Jun 15 2011

“Free Health Care” – Must-Read from National Center for Policy Analysis

Want “free” ObamaCare?  Read on…

This is a must-read from National Center for Policy Analysis’ John Goodman.  Receive more of Mr. Goodman’s health policy alerts here.

Free Health Care

Written by and reposted here with permission by

John Goodman, the “Father of Health Savings Accounts”

This past weekend, Wal-Mart was offering health care screenings to male customers at no charge. Sam’s Clubs across the country gave any customer willing to take the time:

  • BMI Index measurements,
  • Blood pressure tests,
  • Cholesterol readings,
  • PSA (prostate cancer) tests, and
  • TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) tests.

And that’s not all. Sam’s Clubs have more free screenings planned for the future. Here’s the schedule:

  • July: Kids Health Screenings
  • August: Vision Health Screenings
  • September: Diabetes Screenings
  • October: Women’s Health Screenings
  • November: Digestive Health Screenings

Further, at the store I visited there was no waiting. And if there happened to be a wait, I suspect it would be handled the way Wal-Mart handles prescription drugs. In order to reduce both the time cost and the money cost of care, Sam’s Club Pharmacy promises:

  • Hundreds of generic prescriptions for just $4,
  • Prescriptions filled in just 20 minutes, and
  • Text alerts to tell you when your prescription is ready, so you can shop while you wait.

Now if this doesn’t knock your socks off, you must be living in a cave somewhere. Certainly, you haven’t been paying attention to health policy news.

Under the health reform bill that was enacted last year:

  • In just three years you are going to be forced to buy insurance coverage for the very services Wal-Mart is giving away for free!
  • My rough guess is that you (through your premiums) and your health plan (directly) will pay $500 to $1,000 for these services alone; and if you can get them with only 20 minutes of waiting at a doctor’s office or community health center, be sure and tell the rest of us your secret.
  • I would also guess that after getting your blood drawn at a conventional site, you will wait at least a week before you learn the results — in contrast to the almost immediate feedback at Sam’s.
  • As for the drugs, ObamaCare will probably force you to buy first-dollar coverage for a whole slew of generics and the cost will be a lot more than Sam’s $4 charge.
  • Texas Medicaid, for example, pays a fee of more than $7 to pharmacists just to dispense a prescription — on top of the cost of the drug!

What’s happening at Sam’s Clubs is yet another instance of a general trend I have noticed. Almost all of the things health reformers say they want to happen are already happening — outside the third-party payer system. They are happening not because of the third-party payers, but in spite of them! Consider that:

  • Concierge doctors are consulting by email and telephone, keeping electronic medical records (EMRs), prescribing electronically and offering same day or next day appointments — all characteristics of the Commonwealth Fund’s vision of ideal primary care.
  • Walk-in clinics are posting (transparent) prices, using evidenced-based medicine by following computerized protocols, and keeping EMRs as well.
  • Cosmetic and Lasik surgeons routinely offer “bundled” prices, compete for patients based on price and quality and have lowered the real price of their services over the past decade.
  • There are lots of successful examples of coordinated care, integrated care, managed care, medical-home care and home-based care (see, for example, here) — almost all of it developed despite third party incentives not to do so and in some cases saving third-party payers millions of dollars without a dime’s worth of compensation.
  • And now we have primary care without deductible or copayment!

Isn’t the lesson here obvious? There’s nothing wrong with the market for health care. It’s the third-party payers, stupid.  

Now I want you to close your eyes and try to imagine how a rational world would deal with all this information. Here are some of my fantasies:

  • Commonwealth Fund press release: “Karen Davis Praises Wal-Mart; Says ObamaCare endorsement was a mistake.”
  • HHS press release: Secretary Cancels Millions in Pilot Project Funding: “Why spend money looking for answers Wal-Mart has already found.”
  • Texas HHS press release: “State to Contract out Medicaid Services to Wal-Mart.”
  • New York Times Economix blog: “I was wrong” is the lead for the latest Uwe Reinhardt column.
  • Incidental Economist post by Austin Frakt: “On Wal-Mart, show me the evidence.”

Mar 26 2011

You MUST Know This About Health Care Exchanges – PART 2

This is Part 2 in my series about ObamaCare health care exchanges.  Be sure to read Part 1 here

Health care exchanges are simply this:  state-level bureaucracies that ObamaCare must coerce into existence.  Without them, there is no ObamaCare implementation.  Without them, the federal government hasn’t the hands it needs to meddle into and control the health care of every American citizen.

