Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

Health researchers: Bloomberg’s sugary drink ban will fail

Who thinks New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s nanny-state ban on (some) large sugary drinks not only won’t work, but will backfire? The very researchers whose work Bloomberg cited as justification for proposing the ban. From The Atlantic:

Yes, we have found that when people are given larger portions, they do drink or eat substantially more. But to claim that these results imply that the ban will be effective is to ignore our larger body of work. In our experiments, subjects were given larger or smaller portions of food in a dining or party setting, where they were unlikely to notice portion size. It is exactly because participants weren’t paying attention that we got the results we did.

The mayor’s approach, however, overtly denies people portions they are used to be able to get whenever they want them. In similar lab settings, this kind of approach has inspired various forms of rebellion among study participants. For example, openly serving someone lowfat or …

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Bloomberg’s silly NYC ban on (some) large sugary drinks

ICYMI: Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week proposed a ban on the sale of large sizes of some sugary drinks in New York City’s restaurants, movie theaters, street carts, ballparks — pretty much everywhere but grocery and convenience stores.

It’s a silly ban, for a lot of reasons. One is that, like most nanny-state regulations,  it’s arbitrary: The cutoff is 16 oz., which all but assures a growth industry for anyone who wants to manufacture 15.-oz. plastic bottles. Another is that it’s inconsistent: A 20-oz. bottle of Coca-Cola, with 65 grams of sugar, would be outlawed but a 21-oz. chocolate milkshake from McDonald’s, with 111 grams of sugar, would still be legal because it’s considered “dairy-based.” A third reason is that it’s bound to be ineffective: Why would someone who wants his sugar not just buy two 12-oz. cans of a sugary soft drink rather than that 20-oz. bottle (and end up drinking more)? And, in restaurants, these drinks must be served in cups that are 16 oz. or less …

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Obamacare costs more than advertised, double-counting edition

I’ve written many times about the budgeting/accounting/scoring gimmicks that allowed Democrats to claim Obamacare would reduce federal deficits when the opposite is true. The latest piece of evidence came from Charles Blahous, an economist and trustee of the Social Security and Medicare programs who recently reported Obamacare’s “double counting” of spending cuts and tax increases means the law will actually increase deficits by $340 billion over 10 years (or about seven Buffett Rules).

Blahous, writing with former federal budget official James Capretta in today’s Wall Street Journal, explains double counting by making an analogy to Social Security:

If we generate $1 in savings within that program, then that’s $1 that Social Security can spend later. If we also claimed this same $1 to finance a new spending program, we would clearly be adding to the total federal deficit. There has long been bipartisan understanding of this aspect of Social Security, which is why Congress’s …

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How to help wounded soldiers and make our economy healthy

WARM SPRINGS — Georgians who ponder the jobs of the future should see what’s bubbling up now in a place best known for its past.

It was here that Franklin D. Roosevelt died at his Little White House, having visited Warm Springs for two decades in the hopes of regaining the use of his legs. Today, this town of 425 souls, about two-thirds of the way from Atlanta to Columbus as the crow flies, is still host to a rehabilitation center that is under-used but first-rate. The aspiration is to build it into an invaluable resource for wounded soldiers — and a centerpiece of Georgia’s prowess and promise in bio-science.

The Georgia Warrior Alliance, a joint project of businesses and philanthropies focused on health care and veterans, brings wounded soldiers to the facilities at Warm Springs. Here, they can heal their bodies and, soon, learn work skills — from manufacturing and construction to golf course maintenance.

This is “the right thing to do” for our veterans, says an …

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Another Georgia congressman proposes possible Obamacare replacement

Last week, I looked at U.S. Rep. Tom Price’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. His bill includes a section on tort reform authored by Congressman Phil Gingrey, who, like Price, was a physician before entering politics.

Well, Gingrey and Price aren’t the only doctors-turned-congressmen from Georgia. Paul Broun, who represents much of northeast Georgia in Congress, has submitted his own repeal-and-replace bill, the OPTION Act. It caught the attention of Avik Roy, a health-policy blogger for Forbes, who gave it a fairly positive review as “The Tea Party’s Plan for Replacing Obamacare.”

