New: 83% of the public supports having the federal government negotiate drug prices, even after hearing arguments for and against the idea.

We didn't poll on baseball, motherhood, and apple pie, but I'm not sure they would score much higher.…
A big reason why the public overwhelmingly supports government negotiation of drug prices is that they don't buy the drug industry's arguments against it.

93% of people believe drug companies would still make enough to invest in research, even if prices in the U.S. were lower.
So much of the debate over the Build Back Better package has been on new spending and the overall price tag.

The provision that could prove to be among the most popular -- negotiation of drug prices -- saves money for both the government and patients.
As with any complex piece of legislation, government negotiation of drug prices would pose trade-offs.

Lower prices could mean fewer new drugs come to market. It's not clear which drugs those would be.

It could also mean better access for patients with more affordable costs.

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More from @larry_levitt

20 Sep
As sweeping as the Democrats' budget measure is, its goal in health care is to fill in gaps, not overhaul the system.

Cover poor people in 12 states not expanding Medicaid.

Expand community-based care.

Address ACA affordability.

Add dental, hearing, and vision to Medicare.
Filling in these health care gaps would be paid for primarily by negotiating drug prices in Medicare and limiting price increases to inflation.

While that would be a big deal, Medicare has for years controlled prices for hospital and physician care.
The more unprecedented part of the Democrats' health agenda is giving privately-insured patients access to government-negotiated drug prices. That's quite common in other countries, but does not happen here for drug prices or any other type of health care.
Read 4 tweets
10 Sep
Key details about the House plan to cover poor people in states not expanding Medicaid:

ACA marketplace coverage 2022-2024 with nominal cost-sharing.

Coverage in a new federal Medicaid plan starting in 2025.

States that drop the expansion have to continue paying their share.
Here are links to the proposed legislative language from the House Energy and Commerce Committee to cover poor people in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the ACA.…
There are 2.2 million poor adults with no health coverage because their states have not expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

Over half of them are in Texas and Florida.…
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep
Under President Biden's plan, we'll see vaccination required by many employers, health care institutions, and entertainment venues.

The unvaccinated will have fewer places to work and fewer places to go.
COVID vaccines are widely available and free to people whether they have insurance or not.

Now, under President Biden's plan, workers at businesses with 100+ employees will also get paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects.
It's sort of remarkable that your ability to work, attend many entertainment events, and go to certain restaurants and bars is still going to depend on proving vaccination using a flimsy, oddly-sized CDC card with no electronic verification.
Read 4 tweets
25 Aug
Delta Airlines will charge unvaccinated employees $200 per month extra for their health benefits. But, they are not mandating vaccination.

While insurers are prohibited from charging higher premiums to unvaccinated people, employers themselves can.…
Here's more information on what employers can do to require vaccination or use financial carrots or sticks to encourage it.…
A vaccine mandate means unvaccinated workers lose their jobs. A health insurance surcharge for unvaccinated workers is less coercive and likely less effective. It also opens up a hornet's nest of issues around whether people's behavior should affect what they pay for health care.
Read 6 tweets
9 Aug
If Democrats are able to accomplish all these goals in the budget resolution released today, it would be the biggest reform of the health care system since the Affordable Care Act passed more than a decade ago.…
The policy guidelines that accompany the budget resolution are not binding. It's up to Congressional committees to match expansions with new revenues and savings to solve a complex jigsaw puzzle that matches budget targets.
The cost of these health care expansions can be dialed up or down to fit within available revenues.

One key way to lower the budgetary cost of a health care expansion: Give it an expiration date.
Read 5 tweets
25 Jun
Every time I help a family member or friend enroll in Medicaid, I come away amazed at how many people actually manage to succeed in navigating the application process.

We focus a lot on eligibility for public benefits and not nearly enough on the complexity of accessing them.
7.3 million people are uninsured but eligible for Medicaid.

More outreach and help navigating the application process could no doubt reduce that number.…
In some cases, burdensome application processes for public benefits like Medicaid may simply reflect lack of thoughtful attention to the needs of applicants.

In other cases, it's a purposeful effort to reduce enrollment and costs.
Read 4 tweets

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