Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vecchio Blasts ObamaCare

Ari Armstrong attended the 6/29/2012 anti-ObamaCare rally organized by American For Prosperity, and posted this report.

He also recorded this short speech by Dr. Jill Vecchio of Docs4PatientCare.org, explaining how ObamaCare would force her to practice substandard medicine and violate her Hippocratic Oath to patients:



Ask yourself: When the doctors who are willing to practice according to their patients' best medical interests have been driven out of the profession, what kind of doctors will be left?

We have been warned.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Post-SCOTUS: Sacrifice, Taxes, Privacy, Shortages, Voting

As one might expect, yesterday's Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare has elicited an enormous volume of commentary.   Here are a few pieces that caught my eye, with relevant excerpts:

Ari Armstrong: "Supremes' ObamaCare Ruling: Altruism In Politics" (The Objective Standard)

(Armstrong notes, "Essentially, ObamaCare turns health insurance into a gigantic wealth-transfer scheme, in which young and healthy workers are forced to buy expensive 'insurance' that in fact serves to subsidize the health expenses of others... 'Shared responsibility' is a euphemism for forced sacrifice.")

David Catron: "Supreme Court Wimps Out on Obamacare" (American Spectator)

(Catron observes, "In an utterly Orwellian opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the majority held that the mandate was not a tax for purposes of applying the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA), but that it was constitutional because it falls within Congress' taxing powers...")

Loren Grush: "Individual mandate upheld: What does that mean for you and your health?" (Fox News)

(In particular Grush reports, "Another change that will eventually go into effect is the government's ability to seize your medical records. In order to make information more readily available for doctors during their appointments, the government hopes to create a national database of every person’s medical history.")

Mark Long: "Health Law's Survival Means More Demand for Fewer Doctors" (Wall Street Journal)

(Long notes, "[T]he U.S. will be more than 60,000 doctors short in 2015 — the year all those newly covered patients enter the system -- around 90,000 short five years later."  In other words, patients may have theoretical "coverage", but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll receive actual medical care.)

Milton Wolf: "Only the Voters Can Save America Now" (Washington Times)

(Wolf writes, "If Barack Obama holds the White House, and if Democrats win control of either house of Congress, then Obamacare will be unstoppable, and America will become the United States of Europe.")

And in case you missed it, PJ Media published my response yesterday: "What Should Americans Do After the Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling?"

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hsieh PJM OpEd: What Should Americans Do After the Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling?"

My OpEd on the Supreme Court ObamaCare ruling is now up at PJMedia:
"What Should Americans Do After the Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling?"

Theme: Now that SCOTUS has ruled, we will have to reclaim our freedoms at the ballot box.

My three takehome points:
1) American health care will be in deep trouble in just a few years.
2) There are plenty of good ideas for free market health care reform.
3) ObamaCare must be defeated politically.
We will have our work cut out for us.

ObamaCare Upheld

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled and it has essentially upheld ObamaCare, including the controversial "individual mandate" requiring Americans to purchase health insurance.

(They ruled it could not be upheld under the Commerce Clause but could be upheld under Congress' taxing power.)

This is obviously big news. The battleground will now shift to the political arena with enormous implications for the 2012 campaign.

 I'll have more later as I digest the torrent of news and analysis.

Pre-SCOTUS Links

A few links while we're waiting for this morning's Supreme Court ruling:

Adler and Cannon: "If ObamaCare survives, legal battle has just begun" (USA Today, 6/24/2012)

Sidorov: "Surprise, Surprise: The Patient Centered Medical Home Costs Money!" (6/26/2012)

Capretta: "Obamacare's Failings Go Well Beyond the Individual Mandate and Medicaid" (6/21/2012)

Randy Barnett: "Win or Lose, My Thanks" (Volokh Conspiracy, 6/27/2012)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WOLF: Obamacare Must Die a Political Death

Dr. Milton Wolf has a new video at the Daily Caller: "Obamacare must die a political death".




If ObamaCare is viewed as being defeated primarily by unelected judges, we will see intensifying efforts to delegitimize the Court and its ruling.

But if ObamaCare is repudiated soundly at the ballot box, and the elected officials who supported are sent packing, this will send a powerful message to those seeking to revive some form of ObamaCare (or worse).

