Tag: "public option"

The “Public Option”: Obamacare’s Final Bailout

Obamacare-protest-AP(A version of this Health Alert was published by RealClearHealth.)

Most Americans disapprove of Obamacare. In a poll conducted in July by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which supports the goals of Obamacare, 46 percent of respondents disapproved of the law while only 40 percent approved. The first poll was conducted in April 2010, when Obamacare was fresh off the press. Then, 46 percent of the public favored the new law, while 40 percent opposed. In July 2010, half of respondents voiced support for the law. In the mind of the American public, that was Obamacare’s high-water mark. It has been downhill since then.

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Walk-in Clinics Get a Good Report Card

We really couldn’t find any strong evidence that the retail clinics are providing inferior care in the United States, within the limits of what they do — providing quick relief for acute conditions among the relatively young and healthy (not complex medication management or long-term follow-up for people with chronic conditions)…

What seems to be particularly attractive about the retail clinics for the young and healthy is their convenience — they’re open nights and weekends, often without requirements appointments, and without long waiting times. Almost half of their visitors arrive when regular officers are closed, making these clinics far more convenient to those who work.

Sanjay Bansu at The Health Care Blog.

Reinhardt: Let’s Have a Libertarian Option

Let us set up two distinct systems for health care within our nation. Call one the Social Solidarity system and the other the Libertarian system. Ask young people — at age 25 or so — to choose one or the other.

People joining the Social Solidarity system would know that they will be asked to subsidize their less fortunate fellow citizens in health care through taxes or premiums or both. They would also know, however, that the community will take care of them, and they will not go broke, should serious illness befall them.

People choosing the Libertarian system would not have to pay taxes to subsidize other people’s health care, and they would pay actuarially fair health insurance premiums — low for healthy people and high for sicker people.

Good stuff. More here. And, why restrict the choice to health care?

How Pell Grants are Like Health Insurance

Started in 1972 to help poor kids pay for college, Pell Grants are now so broad that more than half of all undergrads benefit.

Because the amount of a Pell Grant for full-time study depends on both a student’s financial straits and the cost to attend school, better-off students often receive the large Pell Grants and apply them to more expensive schools.

Universities learned long ago how to capture the extra cash and adjust their price schedules accordingly. While Pell Grants and other student aid are intended to make college more affordable, they’re contributing to the ever-higher tuition spiral. Write 100 times on the chalkboard: Student aid raises tuition.

Source: Wall Street Journal.

College Health Plans May Cost 50% More

College health plans…are also expected to become more costly as they accommodate the benefit requirements of the health law. A few schools have had their prices rise so much that they have decided to drop their health plans altogether…Many plans that provide limited coverage are raising their premiums as much as 50 percent to comply with the new law’s requirements for coverage, according to Stephen Beckley, a student insurance consultant and co-organizer of the Lookout Mountain Group, an organization of college health professionals.

Source: Washington Post.

Proximity to Healthy Foods Doesn’t Matter; Price Does

Most people don’t buy food from the stores that are nearest to them says a new study. And where they do shop, their choice of foods tends to be driven by price. As Sarah Kliff summarizes:

The patrons of the lower-priced grocery store (like Safeway) tended to have a higher rate of obesity than those who shopped at the higher-priced grocery stores in the study (think Whole Foods). That relationship held true after adjusting for variables like education and income. It makes Drewnowski think that “choice of primary food source was driven by price.”


We’re still down 4.6 M private sector jobs from the employment peak in January 2008, compared to down 407,000 government jobs. For every net lost government job since employment peaked in January 2008, the U.S. economy has lost more than eleven private sector jobs.

That’s the opposite story from the one told by the President. While the U.S. economy has been slowly creating private sector jobs over the past 2 1/4 years, the hole left to fill is overwhelmingly one caused by the destruction of private sector jobs.

The President is right that the public sector is not creating net new jobs because of local layoffs. But by focusing on recent trends and ignoring the nearly nine million private jobs lost before his measurement window began, he is leading us to the wrong conclusion. Even if government job growth were to resume, our economy needs to create millions more private sector jobs to be restored to full health.

Oh, and Paul Krugman is just as wrong as President Obama. Full Keith Hennessey post worth reading.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

CBO: Federal debt to double in 15 years.

HHS has missed nearly half of ObamaCare legal deadlines.

Bloomberg bans food donations to the homeless.

What’s True of Public Pensions is also True of Public Retiree Health Programs

While Americans are typically earning less than 1 percent interest on their savings accounts and watching their 401(k) balances yo-yo along with the stock market, most public pension funds are still betting they will earn annual returns of 7 to 8 percent over the long haul, a practice that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently called “indefensible.”

Now public pension funds across the country are facing a painful reckoning. Their projections look increasingly out of touch in today’s low-interest environment, and pressure is mounting to be more realistic. But lowering their investment assumptions, even slightly, means turning for more cash to local taxpayers — who pay part of the cost of public pensions through property and other taxes.

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Marriage by Contract

This is Gary Becker, writing at the Becker-Posner blog.

I have argued several times previously that all “marriages” should be basically contractual arrangements between couples, whether heterosexual or homosexual. These couple-specific contracts would specify the duties of each member, including the conditions needed to terminate their arrangement, so that couples rather than laws and judges would determine the conditions under which they stay together or breakup. These contracts would be tailored to the special needs of each couple, and could even be made compulsory in order to take away any information revealed when a person asks his or her mate for a contract…

If such contracted civil unions became the norm, homosexual unions would not be any different than heterosexual unions. If civil unions obtained all the rights of marriage unions, then the issue of gay “marriage” would turn only on language, although it is emotionally charged language on both sides of the debate.

Posner’s view on homosexual marriage at the Becker-Posner blog.