Matthew Holt

Fun with Heritage on Health Affairs blog

Here’s my comment on a recent Health Affairs blog post from Heritage’s Nina Owcharenko whining about the ACA as a g’vermint takeover.I wrote “I’m really pissing myself about this one. Only in the bizzarro world of American politics can the nutjobs on the right, and not just any nutjobs but on the right but Nina’s actual colleagues at Heritage design the basics of a health care policy and then declare it something that’s antithetical to their very being. Furthermore, it’s only in bizzarro world of American politics that a massive expansion of PRIVATE health insurance legislated in the ACA is called a government takeover, or in Nina’s words puts the “trend toward government-based coverage on the fast track”. If Nina had bothered to check she’d realize that the vast majority of Medicaid enrollees — 66% according to KFF– are in private plans and the rest are being moved there. Yet this is another expansion of government!” Of course if you look at the Health Affairs version where they moderate comments, you’ll note that some of the words I wrote and the words they publish are slightly different

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Surely it is not so difficult to understand why PPACA expands the role of government in markets for private health insurance. HHS has been given broad ability to dictate the standards for the structure of private coverage that may be offered by insurers. Detailed mandates on coverage are then coupled it with requirements for even more extensive reporting on the nature of the patient, diagnosis and treatment. This is not to mention an expanded range of “quality” measures that are almost wholly dependent on “process” measures – that in most cases have not been shown to be linked to significant… Read more »