Reuters reports that the health care sector will be "a focal point" for years to come and looks at investments in companies that are likely to make money by helping to reduce costs. Meanwhile, Kaiser Health News examines whether competitive health care models like Medicare Part D and the Federal Employees Health Benefits program are taming costs as effectively as supporters suggest.
Reuters: Targeting The U.S. Healthcare Market
No matter what the outcome of the U.S. election, healthcare looks to be a focal point in the economy for years to come. The United States spent 17.9 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare in 2010 - more than double what other wealthy nations spend on a per-person basis. In one sign of the growing importance of healthcare to the economy, S&P Dow Jones Indices added health insurer UnitedHealthcare to the Dow Jones industrial average, replacing Kraft Foods (Randall, 9/20).
Kaiser Health News: Is A Competitive Health Care Model All It's Cracked Up To Be?
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says his proposal to overhaul Medicare would use market competition to tame costs in the government health program relied on by almost 50 million people. As models, he often cites the health program for federal employees – including members of Congress -- and Medicare's prescription drug program (Appleby and Werber Serafini, 9/20).
Meanwhile, news outlets report that FEHBP premiums will rise about 4 percent next year -
The Washington Post: FEHBP Premiums To Rise About 4 Percent On Average
Premiums in the health insurance program for federal employees and retirees will rise by just under 4 percent on average in 2013, although rates will hold virtually steady in the largest plan, government officials said Thursday (9/20).
The Hill: Federal Workers' Health Care Premiums To Rise 3.4 Percent
Members of Congress and other federal workers will see only a modest increase in their healthcare premiums next year. The average premium for federal employees will rise 3.4 percent next year, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced Thursday. The increase translates to an extra $2.75 per paycheck for individuals, or $6.39 for families. Federal workers' premiums went up 3.8 percent this year -; slightly less than the 4 percent increase seen in the private sector (Baker, 9/20).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.