Bobby Jindal’s Health Reform


The plan begins by repealing ObamaCare. It would also “guarantee access” to people with pre-existing conditions, through a “high-risk pool, reinsurance, or some other method ensuring those with chronic conditions can obtain needed care.”

Like the Republican Study Committee’s plan, Jindal’s proposal replaces the current exclusion of employer-based tax benefits with a standard tax deduction. The problems:

  • It is regressive, giving more tax relief, the higher your income tax bracket.
  • It is not helpful to the half of the population that does not pay income tax.

Now that ObamaCare has handed out tax credits to millions of people in the health-insurance exchanges, the total effect of the plan would likely be to take insurance away from a large proportion of the people insured through the exchanges, as well as all the people covered by ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. By election day, it would probably un-insure ten million people.

Where Drug Dollars Go


The way doctors across the U.S. treat a chronic eye disease, known as wet age-related macular degeneration (once a leading cause of blindness among older people) varies from place to place.

The three drugs doctors choose from are Lucentis, Eylea, and Avastin. Lucentis costs the most, at about $2000 per dose, and Eylea is slightly less, but Avastin is much cheaper, at about $50, according to 2012 data…Lucentis, the most expensive drug, and Avastin, the cheapest, have been shown to be equivalently effective in repeated randomized trials.


Steven Rich/The Washington Post.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen


Administration does not know if it has legal authority to delay ObamaCare mandates.

New Jersey woman’s ObamaCare insurance turned down by 96 doctors — still no appointment.

What’s more difficult than signing up for an ObamaCare insurance plan? Cancelling one.

What Are the Mortality Risks of Being Uninsured?


This is from Chris Conover:

Since the evidence is equivocal at best, let us — for purposes of discussion — average the point estimates from 4 studies…and compare this relative mortality risk (1.22) to other factors that elevate the annual probability of death.


EPA Conducts Medical Tests on Human Subjects


The EPA actively recruits sick patients — suffering from obesity or asthma — and pays them to be subjected to diesel fumes in the glass cage shown below. According to a report by the EPA’s Inspector General:

The EPA obtained informed consent from the 81 human study subjects before exposing them to pollutants. While the consent forms met the requirements of 40 CFR Part 26, we found that exposure risks were not always consistently represented. Further, the EPA did not include information on long-term cancer risks in its diesel exhaust studies’ consent forms.

More on this story at NCPA’s Energy and Environment: Clearing the Air blog.


Musical Chairs: Sebelius Out, Burwell In


800px-Judith_van_Westreenen_Stoelendans_LetteleSylvia Matthews Burwell…is a Clinton Democrat who spent the Bush years working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From 2011-2013, she led the Wal-Mart Foundation, which should make leftists nervous. Since April, 2013 she has been Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget…

Burwell was instrumental in closing government parks and monuments during the October, 2013 government shutdown, a move that cost the government more than it would have cost to keep them open with minimal staffing. She’s a political player who pretends to be a bureaucrat. (More)

Hits and Misses


Kathleen Sebelius resigns.

Uwe Reinhardt: Is human life priceless?

This doctor doesn’t accept health insurance and for 12 hours a day his waiting room is packed with patients.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen


Canvbnadian study: Almost one-third of patients never fill the prescriptions for the medicines they are told to take.

Jails house 10 times more mentally ill than state hospitals.

Doctor billed Medicare for $21 million in 2012; investigated by the FBI; makes large donations to Democrats.

Washington Post fact checks TV ad Barrack Obama ran against John McCain and finds that all the scary predictions actually came true — it’s called ObamaCare.

Most of the 4,000 doctors who received at least $1 million from Medicare in 2012 billed mainly for giving patients injections, infusions and other drug treatments.

Medicaid Patients’ Access to Physicians Has Dropped Almost One Fifth in Five Years


According to a Merritt Hawkins’ 2014 survey of the proportion of physicians in five specialties (cardiology, dermatology, orthopedic surgery, ob/gyn, and family practice) accepting Medicaid patients dropped from 55.4 percent in 2009 to 45.7 percent — a drop of almost one fifth.

This decline under the Obama administration contrasts with some improvement in Medicaid patients’ access during the second term of the Bush administration: Merritt Hawkins’ 2004 survey reported that 49.8 percent of physicians accepted Medicaid patients.

Merritt Hawkins also asked physicians if they were willing to accept Medicare patients: Only 76 percent said yes. In Minneapolis, only 38.2 percent of physicians were willing to accept Medicare patients! (Unfortunately, the survey did not ask physicians if they accept private insurance.)

As in 2009, Boston had the longest waiting times to see specialists at 1 ½ months.

The table below shows the waiting times for physicians in ten cities surveyed in both 2014 and 2009:


To Be Governed


After a tree fell into a stream and caused flooding during a winter storm, Franklin Township, N.J., was barred from pulling the tree out until it had spent 12 days and $12,000 for the permits and engineering work that a state environmental rule required for altering any natural condition in a “C-1 stream.” The “Volcker Rule,” designed to prevent banks from using federally insured deposits to speculate in securities, was shaped by five federal agencies and countless banking lobbyists into 963 “almost unintelligible” pages. In New York City, “disciplining a student potentially requires 66 separate steps, including several levels of potential appeals”; meanwhile, civil-service rules make it virtually impossible to terminate thousands of incompetent employees. Children’s lemonade stands in several states have been closed down for lack of a vendor’s license.

From a review of Philip Howard, The Rule of Nobody, in the Wall Street Journal by Stuart Taylor, Jr.