01 May 2013 Health Care Odds & Ends
Some interesting pieces on health care policy, in no particular order:
1. “Obamacare’s backers and critics increasingly seem to agree that the president’s health law is in for a rocky start,” writes Peter Suderman at Reason. He reviews Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn’s admissions about this, and concludes: “Does this sound like something that has the potential to be a ‘huge train wreck’? I’ll leave that to others to decide. But at the very least, it sounds as if the Obamacare implementation process is in for a derailment or two.” What I found interesting about Klein and Cohn’s analysis is the omission of the effect ObamaCare regulations is having on jobs, something NCPPR has chronicled here and here and here and here and here.
2. One person who did look at the effect ObamaCare would have on jobs—and also insurance rates, loss of insurance, and other problems—is Dan Kessler of the Hoover Institution. He concludes: “In total, it appears that there will be 30 million to 40 million people damaged in some fashion by the Affordable Care Act—more than one in 10 Americans. When that reality becomes clearer, the law is going to start losing its friends in the media, who are inclined to support the president and his initiatives.” Not so sure about that second sentence, but the first is more than enough to make politicians nervous.
3. Speaking of ObamaCare and jobs, a new survey of small businesses by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds that 72% agree that “the recent healthcare law makes it harder for my business to hire more employees” (51% strongly agree, 21% somewhat agree.) Additionally, “Support for the law is very low among small businesses surveyed (21%), and almost eight-out-of-ten (77%) of small businesses surveyed support its repeal.”
While we’re at it, it’s a good time to mention this slightly oldie-but-goodie, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book from March. It noted that “Employers in several Districts cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.” And under Consumer Spending and Tourism it stated, “Many District contacts commented on the expired payroll tax holiday and the Affordable Care Act as having restrained sales growth.”
4. “Almost All Americans Lack Health Insurance.” That was the provocative title of a piece at the Huffington Post by Dr. Beth Haynes. She states “very few Americans have health insurance… because what people call health insurance really isn’t insurance at all.” She continues: “So what is it we have that we call health insurance but isn’t? We have the prepayment of medical expenses. We expect our “insurance” to cover predictable, relatively inexpensive events like health maintenance checks, minor illnesses and injuries — and to pay for them with minimal out of pocket spending. Under Obamacare, these expectations will be mandated by law.” Read it all.
5. Back in November, the Wall Street Journal ran a story with the headline “Health-Care Law Spurs a Shift to Part-Time Workers.” Oh well, Wall Street Journal, typical anti-ObamaCare story that newspaper would run, right? Well, things must have been getting a bit more worrisome when the New York Times ran a story a few weeks ago with the headline, “Part Time Work Become Full-Time Wait for Better Job,” that also mentioned the impact of ObamaCare. Now comes a story from Monday with the headline, “As Health Law Changes Loom, A Shift To Part-Time Workers.” Things must be getting pretty bad out there, because that story comes from National Proletariat Public Radio.