Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Individual Mandate Vs. Employer-Based Benefits (Encore!)

A few days ago, I posted a Daily Caller column in which I point out that there is no real, economic, difference between the so-called "individual mandate" to buy health insurance and the status quo.

An Adobe Acrobat version, published as a Health Policy Prescription by the Pacific Research Institute, is here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Has Opposition to Obamacare Opened a New Front on Entitlements?

Okay, maybe the Republicans are serious about reforming entitlements — especially Medicare, the Big Kahuna. Usually, politicians’ claims to be almost willing to make preparations to eventually propose having an “adult conversation” about entitlements are not worth wasting time on. But this time may be different — and I credit the fight against Obamacare with moving the goalposts.

Read the entire column at National Review Online (more activist version) or John Goodman's Health Policy Blog (more wonky version).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Fight For Health Freedom Loses a Champion: Jack Calfee, RIP

I woke this morning to learn the terrible news that Jack Calfee of the American Enterprise Institute had unexpectedly passed away yesterday.  AEI made the announcement this morning here, and linked to his substantial and influential body of work.

When I got into health policy in 2000, my first projects focused on government intervention in prescription drugs: Patent law, the regulatory bureaucracy, restrictions on free speech (Direct-to-Consumer advertising, detailing physicians, et cetera).  Jack Calfee was the giant in this field: His thorough, accurate, and diligent research demolished any legitimate claim that the federal government should exercise undue interference over the actions of patients, doctors, or pharmaceutical innovators.

We need him today more than ever.  Jack Calfee, RIP.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Individual Mandate vs. Employer-Monopoly Benefits

It pains me to have written this article.  I cheer judge Hudson's and judge Vinson's findings that Obamacare is unconstitutional.  However, as an economist, I recognize that there is no real difference between an individual mandate (that penalizes a resident for not buying health insurance) and non-taxable health benefits.

It pains me even more to report that the original Health Policy Prescription had a typo in Table 2, so I have pulled it off the blog until we correct it.

Fortunately, the Daily Caller has run the correct column, here.

Obamacare Will Destroy Utah's Health Exchange

Back in a November 2009, Utah governor Gary Herbert complained in remarks at the Heritage Foundation that the federal government was “freezing out the states” on health-care reform.

How have things gone since then? According to the governor’s remarks (as reported by Jane Norman of CQ HealthBeat) when he returned to the Heritage Foundation last week, “Utah officials waited for eight months to find out if the state would be allowed to use e-mail rather than paper to communicate with Medicaid recipients and save $6 million a year.” Herbert concluded — with bemusement – that “they sent us a denial by e-mail.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Virginia Does Not Need a Health Benefit Exchange

To preserve Virginians' access to health care, Gov. McDonnell needs to stop listening to academics and bureaucrats — and start listening to individuals and businesses already suffering from Obamacare. His administration needs to cease collaboration with the federal government on establishing a health benefits exchange.

Read my entire column at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don Berwick Finally Vetted

People who follow the health bureaucracy were appalled when President Obama appointed Dr. Don Berwick to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services - the Health Czar for people over 65 or low-income Americans - without Senate confirmation.

President Obamacare skirted this Constitutional requirement because Dr. Berwick is an unapologetic fan of government-monopoly control of citizens' health benefits.  Until now, the Administration has never been held accountable for this reckless appointment.

Now, the new majority in the House of Representatives is finally asking him the tough questions about he plans to limit health benefits to people under his control - America's Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

A new website, Don Berwick Online, does the public service of bringing these hearings, and Dr. Berwick's record, to the people's attention.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Defeating Obamacare: Governors Respond to Judge Vinson's Decision

This month's Capital Ideas column, which focuses especially on the responses from Florida governor Scott and Georgia governor Deal.

Read the article here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Responsible Resistance to Obamacare: Has Mitch Daniels Shown the Way?

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels offers up a dilemma to U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius: If she wants his co-operation (and that of 20 other governors), she’ll need to twist and turn Obamacare inside out to get it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Subsidizing Health Insurance: Tax Exclusion, Tax Deduction, Tax Credit, or Individual Mandate?

According to Judge Roger Vinson’s decision on January 31, Congress has no power to legislate an “individual mandate,” whereby the federal government charges the citizen a “penalty” if he does not buy a private health-insurance policy. As an opponent of Obamacare and a supporter of the Constitution, it’s a decision that I cheer. But as an economist, I find it absurd. If last year’s majority had designed the legislation slightly differently, it would not have prompted the smallest whisper of constitutional challenge.

To understand this, let’s look at a very simple society comprising two equally productive households: Smith and Jones, under four different scenarios:

Read the rest of this article at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

States React to Judge Vinson's Ruling

Florida has led 25 other states to an overwhelming judicial victory against Obamacare in federal court, but, unsurprisingly, some states are ignoring Judge Roger Vinson’s decision that Obamacare — in its entirety — violates the U.S. Constitution.

States Demand Medicaid Reform

Katrina Trinko has written an article at National Review Online, in which she discusses the crushing fiscal burden of Medicaid on states, and how Obamacare makes it worse.