Health care reform

Health care's two political realities

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The Medicare for All debate is burning red-hot this week, while more incremental health care reforms inch forward out of the spotlight.

Driving the news: Former Vice President Joe Biden said in his first official campaign speech yesterday that he supports an optional Medicare buy-in, putting him at odds with the other Democratic front-runner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, on a key 2020 issue.

A reality check on value-based health care reform

two doctors operating
Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

There was a telling exchange in this month’s meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission that pours some cold water on the fervor to move toward a system that pays hospitals and doctors for how well they take care of patients, instead of how many tests and services they order.

Driving the news: MedPAC was weighing a proposal that would force all doctors to participate in a Medicare accountable care organization. A transcript of the meeting, flagged by the Health Care Blog, revealed that health economist and MedPAC vice chairman Jon Christianson was worried about that idea.