John E. McDonough

Guest Contributor

Stories by John E. McDonough

CBO: Obamacare repeal would be costly

CBO: Obamacare repeal would be costly

Congressional report projects big increases in defiit and uninsured from repeal of the Affordable Care Act

MY FAVORED DEFINITION of “health policy wonk” is someone who reads health reports from the Congressional Budget Office — and enjoys it. Guilty as charged. Last Friday’s new report, “Budgetary and Economic Effects of Repealing the Affordable Care Act,” was enlightening and fascinating. It will be a benchmark document during the coming two years of debates(...)

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A grand bargain on medical device tax

A grand bargain on medical device tax

In exchange for repeal of tax, let's have price transparency on high-cost devices

ONE PROPOSAL TO CHANGE the Affordable Care Act would repeal the law’s 2.3 percent tax on sales of medical devices. On June 2, the House Ways and Means Committee voted, once again, to rescind the tax and a vote in the full House is expected soon. Even progressive Democrats such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and(...)

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Grading Obamacare

Grading Obamacare

Sizing up the Affordable Care Act's 10 main components

IN MY EXPERIENCE, precious few Americans recognize the variety and depth of policies included in the Affordable Care Act. Over the past several months, we have seen numerous report cards and other evaluations of the ACA on the occasion of its 5th anniversary.  To communicate the law’s diversity, I offer an alternative five-year report card(...)

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Reality and unreality in new Congressional Medicare deal

Reality and unreality in new Congressional Medicare deal

Agreement is a good thing, but not a game-changing breakthrough

THIS WEEK, YOU can be confident that the US Senate will approve bipartisan legislation approved on March 26 in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming (392-37) bipartisan majority to repeal a long-standing feature of Medicare physician payment policy called the Sustainable Growth Rate, or SGR. If you’ve never heard of SGR, you are among(...)

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Explaining Obamacare to foreigners

Explaining Obamacare to foreigners

On the 5th anniversary of health care reform, taking stock of its limitations and breakthrough achievements

On the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, I ponder how non-Americans view our momentous and controversial health reform law. Like many US health policy analysts, I get requests from groups outside the US to explain the ACA, or “Obamacare.” I have traveled to Brazil, Australia, and South Africa, and also(...)

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The Affordable Care Act is working

The Affordable Care Act is working

Amidst brickbats from critics, national health care reform is delivering results

IN LATE NOVEMBER, Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, publicly opined that Democrats blew it in 2009 by pursuing passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) instead of maintaining a focus on the economy.  Shortly thereafter, now-retired Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and key ACA architect, opined that Democrats missed the chance to(...)

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Baker’s health care moment

The state’s new leader has deeper background in health policy than any governor in Massachusetts history — and he’ll need to tap every bit of it.

THOUGH THE 2014 gubernatorial campaign lacked any real discussion of health care policy, this will soon be forgotten because Massachusetts has never had a new chief executive as steeped in health policy and politics as is Charlie Baker. Baker’s legacies affecting the Massachusetts health policy landscape span 25 years and provide clues to the directions(...)

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Vermont ends single payer bid

Feds now left to confront the issue

Many American dislike the Affordable Care Act not because it goes too far but because it does not go far enough, as observed in the chart below from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the dark blue.  About 24 percent of Americans believe the ACA should be expanded, and by that, many mean a Medicare-for-All single(...)

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How the new Congress will try to undermine the ACA

GOP likely to target Obamacare two ways

It’s no secret that the new majority Republican Congress will seek any and every opportunity to undermine the existence and operation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But how? One approach seems more likely to me than any other – divide ACA supporters from each other and play to the law’s deepest vulnerability The tack(...)

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Obamacare in the wake of the GOP romp

Some parts of law could fall, others will stand

So Republicans won enough seats to take control of the US Senate in January for the first time since 2006. Given their continuing opposition to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), is this an existential threat to the law’s survival, and what might we expect over the next two years? The ACA’s lifespan has included(...)

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