arriving, to quarantine for three more days, then get a new COVID-19 test on the fourth before they are “free to go about their business.” Illinois just banned indoor dining and drinking in Chicago. San Francisco and other localities are blocking reopenings.

We know much more about managing and treating patients since the pandemic hit last winter, with dramatic reductions in death rates. At one New York hospital system where 30 percent of coronavirus patients died in March, the death rate had dropped to 3 percent by the end of June.

We also now know much more about the secondary harm that lockdowns cause. And it is significant. The evidence is mounting that lockdowns present their own dangers to public health, with crippling and even deadly results.  Severe limits on in-class learning are especially harmful to children and virtually useless in stopping the spread of the virus.

Here’s the full article in The Hill…
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