Some of the OPTION (Offering Patients True Individualized Options Now) Act’s provisions are similar to Price’s Empowering Patients First Act. Both provide for repealing the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare; both change the tax treatment of health care to put those buying coverage in the individual market on equal tax footing with people in employer-sponsored plans; and both allow for …

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However court rules, Price ready with alternative to Obamacare

When the Supreme Court last week heard arguments in the 26-state legal challenge to Obamacare, Georgia was well-represented. There was Sam Olens, who as our attorney general is one of the plaintiffs. And there was Tom Price, a leader in the effort to repeal and/or replace the law, however the justices rule.

“It was really uplifting, actually,” Price, a fourth-term congressman from Roswell and the fifth-ranking Republican in the House, said in a phone interview. “I think [the justices] were giving it the serious consideration that it warrants.”

Price, who previously practiced medicine, not law, stopped just short of predicting the outcome: “My suspicion is this will be ruled unconstitutional, but I’m not a court watcher so that may be more hope than fact.” Either way, he’s ready.

As he did months before Obamacare was passed, Price has introduced the Empowering Patients First Act. It’s a more market-oriented approach to fixing what ails American health …

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Obama’s unprecedented definition of ‘unprecedented’

“I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

That was President Obama earlier today, talking about the legal challenge to Obamacare the court heard last week — and demonstrating once again he doesn’t have a very firm grasp on the meaning of “unprecedented.”

After all, the Supreme Court has been overturning laws — which necessarily have been passed by a majority of a democratically elected Congress — since 1803’s Marbury v. Madison decision. By this count citing the Government Printing Office, the court declared 158 acts of Congress unconstitutional between 1789 and 2002, which works out to one about every 16 months. Which strikes me as “precedented.”

Or perhaps the operative word in Obama’s was “strong,” and only laws passed by “weak” majorities are worthy of being overturned? I would not grant that the size of the congressional …

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Poll Position: If Obamacare mandate falls, what goes with it?

During three days of oral arguments about Obamacare at the Supreme Court this week, legal analysts were at pains to predict which way each justice was leaning based on his or her line of questioning. For all but the most experienced court watchers, this seems like an exercise in futility: Justices may be just as likely to question an attorney’s point in the hopes of eliciting a stronger case for it as they are to seek to poke holes in it. I’ll just stick to the prediction I, like many others, made when the first legal challenges were filed: This case will come down to Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s most frequent swing vote, in what most likely will be a 5-4 decision.

If the mandate is struck down, how much of the rest of Obamacare should go with it?

  • All of it (232 Votes)
  • Nothing else (109 Votes)
  • Only those parts the administration argued for (e.g., community rating and pre-existing conditions) (28 Votes)

Total Voters: 369

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Much of the analysis …

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Obamacare’s costs: The hits just keep on coming

Posted on this blog, March 19, 2010:

To show you how far down the rabbit hole we’ve gone, Democrats were pleased yesterday when the Congressional Budget Office gave the two ObamaCare bills … a combined cost of “only” $940,000,000,000 over 10 years (see page 8). But as you already know if you’ve been paying attention to this blog, there’s more here than the headline number suggests. …

If we begin the 10-year clock for this bill in 2014, and assume the 7.5 percent growth in annual gross costs which the CBO applies in 2018 and 2019 would continue in later years, the cost from 2014-2023 would be $2 trillion. … Even if we are more charitable, and begin counting next year rather than this year with the same assumptions as above, the 10-year cost from 2011-2020 would be $1.2 trillion. (links and emphasis original)

From Philip Klein, writing at the Washington Examiner yesterday:

President Obama’s national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new …

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More evidence Obamacare is a nightmare for taxpayers

In October, the Obama administration acknowledged that the portion of Obamacare that contributed the most deficit “reduction” — the CLASS Act, which created a new long-term care entitlement and allegedly was going to reduce deficits by $86 billion between 2012 and 2021 — was unworkable. The House this month voted to repeal the law, while the White House seeks a way to fix it. But the clear bottom line was that more than two-thirds of the $124 billion in promised deficit “savings” during these 10 years was unlikely ever to materialize.

Now, President Obama’s new budget finishes off the always-ludicrous notion that he could create a new, $1 trillion-a-decade entitlement and somehow reduce deficits. Avik Roy reports at Forbes:

The White House’s fiscal year 2013 budget adds $111 billion in exchange spending between 2014 and 2021, with even more spending to come in future years. … In 2021 alone, the difference between the two budgets is almost $20 billion, implying that exchange …

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