The Politics of Health

The Politics of Health

In almost all recent polling, voters say health care is their number one concern. They also trust Democrats more than Republicans on the issue. But why?

Obamacare is the most flawed health system Americans ever created. If you combine the average premium and the average deductible people faced last year, a family of four with Obamacare insurance had to spend $25,000 before getting any benefits from their Obamacare plan. And in most places, the best doctors and the best hospitals are not included in Obamacare plan’s narrow networks. More

Goodman: Why we are Divided

Goodman: Why we are Divided

The liberal media is panicking over the prospect of Larry Elder becoming governor of California. An editorial in the New York Times by Farhad Manjoo, for example, declares the Elder candidacy a “looming disaster,” a “liberal nightmare” and a possibility that is “as serious as a heart attack.” For Times editorial writer Paul Krugman, the possibility is even more frightening. Elder, he says, would be a “Trumpist governor” whose election would produce “awesome consequences” – all bad, of course.

The Truth About Inequality

The Truth About Inequality

Inequality is almost universally condemned by the intellectual elite. But most of the rest of the world doesn’t think inequality is such a bad thing. According to polling by Gallup, there are 138 million people in the world today who would like to immigrate to the United States. Most of these people are poor. They tend to live in egalitarian surroundings – they and their neighbors are all equally poor. (The country with the highest percentage of would-be immigrants is Liberia.) Yet they want to come to a country with a great deal of inequality, knowing they would start out at the bottom of the income ladder.

Where Have all the Economists Gone? (Environment)

Where Have all the Economists Gone? (Environment)

What does the average economist know about environmental science? Probably no more than any other reasonably educated person. Yet economists have three talents that are sorely missing from most discussions of environmental policy – particularly policies related to climate change. They understand (1) the scientific method, (2) cost-benefit analysis and (3) how costs and benefits affecting different generations can be evaluated over time.

Where Have All the Economists Gone? (Taxes)

Where Have All the Economists Gone? (Taxes)

Joe Biden says that corporations aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. He also says his plan to raise corporate taxes won’t harm anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year. Virtually all economists know these statements are false. Yet, John Goodman thinks there has ever been a time in recent history when there has been such a large gap between what economists know and what politicians say.

Health Care Components of the $3.5T (Or, Is It $5.5T?) Spending Plan

Where Have All the Economists Gone? (Racism)

June O’Neill, an economist who used to direct the Congressional Budget Office, and her husband Dave O’Neill produced a comprehensive survey of the economic research on this issue almost a decade ago. They concluded that while discrimination may exist, it’s not the main determinant of overall wages and incomes.

The Politics of Health

The Politics of Health

In almost all recent polling, voters say health care is their number one concern. They also trust Democrats more than Republicans on the issue. But why?

Obamacare is the most flawed health system Americans ever created. If you combine the average premium and the average deductible people faced last year, a family of four with Obamacare insurance had to spend $25,000 before getting any benefits from their Obamacare plan. And in most places, the best doctors and the best hospitals are not included in Obamacare plan’s narrow networks. More

Kotlikoff: Why is the FDA Harming our Kids?

Kotlikoff: Why is the FDA Harming our Kids?

Larry Kotlikoff says the FDA is foot dragging on approving vaccines for children, without any defensible reason. FDA-sanctioned adult vaccine trials began in March 2020. Given the crisis, safer and riskier adult-trial phases were run in parallel, with adolescent trials soon thereafter. But the FDA pushed a conservative approach for children, ostensibly to protect them. So pediatric trials were delayed until March 2021 — a full year beyond the start of adult trials. This delay has threatened every American child with long-term morbidity and even mortality. More.

When Customer Service Becomes Consumer Fraud

When Customer Service Becomes Consumer Fraud

Reasonable customer service is part and parcel of what one is purchasing from our increasingly small number of mammoth retail companies. But Laurence Kotlikoff writes, “Every so often I focus on what seems, from personal experience, to represent “customer support” bordering on consumer fraud.” Examples: AJ Madison, Anthropologie, and Apple.  

