Coronavirus and Health Reform

Critics of President Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis characterize it as knee-jerk, spur-of-the-moment, and grasping at any straw within reach. In fact, many of the executive actions we have seen in the past few days reflect a new approach to health policy that has been underway almost since the day Donald Trump was sworn into office.

These include the ability to be diagnosed and treated without ever leaving your own home; the ability to talk to doctors 24/7 by means of phone, email and Skype; and the ability of the chronically ill to have access to free diagnoses and treatments without losing their access to Health Savings Accounts. More.

Obamacare at Age Ten

John Goodman writes: Many people lost the insurance they were promised they could keep. Many lost access to the doctor they were promised they could continue to see. Premiums have doubled. Deductibles have tripled. Provider networks are so narrow, people with serious health problems are routinely denied access to the best doctors and the best hospitals. More.

Dangers in Nationalizing Health Care

Thousands forcibly sterilized by the progressives in the early 20th century. Experimentation (by withholding treatment) on black males with syphilis in the mid century. Swine flu vaccine that killed people without preventing the flu in the 1970s. More.

Goodman and Herrick: Obamacare Has Made Things Worse

Ignoring the tax subsidies (both at work and in the individual market), things have gotten worse for people with chronic health conditions – because of Obamacare. Premiums have doubled. Deductibles have tripled. And narrow networks exclude the best doctors and the best hospitals. The reason: Obamacare gives insurers perverse incentives to attract the healthy and avoid the sick. People with health problems are being mistreated because no health plan wants them.
John Goodman and Devon Herrick, study for the Heritage Foundation.

The Left Doesn’t Understand Health Care Prices

What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Health Care Prices
If prices are the problem, why don’t they advocate price controls – requiring all providers to accept Medicare fees. If providers are making too much money, why don’t they advocate taxing provider incomes and giving patients tax rebates based on their medical expenses. These measure would be bad, but easy – much easier than trying to nationalize the entire health care system. More from John Goodman at Forbes.

Tax Law Changes: Good, Bad and Ugly

The good: People can contribute to IRAs regardless of age, 401(k) balances can be converted into annuities and retirees can go another year and a half before there are required withdrawals from tax deferred accounts. The bad: heirs are required to withdraw deferred accounts more quickly (10 years). The ugly: industries that agreed to be taxed in order to fund Obamacare get their taxes rescinded, without any reform of the mess they helped create. More.

Goodman: Tax Reform for the Middle Class

Tax Law Changes: Good, Bad and Ugly

We need to remove the most unfair, most anti-work, most anti-saving provisions of the tax code – ones that burden the middle-class. These include a social Security earnings penalty that can push senior workers into a 95% marginal tax rate, a tax on nonsocial security income that even hits tax-exempt bonds, and unfair restrictions on part-time workers and the self-employed. More.

Tax Reform For The Middle Class

We need to remove the most unfair, most anti-work, most anti-saving provisions of the tax code – ones that burden the middle-class. These include a social Security earnings penalty that can push senior workers into a 95% marginal tax rate, a tax on nonsocial security income that even hits tax exempt bonds, and unfair restrictions on part-time workers and the self-employed. More.

Opioids Are Killing Us: Here’s What We Can Do About It

Written with Larry Wedekind, Goodman writes: The treatment of choice, almost everywhere, is called Medication Assisted Treatment (M.A.T.) and it involves substitute drugs. It has an 80% failure rate. There is a treatment that involves microcurrent neurofeedback and a recovery support team. It costs one-fifth as much and has a high probability of success. What the Trump administration can do: create CPT (payment) codes for this new method of treatment. What Congress can do: reform the Obamacare exchanges. More.

Surprising Economics of Surprise Medical Bills

Surprise medical bills arise when hospital patients discover that certain fees are not covered by their health insurance. The reason for the surprise is that the patient’s insurance company and the hospital itself list the hospital as “in network.” Then, when the bill is presented, the patient discovers that certain doctors or certain services were “out of network.” As I wrote previously, in a free health insurance market this would rarely happen. Do you know of any other insurance market where this is a problem? I don’t. More.