“So, I’d like the advocates of IPAB to tell me two things: (1) Can they formulate an objective way for the government to determine how much Lucentis should cost? (2) Why shouldn’t individuals get to decide for themselves how much they would be willing to pay to see out of both of their eyes, instead of just one?”

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“This month, the federal government announced that unemployment has barely budged in the last two months. More than 13 million people remain out of work. Yet several self-proclaimed ‘consumer advocates’ are leading the charge in support of a provision of the federal health care law that could eliminate jobs throughout the country.”

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“First, the penalty for not buying health insurance is not a tax. Even if the penalty were a tax, it would fail the constitutional requirements for income, excise, or direct taxes. Second, the power to regulate interstate commerce extends only to economic activities; it does not permit Congress to compel such activities in order to regulate them. Third, the mandate is not necessary; indeed, it is merely a means to circumvent problems that would not exist if not for PPACA itself.”

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“The sugar-coated rhetoric from HHS cannot disguise the bad medicine in this part of the Affordable Care Act, which intends to bureaucratically cut as much as $960 million in Medicare spending over three years. This Obamacare prescription threatens patients, the physicians who care for them, and the common good.”

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“PhRMA saw the health care overhaul as a chance to advance its long-term interests and played along. But funny enough, it now seems that the White House is not all that interested in holding up its end of the bargain. President Obama’s recent speech on the debt included proposals that would violate the agreement.”

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“In 2012, Obamacare will create the ‘Value-Based Purchasing Program’ in Medicare. Using a pay-for-performance scheme, the program will reimburse hospitals and other health care providers at different rates based on how they score on performance measures chosen by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Proponents of pay-for-performance see it as a way to use financial incentives to streamline and improve the quality of health care while attempting to reduce costs. But the fact is that standardization of the practice of medicine costs patients and physicians tremendously, and evidence shows it does very little to improve health outcomes.”

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Another reminder that the Congressional drafters of what’s come to be called ObamaCare shaved fiscal corners came early this month in a notice published in the Federal Register. The news: after May 5, 2011, no more applications will be received for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. Why? The applications already received plus those expected to be received by May 5 will blow through the money available.

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“Supporters of ObamaCare acknowledge it will have some unintended consequences. Yet surprisingly little attention has been focused on the law’s most problematic provision: government subsidies to help individuals and families purchase health insurance.”

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“President Obama’s plan for budget reform is to freeze these entitlement programs in their current arrangements and tinker at the margins — through, for instance, giving more power to Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board or applying price controls to drugs sold through Medicare.
Along with higher taxes for high earners (families making $250,000 and up) and defense cuts, Obama’s deficit-reduction plan offers little innovation.
If Obama’s plan prevails, and these programs aren’t fundamentally reformed, poor and elderly Americans who depend on these programs will likely face much larger cuts in the future.”

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“It is an occupational hazard for politicians to think that they and their ilk know best, and by all indications Mr. Obama rather likes centralization. In my professional lifetime in the centralized British health-care system, however, I have seen a hundred schemes of cost reduction, but I have never seen any reduction in costs, or at least any that lasted more than a few months. I can’t remember a single health minister who did not promise more efficiency at less cost, or a single one who actually managed to achieve it.”

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