Kotlikoff: Government Debt is like a Ponzi Scheme

Kotlikoff: Government Debt is like a Ponzi Scheme

At the very time leftist politicians are proposing to finance their programs with mammoth deficit spending, leftist economists are giving them cover with the argument the country may never have to pay off the debt.

But Goodman Institute Senior Fellow and Boston University Economist, Professor Laurence Kotlikoff and his colleagues challenge this conclusion in two papers posted at the highly prestigious National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper site. Deficits used to finance current consumption “are like Ponzi schemes,” they say.”

Study: Inequality Greatly Exaggerated

Study: Inequality Greatly Exaggerated

Lifetime spending inequity is one-third of wealth inequality. The main reason: government taxes and transfers, which make the system far more “progressive than we are led to believe. In 2018, for example, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.1 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 10 percent paid 71.4 percent. The bottom half of the country paid less than 3 percent of all federal income taxes.

How to Reform Obamacare

How to Reform Obamacare

John Goodman was the first person to note that health plans would respond to Obamacare incentives by imposing high deductibles (three times what is normal for employer plans) and narrow networks (as bad or worse than under Medicaid). Along with Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, he has now proposed simple, straightforward reforms to both problems in an editorial published in The Hill.

The Case for I Bonds

The Case for I Bonds

Right now, the interest rate adjusted for inflation on government securities is negative. Today’s yields on TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities) are minus 1.81 percent out five years and minus 0.21 percent out 30 years But Series I Saving Bonds issued by the US Treasury are offering a real rate of interest of zero fixed for 30 years. You can invest up to $10,000. You don’t receive interest until you cash in the bonds. And you don’t have to ay taxes on inflation-generated returns.

A Smarter and Fairer Student Loan Fix

A Smarter and Fairer Student Loan Fix

A far better, fairer and simpler student-loan reform is available. It lets students, as well as their parents, borrow at the government’s long-term Treasury bond rate. The current rate is 1.85 per cent. College students face a 2.75 per cent borrowing rate, graduate and professional students face a 4.30 per cent rate, and parents, who borrow to help finance their children’s education, face a 5.30 per cent rate. Hence, this proposal, which would permit federal and private loans to be refinanced federally at the prevailing 30-year rate, would substantially lower the cost of borrowing for higher education.

Kotlikoff: Why is the FDA Harming our Kids?

Kotlikoff: Why is the FDA Harming our Kids?

Larry Kotlikoff says the FDA is foot dragging on approving vaccines for children, without any defensible reason. FDA-sanctioned adult vaccine trials began in March 2020. Given the crisis, safer and riskier adult-trial phases were run in parallel, with adolescent trials soon thereafter. But the FDA pushed a conservative approach for children, ostensibly to protect them. So pediatric trials were delayed until March 2021 — a full year beyond the start of adult trials. This delay has threatened every American child with long-term morbidity and even mortality. More.

Savings and Gramm: How the Fed is Slowing Monetary Growth

Savings and Gramm: How the Fed is Slowing Monetary Growth

The Federal Reserve is buying Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities at a rate of $120 billion a month. This is apparently being done to support large borrowing by the federal government. At the same time, the Fed has pulled almost a trillion dollars of liquidity out of the financial system by “reverse-repo borrowing.” This has reduced bank reserves and private sector lending. Not surprisingly, the growth of the M2 money stock fell from around 25% in 2020 to around 10% on an annualized basis in the first six months of 2021.

Gramm and Saving in the WSJ: The Fed has lost its ability to control interest rates

Gramm and Saving in the WSJ: The Fed has lost its ability to control interest rates

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, former Sen. Phil Gramm and Goodman institute Senior Fellow Thomas Saving write “Never in the Fed’s 105-year history has it had less control over market interest rates than it has today…. To expect the Fed to hold interest rates above or below the market rate under these circumstances is not only naive but dangerous.”

Tom Saving has a new book

Tom Saving has a new book

Tom Saving has a new book called A Century of Federal Reserve Monetary Policy: Issues and Implications for the Future.