Strangling Private Practice?

CNN reports that 17% of doctors in private practice may close shop within the next year due to a combination of factors, including "business expenses and administrative hassles, shrinking insurance reimbursements and costly malpractice insurance."

If this happens and ObamaCare is still in effect, many will join large "Accountable Care Organizations" or become hospital employees, where they will then become more beholden to their paymasters, rather than their patients.

As for what such a future would look like, see my PJ Media piece from last year, "The Coming Collectivization of American Health Care".

(CNN link via Dr. Art Fougner.)

Scherz: A Healthcare Vision For Tomorrow

Dr. Hal Scherz of Docs4PatientCare has his own pre-SCOTUS comments at TownHall.com, "A Healthcare Vision For Tomorrow".

He discusses a number of insurance reforms, legal reforms, and Medicare reforms that would move us in the direction of a fully free-market in health care.

Epstein on The FDA

Noted legal scholar Richard Epstein has a harsh critique of the FDA at, "A Taste of Government-Run Healthcare".

In particular he notes:
...As the educated cynic might observe, the FDA’s fingerprints are not on the death certificate of a child who did not take the drug that the FDA refused to approve, but those prints are quite clearly on the death certificate of a child who died from the use of an FDA-approved drug. The result is the same kind of intense political pressure that affects other safety agencies. It leads the FDA to increase one kind of error (the unavailability of drugs) in order to minimize a second (adverse drug reactions).
(Read the full text of "A Taste of Government-Run Healthcare".)

He further discusses how FDA regulations impede medical progress and endanger patients' lives.  Although Epstein doesn't advocate completely eliminating the FDA (which should be the proper endpoint), he does recommend several good partial steps that would move us in the right direction.

(Via Instapundit.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fogoros Book on Collectivized Medicine

While we're waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare, readers might be interested in the upcoming book by Dr. Richard Fogoros, "Open Wide And Say Moo! -- The Good Citizen's Guide To Right Thoughts and Right Actions Under Obamacare".

He's posting individual chapters online for reader comments.

A few chapters worth highlighting include:

"Chapter 7 – Limiting Individual Prerogatives in a Progressive Healthcare System"

"Chapter 9 – An Introduction To Herd Medicine"

 "Chapter 14 – Stifling Medical Progress"

(Note: I may not be in full agreement with every point he makes in every chapter.  But overall, Fogoros is full of very insightful observations.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

No SCOTUS Health Care Ruling Today

No ruling from the Supreme Court today on ObamaCare. Still waiting on word as to when the next set of decisions will be announced.  

Update: Health care ruling to be announced on Thursday, June 28.

Pre-SCOTUS Commentary

As we await the Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare, here are a few quick links:

Bernstein: "Whatever the Supreme Court's Obamacare Ruling, Here's a Free Market Healthcare Solution" (Forbes, 6/24/2012)

Doyle and Lightman: "Supreme Court health law ruling will only begin more debate" (Boston Herald, 6/24/2012)

Goodman: "The HMO in Your Future" (Townhall, 6/23/2012)

FWIW, this 6/21/2012 New York Times article hints that the ObamaCare ruling might come mid-week, rather than today: "Chief Justice Offers Hint at New Timing for Health Care Ruling".

But we'll find out soon enough...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Palmisano on Upcoming SCOTUS Decision

Dr. Donald Palmisano is a defender of free-market health care reforms and also a former head of the American Medical Association.

He offers his thoughts on the upcoming SCOTUS decision in this 6/23/2012 interview.

 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wolf: After ObamaCare

Dr. Milton Wolf has some good ideas in his 6/21/2012 Washington Times OpEd, "After ObamaCare".

In particular, he opens with this observation:
Obamacare will die at least one of three deaths: judicial, political or economic. If the Supreme Court allows this abomination to stand, voters can still deliver its death blow at the polls in November. Ideally, Obamacare will, in fact, die both of these deaths because if it survives now, it will die an economic death and take America down with it. So let's prepare now for the post-Obamacare America...
He then gives 5 practical suggestions to move America in the direction of free-market health care reforms.  These include:
1) Tax fairness
2) End state insurance monopolies
3) End state licensing monopolies
4) Health savings accounts
5) End frivolous lawsuits
Read the full text of "After ObamaCare" for more details.

