Thursday, June 26, 2014

Covered California' Big Budget Blowout Is Coming

Only by Obamacare’s standards could Covered California, Sacramento’s state-run Obamacare exchange, be considered a success. Outside California, Obamacare is fading fast in the states. Some – led by Oregon and Maryland – intend to abandon their Obamacare health-insurance exchanges and let the federal government takeover.

Covered California, however, is firing on all cylinders.

Read the entire column at

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Broken Mirror On The Wall: On The Commonwealth Fund's Comparison of National Health Systems

The Commonwealth Fund has released another edition of its Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally. Following tradition, it concludes that the American health “system” is the worst of eleven developed countries.

We sympathize with the Commonwealth Fund’s criticism of U.S. health care as overly bureaucratic and suffering from administrivia. We haven’t met anyone who would disagree with that. Where we differ is on the idea that transferring some of that administrative load towards government efforts to “coordinate” care is going to improve things.

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

Only Half Of Previously Uninsured Obamacare Enrollees Have Favorable Opinion of Obamacare

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a survey of a statistically significant sample of people who buy their own insurance. The headline reported by the media was that 57 percent of enrollees in Obamacare exchange plans were previously uninsured. To me, that seems underwhelming. But more on that later.

We all know that Obamacare is unpopular. However, it is also unpopular among its beneficiaries — the previously uninsured who have bought (highly subsidized) health insurance in Obamacare exchanges. Only 53 percent of these people have a favorable opinion of Obamacare (p. 22). If that doesn’t make the law politically vulnerable, I don’t know what does.

Reads the entire column at The Independent Institute's Beacon blog or The NCPA's Health Policy Blog.

The Problem With Open Enrollment

Austin Frakt and Amitabh Chandra propose a common-sense idea at the New York Times: That insurers be able to offer a moveable feast of benefits. How to ensure that people won't just buy skinny plans when they are healthy and rich plans when they are sick? Open enrollment.

This is a feature of Obamacare, but it is inferior to health-status insurance. Read the entire column at NCPA's Health Policy Blog or The Independent Institute's Beacon blog.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Non-Hospital Healthcare Jobs Are Growing Fast

Jobs in health care, especially in outpatient settings, continue to rally. Of 217,000 nonfarm civilian jobs filled in May, 34,000 were in health care. This was twice the average monthly gain over the previous twelve months. As previously observed, most of these jobs are in ambulatory settings.

Read the entire column at The Independent Institute's Beacon Blog or the NCPA Health Policy Blog

Monday, June 9, 2014

What If More States Had Set Up Obamacare Exchanges?

Politico's Kyle Cheney and Jennifer Haberkorn have made the case that Republican non-collaboration with Obamacare has brought a completely federally controlled healthcare system closer to reality.

Right now, 36 states rely on, the federal exchange, to enroll people in health coverage. At least two more states are opting in next year, with a few others likely to follow. Only two states are trying to get out.

If Republican-governed states had set up Obamacare exchanges, they would have either “succeeded” (like Connecticut’s) or failed (like Oregon’s). States where exchanges had “succeeded” would have been dug in deeper in Obamacare, with newly empowered state bureaucrats invested in the law’s progress, undermining the state’s attempts to advance alternative, patient-centered reforms. States where exchanges had failed would simply shut them down and yield to a federal exchange — the same outcome as not having set up a state exchange at all.

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Would Outlawing Food Stamps For Soda Pop Decrease Obesity?

That’s what scholars at Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco, concluded in an article in Health Affairs. The authors compare two policies: banning the use of food stamps for the purchase of soda pop, or giving an extra subsidy of thirty cents on the dollar for the purchase of fruits and vegetables.

They conclude that the ban on soda pop would have a greater impact on obesity. However, they've missed an important factor: Food stamp recipients use soda pop as currency.

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

Don't Let Obamacare Enrolment Numbers Bury the Hard Facts

Read the entire op-ed in The Daily Caller.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

As Expected, Obamacare Motivates Insurers To Shun The Sickest People

A patient with HIV/AIDS can expect to pay over $1,000 out of pocket per month for medicines if he or she buys a policy on the Obamacare health-insurance exchange in Florida.

“Affordable”? Surely not. This perceived injustice has caused legal activists to file a lawsuit alleging discrimination against four insurers that offer plans in the Florida exchange.

Readers of this blog know that we have long warned that Obamacare creates incentives for insurers to avoid covering the sickest patients.

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