Apr 4, 2019

Health care costs continue to rise amid ACA distraction

This was 7 years ago. Photo: Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

The Affordable Care Act was and is a big deal.

Yes, but: It probably should not be the sun around which all health policy must orbit. And the fact that Washington has thrust it into that role, for almost a decade, has diverted attention and political energy from the very important issue of what health care costs.

  • "We're doing nothing. Nothing. We're heading toward the waterfall," former Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf told Politico's Joanne Kenen, who has a good piece about the opportunity cost of the ACA wars.

Polls show that the public is worried about cost more than anything else in the health care system, but it's not getting commensurate political attention.

  • Republicans are torn among competing strategies of ignoring health care, stoking the embers of the ACA-repeal fire, and promoting an agenda of looser regulations with higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Democrats are torn between expanding the ACA (which would shift more costs to taxpayers, without necessarily lowering them) and calls for single-payer (which includes some very dramatic cost controls, but is the most politically difficult option you could imagine).

The bottom line: Health care costs are just going to keep on climbing.

Go deeper: Former HHS official calls on employers to crack down on health care costs

Go deeper

Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion

Reproduced from Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

The CBO released projections on Monday for U.S. nominal GDP to be lower by $15.7 trillion over the next decade than its estimate in January as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

What they're saying: It predicts that when adjusted for inflation GDP will be $7.9 trillion lower over the next decade and down by $790 billion in the second quarter of this year — a 37.7% quarterly contraction.

18 mins ago - Sports

The sports teams that have issued statements on George Floyd protests

Data: Twitter; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

74 of 123 teams (60%) across the big four American sports leagues issued statements regarding George Floyd's murder and the ensuing nationwide protests as of 12 a.m. ET today.

Why it matters: Teams should be judged by their actions more than their words, but seeing who did and did not acknowledge the biggest story in America gives a sense of what each franchise believes its role — and the role of sports more broadly — should be at a time like this.

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 6,289,259 — Total deaths: 375,987 — Total recoveries — 2,706,820Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 1,811,277 — Total deaths: 105,147 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The virus didn't go away.