Tag: Regulation

Federal Government Gives Patients a New “Right”: Access to Lab Results »

Many patients groups and their allies understandably cheered a new regulation that just came about as a result of many years of advocacy: Nationwide, patients now have a “right” to access their lab results directly. The “right” to receive test results directly from labs now ranks equally with the “right” to get our medical...
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Will the Federal Government Turn a Profit on Risk Corridors? That Can Be Stopped. »

I have written twice about the “risk corridors” in Obamacare’s health-insurance exchanges. The first post described how risk corridors will work in the exchanges. Risk corridors exist for three years and are designed to partially immunize insurers from losing money in the exchanges. Recently, the risk corridors have been described as a “bailout,” especially...
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Health Reform: Senate Republicans’ Continuous Coverage Consumer Protection Needs Improvement »

Three Republican Senators have released a health-care reform proposal that has attracted much attention. One of the three, Orrin Hatch, is likely to chair the Senate Finance Committee if the Republicans win the majority in the Senate. John Goodman has described the bill neutrally. At Forbes, Matthew Herper describes the effect of capping the...
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Coburn II »

ObamaCare is widely perceived as a Rube Goldberg contraption that treats people in arbitrary and unfair ways. A Republican alternative, therefore, needs to be clear, easy to understand, and based on principles that starkly contrast with ObamaCare. It must not be “ObamaCare light.” The first Coburn health reform proposal (the Coburn/Burr/Ryan/Nunes bill) fits this...
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Is There an Argument—Any Argument—for Community Rating? »

I’ve never seen an intelligible argument for community rating. I think I know why. I’m afraid there isn’t any. Don’t believe me? I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I let you pick any recognized ethical system in the entire history of Western philosophy. (Only Western? Yeah, we’re not cultural relativists here.) Altruism, Egoism, Nietzschean...
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Will Republicans Repeal Obamacare’s Risk Corridors? »

This blog’s readers are better informed than most about the (somewhat complicated) question of how health insurers will be compensated for bearing risk in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges. A previous entry explained the basics of two of the three programs that protect health insurers from losing too much money on Obamacare’s exchanges. These are...
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Contraceptives for Nuns? Government at Its Most Absurd »

How absurd can a law be, to force nuns (who have taken vows of both poverty and celibacy) to explain to the state why they don’t want to pay for contraception? That requirement was too much for Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who issued a temporary injunction against Obamacare’s mandate that health plans...
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Obamacare Health Insurance Has “Narrow Networks,” but Why Are There Any Networks at All? »

Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News recently reported on a presentation by Paul Mango of McKinsey & Co. to an audience of health-insurance executives. According to Appleby’s report, Mr. Mango’s research found: About two-thirds of hospital networks on the exchanges are “narrow” or “ultra-narrow”; This was defined by surveying 20 urban areas and identifying...
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Obamacare Will Not Prevent Hospitals from Overcharging »

In two recent posts I discussed out-of-control prices for hospital services, especially emergency-room care. In the first, I argued that sky-high hospital prices are the result of government interference. In the second, I cheered the fact that consumer-driven health plans are inducing hospitals (ever so gradually) to be more upfront with patients (at least,...
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“Job Lock” from Employer-Based Health Benefits: What Should Government Do? »

Back in 1993, the economists Jonathan Gruber and Brigitte C. Madrian highlighted the problem of “job lock,” a consequence of employer-based health benefits. Job lock referred to the fact that the U.S. Internal Revenue Code does not tax employees’ health benefits if they are provided through employers’ group plans. However, if employers gave the...
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