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What They Are Saying About Costs
What Editorials and News Outlets are Saying About Costs
The New York Times: “But at least when it comes to who is responsible for relentlessly rising
health care costs, that falls more on the hospitals, doctors and other providers who charge high prices and deliver more services than are medically necessary, and on the drug- and device-makers who push their most expensive products.” (The New York Times Editorial, “About those Premiums,” 6/22/10) The Health Care Blog: “Just a few weeks ago, the [Massachusetts] Attorney General issued a
report, after months of study, that explained that insurance price increases in the state were the result of two factors, the underlying increase in health care costs and a disparity of reimbursement rates that paid some providers substantially more than other providers.” (The Health Care Blog, “It‟s Easier to Beat up the Insurers,” 4/7/10) The New York Times: “Stated another way, 500 people would need to be treated with Crestor for a
year to avoid one usually survivable heart attack. Stroke numbers were similar…At $3.50 a pill, the cost of prescribing Crestor to 500 people for a year would be $638,000 to prevent one heart attack.” (The New York Times, “Risks Seen in Cholesterol Drug Use in Healthy People,” 3/30/10) Time Magazine (Time magazine, “What Will It Cost?,” 3/25/10)
o Contrary to the rhetoric that has permeated the reform debate, insurance rates in most cases
are rising steadily not because of price gouging but rather because underlying health care costs are increasing at an unsustainable and possibly unstoppable rate.” o “Unlike plans to expand coverage and end discrimination against the sick, there‟s no proven strategy in the reform bill - or anywhere else, for that matter - guaranteed to fix the most daunting problem in U.S. health care: medical costs that are rising at twice the rate of inflation o “Despite the demonization of the health insurance industry - some of it deserved - the business operates on a simple principle: collect enough premium dollars to cover overhead and claims plus, in the case of commercial insurers, earn a profit margin of 3% to 6%.” o “Slowing the rate of increase is the only solution to a health care crisis that is still looming. On its own, the law does not necessarily do that. The reform‟s ultimate success will hinge on whether it can transform an industry that now rewards volume and accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy to one that pays for results.” San Diego Union-Tribune: “Another factor that has barely been debated is also sure to inflate
premium costs…because the annual fine for refusing to buy health insurance is only up to $750 or 2 percent of income, whichever is greater, millions of Americans would pass on coverage, aware they could readily get insurance if facing a major medical problem. This „free riding‟ means honest citizens would have to pick up the tab for those who game the system.” (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10) USA Today: “As the debate reaches the endgame, here are five ways the final product could be
better: -- Go after costs. The biggest void in the legislation is any major effort to control medical inflation…” (USA Toda/16/10) The Wall Street Journal: “Above all other reasons, voters who oppose ObamaCare cite their fear
over costs: They think it will cause their insurance premiums to soar and result in far higher taxes to fund a vast new entitlement.” (The Wall Street Journal 03/13/10) BusinessWeek: “California‟s hospital fees surged 10.6 percent annually from 1999 to 2005, twice
the national average, as the state‟s biggest hospital networks began to demand higher rates from insurance companies, according to the report released today.” (BusinessWeek, “Hospital Clout Spurs Higher California Health Costs,” 2/25/10) Christian Science Monitor: “Insurance companies are easy political targets but they are not the
main drivers of medical inflation. The causes are more fundamental, from Americans living longer to ever more costly medical procedures to too few incentives for consumers to control costs. Those issues need to be addressed first before taking an expensive leap into making sure the uninsured are insured.” (Christian Science Monitor, “Obama health care plan: He needs to cut medical costs first,” 02/22/10) Los Angeles Times: “The unfortunate reality in healthcare reform is that there is no quick fix to
reducing premiums or even bringing their growth into line with inflation. The ever-increasing cost of insurance reflects the incessant growth in healthcare spending. And the solution is to reduce the supply of money for healthcare, lower the demand for medical services, or do both.” (Los Angeles Times, “Editorial: Back to the drawing board,” 02/08/10) Ruth Marcus, Washington Post:
o “Setting that aside, the argument by Dean and his fellow public-planners is that only with a government-run insurance plan alongside private insurers will there be a mechanism to ensure competition and keep down costs. But premium increases are driven in significant part by the rising price of underlying goods and services.” (Washington Post Op-Ed, “Has Howard Dean lost his mind,” 12/16/2009) o “Consolidation among hospitals has reduced insurers‟ ability to bargain for better prices. Pharmaceutical makers are far more profitable than insurers -- and the wholesale price of brand-name prescription drugs has risen by 9 percent in the past year.” (Washington Post Op-Ed, “Has Howard Dean lost his mind,” 12/16/2009) o “The administration‟s dual selling points for health reform were that it would simultaneously expand coverage and bend the inexorably rising curve of spending. The first part is important, and easy to do. The second is arguably more important, and excruciatingly difficult to achieve.” (Washington Post Op-Ed, “Health Outlays Will Require Keen Oversight,” 12/15/2009) o “The trend line for spending growth under health reform at the end of the decade is rising, and the gap between spending increases with and without health reform is narrowing.” (Washington Post Op-Ed, “Health Outlays Will Require Keen Oversight,” 12/15/2009) o “Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner has usefully proposed expanding the board‟s mandate to include recommendations for controlling private-sector health costs — though these, unlike the Medicare proposals, would not have a fast track to congressional approval.” (Washington Post Op-Ed, “Health Outlays Will Require Keen Oversight,” 12/15/2009) o “An inescapable lesson of the health reform debate is how difficult it is to change just one part of the system; squeeze Medicare, for example, and costs shift elsewhere, cuts are undone, access is reduced. Lawmakers should embrace the Warner proposal and beef it up to give the board real power, not just the ability to make suggestions that sit on a shelf. It could set spending targets, report on what sectors of the industry are failing to contain costs — and, if all else fails, propose steps to get costs under control.” (Washington Post Op-Ed, “Health Outlays Will Require Keen Oversight,” 12/15/2009)

Source: http://www.ahipcoverage.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/V.-WTAS-Underlying-Costs-Editorial-and-News-Outlets.pdf

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