Health Care

Is Obamacare Repeal Back On the Front Burner?

Featured image Reports from Washington are frustratingly incomplete, but it appears that the Trump administration is renewing its effort to repeal Obamacare. Reuters strikes a remarkably optimistic note: The majority of House Freedom Caucus members will vote for a Republican healthcare bill if changes offered by the White House are included in the legislation, the head of the conservative group of House Republicans said on Thursday. U.S. Representative Mark Meadows said the »

Democrats’ Celebration Is Premature

Featured image Pretty much everyone thinks the House’s failure to pass the GOP’s repeal-and-replace bill is a disaster for Republicans. The Democrats are giddy with glee, and Matt Drudge calls it a “catastrophe.” Perhaps they are right, but I doubt it. Obamacare is in a death spiral. It is rapidly collapsing, and steadily becoming more unpopular as it fails more and more Americans. Congress will now move on to other tasks, like »

House Leadership Pulls Health Care Bill

Featured image It became apparent this afternoon that the health care bill promoted by Republican leadership in the House did not have enough votes to pass, and the bill was pulled by Speaker Paul Ryan, despite President Trump’s earlier insistence that a vote be held. Based on the Washington Post’s account, it appears that Trump acquiesced in the decision. “‘We just pulled it,’ he said.” Inevitably, commentators will play the perceptions game: »

Will the House GOP Obamacare replacement accelerate the death spiral?

Featured image Sen. Tom Cotton says “I think we’re moving a little bit too quickly on health care reform.” He explains: This is a big issue. This is not like the latest spending bill that gets released on a Monday night, [passed] on Wednesday and everybody goes home for Christmas, and we live with it for nine months. We’re going to live with health care reform that we pass forever, or until »

Is GOP Health Care Bill a Disaster? No

Featured image Peter Nelson, my colleague at Center of the American Experiment, is one of the country’s leading experts on health care policy. On the Center’s web site, he urges conservatives to take a deep breath and understand the constraints that Congressional Republicans are working under. In particular, a full repeal of Obamacare must get through the Senate, which means it must get 60 votes. There are only 52 Republican senators. Therefore, »

House “repeal and replace” legislation gets Medicaid right

Featured image I found this analysis of the proposed House Obamacare repeal and replace legislation to be a useful starting point in understanding the proposal. The author is “Asclepius,” a sensible sounding guy. His verdict: The proposal contains sound and much needed Medicaid reforms; sensible but very modest insurance market reforms; and the entirely misguided creation of new subsidies, in the form of tax credits, for participants in the ACA exchanges. In »

Are Republicans Blowing It on Health Care?

Featured image Health care policy, like K-12 education and college sports handicapping, is an abyss I try my best to avoid, because energy and environment are so much more fun! Almost 25 years ago I wrote a cover story for Reason magazine about “The Medicare Monster,” and resolved never again to go through the torture of investigating health care policy, despite the fact that the great Richard Epstein still talks today about »

A framework for replacing Obamacare

Featured image James Capretta and Scott Gottlieb of AEI lay out the four reforms around which they say the effort to replace Obamacare should center. They are: 1. Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans. Obamacare provides all sorts of health care coverage, including lots of coverage the purchaser doesn’t need (e.g. child birthing care for people not capable of having children). Making people pay for coverage they don’t »

Of EpiPens and Weasels

Featured image Mylan NV has been taking a lot of abuse for sharply raising the price of its popular EpiPen. The Wall Street Journal explains the background on the price increase. It isn’t, as I would have assumed, a case of patent protection. The patent on epinephrine ran out years ago. Rather, it turns out that keeping the anti-allergy dose sterile is difficult and expensive. Mylan’s competitors have had a hard time »

Why Is Health Care So Much More Expensive Than It Used To Be?

Featured image We don’t normally just steal posts from others, but this one deserves it: Glenn Reynolds writes: ANALYSIS: TRUE. Every Industry Gets Worse When Government Gets Involved. “This is easily provable with Public Choice Theory, and consistently proven in practice.” I would add two points about the chart. First, the increased cost of health care obviously has something to do with the metastasizing administrators. But it also is caused, in part, »

Socialism in one grasp

Featured image Bernie Sanders has proposed “Medicare for all Americans.” It sounds sweet, but how much would it cost? Avik Roy, a health care analyst and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, finds an answer in work performed for the Sanders campaign by economist Gerald Friedman. The price tag: $41 trillion over ten years. Actually, the correct number may well be higher. Friedman claims that Sanders’ plan would reduce national health-care spending »

Fiorina supported a type of individual mandate; is this the beginning of her end

Featured image Now that Carly Fiorina has emerged as a top-six candidate (at worst) for the GOP nomination, she will receive serious scrutiny. The little scrutiny she has received to date focuses on her record as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. That record is relevant to her candidacy. For me, however, her past positions on the major issues are more important. Has she been a consistent, hard-line conservative? The early returns aren’t good »

Down Memory Lane: Remember When Liberals Said the VA Was Proof that Socialism Works?

Featured image At the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto pulls together liberals’ endorsements of Veterans Administration health care. It goes beyond just claiming that VA medicine was top notch; liberals often claimed that the supposed success of the VA is proof that government is superior to the private sector. Taranto titles his post “Socialist Supermodel.” You should read it all, but here are a few highlights: [I]n January 2006, … former Enron »

The Pipes proviso: The VA angle

Featured image A reader writes in response to the congressional testimony of Sally Pipes linked in “The Pipes proviso”: As a former medicine resident and current cardiology fellow, I have spent more time working at various VA hospitals than all but those courageous physicians who make a career of working within its bureaucracy and unions. (As the joke goes, what’s the difference between a bullet and a VA nurse? You can fire »

The Pipes proviso

Featured image When our oldest daughter was in second grade her best friend was a classmate who was the daughter of an ophthalmologist from Canada. He devoted much of his practice to treating Medicaid patients at the county hospital. The family moved to Ottawa at the end of the school year and we traveled to visit them. We had lunch at a deli near the doctor’s office, close by the Parliament building. »

How To Fix Health Care

Featured image In my Forbes.com column this week, I suggest that the field is wide open for a leader of imagination to employ a back-to-basics approach, explaining to Americans how markets are superior to centralized government control especially in health care.  I suspect Americans are much more amenable to this message than Beltway Republicans know.  They’ve been drinking the DC Kool Aid for too long to perceive this. Today’s article in the »

Socialize the Patients First, the Doctors Later

Featured image With Obamacare shaping up as a public policy disaster that is the equivalent of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the Hindenburg, the Bay of Pigs, and Desert One combined, perhaps we should go back and take in Ronald Reagan’s warning about this back in 1961.  Reagan said that socializing health care would require socializing the patients, and voila, we have Obamacare canceling insurance plans previously agreed to between consenting adults. But »