BTW, he has a new (non-medical) Daily Caller video as well: "Holder is Contempt-able!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Backdoor Euthanasia in the UK?

If this story is accurate, it's very disturbing: "Top doctor's chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year" (Daily Mail, 6/19/2012).

The article discusses findings by Dr. Patrick Pullicino (a neurologist) regarding:
[T]he Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.
It is designed to come into force when doctors believe it is impossible for a patient to recover and death is imminent.
It can include withdrawal of treatment -- including the provision of water and nourishment by tube -- and on average brings a patient to death in 33 hours.
Of course compassionate end-of-life care for terminally ill patients is a good thing, when voluntarily chosen by the patient and/or their designee.

But Dr. Pullicino notes (and has reportedly seen first-hand) cases where patients with treatable conditions are put on the LCP pathway against the family's wishes because "because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds".  In other words, this is becoming an involuntary "equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly".

For example:
In the example he revealed a 71-year-old who was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia and epilepsy was put on the LCP by a covering doctor on a weekend shift.
Professor Pullicino said he had returned to work after a weekend to find the patient unresponsive and his family upset because they had not agreed to place him on the LCP.
'I removed the patient from the LCP despite significant resistance,' he said. 'His seizures came under control and four weeks later he was discharged home to his family,' he said.
(Read the full text of "Top doctor's chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year".)

If these reports are true, this is an alarming breach of medical ethics and a gross violation of patients' individual rights.

Fortunately, the US health system isn't at that point yet.  Yet.

(Via Dr. Richard Amerling.)

Scherz: The Schizophrenia of the AMA

In his 6/19/2012 TownHall column, Dr. Hal Scherz of Docs4PatientCare discusses "The Schizophrenia of the AMA". One excerpt:
The AMA's problems have deepened because they are not what they purport themselves to be- the spokesman for the community of physicians. How can they be when only approximately 10% of the practicing physicians in the US are members?
In contrast to the 1960's when over 75% of doctors belonged to the AMA, their influence in the medical community has waned considerably, in part because they are out of touch with the views of practicing physicians.
Obamacare is a perfect example. A recent Jackson Healthcare survey reported that 70% of doctors felt that it deserved a failing grade and 55% felt that it should be repealed -- clearly not the AMA position. Only 12 % of doctors thought that the ACA would fix healthcare.
In an effort to regain lost credibility amongst physicians, and to become more relevant, the AMA did what most people expected them to do -- they "pivoted". This involved "tough talk" and taking some oppositional positions against the "bad" parts of Obamacare, attempting to make everyone forget that they were partly responsible for this law...
However, the AMA is still fond of improper government intervention in private affairs.  For example the Los Angeles Times recently reported on the AMA's support of Bloomberg-style nanny state regulations in, "Soda taxes endorsed by AMA as a way to fight obesity" (6/20/2012).

Fortunately, the AMA does not speak for all doctors.  Instead, physicians can now seek out other professional organizations like D4PC who will fight for the interests of doctors, patients, and freedom.

Wolf on Dogs and Government

In his latest Daily Caller video Dr. Milton Wolf notes, our biggest problem isn't dogs (which the media obsessed over), but the proper scope of government.

He reminds us that the Founders intended a limited government, "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed":

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saad: Don't Romanticize Canadian Health Care

Professor Gad Saad of Concordia University shares his insiders' perspective on Canadian health care for Americans in this 6/14/2012 piece for Psychology Today, "Don't Romanticize the Canadian Healthcare System".

Here is the opening:
As a Canadian, I am often bewildered by the American Left's utopian albeit perfectly incorrect views of the Canadian healthcare system. The general notion, as exemplified in Michael Moore's 2007 film Sicko, is that countries such as Canada and Cuba offer compassionate universal free healthcare to its citizenry while a diabolical consortium of capitalists headed by Dr. Evil runs the American system.
Let me share some important realities regarding our "free" Canadian healthcare.
He discusses 5 points, three of which are briefly summarized as follows:
1. Canadians pay exorbitant taxes for their "free care"
3. It is extremely difficult to find a family physician willing to take on new patients. Getting to see a specialist is even harder.
4. Even if you have a medical emergency, you may have to wait 8-14 hours for care.
(Each of these points, and two others, are discussed in greater detail in "Don't Romanticize the Canadian Healthcare System".)

