Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Putting Patients First: Innovative Solutions for Prescription Drugs & Older Americans

U.S. Senator Tim Scott, Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, has published a report exploring the consequences of Democrats' prescription drug price control policies; which include long-term drug shortages (an almost 50 percent decline in access to medicines); shattered innovation (a 50-90 percent decline in new medicines); and bankrupt businesses (an economic loss in the trillions of dollars).

The report also describes four policy options to reduce lower prices and expand access to treatment. Read more at this link.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Senate Aging Committee Ranking Member Scott Proposes Reforms to Long-Term Caregiving

In conjunction with yesterday’s U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on “21st Century Caregiving: Supporting Workers, Family Caregivers, Seniors and People with Disabilities”, Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.) released a report titled “Expanding Opportunities for Older Americans: Self-Directed Home & Community Based Services.”

The report highlights the inadequate and disastrous policies proposed by the Biden administration and offers a better path forward where caregivers and recipients are empowered to make informed decisions about the services they want and need.

“Caregiving is a deeply personal issue, and policymakers have an obligation to get it right. Bold reform can boost seniors’ quality of life, support caregivers, and tackle new challenges.” said Ranking Member Tim Scott. “However, pushing $400 billion into an inflated and unaccountable program misses the mark for productive reform.”

The Expanding Opportunities for Older Americans report finds that:

The federal government has increased spending on caregiving in recent decades. In 1981, Medicaid spending on Home & Community Based Services (HCBS) accounted for only 1% of Medicaid spending on Long-Term Services & Supports (LTSS). By 2016, it reached 57%. The American Rescue Plan strongly incentivized states to increase Medicaid spending overall and to spend more of that money on HCBS. Yet sharp rises in HCBS spending have not reduced care costs over time. Medicaid still spends slightly more on institutional care than on HCBS for older Americans and people with physical disabilities.

The Biden administration and its partners in Congress should instead adopt a sustainable funding mechanism that supports alternative models, including the National Family Caregiver Support Program. Federal resources should empower patients and families as informed consumers making their own choices, and financial assistance should improve conditions for caregivers while enhancing service quality.

An effective alternative to the administration's proposal would bolster this initiative and similar programs, empowering older Americans and their caregivers to manage their budgets while building on the success of self-direction in innovative state responses to caregiving challenges.

For example, in South Carolina, the Department on Aging has instituted a robust system of caregiver assessment, which looks at a family caregiver's needs, strengths, resources, and ability to care for a loved one. This approach has sparked the growth of care providers with deep roots in S.C. communities. The state’s approach has resulted in a successful environment for care services. By doing so, South Carolina ranks 7th in the country in an AARP scorecard for the fewest number of people in nursing homes whose needs could be met with HCBS. It is 8th in the country for successfully discharging Medicare beneficiaries into the community from post-acute care.

Click HERE to view full report. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Career Announcement and Status Update

Colleagues & Supporters,

I am excited to announce I have joined the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging as the Senior Professional Staff Member on the Republican staff. I look forward to serving under our new Ranking Member, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (SC), and a great new staff team, to advance the health care and human services delivered to older Americans.

Please follow @SenateAgingGOP on Twitter and our hearings at

Thursday, January 28, 2021

JRG Health & Human Services is Back in Business!

Welcome to the first new blog entry since March, 2017. What have I been doing all these years? Well, it is quite a story......

I left the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on January 20 after almost four years in two positions.

In March 2017, Secretary Dr. Tom Price hired me as Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation (ASPE). Later in the term I transferred to be Regional Director of Region 10, the only HHS presidential appointee in the region (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska).

During my time in HHS, I was responsible for either policy development (while at ASPE) or stakeholder engagement (while Regional Director) for the entire portfolio of HHS programs.

This was a fairly unique experience because most presidential personnel are otherwise assigned to one component of the Department, e.g. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or Food and Drug Administration or Agency for Children and Families.

My understanding of American health and human services has become more integrated as a result of this experience. What is next? Well, not the pace of research output you were used to in the old days.

As it states on my LinkedIn profile, I am "seeking work at the intersection of healthcare finance, innovation, public policy, and government affairs." While I pursue employment opportunities, my time for writing will be less than it was. Updates will be more monthly than weekly.

Nevertheless, I will do some research and writing. Thank you for waiting!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Time Out From Writing and Speaking

It has been a great pleasure and privilege to participate in the discussion of U.S. health reform as an independent analyst. Due to other obligations, I will no longer be writing and speaking publicly in this capacity. Nor will I be responding to media inquiries.

This blog and other communications outlets are suspended indefinitely. 

Thank you for your support, readership, and input.

Best wishes.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Health Technology Forum: DC Meetup April 11 First Speaker Announced

Our next Meetup will be on April 11. We will discuss the promise of the recently passed 21st Century Cures Act (which was the last bill President Obama signed).
21st Century cures implemented a wide variety of provisions across drugs, devices, and other medical specialties aimed improving patient care through foster innovation.

Our first speaker is Diane Johnson of Johnson & Johnson. Ms Johnson currently serves as Senior Director, Strategic Regulatory, Medical Devices & Diagnostics. She will focus on combination products, accessories, class I and II exemptions, advisory panels, Humanitarian devices and clinical trials.

Third-Party Payment Is the Root Cause of Health System Dysfunction

(A version of this column was published by RealClearHealth.)

Largely absent from the vigorous debate over reforming the nation’s health care laws is the understanding that simply being covered by health insurance does not reduce health care costs.

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in March 2010, President Obama repeatedly promised that the typical family’s health premiums would go down by (sometimes “up to” but frequently “on average”) $2,500. That decline did not occur because the ACA strengthened the control that insurance companies—as opposed to patients—have over health care spending. In fact, Americans’ increasing dependence on health insurance over the last seven decades has been a major contributor to exploding health costs.