Guess what Trump's trade war means for healthcare costs?

2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

I never thought I'd be quoting or linking to anything published by the ultra-conservative American Action Forum, and yet here we are:

How A Trade War With China Will Impact U.S. Health Care Costs
Jacqueline Varas, Tara O'Neill Hayes

...This report examines the overall effect of these tariffs specifically on U.S. health care. On the most recent lists are an array of medical equipment, including items such as MRI machines, X-ray machines, and surgical instruments. AAF identified 55 products on the tariff lists that can be classified as medical equipment.

...Altogether, the Section 301 tariffs and newest retaliatory tariffs against China will impact nearly $1.8 billion of medical imports each year. Assuming that import levels remain the same, this total translates to prices for medical equipment increasing by roughly $400 million nationwide. Both medical practitioners and consumers of medical services can expect to shoulder the burden of these costs. To the extent that providers face an increased cost in acquiring medical equipment, they will try to recoup those costs through higher prices to patients.

...These higher prices will hit the uninsured and those with substantial out-of-pocket liabilities hardest. Those with Medicare will likely be unaffected, at least for the remainder of the year, as Medicare reimbursement rates are not adjusted mid-year and beneficiaries’ coinsurance rates are tied to the government’s reimbursement rate. The impact on commercially insured individuals will depend on the terms of the contract between the insurer and the provider, and whether and to what extent it allows for mid-year price adjustments. Presumably, some patients will face higher costs and some providers will be forced to absorb the costs they are unable to pass on to patients or insurers. If the tariffs remain in place as insurers finalize their premium and reimbursement rates for next year, it is likely at least some of the cost of these tariffs will be reflected in next year’s rates.

$400 million is, admittedly, a drop in the bucket out of the $3.3 trillion in total annual healthcare spending in the United States, but seeing how everyone, regardless of political leanings, is constantly upset about healthcare costs constantly increasing, this sure as hell isn't gonna help the situation.