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Archive for June, 2014
The Problem with Open Enrollment

Austin Frakt and Amitabh Chandra propose a common-sense idea at the New York Times: If [health insurance] plans could compete on the basis of the therapies they cover, consumers could decide what they wish to pay for. This sounds complicated, but it need not be. Health plans could define themselves at least in part…
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Virginia DMV and Taxi Unions versus Consumers

“Competition always has been, and always will be, disagreeable to those who are affected by it. Thus we see that in all times and in all places men try to get rid of it.” —Frédéric Bastiat Last week, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sent cease-and-desist letters to app-based, ride-sharing services Uber and…
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Soaring Pension Costs Devour School Budgets in California

The revised budget unveiled in May by California Gov. Jerry Brown seeks to increase the amount of money that public school districts and their teachers would pay into the teacher pension fund going forward. The legislature must approve a budget by June 15 or legislators forfeit their pay until a budget is passed. The…
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Non-Hospital Healthcare Jobs Are Growing Fast

Jobs in health care, especially in outpatient settings, continue to rally. Of 217,000 nonfarm civilian jobs filled in May, 34,000 were in health care. This was twice the average monthly gain over the previous twelve months. As previously observed, most of these jobs are in ambulatory settings. Two thirds of the gains (23,000) were…
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Taxpayers Are Shocked to Discover That When They Vote for Government Services, They Have to Pay for Them

Taxpayers in Austin, Texas, are upset that their property tax bills are rising.  This article reports that taxpayer Gretchen Gardner is “at the breaking point” because of her increasing property taxes. Gardner says, “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this…
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Remembering Tiananmen Square, 25 Years Later

“One free man will say with truth what he thinks and feels amongst thousands of men who by their acts and words attest exactly the opposite. It would seem that he who sincerely expressed his thought must remain alone, whereas it generally happens that every one else, or the majority at least, have been…
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Is the NDAA Notification Requirement Unconstitutional?

If Obama is right about the NDAA, he should start releasing far more prisoners from Guantánamo. A firestorm has erupted over the Obama administration’s release of five Guantánamo captives in exchange for the Taliban’s release of American soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Putting aside all the rest of the strategic, moral, and practical arguments, I want…
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Would Outlawing Food Stamps for Soda Pop Reduce Obesity?

That’s what scholars at Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco, concluded in an article in Health Affairs. The authors compare two policies: banning the use of food stamps for the purchase of soda pop, or giving an extra subsidy of thirty cents on the dollar for the purchase of fruits and vegetables….
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No Joke, Paul Krugman Praised Veterans Health System as National Model

In 2011, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that the federal Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system is a “huge policy success story, which offers important lessons for future health reform.” Let’s examine Krugman’s arguments for why the VA is a national model for healthcare in light of recent revelations: 1) Krugman says the…
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What If More States Had Set Up Their Own Obamacare Exchanges?

Politico’s Kyle Cheney and Jennifer Haberkorn have made the case that Republican non-collaboration with Obamacare has brought a completely federally controlled healthcare system closer to reality: Right now, 36 states rely on HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange, to enroll people in health coverage. At least two more states are opting in next year, with a…
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