The Health Care Spectator

The Health Care Spectator

Reform, Replace, Restart, or Innovate?

By 8.27.15

Editor’s Note: Debra J. Saunders is off. The following column is by Veronique de Rugy.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently released his replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act and jump-started the presidential debate about how to wind down Obamacare.

In his book Overcoming Obamacare, the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein catalogs the three main schools of thought regarding post-ACA policy: reform, replace, and restart. The restart school needs a little explaining. It would repeal the ACA and implement reforms as lawmakers would have at 2009 spending levels, had they a chance.

The main difference among the three approaches is how much their proponents favor the government’s role in providing health insurance. The plans formulated by the restart school are often the ideologically purest of them all. Its biggest current advocate in the presidential race is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Walker, on the other hand, belongs to the replace school.

The Health Care Spectator

What If Obamacare Subsidies Disappear?

By 2.27.15

Does the Affordable Care Act really mean what it says?

The Supreme Court will be answering that question in King v. Burwell in the coming months. The question, which surfaced in the public awareness with the Gruber videos, emanates from one line in the Affordable Care Act which says that premium tax credits will be paid only to individuals who obtain medical coverage “through an Exchange established by [a] State.”

Turns out, thirty-six states didn’t create their own exchanges. Instead, they used the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, and the federal government made the executive decision to allow them to receive tax credits anyway. However, the language of the law says their residents are ineligible for subsidies, and the ones currently being paid are illegal.

If the Supreme Court sides with King, how would it affect American citizens?

A great deal.

Let’s review just what’s at stake.

The Health Care Spectator

The CDC’s Severe Case of Mission Confusion

By 1.14.15

With flu raging through 46 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking center stage, advising the public and physicians. How much can you believe? Until last year, polls showed the CDC was the most trusted federal agency. But then the CDC bungled its response to Ebola. That was a wake up call, because the CDC has been fumbling its most important jobs for several years. The agency has a severe case of mission confusion.

Domestic Preparedness: After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress instructed the CDC to launch a State and Local Preparedness program and build a Strategic National Stockpile to prepare for bioterrorism or a disease outbreak. But the CDC has left us woefully unprepared, according to the AP. “A mediocre outbreak” could overwhelm the system, said Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University.

When Ebola struck, the stockpile was already out of essential gear like waterproof gowns. They ran out during the 2009 swine flu threat. The CDC didn’t even order more until October 2014, with Ebola in full swing.

The Health Care Spectator

Adding to the Lies Obamacare Supporters Have Told Us

By 12.10.14

Jonathan Gruber’s attempt at contrition before the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee might have been convincing had he not lied again. Gruber began his testimony trying to explain away his controversial remarks that have come to light in recent months, but he used deception to do so.

Gruber’s actions are part and parcel of how the Obama administration has handled Obamacare. Deceit is routinely employed to reassure the public that the law is a success.

Of course, politics is not the most honest of professions, and there will always be some “spinning” and shading of the truth. But that’s not the case with Obamacare. Rather, there are numerous instances when the president, another member of the administration, or someone closely linked with the administration knew that the truth was “A” but told the public it was “B.” In other words, they lied.

Here are eight of the most brazen lies, beginning with Gruber:

1. Gruber: Of course people on federal exchanges are supposed to receive premium subsidies.

The Health Care Spectator

Ebola: The President Is Responsible

By 10.14.14

“We can make government again responsive to people not only by cutting its size and scope and thereby ensuring that its legitimate functions are performed efficiently and justly.” —President Ronald Reagan, Conservative Political Action Conference, March 20, 1981 

A more perfect description of what’s wrong with the Obama White House’s handling of the Ebola crisis could not be had. But first? 

Two days after the death of Ronald Reagan in 2004, left-wing AIDS activist Larry Kramer wrote this charming missive in the Advocate. The title? “Adolph Reagan.” Wrote Kramer, in part:

Our murderer is dead. The man who murdered more gay people than anyone in the entire history of the world, is dead. More people than Hitler even.…

The Health Care Spectator

The Media Smears More Lipstick on Obamacare

By 6.23.14

The legacy news media are once again doting on the porcine Affordable Care Act with an extravagance not lavished on a pig since P.G. Wodehouse created the immortal Empress of Blandings. If you are unfamiliar with the latter, she was a gigantic Berkshire sow who was treated by her aristocratic owner with a level of reverence that caused his friends and family to question his grip on reality. Likewise, after an all-too-brief flirtation with fact-based journalism inspired by the bungled rollout of, mainstream reporters have reverted to coverage of Obamacare that suggests they, too, may be delusional.

The Health Care Spectator

The VA: It’s the Government, Stupid

By 5.22.14

“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” 
— President Ronald Reagan in his first Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981

It’s the government, stupid. Rush Limbaugh is right. The VA scandal is a preview of Obamacare. As Mediaite wrote up his take the other day:

Limbaugh: VA Deaths Scandal a Preview of What Obamacare Will Be Like

Rush Limbaugh took on the VA deaths scandal on Monday, touting this as the home of the “death panels” the right had been speaking of years ago. And because that was a talking point against Obamacare, Limbaugh argued that what happened to veterans waiting for benefits at the VA is a “microcosm” of what will happen once Obamacare is fully implemented.

The Health Care Spectator

Running Out of Operating Room

By 5.9.14

A surgeon declared war against health care’s central planners recently in the Wall Street Journal.

“So when do we say damn the mandates and requirements from bureaucrats who are not in the healing profession?” asked Dr. Daniel F. Craviotto Jr., an orthopedic surgeon, in “A Doctor’s Declaration of Independence.”

“I acknowledge that there is a problem with the rising cost of health care, but there is also a problem when the individual physician in the trenches does not have a voice in the debate and is being told what to do and how to do it.”

My doctor said the same thing two decades ago when Hillary Clinton was behind closed doors at the White House developing a Rube Goldberg contraption that was supposed to restructure a seventh of the nation’s economy by transferring the decision-making in medicine to thousands of bureaucrats in hundreds of interconnecting committees — a bloated Leviathan in which a patient had a good shot at expiring before his paperwork made it through all the hoops.

The Health Care Spectator

The Incredible Obamacare Machine

By 4.4.14

There’s a scene in P.G. Wodehouse’s Right Ho, Jeeves where Bertie Wooster receives a telegram from his fearsome Aunt Dahlia that reads: “Come at once.” Bertie is puzzled. He reflects and agonizes and sends several follow-up telegrams requesting more lucid instruction. Finally he shows the cable to his perceptive manservant Jeeves and asks him to translate.

“I think Mrs. Travers wants you to come at once, sir,” Jeeves says.

Sometimes it seems like the liberal base of the Democratic Party has a similar problem. They’ve been saying for decades: “We want Medicare for all.” Senior Democrats furrow their brows and ruminate, they fret about public opinion and blue dogs, they devise independent payment advisory boards and state-run insurance exchanges. Meanwhile the activists are rolling their eyes. “No, Medicare for all. It’s not that hard…”

The Health Care Spectator

Obamacare’s Culture of Coverup

By 4.3.14

The headlines are everywhere. General Motors is responsible for thirteen deaths. Harry Reid’s Senate and John Boehner’s House have each held a hearing. Some 230,000 pages of documents have been turned over by the company, Senator Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat, is railing about a GM “culture of cover-up.” The job of the GM CEO, Mary Barra, is on the line, and she is summoned to those televised hearings to explain and apologize. The families of the victims are giving well-attended press conferences.