Goodman and Saving: Budget Deal’s Trillion Dollar Surprise

Goodman and Saving: Budget Deal’s Trillion Dollar Surprise

The most significant federal entitlement reform in our lifetime was a little noticed provision that Democrats included in the Affordable Care Act. The provision was a cap on Medicare spending, similar to the cap Republicans proposed for Medicaid last summer.

Savings and Gramm: How the Fed is Slowing Monetary Growth

Saving on CNBC: FED is holding 20% of federal debt

The Federal Reserve System is holding 20% of the federal government’s publicly held debt. It also is holding a lot of bank reserves. For every dollar of required reserves, banks have deposited $12 at the FED.

Gramm and Saving in the Wall Street Journal: Fed Task is Precarious

Gramm and Saving in the Wall Street Journal: Fed Task is Precarious

The Fed balance sheet contains 20% of all publicly held federal debt and 34% of the value of all outstanding government-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities. As the economy returns to normal growth, getting rid of those assets risks runaway inflation or a crippled recovery or both.

Saving: Are Republicans Too Stingy with Medicaid?

Saving: Are Republicans Too Stingy with Medicaid?

Before the Senate voted on a “skinny” alternative to Obamacare, it was considering the House version of repeal and replace – called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

Savings and Gramm: How the Fed is Slowing Monetary Growth

Savings and Gramm: How the Fed is Slowing Monetary Growth

The Federal Reserve is buying Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities at a rate of $120 billion a month. This is apparently being done to support large borrowing by the federal government. At the same time, the Fed has pulled almost a trillion dollars of liquidity out of the financial system by “reverse-repo borrowing.” This has reduced bank reserves and private sector lending. Not surprisingly, the growth of the M2 money stock fell from around 25% in 2020 to around 10% on an annualized basis in the first six months of 2021.

Gramm and Saving in the WSJ: The Fed has lost its ability to control interest rates

Gramm and Saving in the WSJ: The Fed has lost its ability to control interest rates

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, former Sen. Phil Gramm and Goodman institute Senior Fellow Thomas Saving write “Never in the Fed’s 105-year history has it had less control over market interest rates than it has today…. To expect the Fed to hold interest rates above or below the market rate under these circumstances is not only naive but dangerous.”

Savings and Gramm: How the Fed is Slowing Monetary Growth

Savings and Gramm: How the Fed is Slowing Monetary Growth

The Federal Reserve is buying Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities at a rate of $120 billion a month. This is apparently being done to support large borrowing by the federal government. At the same time, the Fed has pulled almost a trillion dollars of liquidity out of the financial system by “reverse-repo borrowing.” This has reduced bank reserves and private sector lending. Not surprisingly, the growth of the M2 money stock fell from around 25% in 2020 to around 10% on an annualized basis in the first six months of 2021.

How a Questionable Drug Turned into a Goldmine at Taxpayers’ Expense

How a Questionable Drug Turned into a Goldmine at Taxpayers’ Expense

On June 7th the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug to treat early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Is this good news for patients suffering with Alzheimer’s disease? Probably not and certainly not for taxpayers. The clinical trial data found little evidence the drug works. One Phase 3 clinical trial showed a slight slowing in cognitive decline, while the second clinical trial failed to show any improvement.

What’s Behind the Vaccine Slowdown?

What’s Behind the Vaccine Slowdown?

What’s behind the slowdown in vaccinations? The consensus among experts is those not yet vaccinated either 1) don’t want the vaccine 2) harbor some doubts about vaccine safety or efficacy, or 3) simply lack the motivation to find vaccine providers and make an appointment. Vaccine hesitancy accounts for about one-third of adults. For example, the Kaiser Family Foundation ran a survey in April that found 15 percent of respondents who had not received the vaccine plan to “wait and see.” Another 6 percent will get vaccinated “only if required,” and 13 percent refuse to get the vaccine. 

