Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leavitt: Most States Won't Have Exchanges by Deadline

Former U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Mike Leavitt has announced that most states will not have Health Benefits Exchanges up and running by January 2014, when PPACA requires that they be covering patients who will have lost their employer-based benefits.

My readers have known this since April 8 (see here).  If you want to know how health reform is really working out, I encourage you to register for updates via one of the links at the left masthead.

Jim Bohannon Interview

I had the privilege of a full hour on the Jim Bohannon Show last night.  We spoke about the Medicaid crisis facing the country, and how to reform this out of control program.  Listen to the audio here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Medicaid Reform - Clinton Style!

Medicaid reformers should adopt the model of successful welfare reform, as signed by President Clinton.  Read my column in the Buffalo Daily News here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Federal Health Reform and Stock-Market Returns of Health Insurers

I was amazed to see how well the for-profit health insurers did during the build up, passage, and rollout of the new law.  Read the entire article here.

Path Dependency in Medicare Reform

I first learned about path dependency when studying physics — but it surely applies to public policy, too. Despite the scholarly disputations about health reform, what drives most voters are not questions about the solvency of Medicare or beneficiaries’ access to care, but fear of change. Arguments will not change this fact: People change when the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of changing, but not before.

This can be the only explanation for the majority of respondents to polls (described here) which ask the foolish question whether “Medicare should remain as it is today” versus Paul Ryan’s proposed reform.

Read the entire blog entry at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Connecticut's New, Ineffective Law Politicizing Premiums

Last week, an overwhelming majority of Connecticut legislators passed a bill, SB-11, that would give the executive branch the power to decide whether health plans should be allowed to increase their premiums at rates that keep pace with medical costs. Health plans may be a politically attractive target, but giving politicians the power to approve premiums causes other problems – and doesn’t even hold down rate increases.

Health plans are largely pass-throughs, paying medical claims from providers whose charges have been rocketing skyward. Read the entire article at The Apothecary.

The Grim Reality of Medicare Reform

As one of the first conservatives to criticize Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform, I was pretty excited to read Andrew McCarthy’s spirited attack against the very existence of Medicare. According to McCarthy, it’s a wholesale scam, and he doesn’t mind telling everyone because he’s neither running for office nor responsible for getting anyone else elected.

Sure, I’ll admit I had the urge to jump up and down and pump my fists in the air. But then I read Henry Olsen’s warning about alienating blue-collar voters, and I decided that while McCarthy’s scorched-earth approach may be the right one for the conservative patriot to adopt when challenged by al-Quaeda or the Taliban, it might not be quite the thing for dealing with the median American voter, who desperately clings to the increasingly exposed false promise of Medicare.

I think we have a bigger problem than has yet been recognized. Read the rest of this article at National Review Online.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

State Implementation of Federal Health Reform: Panel Presentation

Here is the video of the panel presentation by me and Christie Herrera of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Seattle a couple of days ago.  We were speaking at the 9th Annual Health Care Conference, produced by the Washington Policy Center.

Medicaid is easier to fix than entitlement programs | Anonymous | Op Eds | San Francisco Examiner

My column on Senator Coburn's Medicaid reform bill, at the San Francisco Examiner.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Will There Be Health Benefit Exchanges By 2014?

Despite advice from most free-market analysis, some Republican governors are executing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by establishing Health Benefits Exchanges. These governors dislike PPACA, but they believe that exchanges can be vehicles for more choice than the federal law anticipates.

But I think that the real news is how much difficulty states that want to implement PPACA as fast as possible are having.  Read the entire article at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Pfizer Break Up? Maybe Not Such A Great Idea

My second column at's The Apothecary blog discusses whether breaking up Pfizer (like almost everyone on Wall Street wants to do) is really such a good idea.

Read it here.

Why Medicaid Should Be Easier to Fix Than Entitlements

Congress remains gridlocked on many important issues but not every politician is afraid to challenge the unsustainable growth of Medicaid. Consider S. 1031, by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn.

This measure would increase local control over Medicaid spending and improve the incentives that have led politicians to trap ever more low-income citizens in poverty and the poor access to care that characterizes this top-heavy system.

Medicaid is often described as an “entitlement,” but that is wrongheaded. Medicaid is welfare, targeted at low-income Americans. And Medicaid should be easier to fix, politically, than two other troublesome programs.