5 Things That Happened in Health Policy This Week is produced by a mix of research assistants from the Healthcare Quality & Outcomes (HQO) Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In each edition we feature a variety of news articles, reports, and studies focused on U.S. health policy and health services research.
Today’s “post-election” edition is a little different. We’ve curated a number of articles (plus a podcast) that offer unique insight into what direction health policy may be moving over the next four years.
If you’d like to stay up to date with weekly digests from the HQO team, you can subscribe here. (Note: this will not subscribe you to updates from The Incidental Economist.)
Repeal and Delay: The Republican Plan to Destroy Obamacare (NY Mag, 11/16)
Jonathan Chait is skeptical that a Republican compromise on repeal-replace with Democrats will work. Instead, he argues, that Republicans will take a “repeal-and-delay” approach, giving themselves a 2-year time period to come up with a replacement.
Sarah Kliff reviews the existing Republican “replace” plans on the table, given the lack of agreement on the right path forward. Key differences to be resolved will include whether to move on total or partial repeal of the ACA, and how to deal with the specter of employer sponsored insurance.
What Might a Minimum Replacement Plan Look Like. (TIE, 11/11)
Adrianna identifies some broad key elements of what a Republican repeal-replace plan will likely include. The options span the gamut of replacing the individual mandate to block-granting Medicaid.
Austin thinks through possible GOP action on Medicare. While premium support has long been a policy favorite on the right, Austin argues that simply modifying Medicare Advantage payment rates can erode traditional Medicare on its own.
Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young write that beyond the ACA, “[t]he health care safety net as we know it could be bound for extinction.” Cohn and Young are skeptical that the traditional GOP approaches to Medicare and Medicaid reform – premium support and block grants, respectively – would keep the program viable for future generations.
Avik Roy argues that, contrary to president-elect Trump’s views, repealing and replacing the ACA will be a difficult road for the GOP. With partial repeal possible in 2017, Roy argues that the “repeal-and-delay” tack will be most likely, though this would still require agreement on the “replace” side.
Republicans aim to start Obamacare repeal in January (POLITICO, 11/17)
While repeal through reconciliation will be on the table in 2017, Jennifer Haberkorn reports that Republicans are eager to start on repeal earlier rather than later. Indeed, the Senate Republican Policy Committee has already outlined “day one” regulatory changes that would affect the ACA. Yet, disagreement remains about how quickly and how far to move on ACA repeal.
The Trump era: Where health care goes from here (POLITICO Pulse Check, 11/17)
Dan Diamond interviews Doug Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy, two key figures in Republican health care policy and strategy. The discussion addresses what the Republican repeal-replace strategy might do, and more generally, why conservative health care reform is so challenging.