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A Winning Health Policy Agenda

President at Paragon Health Institute
Brian Blase, Ph.D., is the President of Paragon Health Institute. Brian was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC) from 2017-2019, where he coordinated the development and execution of numerous health policies and advised the President, NEC director, and senior officials. After leaving the White House, Brian founded Blase Policy Strategies and serves as its CEO.

Today Paragon is releasing a 2025 health policy agenda focused on empowering patients and reforming government. This agenda will help any candidate running for federal office, including the seven Republican presidential candidates who participated in last night’s debate.
Health care was not a central focus last night. Some important points were made, such as Ambassador Haley mentioning the problems of government regulations that protect health industry incumbents from competitors and Governor DeSantis explaining the benefits of limiting enrollment in the Medicaid welfare program. However, the candidates did not have a substantive discussion of key issues such as the unsustainable fiscal trajectory of Medicare and MedicaidObamacare’s ongoing problems, or President Biden’s proposal to violate one of his 2020 pledges and take private coverage away from people, including the sick.  
Health care cost growth is a major problem for American families, who are increasingly paying higher premiums and deductibles, and for current and future taxpayers given the rising cost of government health care programs. Without reform, Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund will be insolvent within a decade, and a major across-the-board payment cut would occur.
The public health bureaucracy’s failures during the pandemic proved that it needs significant reform. And the nation’s last major health entitlement expansion—the Affordable Care Act—contained an extremely inefficient coverage expansion, mostly through Medicaid, but did not improve health.
Americans need a health policy agenda that lowers costs for families and taxpayers, reforms government programs, improves incentives with a focus on obtaining value and improving health, and reforms the public health bureaucracy.
To help policymakers and candidates for office develop this agenda, Paragon has put together four briefing documents, one for each of our initiatives: Medicare reform, Medicaid and health safety net reform, private health reform, and public health reform.
Medicare reform proposals include:

  • Making Medicare Advantage more flexible and cost-effective
  • Reducing overpayments and special interest subsidies
  • Basing prices on value to beneficiaries, not the machinations of the political system.

Medicaid reform proposals include:

  • Ending the ACA’s discrimination against the most vulnerable
  • Fixing long-term care
  • Improving incentives so states focus on value rather than maximizing federal dollars.

Private health reform proposals include:

  • Ending the cycle of expanding ACA subsidies to insurance companies
  • Expanding coverage options for families and businesses
  • Letting Americans control more of their health care dollars rather than third parties
  • Promoting price transparency efforts
  • Breaking down barriers facing health care professionals and prospective health care professionals.

Public health reform proposals include:

  • Providing the American people with unbiased information and trusting them to make decisions
  • Refocusing the Centers for Disease Control on its core mission of combatting infectious disease
  • Streamlining approval pathways for drugs and devices.

Paragon has already published numerous reports with analysis of how government programs are actually working as well as detailed policy proposals, including papers on improper payments in federal health programsthe Medicaid redeterminations processsite-neutral policies in MedicareMedicare’s role in hindering innovationthe HSA optionthe inefficiency of the ACAthe Inflation Reduction Act, and CDC reform among many others.
Paragon will produce much more analysis over the next year, including forthcoming papers on Medicare Advantage reform, Medicaid financing reform, the ACA Medicaid expansion, improvements to account-based health plans, reforming the individual health insurance market, and a public health reorganization plan. These one-page briefing documents contain what is needed to start setting up a positive, consumer-driven health reform agenda.  

All the best,
Brian Blase
Paragon Health Institute

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