John R. Graham Archive

John R. Graham is a Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute.
Full biography and recent publications

Commonwealth Fund: “Underinsurance” Unchanged under Obamacare



Yet another pro-Obamacare organization has had to publish a study indicating that Obamacare is failing to achieve its objectives. I recently discussed Families USA’s report that one-third of low-income families cannot afford care under Obamacare. This time it is the Commonwealth Fund, inventor of the notion of “underinsurance,” which is defined as out-of-pocket health…
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Planned Rate Hikes Presage a Health Insurance ‘Death Spiral’



The Wall Street Journal has reviewed health plans’ rate filings for 2016 in Obamacare exchanges: In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6% in premiums for 2016. The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3% increase. In Maryland, market…
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High U.S. Health Prices from Market Power?



The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) recently published a consensus report on healthcare-provider consolidation. Basically, we have a growing problem in that hospitals are buying up each other and also physician practices, which leads to reduced competition and higher prices. The report was promoted with an op-ed in The Hill by the esteemed…
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Did a Health Insurer Pay over Ten Times the Self-Pay Price for Outpatient Surgery?



A story from Arizona is a cloud with a silver lining: Teresa Anderson was pleasantly surprised how quick and hassle-free her eyelid-lift surgery was at Havasu Regional Medical Center’s outpatient-surgery facility in April 2014. Weeks later, the bills arrived at her Lake Havasu City home. Her surgeon, anesthesiologist and X-ray provider submitted bills and…
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Health Jobs Grow Twice as Fast in April as Other Jobs



Of the 223,000 jobs added in April, 45,000 were in health services, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Health services employment rose by 0.30 percent monthly, while other nonfarm, civilian employment grew only 0.14 percent. This continues the trend seen in March. As shown in Table 1, jobs…
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Obamacare’s Risk Corridors Are Back, and Bigger and Badder than Ever!



Last year, I discussed at length Obamacare’s risk corridors, which comprised an unlimited taxpayer bailout of insurers’ profits in the Obamacare exchanges, by transferring money from insurers with extra profits to those whose profits from Obamacare are less than expected. Fortunately, Congress capped this liability last December. The CROmnibus, which funded the government for…
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Obamacare’s State-Based Exchanges Struggle with Surging Costs



Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges are a real problem. States that established exchanges as “active purchasers” of health insurance, instead of just clearinghouses, have higher premiums. So, what is the point of them? Further, the federal government threw billions of dollars at states to set up exchanges, with zero accountability. Things are not improving. From…
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Why Don’t You Own Your Own Health Information?



David Brailer, MD, was the first head of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC), appointed by President George W. Bush. Today, he is a venture capitalist. Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Brailer noted that a law passed in 1996 governs our access to health information. Clearly,…
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Health Spending Crushing a Stalled Economy



March’s estimate of last year’s fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showed that health spending was chewing through a weak economy. Today’s release of the advanced estimate of this year’s first quarter GDP might best be described as health spending crushing a stalled economy. GDP barely budged, increasing by a trivial 0.2 percent annualized….
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Barack Obama Has the Last Word on the Medicare “Doc Fix”



On April 15, President Obama signed the so-called Medicare “doc fix,” a bill that I previously warned would recruit Republicans onto Obamacare’s B-Team. I had also hoped that they would reject the bill, especially after Medicare’s Chief Actuary delivered an even harsher verdict on its consequences than the Congressional Budget Office had. Unfortunately, massive…
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