Thursday, October 28, 2010

Obamacare Should Be An Issue in California Governor's Race

But both Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown are all but ignoring it.  Read my column in the San Francisco Examiner here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beware the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility & Tax Reform

I don’t think that too many people are taking President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Tax Reform very seriously. Most free-marketers believe that it is a mechanism to put lipstick on a significant tax hike, or add a national Value-Added Tax (VAT) to the taxman’s toolbox. Certainly, the 75 groups from whom it has heard (as reported on July 1) are largely pro-tax, pro-spending outfits.

Nevertheless, it was a little startling to read in the Wall Street Journal (Damian Paletta, "Key Tax Breaks at Risk as Panel Looks at Cuts," October 25, for non-subscribers who cannot access the link) that the Commission might propose eliminating “the ability of employees to pay a portion of their health-insurance tab with pretax dollars” (Damian Paletta, “Key Tax Breaks at Risk as Panel Looks at Cuts, October 25, 2010).

From a purely economic standpoint, this is a trivial issue.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Should Your State Establish An ObamaCare Health Insurance "Exchange"?

In a few words: Amost certainly not.  It will cost tens of millions of dollars to operate for no benefit whatsoever.  And states with the best intentions will be led astray by Secretary Sebelius and her ObamaCrats.

ObamaCare is President Obama's problem: Don't make it your state's.  This month's Health Policy Prescription.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sharia-Compliant Canadian Public Hospital?

This may be the strangest Canadian health-care story I've every read.  Not only do my countrymen suffer under government monopoly health care, but the government appears to be imposing sharia law in one hospital in Kingston, Ontario.

A man, his wife, and newborn, were expelled from the maternity ward because a muslim woman was also there and breastfeeding her child.  Men who are not relatives are not permitted to be present under such circumstances, apparently, in this taxpayer-funded hospital.

So, they were sent to a private room and then received a bill for $750!  (I wonder what would have happened if a non-muslim woman had made the same demand...)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Antitrust: The U.S. Vs. Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield

Today's news of the overreaching federal state brings reports of antitrust action by the US Department of Justice against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan.  The purported violation? As Michigan's largest health plan, BCBS was able to persuade hospitals not to charge lower fees to any other carrier.  According to the story, other health plans paid hospitals 25 percent more than BCBS.

Monday, October 18, 2010

ObamaCare is Not Repealing Itself

Last week we learned that Jay Angoff, the ObamaCrat in charge of regulating private health insurance, has decided to allow health plans to underwrite (that is, charge actuarially fair premiums) for child-only policies.  This, of course, is in response to the fact that insurers have pretty much stopped writing such policies since the first wave of ObamaRegs swept over private health insurance on September 23.

We also recently learned that Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, has granted waivers allowing employers of an estimated one-million (largely low-income) workers a year to comply with the new ObamaRegs. This resulted from a spate of reports of those employers dropping coverage entirely.

So, is ObamaCare repealing itself? Read more at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Easy Way to Reduce Medicare Fraud

Congratulations to the FBI for busting the biggest Medicare fraud operation yet discovered.  An Armenian gang defrauded Medicare of a reported $163 million.  A key enabler of the fraud was the theft of 2,900 Social Security numbers, which the fraudsters used to bill Medicare for fake medical services.

While Medicare fraud will never be eliminated, there is a straightforward way to dramatically reduce it - immediately.  And it wouldn't need investigation by police, either.  Instead, it would rely on Medicare beneficiaries themselves.  Voucherization is the solution.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ObamaCare & Medicaid Speech: Polished Video on YouTube

On October 7, I was back in Washington, DC as a guest of the Galen Institute and the Institute for Policy Innovation, discussing the ObamaCare's harmful effect on states' Medicaid budgets.  I addressed California's Medi-Cal program.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Is Your State Suing ObamaCare? New Website Keeps you Posted

It's hard to keep track of all the ObamaCare lawsuits.  Fortunately, the Independent Women's Forum has launched a new website that does just that:  (Hat tip to John Goodman.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

New York Times Reluctantly Notes Seniors Losing Medicare Benefits; Denies It's A Problem

This morning’s editorial in the New York Times notes that “some of the private health plans that participate in Medicare will be dropping out next year, but don’t blame health reform.” Indeed, according to the Times, “the Medicare Advantage market remains strong.” Well, maybe — but that’s only for 2011.

What the Times avoids is the fact that Obamacare’s Medicare Advantage cuts don’t start until 2012, after which time private plans will be collapsing left, right, and center.

Read my entire post at National Review Online.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Yesterday's Panel Discussion in DC on ObamaCare & Medicaid

Here is the video: A little grainy but very educational.  Speakers are Christie Herrera of American Legislative Exchange Council,  Marc Kilmer of Maryland Public Policy Institute, and me.  Grace-Marie Turner of Galen Institute and Merrill Matthews of Institute for Policy Innovation hosted.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Speaking Tomorrow in DC

I'm off to the airport now to fly to DC to speak at Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) on "Medicaid and ObamaCare". Registration is free and they'll be livestreaming video starting 09:30 a.m. EDT.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Public speech tomorrow!

Yours truly will be speaking at two the Institute for Policy Innovation's briefing on Medicaid & ObamaCare on October 7 at the Capitol in Washington, DC.  Please register here.  I'll be talking about California's Medi-Cal program.

Sebelius Vs. Wall Street Journal (and the Truth)

Apparently, The Wall Street Journal enjoys sacrificing valuable real estate on its editorial page to serve as bait for politicians who traffic in misinformation about ObamaCare. Witness last week's op-ed by Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services. We know that the WSJ accepted her op-ed to trap her, because it rebutted her claims in a subsequent editorial, which makes entirely valid criticisms — but there’s more.

Read more of my response here.