Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I'll be taking a break until January from blogging (although I might throw in the odd comment or two at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog).

There might be a redesign coming at this blog - either video or audio added every week or two.  Also, I'm likely to focus a little more on the deal-flow in the health-care sector, instead of just the straight health-policy angles.

Until then, have a healthy and happy holiday and New Year.  Remember, every day is one day closer to the repeal of Obamacare!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where the Nanny Statists Begin, the Trial Lawyers Surely Follow

I've written more than once about the so-called "Happy Meals ban." Well, it's got legs.  This nonsense bagan last spring in San Mateo County.  The notion is that if the government forbids  fast-food restaurants from using toys and similar items to induce kids to order meals there, childhood obesity will fall.  As I anticipated at the time, this will likely become a windfall for trial lawyers.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Myth of the Massachusetts Mandate

Remember the Massachusetts health reform, signed by Gov. Mitt Romney in April 2006? Some Obamacare cheerleaders (including the President) insist that it was the forerunner of Obamacare (and Gov. Romney is having a heck of a time distancing himself from it).

There is a media myth that the individual mandate (that you must pay a fine if you don't buy government-approved health insurance) is critical to the law's so-called "success".  Well, it's not true.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

If Obamacare is Unconstitutional, Why Aren't Medicare & Medicaid?

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that the individual mandate in Obamacare is unconstitutional. The “Minimum Essential Coverage Provision” has no basis in the powers delegated to Congress by the Constitution, according to Virginia Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli, and Judge Henry E. Hudson has agreed.

So how can Medicare and Medicaid be constitutional?

On An Interstate Compact for Health Insurance

As well as playing a key role in the upcoming defeat of Obamacare, states can seize the initiative on framing the real health reform that will replace it.  One commendable option is an interstate compact for health reform.

After all, Congress has had many opportunities to reform health care, and it has failed again and again.  It's time to get the federal government out of the health-insurance business.

Read this month's Health Policy Prescription here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On Sebelius' & Holder's Defense of Obamacare

Today's Washington Post ran an op-ed by Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, and Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney-General.  In it, they trot out the same old arguments that we've heard many times before, and debunked.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More on the Insanity of the Medicare Payment System

I can’t move on from the previous post without noting a fascinating article in the weekend Wall Street Journal: “Assembling the Global Baby,” by Tamara Audi & Arlene Chang (December 11-12, 2010).

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reflections on the Insanity of the Medicare Payment System

Over at the John Goodman Health Policy Blog, Dr. Goodman and Prof. Reinhardt (amongst others) are debating how Medicare pays people.  Here's my take: It is insane.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Speech today

Off to speak on Obamacare to Economic Prosperity Institute at Sonoma State University, so no pearls of wisdom on the blog today.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Obamacare's Unintended Consequence of the Day: Higher Drug Prices for Kids' Hospitals

The New York Times reports on another unintended consequence of Obamacare: Higher drug prices for childrens' hospitals.  (The structure of the article itself is fascinating: One anonymous politician who voted to impose Obamacare on the nation told the reporter that this results from "an honest mistake in drafting."   Sick kids will lose access to medicines because of politicians' incompetence, but they don't even bother to defend their not reading or understanding the legislation anymore.)

Indeed, government controls designed to reduce drug prices usually result in higher prices, a result I discussed in a study written a few years back (available here).  Lower drug prices result from less government control, not more.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Are Your State Politicians Serious About Defeating Obamacare? A "Litmus Test"

Last month’s elections demonstrated convincingly that the American people are already fed up with Obamacare, the March legislation that gives the federal government control over our access to medical services. Anti-Obamacare Republicans took the majority in the House of Representatives and increased their numbers in the U.S. Senate.

Most people believe that President Obama will not listen to the American people and repeal his own legislation. This makes final defeat of Obamacare unlikely before a future president takes office in January 2013, at the earliest. The federal government, however, relies on states to do Obamacare’s dirty work.