“Once Up and Running, the Administration Will Impose Whatever Arbitrary Regulations it Wants”

John R. Graham of the Pacific Research Institute explains the harsh truths about exchanges in several articles, “Should Your State Establish an ObamaCare Health Insurance Exchange” and “Ongoing Health Care Exchange is Key for the Keystone State.”  Excerpts:

The special interests:  “Certain business interests are making unlikely arguments in favor of the reform act’s exchanges.  These interests include IT vendors and consultants, health insurers who believe that they can dominate an exchange to the detriment of smaller competitors and brokers who hope to get paid by the government to serve as navigators in the exchanges.”

Perverse incentives:  “Some lobbyists claim that states can drop out of Medicaid and drive all of their former dependents into exchanges, where they will enjoy budget-busting federal tax credits.  Even if this were possible, simply exploiting health care reform to transfer liabilities to the federal government hardly solves the national challenge of out-of-control health care spending.  The perverse incentives resulting from such a “reform” would surely discourage Pennsylvania’s [any state's] politicians from rolling back the Affordable Care Act.”

Unfettered federal controls:“Once the exchanges are up and running, the administration will be able to impose whatever arbitrary regulations it wants.”

Who really owns this problem:  “Any state establishing an exchange is making a one-way, lose-lose bet. If health care reform persists, exchanges will become bloated administrative nightmares. If it is defeated, states will have wasted time and energy that should have been directed towards that effort. The health care take-over is the president’s problem. Pennsylvania’s [any state's] leaders shouldn’t make it theirs, too.

“State Politicians Who Proclaim That They Want to Defeat ObamaCare Are Actually Facilitating it” 

John Goodman with the National Center for Policy Analysis shares this from “Exchanges” Will Test States’ Willingness to Defeat ObamaCare:”

States have opportunity to stop ObamaCare:  “… the federal government relies on states to do the reform’s dirty work. Fortunately, Republicans took control of legislatures and governors’ offices in twenty states last month, up from nine. This single-party rule should make blocking the health overhaul relatively easy. Even in states where power is divided between the parties, almost every state should be able to succeed in keeping the health overhaul at bay until it is slain.”

Let’s defeat it by facilitating it:  “… advocates of consumer choice will be disappointed to learn hat some state politicians who proclaim that they want to defeat ObamaCare are actually facilitating it, and falling under the influence of lobbyists for special interests that will profit from it. As a result, they are being lured into negotiations to draft legislation that will establish state-based “exchanges” that will limit people’s choice of health insurance under the new law.”

States’ resolve will fade:  “… the perverse incentives resulting from such a “reform” would surely dissipate a state’s will to defeat ObamaCare after the next electoral cycle.”

They’re going to be expensive:  “Furthermore, states will have to bear the long-run administrative and bureaucratic costs of running the exchanges. These costs will quickly run into tens of millions of dollars annually … Once these contracts are signed, it will be very difficult to get these businesses to join a coalition to defeat ObamaCare.”

Setting up exchanges threatens defeat of ObamaCare:  “But the American people already know that ObamaCare cannot work. Nor can it be outsmarted. It must be defeated. State politicians who fritter away valuable legislative time in negotiations about how to establish a health insurance exchange threaten the defeat of this harmful legislation.”

Oh, But There is More…

Now that you’ve read Parts 1 and 2 of this series, do you think you’ve heard enough?  There’s more…

If you value freedom… if you value the kind of health care we’re used to here in this most exceptional of all nations… if you want every measure taken that can possibly stop ObamaCare’s clutch around freedom’s throat… then you must to learn more about these exchanges. 

There is more to come… more facts and information… who supports them, who doesn’t… who is submitting to defeat, who is standing strong and resisting… Part 3 is next… and you will really want to know.

ESPECIALLY if You Live in Colorado 

As I write this post, exchanges are on the table in Colorado’s state legislature.  Check out Colorado SB 11-200 here.  This is a bill being co-sponsored by Colorado State House Representative Majority Leader Amy Stephens(R) and Colorado State Senator Betty Boyd(D).  The purpose of the bill is “creating a process for the implementation of a health benefit exchange in Colorado.” 

More on that later… stay tuned.

Michelle Morin is Mom4Freedom, a conservative blogger, speaker, and patriot for freedom and America’s founding principles. Join her for valuable freedom updates here.