Focus on Health

Focus on Health

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On January 19, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Americans oppose the new health care law by a 50 percent to 40 percent margin. However, 13 percent of the opponents oppose it because it didn’t go far enough; only 35 percent oppose it because it goes too far.

Also on January 19, Towers Watson released a report on global medical trends. It finds that medical costs are rising faster than inflation in 95 percent of countries and the prime driver is the cost of new medical technologies.

On January 18, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that 129 million Americans have preexisting conditions that could deny them health insurance. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover such conditions, but Republicans are seeking to repeal the law, including this provision.

Also on January 18, Thompson Reuters released a poll in which 78 percent of doctors surveyed said they have a negative opinion of the Affordable Care Act.

On January 12, the National Cancer Institute released new data projecting that the cost of cancer treatment in the U.S. will rise to at least $158 billion in 2020 (in 2010 dollars) from $125 billion in 2010.

A January 11 report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute reviewed data on health savings accounts. In 2010, there was $7.7 billion in 5.7 million such accounts.

Also on January 11, the Urban Institute posted a study estimating the impact of the Affordable care Act on the states. On balance, they are expected to save between $41 billion and $132 billion between 2014 and 2019 because of net savings on Medicaid.

On January 10, Harvard economist David Cutler posted a paper which finds that repealing the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans propose to do, would slow job growth by 250,000 to 400,000 annually.

On January 7, Gallup reported that 46 percent of Americans favor repealing the Affordable Care Act, 40 percent favor keeping it and 14 percent don’t have an opinion. Note: other polls show that when people are questioned about the specific provisions of ACA, support rises significantly.

On January 6, House Speaker John Boehner’s office released a study that is highly critical of the Affordable Care Act. In a January 17 report, McClatchy found serious errors in the Republican analysis, as did the Associated Press in a January 18 report.

A January 5 report in the British Medical Journal alleges that a widely-cited 1998 study (retracted in 2010) that found a link between autism and vaccines was based on fraudulent research.

I last posted items on this topic on January 4.

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. 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, Imposter: 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.