Episode Summary

Sen. Bill Cassidy discusses his new package of health care ideas, Republicans' push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and whether he regrets his experience with Jimmy Kimmel.

Episode Notes

For the past year, Sen. Bill Cassidy has played a pivotal role in Republicans’ health care strategy. The doctor-turned-lawmaker helped craft the Graham-Cassidy proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, sparking outrage from public health groups (and a certain talk show host) who warned that the legislation would lead to millions more people being uninsured.

Now Cassidy’s out with a new package of ideas that the Louisiana Republican argues will “make health care affordable again.” The wide-ranging blueprint includes pushing price transparency, studying racial disparities and resurrecting the stalled bill to prop up the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance market.

Cassidy joined POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to discuss the reception to his new proposals (starts at the 1:40 mark), why he wants more Americans to use health savings accounts (3:30), why Cassidy is betting big on price transparency (5:30), the fight over the ACA’s high premiums and Democrats’ concerns about short-term health plans (10:30), his criticism of monopolies in health care (16:45), why Cassidy wants HHS to investigate social determinants of health (19:45) and how he’s blasting a “rigged” health system (21:45).

After the break, Cassidy discussed whether there should be another ACA repeal vote this year (25:40), what he and the GOP learned from last year’s health care fights (27:45) and his feud with Jimmy Kimmel and public health groups (31:00).

Then in the recurring “Steal My Job” segment, Cassidy discussed his decision to leave medicine to get into politics and who’s influenced his thinking about health care (36:20).

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Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Bill Cassidy’s new plan: “Ideas to Make Health Care Affordable Again.” https://www.cassidy.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Dr%20Bill%20Cassidy%20-%20Make%20Health%20Care%20Affordable%20Again.pdf

Hospitals have reported a rise in bad debt as patients increasingly shift to high-deductible health plans. https://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=50653

Cassidy referenced a CalPERS initiative to use reference pricing to lower prices of many procedures, which Austin Frakt wrote about at the New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/09/upshot/how-common-procedures-got-20-percent-cheaper-for-many-californians.html

However, a 2017 Health Affairs study concluded that CalPERS’ price transparency tool didn’t reduce patients’ spending. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1636

The health insurance lobby criticized the Trump administration's push on short-term health plans. https://www.ahip.org/ahip-responds-to-administrations-proposed-rule-on-short-term-health-plans/

Industry expert John Gorman appeared on POLITICO's podcast last month, where he said that short-term plans would be "junk" insurance. https://simplecast.com/s/2d8d7d17

Dan’s 2017 story: “Kimmel, not Cassidy, is right on health care, analysts say.” https://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/20/jimmy-kimmel-bill-cassidy-obamacare-repeal-242932

About the Show

Weekly conversations with some of the most interesting and influential people in health care, hosted by POLITICO Pulse author Dan Diamond.