Of course, those with special "pull" in Canada  can "jump the queue" and receive their MRI or surgery ahead the others on the waiting list. But this merely replaces "political pull" as the currency for medical services, rather than money.

Quick Links: Willey, Smith, Kerr, Cannon & Cohen

Dr. Charles Willey: "No Need For ObamaCare If Providers Are Liberated" (Investors Business Daily, 6/13/2012)

Dr. Keith Smith, "$15,000 Tonsillectomy vs. $3,050 Tonsillectomy"

Orin Kerr, "How Much Will the Ruling in the Health Care Case Matter?" (Volokh Conspiracy, 6/19/2012)

Michael F. Cannon and Diane Cohen: "Obamacare's Super-Legislature" (TownHall, 6/17/2012)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hsieh Forbes OpEd: The Nanny State And Universal Health Care

The 6/18/2012 edition of Forbes has posted my latest OpEd, "The Dangerous Synergy Between The Nanny State And Universal Health Care".

A couple of excerpts:
The recurring theme: The government must limit our freedoms to limit overall medical costs. But this issue can only arise in “universal” health systems where taxpayers must pay for everyone else’s medical expenses...
It’s a short step from the government assuming responsibility for your diet to assuming responsibility for your overall health. Today, the government decides what you can or cannot eat. Tomorrow, the government decides what medical care you can or cannot receive.
Note that both Democrats and Republicans buy into the notion of limiting freedom to limit global health costs. One of the big proponents of this idea is former GOP Senate majority leader Bill Frist (who is a cardiac surgeon).

I also quoted a section from one of my favorite Bill Whittle's essays, "Freedom":
"The more your government restricts your options, the more you psychologically look to government to keep you safe, fed, clothed, housed and sustained.
(Read the full text of "The Dangerous Synergy Between The Nanny State And Universal Health Care".)

Note: This is my second piece at Forbes, and I'm honored to once again appear on their website.  My first piece was, "Just Who Should Control Your Healthcare Spending?" (5/16/2012).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Scherz and English on Health Insurance

In case you missed it, Dr. Hal Scherz and Dr. Jeffrey English of Docs4PatientCare had a piece in the 6/12/2012 TownHall.com, "Health Care Insurance is Not a Dirty Word".

They make the important point that what is now called "insurance" is actually badly managed pre-paid health care, and this is due to many years of bad government policy.

To move us toward genuine insurance, they suggest free-market reforms including:
...[R]emoving unnecessary mandates that insurance companies are required to have in healthcare policies and which differ in every state.
The tax treatment for health insurance policies should be the same whether the policy is purchased by an employer or by an individual.
Health Savings Accounts and high deductible insurance policies would make individuals better consumers because the financial implications of healthcare would be transparent and become their direct responsibility.
Free market ideas and products currently exist...
(Read the full text of "Health Care Insurance is Not a Dirty Word".)

Avik Roy also discusses the many problems with insurance regulations (and how that hurts patients) at his 5/21/2012 Forbes piece, "Putting the 'Insurance' Back in Health Insurance".

Finally, I discuss free-market insurance reforms in this piece from the Fall 2009 issue of The Objective Standard, "How the Freedom to Contract Protects Insurability".

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Catron: Judgment Day Draws Nigh for Obamacare

David Catron discusses the upcoming SCOTUS ruling in his latest piece for American Spectator, "Judgment Day Draws Nigh for Obamacare".

Although it's notoriously difficult to "read the tea leaves" from the Supreme Court, Catron argues that "If the mandate goes, two other crucial provisions may go down as well."

He notes this simple economic fact:
While it is possible that the Court will strike down the mandate and leave the rest of Obamacare standing, it's absurd to suggest that the law could still function effectively. Such a ruling would result in a health insurance "death spiral" in which healthy people stop buying coverage and the insurance companies are left with the most expensive patients.
In fact, the Department of Justice lawyers seemed to be arguing this very point, in the hopes that the Court would therefore leave the individual mandate standing (rather than striking down the full law).