Correcting Misconceptions of Health Care Reform

Correcting Misconceptions of Health Care Reform

One reader posed the question, how does the tax break for employee health insurance harm our health care system? Short answer: over time the practice reduced competition, which weakened cost-control and resulted in health care inflation three times that of consumer inflation. Consider this: once covered by generous health plans, workers cared less about what medical care cost because their health plans paid most of the tab. Employers didn’t care what things cost because they were passing on the costs to workers (indirectly) in lieu of higher cash wages. Third party administrators (TPAs), who manage the benefits for employers, didn’t much care what things cost because they were passing on the costs to employers with a mark-up. The more money spent, the more TPAs earn.

Health Reform: There Is Something for Everyone to Love… and Hate

Health Reform: There Is Something for Everyone to Love… and Hate

Why is it controversial to expand the physician supply, creating more competition? Doctors oppose it, just like they oppose expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners. Doctors don’t want me to be able to see a nurse practitioner or physician assistant for a wart on my toe unless that NP/PA works for them.

How did doctors get so powerful? In the first half of the 20th Century, the American Medical Association (AMA) waged a largely successful battle to close medical schools that trained competing physicians. …. More than half of American and Canadian medical schools were closed….  Thus, the job of a physician was yanked out of reach of all but the smartest, most disciplined, wealthy elites.

The 60 Percent Solution to Reforming Healthcare

The 60 Percent Solution to Reforming Healthcare

Can we transform the entire health care system by empowering the roughly 60 percent of patients who are in private health plans? That’s the premise of a new book I just read by Todd Furniss (@TFurniss on Twitter). The author ofThe 60% Solution: Rethinking Healthcare, believes there are five major reforms necessary to empower patients and help them get better care at better prices. These include: (1) change governance, (2) modify health savings accounts (HSAs), (3) clear prices, (4) standardize accounting and information technology in the medical industry and (5) emphasize primary care.

Herrick: States Should Ban These Lab Scams

Herrick: States Should Ban These Lab Scams

There is a new health care scam spreading across rural America that could cost you plenty. Large commercial labs like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp do not have locations in every small town. As a result, many rural hospitals perform lab work for both their inpatients and outpatients in the local community.

Herrick: Future Pandemics Require Better Access to Primary Care

Herrick: Future Pandemics Require Better Access to Primary Care

When Americans become ill or have a health complaint, they often schedule an appointment with a primary care provider (PCP). PCPs are often the first line of defense in the battle against the onset of seasonal outbreaks of colds, flu or more serious problems like COVID-19.

How a Questionable Drug Turned into a Goldmine at Taxpayers’ Expense

How a Questionable Drug Turned into a Goldmine at Taxpayers’ Expense

On June 7th the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug to treat early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Is this good news for patients suffering with Alzheimer’s disease? Probably not and certainly not for taxpayers. The clinical trial data found little evidence the drug works. One Phase 3 clinical trial showed a slight slowing in cognitive decline, while the second clinical trial failed to show any improvement.

What’s Behind the Vaccine Slowdown?

What’s Behind the Vaccine Slowdown?

What’s behind the slowdown in vaccinations? The consensus among experts is those not yet vaccinated either 1) don’t want the vaccine 2) harbor some doubts about vaccine safety or efficacy, or 3) simply lack the motivation to find vaccine providers and make an appointment. Vaccine hesitancy accounts for about one-third of adults. For example, the Kaiser Family Foundation ran a survey in April that found 15 percent of respondents who had not received the vaccine plan to “wait and see.” Another 6 percent will get vaccinated “only if required,” and 13 percent refuse to get the vaccine. 

How a Questionable Drug Turned into a Goldmine at Taxpayers’ Expense

How a Questionable Drug Turned into a Goldmine at Taxpayers’ Expense

On June 7th the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug to treat early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Is this good news for patients suffering with Alzheimer’s disease? Probably not and certainly not for taxpayers. The clinical trial data found little evidence the drug works. One Phase 3 clinical trial showed a slight slowing in cognitive decline, while the second clinical trial failed to show any improvement.

Gorman: US Hospitals are Safer

Gorman: US Hospitals are Safer

A frequent criticism of US hospitals is the charge of excessive adverse medical events,  sometimes leading to avoidable deaths. How do our hospitals compare to hospitals in national health care systems? Quite well. The percent of patients who experience an adverse event is twice as high in Canada, three times as high in Britain and four times as high in New Zealand. 

