Two celebrity health policy strategists squared off recently in Washington.
Avik Roy, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who advised Mitt Romney in 2012, promoted the idea of reforming and expanding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system, and rewriting the rules for the qualified health plans (QHPs) sold through the exchanges.
Uwe Reinhardt, an economist at Princeton University who is popular with Democratic health policy watchers, talked about a three-track strategy: Supporting public hospitals, public clinics and public insurance programs for the poor; letting wealthy people pay whatever they want out of their own pockets for “boutique practice” care; and using “reference pricing” for middle-income people.
In a reference pricing system, the insurer agrees to pay a set amount for a specified health care service. A patient must find a provider who provide the service for that price or else pay the difference between the reference price and the actual price.
The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) has posted written versions of Roy’s and Reinhardt’s presentations, and video recordings of their presentations and other speakers’ presentations, on its website.