Of course, no one really knows yet how the Supreme Court will rule except for the justices and a few of their aides. But it won't be long before we all find out.

(Read the full text of "Judgment Day Draws Nigh for Obamacare".)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Big Pharma Cronyism

The 6/11/2012 Wall Street Journal discusses, "ObamaCare's Secret History".

It includes sordid details of cronyism by the drug industry, which threw its support behind ObamaCare in exchange for various political favors (such as having their way on the "drug reimportation" issue).

A teaser from the article:
The business refrain in those days was that if you're not at the table, you're on the menu. But it turns out Big Pharma was also serving as head chef, maƮtre d'hotel and dishwasher. Though some parts of the story have been reported before, the emails make clear that ObamaCare might never have passed without the drug companies.
Thank you, Pfizer.
(Read the full text of "ObamaCare's Secret History".)

As David Catron notes, "Ironically, reimportation was a bad idea that could have been fought honestly. But Big Pharma decided on a quisling strategy. In the end, they’ll get the shaft just like their fellow collaborators in the AMA."

Wolf on the Chevy Volt

Dr. Milton Wolf takes corporate welfare in his latest video, "The Chevy Volt is a 'shocking' story".
 

That Simpsons' Canyonero is starting to look pretty good by comparison!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oregon Health "Reforms" Need More Money

Oregon's health reforms based on "coordinated care organizations" is failing.

The 6/8/2012 Oregonian reports, "New health care groups say Oregon's reforms could sputter without more cash". From the article:
...[L]awmakers earlier this year approved ambitious reforms that would turn over the state's Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan to beefed-up managed care groups called coordinated care organizations.
Now, members of the new groups are crying foul after a directive Thursday that they'll receive no new funds for the additional responsibilities they've agreed to take on -- mental health care, prevention efforts, quality measurements and new patient-care staff, among others.
They say the success of the reforms is at risk because revamping the care of 600,000 people takes money.
(Read the full text of, "New health care groups say Oregon's reforms could sputter without more cash".)

In other words, doctors are noticing that they are being squeezed by government-run medicine and can't actually deliver the care they thought they could. Of course, the problem will simply worsen if the legislators decide that more budget cuts are necessary.

It's a good thing we would never try to implement such a crazy system at the national level. Oh, wait...

(Via Dr. Kathleen Brown.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quick Links: Scherz, Eck, Tanner, Discounts

Dr. Hal Scherz, "Health Care Insurance is Not a Dirty Word" (TownHall, 6/12/2012).

Dr. Alieta Eck: "Will Atlas Shrug?" (PDF, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol 17 No 2, Summer 2012).

Michael Tanner: "5 ways to solve health care" (New York Post, 6/10/2012).

LA Times: "Many hospitals, doctors offer cash discount for medical bills", 5/27/2012. (Via PatientPowerNow.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

GOP Favoring Mandates?

Merrill Matthews at Forbes notes, "Some Republicans Embrace ObamaCare Mandates":
Several Republicans reportedly want to retain certain provisions in ObamaCare, not because those provisions are good policy, but because they’re popular. But if Republicans adopt the popularity standard, they will have to impose coercive government mandates that will drive up the cost of health insurance — just as they accuse President Obama and the Democrats of doing...
Matthews goes on to describe the bad consequences in greater detail.

Bad ideas are bad, regardless of which party supports them.

If GOP legislators adopt the same policies as the liberal opponents, they should not be surprised if limited government advocates view both parties as just variations on the same evil.

Monday, June 11, 2012

More Doctors Declining Medicaid and Medicare

This does not bode well for government-run medicine: "Survey: More doctors report they cannot afford to take new Medicaid, Medicare patients".

These patients may have theoretical "coverage". But they won't be able to receive actual medical care.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Freakonomics on Surgeons' Fees

The 6/6/2012 Freakonomics blog has an interesting post, "What Surgeons Get Paid, and What Patients Think Surgeons Get Paid".

