Solving the healthcare fiasco

To solve the health care fiasco in the United States, we have to understand actual health care markets and spending; we need to establish foundational principles from which to build health care policies; and, we need to strip health care debates of politics. Short of paying cash or trading chickens for service, the private health care insurance market has served its customers relatively well. Insurance providers offer medical plans and consumers choose from those plans or not at all. As with all insurance, medical coverage is based on risk. If…

Hey Josh Kanter? It’s easy to attack the “free market” when you don’t know what it is

Just like Pee-wee Herman saying “I meant to do that”, Alliance for a Better Utah’s founder and chair Josh Kanter likes moving the goalposts and declaring victory. In an op-ed light on both facts and arguments to support his thesis, he derides the abysmal health care industry as being an example of the free market being an abject failure at delivering medicine. Let’s pick apart this exercise in how to write like an overconfident high school sophomore. One thing he does get correct is defining a functional free market, one in…

The Affordable Care Act was a bait and switch that won’t go away

Raise your hand if you hate health insurance companies. Yes, I know you just did it. So did I. We hate insurance because so much in medicine has gotten astronomically expensive without it. You can’t know how much something costs because it’s all priced to game insurance reimbursement rates. It gets more expensive every year, yet it’s always more expensive to not have it. Even without a legal mandate to buy it, there’s a practical one to. So in marches legislation demanding that you buy this thing you need but…

13 times Justice Scalia ripped the majority opinion to shreds in King v. Burwell

Agree or disagree with him, Justice Antonin Scalia will go down in history as one of the most outspoken and direct justices in U.S. Supreme Court history. In his scathing dissent from today’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he is particularly pointed in his criticisms of legislating from the bench. Here are 13 of his best points, made in a way that only Jusice Scalia could word them.   1.  In reference to the court’s ruling that despite wording in the law to the contrary, subsidies are available to…

The FortyFive Podcast, Episode 3: Ken Ivory, guest Norm Thurston and Healthy Utah

In episode 3 of the FortyFive politics podcast we talked about the frivolous fraud allegations leveled against Representative Ken Ivory and Senator Todd Weiler’s pro-Medicaid expansion op-ed. We also spoke with Representative Norm Thurston (R-Provo) about Healthy Utah, the House compromise bill, and more. 00:00-01:18 – Intro 01:19-10:32 – Fraud allegation against Rep. Ken Ivory 10:33-22:05 – Senator Todd Weiler Healthy Utah Op-Ed 22:06-1:05:43 – Special guest Representative Norm Thurston 1:05:44-End – FortyFive Roundup From the FortyFive Roundup: Swallow waives preliminary hearing; lawyer says no plea deal in works (Salt Lake Tribune) Final…

Ever heard of 340B? You’re probably paying for it anyway.

At any one time in Washington, D.C. there are thousands of individual battles going on over hundreds of issues large and small. Most of the battles these days seem to form along partisan red and blue lines — but not always. Recently, a program cryptically named “340B” has become subject of one of those battles. 340B is a government-mandated program that ironically began as a volunteer effort by the drug manufacturers. Back in the early days of the AIDS epidemic emerging new drugs and the “cocktails” used to fight HIV…

Hobby Lobby scores one for Liberty in the Supreme Court [Hub Debate]

“It is God who gave us life and liberty. Can the liberties of nations be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” –Thomas Jefferson.   Last week, a landmark decision came down from the Supreme Court in the case involving Hobby Lobby. To make a long story short, Hobby Lobby sued the federal…

Hobby Lobby Ruling was Limited Common Sense [Hub Debate]

From a macro perspective, the Hobby Lobby ruling doesn’t do much. The Supreme Court made the decision narrow enough that it only impacts: “Closely held” corporations (while not clearly defined, I would suggest this means private companies – publicly traded companies need not apply). The Affordable Care Act, specifically the contraceptive mandate that was made law therein. The Supreme Court could have gone much further and applied that personhood applies to larger companies with more shareholders, or that religious objections could apply to other things like gay marriage, blood transfusions,…

Hobby Lobby and its Aftermath: What Will RFRA Do Next? [Hub Debate]

Now that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, people are wondering a few things: What is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)? ŸWhy do we have RFRA? What does RFRA cover? What are the limits of free exercise of religion under RFRA? These are all great questions because most people have never heard of RFRA, and why should they have? It is an obscure federal law concerning religious freedom. And how many rational people read any of the tens-of-thousands of federal laws…

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: What it Is, and What it Ain’t [Hub Debate]

  With the Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday, finding  that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare, our debate topic is set: did the Supreme Court get it right? Or wrong?    I have thought long and hard how to approach today’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (i.e., the Religious Freedom Restoration Act challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate (Mandate)). I have written on various aspects of this subject before, but I wanted to really get at what this case is about.…