Friday, August 28, 2009

Why Does Government Want to Control Your Access to Medical Services?

Because Big Labor needs it. Where else will can they unionize? My latest at Freedom Politics.

Kidney Dialysis: The Price of State Monopoly

A USA Today article recently noted that kidney dialysis looks much the same today as four decades ago. Do you wonder why? In the U.S., kidney dialysis is the only treatment subject to a single-payer, government monopoly: Medicare. More at National Review Online.

Friday, August 21, 2009

California Health Insurance Rescissions: Doctors Dissatisfied

Will the sorry saga of rescissions in California's market for individual health insurance never end? My comments on the California Medical Association & Los Angeles County Medical Association's legal brief.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tax Reform, Not Tax Hikes, Will Make Uninsured Patients Pay Their ER Bills

Do states need to make uninsured residents post "bonds" or fine them in order to compensate for ER care that they receive? I say "no", at National Review Online.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Co-op Confusion

Keep your dirty, stinkin' government hands off my group purchasing arrangement! Yours truly on the "health co-op" in National Review Online.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thanks for Bringing Up Switzerland, Professor Krugman

Professor Paul Krugman fears that President Obama's wriggling on health reform suggests that the U.S. will end up with a system more like Switzerland's than Canada's or Britain's. My take is at National Review Online.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Fishy" Rumors About New York Health Insurance

A recent interview on MSNBC reveals the depth of confusion the mainstream media has over the current regulation of health insurance. Read more at StateHouseCall.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Even If It's Not A Death Panel, It Doesn't Belong in Medicare

Maybe Sarah Palin went a little off the deep end with the "death panel" remarks, but counselling patients on end-of-life care is still none of the government's business: Yours truly at National Review Online.

The Health Crisis Ain't What it Used to Be

Pesonal consumption spending on non-health goods and services has increased 1/3 since 1995: This month's Health Policy Prescription.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gov. Schwarzenegger's Lessons for National Health Reform

Are not good. In fact, he hasn't learned the lessons of his own misguided attempt. This month's Capital Ideas.

Obama to Run Health Care Like Post Office?

Not a good idea: Unless you think an annual bail-out of $7 billion (despite a monopoly on letter-mail) is fine. Read more here.

Obama in New Hampshire

He'll require insurers to cover what they already cover, and make it illegal to do what's been illegal since 1997. More here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Informing the White House on Healthcare "Rumors"

If you hear anything "fishy" about the federal take-over of your access to medical services that is not approved by the Administration, be sure to report it to the White House. My latest entry at National Review Online's Critical Condition blog.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Obama vs. Pelosi on health-care take-over

A little more on how Obama and Pelosi are sending conflicting signals on the government take-over of acces to medical services at National Review Online Critical Condition blog (08/05 01:45 P.M. on the scroll)

Graham versus Pelosi on CBS San Francisco Local News

Speaker Pelosi says that "this is about money, lots of money....." No kidding! Do you think she can bear to keep her hands off it?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Medicaid "Reform" Will Devour Us

Last Friday, the House Energy & Commerce Committee marked up HR 3200, the government take-over of Americans' access to medical services. The Blue Dog Democrats inserted an amendment that they figure will insert some fiscal responsibility into this monstrous bill.

Boy, are they wrong. The Medicaid amendment that they passed will cause states to accelerate their already out-of-control spending on Medicaid.

Medicaid is a program for low-income households that is jointly financed by the federal and state governments. It has always contained a flawed incentive that causes states to overspend: the FMAP, which is the percentage of total Medicaid costs paid by the federal government. Because FMAP has been at least 50%, state politicians have an incentive to spend one dollar to pull down at least one dollar from the residents of the other 49 states (as laundered by the federal government).

This has caused Medicaid spending to increase even faster than the bankrupt Medicare program for seniors. President Obama made it worse in February, when he signed the so-called "stimulus" bill, which significantly increased the federal match.

The Blue Dog deal would make states finance 7% of the proposed, permanent, Medicaid expansion. They appear to believe that by forcing states to swallow some of the cost of the Medicaid expansion (which was originally 100% federal) they could dampen it somewhat.

No way! If states only have to spend $7 of their own residents' money to pull down $93 of federal money, they will go into a feeding frenzy the likes of which we've never seen in the history of Medicaid.

(In case you doubt that the FMAP already creates horrible incentives for states, you might have missed the $540 million settlement that the U.S. Department of Justice made last month with two Medicaid fraudsters who wrongly billed the program for school-based health services. The busted scammers? New York State and New York City.)