They discuss a paper written by an orthopedic surgeon on public perception of surgeons' fees. Here's the money quote (both literally and figuratively):
On average, patients thought that surgeons should receive $18,501 for total hip replacements, and $16,822 for total knee replacements. Patients estimated actual Medicare reimbursement to be $11,151 for total hip replacements and $8,902 for total knee replacements. Seventy per cent of patients stated that Medicare reimbursement was "much lower" than what it should be, and only 1% felt that it was higher than it should be.
In reality, surgeons get paid on average $1,378 for a total hip and $1,430 for a total knee. Thus patients were off by an order of magnitude in their estimates! The disconnect in public knowledge seems extreme.
In short, patients -- the most important part of all of health care policy decisions -- have absolutely no clue how much doctors get paid. They think we get paid (or, at least, deserve to) about 10 times more than we actually do!
Of course, when a patient gets an artificial hip, he or she also has to pay the hospital for the OR time, the nursing care, and for the cost of the artificial hip itself.

The surgeon's fee is thus a fairly small part of the total bill. In fact, the $1,400 fee is comparable to the charge for labor (not including parts) for replacing the transmission in your automobile!

(Freakonomics link via Kelly Valenzuela.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Scherz and Armstrong on Romney

Dr. Hal Scherz and Dr. Richard Armstrong of Docs4PatientCare discuss what Mitt Romney should do on health care if he is elected president.

They give their recommendations in this 6/5/2012 TownHall.com piece, "Romney Should Own the Healthcare Debate".

 For example:
Allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines and creating a market based model where people can shop for policies with benefits that they need and not ones that they will never use. This will drive costs down and make insurance more affordable. He supports health savings accounts and high deductible policies- both phased out under Obamacare. This creates better healthcare consumers -- something that always happens when people spend their own money instead of someone else's.
I'm not particularly optimistic that Romney would embrace the free-market health care reforms this country desperately needs.

But if he adopted the recommendations from Drs. Scherz and Armstrong, it would be a good first step in the right direction.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wolf On Free Markets

Dr. Milton Wolf has a new video commentary at the Daily Caller, "Free market capitalism 'doesn't work.' Oh, really?"

America has a mixed economy (rather than a fully capitalist one). But to the extent we have allowed capitalism to work, it has created incredible prosperity.



Dr. Wolf also notes that capitalism is moral because it relies on the voluntary cooperation of people seeking mutual benefit, not government coercion.

As always, his videos are both entertaining as well as informative. Including the spray-on mullets.

IJ Tackles CONs

The Institute for Justice is now taking on CON (Certificate of Need) laws, using Virginia as their test case.

They've posted details at: "CON JOB: How A Virginia Law Enriches Established Businesses by Limiting Your Medical Options, and How IJ Is Going to Stop It".

IJ attorney Darpana Sheth also has a nice OpEd in the 6/5/2012 Washington Times, "Requiring higher health care costs".

Here's an extended excerpt:
Dr. Mark Monteferrante, a board-certified radiologist with more than 19 years of experience. Dr. Monteferrante specializes in interpreting images of the brain and spine. He and his team of radiologists and staff offer services in nine offices in Maryland and one in the District.
Dr. Monteferrante wants to open an office in Northern Virginia to bring his team’s special expertise diagnosing bone and joint injuries to the area. He and his team are all licensed to practice in Virginia. They have a great client base and access to capital to buy an MRI scanner, which they need in order to open a new office.
The only problem is that Virginia makes it a crime to purchase an MRI scanner without first getting special permission from the government. Under Virginia’s “certificate-of-need” program, Dr. Monteferrante must first prove to the Department of Health that there is a “need” for his radiology services and a new MRI machine in Northern Virginia. To make matters worse, existing businesses are allowed to participate in the process to oppose Dr. Monteferrante’s application.
Under Virginia’s complicated scheme, Dr. Monteferrante must submit to a lengthy and costly application process which, on average, lasts eight months and costs $20,000, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars more in consulting and attorney fees. After all that time and money, approval is far from certain...
Here's their short explanatory video:



I've practiced medicine in states without and with such Certificate of Need requirements.

These CONs jack up prices and reduce access for patients, to benefit those providers with enough political "pull" to restrict competition.

Kudos to the Institute for Justice for tackling this important issue!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Catron on Supreme Irony

David Catron's latest piece in the 6/4/2012 American Spectator discusses, "The Supreme Irony of Obamacare's Constitutional Travails".

