Focus on Health

Focus on Health

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On November 3, Brookings Institution economist Henry Aaron published a commentary on the implications of the election for the future of health care reform. He thinks the odds of repeal are small, but fears that meager appropriations for implementation may ensure that provisions that would have worked will not be allowed to.

Also on November 3, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that reimbursements to doctors for Medicare services would be cut by 21 percent on December 1 and another 4 percent on January 1. These cuts are required by a 1997 law that has been repeatedly postponed by Congress.

And on November 3, Republican pollster Bill McInturff posted survey data showing that opposition to health care reform was a key factor in the Republican congressional victory.

In an October 28 commentary, Urban Institute economist Eugene Steuerle says that while the Affordable Care Act has improved the health system in many ways, there are still serious problems left to fix.

An article posted on October 26 in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that lower income households spent a significantly higher percentage of their food budgets on sugary drinks than higher income households.

On October 25, New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle published a commentary discussing the role of salt in hypertension. Although it has long been thought that high salt intake was a major factor in the rise of hypertension, recent research finds that there has been no increase in salt consumption over the last 50 years even as the incidence of hypertension has risen.

Also on October 25, the Bureau of Labor Statistics posted a study of consumer-directed health plans, which employers are increasingly likely to adopt because they are cheaper.

On October 22, the Congressional Budget Office published a summary of the economic effects of the Affordable Care Act.

In an October 21 commentary, MIT economist Jon Gruber addresses the question of whether the Affordable Care Act will encourage businesses to drop their health coverage. He notes that employers have been dropping coverage for years and thinks that ACA will more likely encourage them to retain coverage.

I last posted items on this topic on October 21.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here . Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.