Linda Gorman Study: Obamacare Dollars Wasted

Linda Gorman Study: Obamacare Dollars Wasted

The percent of the population with private health insurance actually declined during the eight years of the Obama presidency, according to a study by health economist Linda Gorman.

Gorman: Obamacare has been extremely wasteful

Gorman: Obamacare has been extremely wasteful

The federal government spent $341 billion from 2014 through 2016 on subsidizing individual coverage so that people would buy it (Not counting the money spent on state and federal exchanges).

Gorman in Forbes: Will Tax Reform Kill People?

Gorman in Forbes: Will Tax Reform Kill People?

You know you are in the silly season when the charges against sensible tax reform become more and more outrageous. The silliest and most outrageous is based on this causal reasoning: The Republican tax measure repeals the Obamacare mandate, requiring people to purchase health insurance; without the mandate, fewer people will insure; and without insurance, more people will die.

Gorman: US Hospitals are Safer

Gorman: US Hospitals are Safer

A frequent criticism of US hospitals is the charge of excessive adverse medical events,  sometimes leading to avoidable deaths. How do our hospitals compare to hospitals in national health care systems? Quite well. The percent of patients who experience an adverse event is twice as high in Canada, three times as high in Britain and four times as high in New Zealand. 

Gorman: US Hospitals are Safer

Gorman: US Hospitals are Safer

A frequent criticism of US hospitals is the charge of excessive adverse medical events,  sometimes leading to avoidable deaths. How do our hospitals compare to hospitals in national health care systems? Quite well. The percent of patients who experience an adverse event is twice as high in Canada, three times as high in Britain and four times as high in New Zealand. 

Farewell

Farewell

Some thoughts on the views that have animated this column. By Pete du Pont May 27, 2014 Source: The Wall Street Journal This will be the last of my columns for this publication, so I thought it fitting to note the views that have most influenced these writings....

Farewell

The Real Inequality Problem

It isn’t that some people are wealthy but that others are struggling. Commentary by Pete du Pont April 28, 2014 Source: The Wall Street Journal Among the too numerous frustrations of the political process is that a lot of smart and talented people spend their time and...

Farewell

The Left’s “Wars”

The Left’s “Wars” Commentary by Pete du Pont March 28, 2014 Source: The Wall Street Journal The midterm elections are just over seven months away and the left has unleashed its usual rhetoric about the Republican "war on women." It's baseless political pandering of...

Farewell

Global Warming Heats Up

The public could use an honest debate. Commentary by Pete du Pont February 27, 2014 Source: The Wall Street Journal Global warming is back. Not actual global warming, as the decade­long trend of little to no increase in temperatures continues. But the topic of global...

Farewell

Our Gravest Peril

ObamaCare? Stagnant economy? Crushing debt? Foreign ­policy fecklessness may trump them all. Commentary by Pete du Pont January 21, 2014 Source: Wall Street Journal America's most worrisome problem may not be the failed takeover of our healthcare system. It may not be...

Farewell

The Great Destroyer

ObamaCare wreaks havoc on health care, the economy, American freedom and Obama's presidency. Commentary by Pete du Pont November 25, 2013 Source:The Wall Street Journal Polls show an increasing majority of Americans dislike President Obama's health­care law and...

Farewell

Hillary Will Run

How could she not? Commentary by Pete du Pont October 29, 2013 Source: Wall Street Journal Hillary Clinton is going to run for president in 2016. Granted, she is exhibiting even more coyness than most presidential prospects, and yes, the media are filled with those...

Farewell

The Beltway Stalemate

Democrats and Republicans have never had such a conflict of visions. Commentary by Pete du Pont September 26, 2013 Source: The Wall Street Journal The debate about military action in Syria seems over for now, and Washington is back in campaign mode. We have a...

Farewell

Farewell

Some thoughts on the views that have animated this column. By Pete du Pont May 27, 2014 Source: The Wall Street Journal This will be the last of my columns for this publication, so I thought it fitting to note the views that have most influenced these writings....

