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John R. Graham Archive

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

Obamacare’s Bureaucracy: The Amazing Rise in Health Insurance Jobs



As Congress and President-elect Trump debate how to repeal and replace Obamacare, the obsession with health insurance, rather than actual access to health care, has dominated the debate. It invites the question: How have jobs in health insurance fared before and after Obamacare? They have boomed! Before the Great Recession, nonfarm civilian employment peaked...
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Obamacare’s Individual Mandate and Tax Credits Are Really, Really Inefficient



Obamacare’s least popular feature is the individual “mandate” to have health insurance. This requirement was the subject of the 2012 lawsuit asserting Obamacare was unconstitutional: Never before had the federal government forced any resident to buy a good or service from a private business. The people lost that argument. Nevertheless, whether we label the...
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Obama Economists’ Bad Obamacare Economics



President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) has issued its valedictory report on the state of Obamacare. The gist of its argument is that Obamacare is doing fine, on the verge of overcoming its growing pains since 2014. Critics (like me) who suspect the 25 percent increase in premiums for 2017 are a problem...
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U.S. Life Expectancy Drops First Time since 1993



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency, has reported the remarkable news that U.S. life expectancy has dropped for the first time since 1993. According to Mortality in the United States, 2015 (NCHS Data Brief No. 267, December 2016): Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2015 was 78.8 years,...
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EPA Undermines the Fight Against Zika Virus



Other than anarcho-libertarians, most agree that government has a role to play in preventing and suppressing epidemics, a classic public-health problem. Viral or bacterial infections are not passed from animal to person, or person to person, by voluntary exchange. Instead, proximity to another’s infection can lead to an individual’s becoming infected, notwithstanding any market...
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A Post-Holiday Health Policy Vignette: Eye Surgery



If your Christmas dinner table had a cross-border contingent, different national characteristics almost certainly came up for discussion. I enjoyed Christmas in Naples, Florida, with a mixed group of Americans and Canadians. One couple consisted of a Canadian husband and an American wife. She insisted Canada’s single-payer health system was superior in every way...
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Illustrating Obamacare’s Effect on Employers’ Health Costs



The Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a chart showing how health-benefit costs among private employers have increased over the past decade. The chart shows health benefits increased from 6.9 percent of total compensation in September 2006 to 7.6 percent last September. The 0.7 percentage point absolute increase is a relative increase of ten...
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Congress Just Punched a Big Hole in Obamacare



President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act on December 13. Promoted as a pro-innovation bill, the new law will improve the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory processes; as well as fund Vice-President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, the National Institutes of Health, and steps to reduce the opioid epidemic. However, the final version of the...
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Zeke Emanuel, Obamacare Architect, Visits Trump to Urge One-Term Presidency



Last Wednesday, the Trump transition team disclosed the remarkable news that Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, an architect of Obamacare, was Mr. Trump’s first official guest of the morning. The spokesman demurred with respect to the details of the conversation, but I can guess: Dr. Emanuel was urging Mr. Trump to remain in office only one...
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More Good News for Health Reform: HSAs Continue to Grow



One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to make Health Savings Accounts more widely used. The purpose of HSAs is to give patients greater control over health spending and to reduce the share of spending controlled by insurers. Unfortunately, the 2003 law that established HSAs requires they be linked with a highly regulated type...
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