As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to enter the oval office, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) hopes to weaken ObamaCare through a process known as budget reconciliation. This will repeal most of ObamaCare but leave the law’s onerous insurance regulations in place and potentially worsen our already dysfunctional healthcare system.
Budget reconciliation is a parliamentary maneuver that allows Congress to pass budget-related bills with only 51 votes. Enzi plans to use this process to override a potential filibuster from Democrats and repeal ObamaCare’s tax and spending provisions, such as the individual mandate, employer mandate, health insurance subsidies, and Medicaid expansion.
“Congress already passed a repeal of ObamaCare in early 2016 using the same process, but President Obama vetoed the legislation,” said Enzi’s spokesman, Max D’Onofrio. “With a new president incoming who favors ObamaCare repeal, Congress has made it a priority to repeal and replace ObamaCare. This will provide relief to Americans whose premiums have risen wildly and who no longer have the healthcare options they had in the past.”
However, repealing ObamaCare’s subsidies and taxes without also scrapping its insurance regulations could make health coverage even more expensive.
Continue reading at The Hill.
Donald Trump is serious about wresting control of our healthcare system away from the federal government and giving power back to patients, and he just showed it by naming Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
Price is both an ardent opponent of Obamacare and an enthusiastic advocate for a more patient-centered healthcare system.
While virtually every Republican in Congress opposes Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all approach, Price has actually proposed detailed policy alternatives that make health insurance more affordable and accessible to patients.
Price’s plan, the Empowering Patients First Act, would improve American healthcare in three important ways. First, it would eliminate Obamacare’s provisions that increase the cost of health insurance. It would abolish the ACA’s “essential health benefits” — rules that force people to buy coverage for a range of expensive services they may not need or desire. These mandatory benefits include maternity care, newborn care, as well as pediatric vision and dental care, even if someone doesn’t have children.
Continue reading at Washington Examiner.
Contrary to the popular belief that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protects American consumers from dangerous drugs produced by malicious drug companies, FDA drug regulations actually benefit big pharma. And this benefit occurs by increasing the cost of prescription drugs for the poorest Americans. We can see this injustice in the recent EpiPen controversy.
The drug company Mylan recently announced that they were increasing the price of their drug known as the EpiPen by nearly 500 percent since 2007. The EpiPen is a device that allows someone suffering from potentially fatal allergy symptoms to inject epinephrine into their system, reducing the symptoms and possibly saving their life. Since the drug is widely used and so important for many people, the price increase ignited a political and media firestorm. Pundits from both sides of the aisle are outraged, saying that the company should be forced to lower the price.
But the drug company is not the only organization at fault. Like any other corporation, Mylan is in business to make money. The FDA, on the other hand, whose official vision is that “public health is advanced and protected,” goes against this mission every day.
Continue reading at RealClearHealth.
By now, even many liberals accept that Bernie Sanders’ health-care plan is deeply flawed. Kenneth Thorpe, a progressive professor retained by Vermont to help craft their single-payer plan, argues that Sanders’ plan would result in higher costs for 71 percent of working households who currently have private insurance.
But the problems with single-payer go beyond Sanders’ plan. Single-payer inherently creates substantial problems for doctors, hospitals, and patients.
A century ago, the economist Ludwig von Mises argued that the economy cannot function without real market prices. Market prices inform producers about the value of their services, enabling them to best serve consumers. If lots of consumers want laser eye surgery, high demand will lead to higher prices, which encourages other entrepreneurs to enter the market. If consumers don’t care for colonoscopies, the lower demand drives prices down and encourages entrepreneurs to stop focusing on that service.
This feedback mechanism is absent when government sets prices. The result is misallocation and chaos, as we see in Medicare.
Read the rest on RealClearPolicy, here.
In recent years, many Americans have turned to alternative medicine after exhausting their options at the pharmacy. Herbal supplements, acupuncture, and chiropractic therapy have become nearly as popular as buying aspirin at the corner store. Unfortunately, these treatments often come under fire from state governments acting on a fear of the unknown rather than evaluations of the science.
One example here in the Badger State is the natural pain reliever kratom, which was recently banned by the Wisconsin Controlled Substance Board.
Despite its technical-sounding name, kratom is not some chemical cooked up in a laboratory. It is a plant that has been used as an herbal medicine in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years.
Read the rest on The Cap Times here.