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Americans' expectations about our health care system are a cascade of pessimism, according to new survey data from West Health and Gallup.
By the numbers: 76% expect health care costs to increase over the next couple of years, and 77% said they're concerned that rising health costs "will result in significant and lasting damage" to the U.S. economy.
Between the lines: Given the hypothetical choice between a 10% increase in their income or a guarantee that their health care costs wouldn't go up for 5 years, most people — 61% — said they'd take the freeze in health care costs.
Americans are more down on the system as a whole, rather than their personal experience with it.
My thought bubble: This same tug-of-war animates the political debate over health care — people are receptive to the idea that our system is bad, but there's still a risk in changing what they think works well for them.
The Republican attorneys general of Montana and Ohio are breaking with their party and urging the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals not to throw out the entire Affordable Care Act.
Driving the news: The pair filed a friend-of-the-court brief yesterday agreeing that the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional — the core of the lawsuit filed by their fellow Republican AGs.
What they're saying: The debate about whether the individual mandate is "severable" from the rest of the ACA is pretty easy, the officials argue: Congress effectively severed it, by zeroing out its enforcement mechanism. So, yes, it's severable.
The average payment rate from the federal government to companies that sell Medicare Advantage plans will go up 2.53% in 2020 — a sizable boost from what was proposed in January, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: Even though the 2020 pay increase isn't as generous as 2019's, health insurers will still benefit a lot from higher payments as well as other new, industry-friendly policies — like being able to cover meals and car rides to doctors' appointments, which could attract more seniors to these plans.
Yes, but: Against the industry's wishes, Medicare will change part of its process for calculating insurers' payments according to how sick their members are — known as a "risk score."
But, but, but: All MA risk scores originally were supposed to be based 100% on encounter data by 2020, so insurers are still coming out ahead.
The financial burden of insurance premiums is growing, especially in sparsely populated states in the South, West and Northeast, my colleague Caitlin Owens reports.
Details: Nationally, premiums grew by 27.7% between 2010 and 2016, while income grew by 19.8% — meaning the burden of health care costs on families' budgets is getting bigger.
West Virginia is the epicenter of the opioid epidemic, and the state's decision to adopt the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion has made treatment much more readily available.
A study published in the new issue of Health Affairs tracks the change in treatment levels among West Virginians covered by the Medicaid expansion.
By the numbers: The number of people diagnosed each month with opioid use disorder nearly tripled from 2014 to 2016, the authors found.
Medicaid covers about 25% of all adults suffering from opioid addiction, per the Kaiser Family Foundation, making the program — and its expansion — a critical lifeline in the midst of an epidemic.