HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
HHS' new report about ways to improve “choice and competition” in the U.S. health care system is stuffed with plenty of standard conservative talking points, but a few interesting policies endorsed by independent experts are also tucked inside.
Details: Several of the Trump administration's recommendations mirror an April 2017 policy paper authored by health care policy experts Martin Gaynor, Farzad Mostashari and Paul Ginsburg.
It calls for:
- Repealing state laws that require providers to ask for permission to build new facilities.
- Allowing physician assistants and dental hygienists to do more without supervision by a doctor or dentist.
- More site-neutral payments.
There’s no mention of unscrambling hospital mergers or regulating prices. But the administration could win legislative and public support for some of these policies.
Yes, but: This document also serves as a political vehicle to stump for conservative hobbyhorses — like short-term plans, health savings accounts, lifting the repeal on physician-owned hospitals, and potshots at the Affordable Care Act.
- HHS also said the government should pursue “programs that encourage value … such as Medicare Advantage” — another indirect attempt to steer Medicare enrollees into private plans.