Catron recalls how in the 2008 Democratic primaries,
...Obama repeatedly touted his opposition to an individual mandate as one of the major distinctions between his "reform" plan and that of his main rival for the nomination.
During the 2008 Democrat debates he routinely upbraided Clinton for advocating a policy that he said was fundamentally unfair: "[T]he reason people don't have health insurance isn't because they don't want it, it's because they can't afford it."
To drive home his point, he frequently employed the following mordant analogy: "If a mandate was the solution, we can try to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house." Such heresy produced denunciations from a variety of progressives, including Paul Krugman, who accused Obama of "echoing right-wing talking points."
Such criticism notwithstanding, Obama's ostensible aversion to government-imposed mandates was shared by most voters. Moreover, Obama's stated position was correct on the merits...
Of course things changed once Obama assumed office.

Perhaps it was the hubris of having won the election. Or perhaps it was political expediency. But it would be ironic if the legislation Obama hoped would seal his historical legacy was overturned because he foolishly embraced a bad idea he was shrewd enough to reject earlier in 2008.

If the Supreme Court overturns ObamaCare (and I hope it does), it would still be Obama's historical legacy -- but just not the way he intended.

(Read the full text of "The Supreme Irony of Obamacare's Constitutional Travails".)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Jenkins On Bloomberg

The 6/1/2012 Wall Street Journal has published an OpEd by Holman Jenkins on NYC's proposed new sugar restrictions, "The 5th Avenue to Serfdom".

He notes:
Here is the ultimate justification for the Bloomberg soft-drink ban, not to mention his smoking ban, his transfat ban, and his unsuccessful efforts to enact a soda tax and prohibit buying high-calorie drinks with food stamps: The taxpayer is picking up the bill.
Call it the growing chattelization of the beneficiary class under government health-care programs. Bloombergism is a secular trend. Los Angeles has sought to ban new fast-food shops in neighborhoods disproportionately populated by Medicaid recipients, Utah to increase Medicaid copays for smokers, Arizona to impose a special tax on Medicaid recipients who smoke or are overweight. New York itself, with private money, some of it from Mr. Bloomberg's own pocket, has also tried the carrot approach, dangling direct payments to encourage beneficiary families to adopt healthier habits.
So perhaps the famous "broccoli" hypothetical during the Supreme Court ObamaCare debate was not so fanciful after all. It flows naturally from the state's fiscal responsibility for your health that it will try to regulate your behavior, even mandating vegetable consumption.
(Read the full text of "The 5th Avenue to Serfdom".)

Colorado writer Steve Schweitzberger once similarly observed:
If Michael Moore has a toothache, it is not my responsibility to pay for his dentistry. If it were, then I would have the right to tell him not to eat sweets. I don’t want that kind of government-paid medical policy. Do you?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Minton On Bloomberg

Michelle Minton of CEI discusses how, "New York City Mayor Michael 'Nanny' Bloomberg Wants To Ban Super-Sized Soda".

From her post:
While the causes of the perceived obesity crisis are too complex to delve into in a blog post, it is pretty obvious that this super-sized soda ban will do nothing. First of all, there’s nothing in this proposal to prevent customers from purchasing multiple bottles of 16 ounce drinks. Furthermore, sweetened drinks in bottles greater than 16 ounces will still be available in grocery and convenience stores.
So why is he doing this? Perhaps Mr. Bloomberg is really stretched for a way to spend the $15.5 million in stimulus money? As the Heritage Foundation reported last October, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided $230 million for 25 communities’ obesity campaigns. And here I thought stimulus money was meant to help struggling communities and to decrease unemployment — turns out it was really meant to make commercial that portray American companies (aka employers) as selling carbonated fat-in-a-can.
Perhaps this is just an attempt to look like a do-something-mayor in the lead up to the City’s 2013 election. Or perhaps he really wants to reduce the rate of obesity. Whatever his reasons, this type of overreach demonstrates that he either has a lack of understanding of how public policy can affect public health, a disregard for individual choice, and/or zero knowledge or complete disregard for how economies function...
(Read the full text of "New York City Mayor Michael 'Nanny' Bloomberg Wants To Ban Super-Sized Soda".)

Some of the worst statists are those who wish to "help" you by reducing your freedom for your own good.