A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Public Opposition"

A Misleading Debate on Health-Care Costs

National Review
Fri, 2014-12-12
David Leonhardt of the New York Times has offered up a misleading defense of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — i.e., Obamacare. Like several others, he celebrates the slowdown in health-care-cost escalation and suggests that the ACA is one reason for the deceleration. Specifically, he suggests that key ACA provisions — which he describes as nudging “the health care system away from paying for the quantity of medical care rather than the quality” — have already played a role in making the health system better and more efficient. It would be an effective argument for the ACA if it were true. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Leonhardt is responding to the recent government announcement that national health spending rose 3.6 percent in 2013. That’s certainly a low growth rate — well below the long-term trend over the past several decades. But it isn’t a trend that began with passage of the ACA. In 2001, national health spending rose 8.5 percent. The following year it rose 9.6 percent.

ObamaCare’s Threat to Private Practice

The Wall Street Journal
Mon, 2014-12-08
By Scott Gottlieb Dec. 7, 2014 5:12 p.m. ET Here’s a dirty little secret about recent attempts to fix ObamaCare. The “reforms,” approved by Senate and House leaders this summer and set to advance in the next Congress, adopt many of the Medicare payment reforms already in the Affordable Care Act. Both favor the consolidation of previously independent doctors into salaried roles inside larger institutions, usually tied to a central hospital, in effect ending independent medical practices. Republicans must embrace a different vision to this forced reorganization of how medicine is practiced in America if they want to offer an alternative to ObamaCare. The law’s defenders view this consolidation as a necessary step to enable payment provisions that shift the financial risk of delivering medical care onto providers and away from government programs like Medicare.

A Bad Provision Even by ObamaCare Standards

The Wall Street Journal
Thu, 2014-12-04
By Tom Coburn And Phil Roe In the four years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, health care in our country has become more complicated and expensive. The law has many troubling aspects, but the Independent Payment Advisory Board is among the worst and most dangerous. This is why, on Thursday, several members of the House will file an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Coons v. Lew. This lawsuit, filed by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of Dr. Eric Novack, an orthopedic surgeon, and Nick Coons, an Arizona businessman, challenges the constitutionality of IPAB. Why is this board dangerous? Because there is nothing “advisory” about its vast powers. IPAB’s mandate is to deliver on one of ObamaCare’s central promises: Medicare cost-containment. The law gives this board sweeping authority to do so, with virtually no constraints. The statute says IPAB can take any and all actions necessary to control Medicare costs.

The real lesson from 'Grubergate': Column

USA Today
Tue, 2014-12-02
Luke Hilgemann: A few weeks ago, hardly anyone in America had heard of Jonathan Gruber. Now, the Obamacare architect is a household name. Gruber became a national sensation earlier this month after videos emerged of him detailing how the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" became law. The short version: Its architects, including Gruber, exploited the legislative process to pass a bill that voters never would have supported had they known what it was.

Schadenfreude overload: Senate Democrats and Obama staffers at war over Obamacare

Noah Rothman
Hot Air
Sat, 2014-11-29
"There are certain laws of political physics that just cannot be ignored for long. All the bravado about minuscule midterm turnout or audacious executive actions out of the White House cannot forever mask the fact that two disastrous midterm election cycles have sapped the Democratic Party of authority. In 2015, the party will be in one of the weakest positions it has been in nearly a century. As Democrats begin to internalize that suboptimal reality, the effects are spectacular beyond Republicans’ wildest imaginings. On Tuesday, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said aloud what many Democrats had been thinking privately for years when he observed that the party “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” by focusing on passing health care reform amid a recession in 2009 and 2010. Schumer admonished Democrats for being myopically consumed with addressing “the wrong problem” at the time.

Did ObamaCare Cost The Democrats The Election?

John C. Goodman
Townhall
Sat, 2014-11-29
"As I wrote at Forbes yesterday, New York Senator Charles Schumer has placed the blame for the Democrat’s disastrous defeat in this fall’s election squarely at the feet of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Speaking at the National Press Club the other day, the third-ranking Democrat in the US Senate said that whatever the merits or demerits of health reform, it was bad politics."

Obamacare's Three-Legged Stool Of Deception Regarding Employer Health Plans

Chris Conover
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Anyone who has listened to the Gruber tapes has heard Prof. Gruber’s repeated references to the “three-legged stool” that forms the core of Obamacare.[1] However, those who pay close attention to his remarks–variously characterized as “arrogant” (Charles Krauthammer), “ careless” (New York Times), “dumb” (Ezra Klein) “ ill-advised and indefensible” (Times Argus), “offensive” (New York Times), and “stupid” (David Axelrod)–may have detected that Gruber enthusiastically endorses (and Obamacare contains) a more sinister three-legged stool of deception regarding employer health plans."

Sen. Chuck Schumer: Obamacare Focused 'On The Wrong Problem,' Ignores The Middle Class

Avik Roy
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Despite the enduring unpopularity of Obamacare, Congressional Democrats have up to now stood by their health care law, allowing that “it’s not perfect” but that they are proud of their votes to pass it. That all changed on Tuesday, when the Senate’s third-highest-ranking Democrat—New York’s Chuck Schumer—declared that “we took [the public’s] mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform…When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, ‘The Democrats aren’t paying enough attention to me.’”"

Obama order extends benefits to immigrants

Elise Viebeck, The Hill
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Illegal immigrants protected from deportation under President Obama's executive action will be eligible for Medicare and other benefits once they enter the federal system. The sweeping White House announcement last week means that up to 5 million people will be considered lawfully present in the United States despite having entered the country illegally. This status makes them eligible for programs such as Medicare and Social Security if they work and submit payroll taxes that flow to those programs. This fact was noted Tuesday in a report by The Washington Post."

ObamaCare architect Gruber set to testify at December House hearing

Fox News
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Jonathan Gruber, the controversial MIT professor and ObamaCare architect caught on video calling the American people stupid multiple times, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month on the lack of transparency surrounding the Affordable Care Act. In a letter to Gruber, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House committee, asked him and Marilyn Tavenner, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service administrator, to appear and answer questions on repeated transparency failures and outright deceptions involving the Affordable Care Act. The hearing will be held Dec. 9 at 9:30 a.m."

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