Focus on Health

Focus on Health

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A June 23 Bloomberg poll found that 49 percent of Americans are afraid that if Republicans get complete control of Congress and the White House they will slash Medicare and Medicaid. It also found that by a 62 percent to 35 percent margin, people think the Affordable Care Act should not be repealed. And by a 57 percent to 34 percent margin, people believe they would be worse off under the Republican plan to privatize Medicare.

On June 22, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the financial condition of the Medicare system.

On June 21, Medicare’s actuaries released a memorandum estimating that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would increase Medicare’s long-term deficit by 3.89 percent of taxable payroll, which would require an increase in the Medicare tax rate from 2.9 percent to 6.79 percent. Alternatively, benefits would have to be cut by 53 percent.

A June 21 report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that over the last 10 years the percentage of workers with employer-provided health insurance fell from 69 percent to 61 percent.

Also on June 21, the Urban Institute published a study which found that the Affordable Care Act will substantially reduce health care costs for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

On June 15, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation published a report on recent changes in life expectancy at the county level. It shows a large and growing disparity in many counties.

On June 14, the Congressional Budget Office published a report on the sharp cut in doctors’ payments by Medicare that will take effect next year under current law. It suggests options for mitigating the impact.

A June 13 Harris poll found little support for the Republican plan to privatize Medicare.

An April 13 paper by Princeton economists Alan Krueger and Ilyana Kuziemko found that a the price of private health insurance is a key barrier to obtaining such insurance by the uninsured, and that modest subsidies would greatly increase health coverage.

I last posted items on this topic on June 14.

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.