Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Unfortunately, I nearly dropped my brie when I found a fundamental flaw in Reihan Salam and Scott Winship’s proposal for a “Leaner Welfare State” in last week’s issue.
Salam and Winship propose replacing the welfare state with “citizen benefits.” Their conclusion that the welfare state needs dramatic reform is solid. I also agree (as do all conservative health-policy analysts) with their recommendation to amend the tax code to give individuals command of our health-care dollars, instead of allowing employers to have monopolistic control over them.
Unfortunately, the authors also give the government too much power over the alternative, and their proposal violates fundamental principles of effective regulation of insurance.
Read the entire comment here.
Unfortunately, Obamacare doesn't guarantee a right to health care. Instead, it undermines that right by subverting Americans' freedom to obtain the health care they prefer.
Read the complete column at the Washington Examiner.
Friday, August 27, 2010
More on the question of paying commissions on consumer-driven health plans.
Here’s why: I have a QHDHP and an HSA and am enrolled in a plan in the California small-group market. Until this year, I paid all medical costs up to the deductible. In 2010, the rates increased significantly and the carrier started covering more preventive care. I went for an annual physical (which I amd convinced I do not need) and did not pay one penny out-of-pocket. However, I am in the same “consumer-driven health plan” as I was in 2009.
Because I have a contact at the carrier, I called him and asked why they had done this. Here is what he said.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
If Supervisors Eric Mar, David Campos, and David Chiu have their way, this embarrassing spectacle of political overreach will become reality. Their stated goal is to reduce childhood obesity, but will it work?
Read more in this month's Capital Ideas.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
The editorial also cites disturbing evidence that ODAC’s reviewers considered not just safety and efficacy but price, which is not within the FDA’s mandate. However, the $88,000 annual cost that the editorial cites as “reflecting the costs of development and production” neglects an important component of pharmaceutical costs – complying with the regulatory burden of the FDA itself!
I recently published a study based on decades of research that leads to the conclusion that even a one-year delay in legal access to the many new medicines available costs about 200,000 American patients their lives. Congress believes the solution is to throw more money at the FDA, which it did via the 1992 Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA). Under this regime, renewed every five years, the number of personnel conducting drug reviews doubled, from 1,300 to 2,600, between 1992 and 2007. Last year, the agency as a whole exceeded its hiring targets. The FDA’s spending on the regulation of human drugs in 2009 was $802 million, and the president’s 2011 budget demands $1 billion, an increase of 20 percent over two years.
Despite such growth, the FDA is slowing down. In 2008, the average time to approval lengthened to almost 18 months from just 12.3 months the previous year. The FDA drives up the cost of innovation then uses the high cost of innovation as an excuse to punish innovators by requiring them to jump every higher regulatory hurdles.
That bureaucratic feedback loop may be good for the FDA but is certainly harmful to patients who need new medicines sooner rather than later.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I can't say that I disagree with his plan.
I've decided to not renew my coverage when the bill comes in for the 4th quarter. I currently pay $320/mo for a $2500 deductible BCBS plan. I have an HSA and have saved up a fair amount of money in it. Pretty good deal. So why drop it?
1. I have never even come close to meeting my deductible. Everything I have done since HSAs came in has been paid for from my HSA. In fact, never in my life have I ever incurred more than $2,500 in medical expenses in one year. The odds are that will not change, even though I am older.
2. I expect a pretty substantial increase in my premiums, but it doesn't really matter. I would make the same decision anyway.
3. If I guess wrong and my health does change, I will be able to sign up for the new federal risk pool - but ONLY after I have been uninsured for six months. I might as well get started on that six month qualifying period now while I am still healthy.
4. There is no penalty for doing this. The federal risk pool is not allowed to charge me more than standard rates.
5. Meanwhile I will be able to save $4,000 a year on insurance premiums, which is no small matter these days that I am semi-retired.
6. I will not be able to contribute additional money to my HSA, but my income is low enough now that there is virtually no tax advantage to making an HSA contribution. My main tax issue today is the payroll tax, and the HSA has no effect on that.
So, I am joining the ranks of the uninsured. Thank you, Mr. Obama.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Read more here.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Did Senator Reid finally read the bill, almost four months after passing it and a year after masses of Americans began to demand that Congress do so?
Read entire article here.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Read more here.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Read the complete blog entry at National Review Online.