Farewell

The Real Inequality Problem

It isn’t that some people are wealthy but that others are struggling. Commentary by Pete du Pont April 28, 2014 Source: The Wall Street Journal Among the too numerous frustrations of the political process is that a lot of smart and talented people spend their time and...

Farewell

Farewell

Some thoughts on the views that have animated this column. By Pete du Pont May 27, 2014 Source: The Wall Street Journal This will be the last of my columns for this publication, so I thought it fitting to note the views that have most influenced these writings....

Kotlikoff: Why is the FDA Harming our Kids?

Kotlikoff: Why is the FDA Harming our Kids?

Larry Kotlikoff says the FDA is foot dragging on approving vaccines for children, without any defensible reason. FDA-sanctioned adult vaccine trials began in March 2020. Given the crisis, safer and riskier adult-trial phases were run in parallel, with adolescent trials soon thereafter. But the FDA pushed a conservative approach for children, ostensibly to protect them. So pediatric trials were delayed until March 2021 — a full year beyond the start of adult trials. This delay has threatened every American child with long-term morbidity and even mortality. More.

The Politics of Health

The Politics of Health

In almost all recent polling, voters say health care is their number one concern. They also trust Democrats more than Republicans on the issue. But why?

Obamacare is the most flawed health system Americans ever created. If you combine the average premium and the average deductible people faced last year, a family of four with Obamacare insurance had to spend $25,000 before getting any benefits from their Obamacare plan. And in most places, the best doctors and the best hospitals are not included in Obamacare plan’s narrow networks. More

Goodman: Why we are Divided

Goodman: Why we are Divided

The liberal media is panicking over the prospect of Larry Elder becoming governor of California. An editorial in the New York Times by Farhad Manjoo, for example, declares the Elder candidacy a “looming disaster,” a “liberal nightmare” and a possibility that is “as serious as a heart attack.” For Times editorial writer Paul Krugman, the possibility is even more frightening. Elder, he says, would be a “Trumpist governor” whose election would produce “awesome consequences” – all bad, of course.

The Truth About Inequality

The Truth About Inequality

Inequality is almost universally condemned by the intellectual elite. But most of the rest of the world doesn’t think inequality is such a bad thing. According to polling by Gallup, there are 138 million people in the world today who would like to immigrate to the United States. Most of these people are poor. They tend to live in egalitarian surroundings – they and their neighbors are all equally poor. (The country with the highest percentage of would-be immigrants is Liberia.) Yet they want to come to a country with a great deal of inequality, knowing they would start out at the bottom of the income ladder.

When Customer Service Becomes Consumer Fraud

When Customer Service Becomes Consumer Fraud

Reasonable customer service is part and parcel of what one is purchasing from our increasingly small number of mammoth retail companies. But Laurence Kotlikoff writes, “Every so often I focus on what seems, from personal experience, to represent “customer support” bordering on consumer fraud.” Examples: AJ Madison, Anthropologie, and Apple.  

Where Have all the Economists Gone? (Environment)

Where Have all the Economists Gone? (Environment)

What does the average economist know about environmental science? Probably no more than any other reasonably educated person. Yet economists have three talents that are sorely missing from most discussions of environmental policy – particularly policies related to climate change. They understand (1) the scientific method, (2) cost-benefit analysis and (3) how costs and benefits affecting different generations can be evaluated over time.

Kotlikoff: Why is the FDA Harming our Kids?

Kotlikoff: Why is the FDA Harming our Kids?

Larry Kotlikoff says the FDA is foot dragging on approving vaccines for children, without any defensible reason. FDA-sanctioned adult vaccine trials began in March 2020. Given the crisis, safer and riskier adult-trial phases were run in parallel, with adolescent trials soon thereafter. But the FDA pushed a conservative approach for children, ostensibly to protect them. So pediatric trials were delayed until March 2021 — a full year beyond the start of adult trials. This delay has threatened every American child with long-term morbidity and even mortality. More.