Articles first published in Forbes Magazine

SCOTUS Punts Obamacare Back to Congress


Obamacare has two very bad features: unaffordable out-of-pocket costs and perilously narrow networks. If you combine last year’s average (unsubsidized) premium with the average deductible, a family of four had to pay $25,000 before getting any benefits at all from their plan. Also, the average plan looks like Medicaid managed care with a high deductible, excluding access to the best doctors and the best hospitals. More

Mark Cuban’s Health Plan


Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has done some innovative thinking on how to reform the health care system. The Cuban plan is similar to an idea once proposed by Milton Friedman and also by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein. In a nutshell, people would be responsible for medical bills up to a certain percent of their income, and government would pay everything above that. In other words, people would pay ordinary bills out-of-pocket, and government would provide catastrophic coverage for the large bills. More.

Who Pays the Corporate Income Tax?


What about Joe Biden’s promise that the next big spending bill won’t cost anyone a dime if they make less than $400,000? All economists think that the corporate income tax is partly paid for by lower wages for workers. The only question is: How much of the cost is born by labor? Larry Kotlikoff and his colleagues, using the most sophisticated model of international financial flows that exists, have concluded that the full burden of the corporate income tax falls on workers. Not just in this country. But in every country. The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal says they agreed with him. More

Minimum Wage


Suppose Congress were considering a bill that would do the following: either your employer must double your wage or fire you. Is that the kind of law you would like to see passed? Most people wouldn’t. But then why are they willing to inflict the same threatening edict on those at the bottom of the income ladder?

Who is Getting the Vaccine?


Two things are obvious. Access to the Covid-19 vaccine has not been equal. And in many cases, the distribution is unrelated to medical need or medical risk.

Father of Health Savings Accounts Says We need One, Universal Account


More than 80 million people have some kind of savings account targeted for health care. But the system needs reform:

·     By law, seniors cannot make deposits to an HSA

·     Almost no one with Obamacare insurance has an HSA

·     Among those who have an account, money cannot be used to pay the fees of “direct primary care” doctors – who are available by phone, email and Skype and as an alternative to emergency room care at nights and on weekends.

·     It is impossible to structure HSAs for diabetes and other chronic conditions

Writing in Forbes, John C. Goodman says there should be one, easy-to-use account available to everybody. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) has introduced a plan to move in this direction.

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. More

Why Trump lost the Election: Health Care


The editors of the Wall Street Journal, the editor of National Review (Rich Lowry) and John Goodman all agree: Trump didn’t endorse the plan outlined by Goodman and Heritage Foundation scholar, Marie Fishpaw.… Oops…. Trump actually did the things Goodman and Fishpaw recommended, including allowing people to talk to their doctors by phone, email, and Skype; allowing employees to have access to 24/7 primary care as an alternative to the emergency room, and allowing employer-provided health insurance to be personal and portable. But Trump never talked about any of this. So, he didn’t get credit for any of it. More

Tax Reform on the Ballot in Georgia


A new study of the 2017 federal tax cuts has found that, although controversial when adopted, the tax reform law will lead to lower taxes and higher wages as the average Georgia household will enjoy more than $39,000 in economic benefits over their lifetime. That’s the conclusion of a new study by Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff and funded by the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research. An earlier study by Kotlikoff and economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta estimated the gain at $22,676 because of personal income tax cuts. The new study adds the impact of lower corporate taxes. More

Q & A on the Labor Market


Finance and accounting are probably the easiest health care services to outsource. But the potential list is growing. It’s estimated that one-third of all physician visits could be replaced by consultations using Zoom, Skype or Facebook – and the incidence of such remote consultations is soaring.

In the future, your doctor could be in India. So could your accountant, your lawyer and dozens of others who produce goods and services you consume. More