Friday, May 30, 2014

Colorado Patients Win The "Right to Try" New Medicines Without FDA Approval

Earlier this month, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper signed the nation’s first “right to try” law. The law allows a patient suffering from a disease, for which no medicine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to try an experimental new medicine before the agency approves it. The law allows, but does not force, drug-makers to provide their experimental drugs to patients. Other states, such as Louisiana and Missouri, are set to follow.

Read he entire article at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog or The Independent Institute's Beacon blog.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Using Marketable Vouchers to Speed Up Drug Approval

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new drug for leishmaniasis, an extremely rare disease which is spread by sand flies in poor countries. Why would a for-profit company invest in inventing a drug for which there is no way to make a profit?

The FDA offers a prize to any firm that invents a therapy for one of sixteen rare diseases: a priority review voucher (PRV). A company that wins a license for a neglected drug wins a PRV that it can use to get priority review for another drug — perhaps a new treatment for depression or cancer that will bring in billions of dollars of revenue. In that case, the PRV will be worth between $150 million to $300 million.

Read the entire column at The Independent Institute's Beacon blog or John Goodman's Health Policy Blog

Thursday, May 22, 2014

For Opponents, ObamaCare’s “Bailout” of Insurers is a Richer Target than Ever

The Administration continues to move the goalposts on its so-called “bailout” of insurers which lose money in ObamaCare’s exchanges. Formally, this is labelled “risk corridors”, and describes a process by which the Administration will take money from insurers which profit more than expected in the exchanges, and transfer it to those insurers which lose more money than expected.


The Administration has just published the final rule for 2015, which includes two things relevant to the “bailout”.

Read the entire column at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog or The Independent Institute's Beacon blog.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A 2003 Law Blunts The Worst of Obamacare

Health Savings Accounts, introduced in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, have blunted the worst aspects of Obamacare.

Read the entire column in The Hill.

Hospital Price Transparency: More Toothless Regulation

The Administration continues to promulgate ineffective regulations that are supposed to help patients understand how much money they owe their hospital.

The most recent example is this month’s proposed rule updating the hospital Inpatient Provider Payment Services (IPPS) schedule for 2015.

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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Obamacare Is Not Driving Hospitals Bankrupt

One of the most intuitively appealing arguments for ensuring that everyone has health insurance is the claim that uninsured patients crowd emergency rooms but don’t pay their bills. Hospitals present these bills to government, and taxpayers end up paying. In fact, that cost is a trivial share of health spending.

Another myth is that emergency departments are cost centers. In fact, they are profit centers. And Obamacare will increase their profits significantly.

Read the entire column at The Independent Institute's Beacon blog.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Four Recent Polls Show Obamacare Still Vulnerable

The media told us that Obamacare’s enrolling 8 million (or so) beneficiaries in the health-insurance exchanges by the end of March was an epic achievement. If that was the best the administration could do, it was not nearly good enough for the American people.

Five polls, conducted since Obamacare’s initial open enrollment closed, confirm that the administration’s “all hands on deck” surge at the end of March failed to change negative public perception of Obamacare.

Read the entire column at The Independent Institute's Beacon blog.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Healthcare Workforce Continues to Shift Away from Hospitals

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics latest employment report shows that health care continues to add jobs at about the same rate as the rest of the economy, the shift of jobs to the outpatient setting continues.

Read the entire column at The Independent Institute's Beacon blog.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Number of Patient Payments to Healthcare Providers Up 72 Percent in 3 Years

Although Obamacare’s health-insurance policies are shocking people by imposing very high deductibles, high deductibles alone are a feature, not a bug, of high-performing health insurance. In the absence of over-regulation of health insurance, every dollar a beneficiary pays directly to a healthcare provider, instead of to a health insurer as premium, reduces administrative and bureaucratic costs. If very few patients incur health spending above the deductible, administrative costs and hassles should shrink.

InstaMed, a payment-processing company that specializes in healthcare, has published its latest report on Trends in Healthcare Payments, which sheds much light on the growth in deductibles and co-payments.

Read the entire column at the Independent Institute's Beacon blog.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Is The Canadian Middle Class Doing Better Than The American Middle Class?

The New York Times made a splash last week with an analysis that purportedly shows that the U.S. middle class is declining relative to the middle class in other countries. Especially, the data make it look like Canadian median income surpassed U.S. median income in 2010, when U.S. median income was $18,700.

The conclusion is somewhat aggressive, because it does not take a couple of important factors into account.

Read the entire column at The Independent Institute's Beacon blog.