Discover more from Mercatus on Healthcare
October 2022 Mercatus on Healthcare
Updates on healthcare research and commentary by the Mercatus Center's Open Health Project
The fall is upon us, with its yellowing trees, pumpkin spice lattes (which, science tells us, are in again this year), and open enrollment, of course. At Open Health, we strive to provide insights into how we pay for care, because it influences the quality, access, and cost of healthcare services. Right now, our team is taking a deep dive into the effects of the Medicaid expansion on original beneficiaries, with long-form research coming out in the coming few months. In the meantime, catch up on our latest publications below.
Bobbi Herzberg and Tad DeHaven documented the evolution of the tools of public health from narrow measures targeting communicable diseases to a nationwide eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic and traced back the scope creep to Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act of 1944. They then recommended that Congress undertake a review of the CDC’s actions during the COVID pandemic and consider tightening the language of Section 361.
Medicaid and CHIP: A tale of Two Funding Structures (blog post) by Kofi Ampaabeng and Liam Sigaud
Medicaid and CHIP both pay for the care of low-income Americans, but the former is open-ended while the latter has a fixed nationwide spending limit. This difference has implications for the fiscal sustainability of the programs, Kofi Ampaabeng and Liam Sigaud argued at Open Health Policy.
The Disappearance of Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending (blog post) by Liam Sigaud
Americans used to pay for the majority of healthcare services out of pocket. Today, out-of-pocket payments account for just 10% of all healthcare spending. Liam Sigaud detailed the ways in which this shift disconnects patients from the true cost of their care, encouraging higher spending and overutilization of services.
The Medicaid Cliff (blog post) by Liam Sigaud
Although eligibility thresholds for Medicaid vary from state to state, almost all beneficiaries face a steep “cliff” at which a small increase in income would make them ineligible for the program. Liam Sigaud proposed policy solutions that would make the consequences of losing Medicaid coverage less severe.
A Frustrating Experience (blog post) by Kofi Ampaabeng
What does one do when insurance denies coverage for their child’s medication? Kofi Ampaabeng shared about his experience and noted the difficulty faced by those wishing to pay cash for care.
The Ins and Outs of Prescription Drugs (radio clip) by Kofi Ampaabeng
Kofi Ampaabeng joined Joe Thomas on Freedom & Prosperity Radio to discuss how prescription drug laws are actually hurting patients instead of helping them and what we can be doing differently.
Importing Pharmaceuticals from Canada Will Not Lower Prices (blog post) by Justin Leventhal
A handful of states are seeking to import drugs from Canada, where they are sold for cheaper. But there isn’t enough supply to make a meaningful difference in prices stateside. Justin Leventhal presented evidence to that effect at Open Health Policy.
Nursing Work Force
The Benefits of Mobilizing Nurse Practitioners in Kansas (comment) by Ed Timmons
Responding to a proposed rule by the Kansas Board of Nursing, Ed Timmons argued that allowing nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their specialized training would improve patient access to care without increasing cost or sacrificing quality.