Search results for the tag, "Health Insurance"

July 19th, 2009

What’s Missing from Our Debates About Energy and Health Care

Scott Young checks the air-conditioner for the required energy efficiency in a home

As legislation to reform our energy use and health insurance winds its way through Congress, it’s worth pausing to ask if we should tweak the system before overhauling it?

To be sure, there’s no reason why an overhaul can’t include these reforms. And there’s no reason why an overhaul can’t be incremental. Yet as two recent articles point out, there’s no reason why we can’t carry out these reforms now.

1. Strengthen energy requirements in building codes. Today’s energy requirements in building codes remain weak across half the country, and at least seven states have virtually no rules. That means that in many places, particularly the nation’s heartland, almost every new home, store and factory that goes up locks the country into unnecessary energy use for years to come.

No new technology needs to be invented to make major gains in saving energy. Products already available permit the construction of homes at least 30 percent more efficient than the national average. With enough political will, a new law can be put in place anywhere with the stroke of a pen, and made even more potent if it is coupled with tough oversight, as in Austin, Texas.

2. Eliminate hospital-acquired infections. Scrupulous adherence to simple but profoundly important practices like hand-washing, proper preparation of surgical sites, and assiduous care and maintenance of central lines and urinary catheters would save tens of billions of dollars every year.

June 28th, 2009

Does Obama Recognize Criticism of His Health Care Proposal?

A version of this blog post appeared on TechRepublican.

Given his aversion to the bubble of the presidency, willingness to admit when he screws up, and experience as a professor of constitutional law, it seems fair to conclude that while Obama may disagree with you on a particular issue, he’s at least conversant with the counterarguments. Indeed, it’s said that a good lawyer—and Obama graduated from Harvard Law magna cum laude—can argue both sides of a case.

As such, I think the President would be open to the following question, which I submitted this morning for his upcoming online town hall meeting on health care:

“What do you think—without caricature—is the strongest, most serious objection to your health care proposal, and how would you reply?”

YouTube says the winning questions will be among the most popular ones, so if you’re interested in which conservative criticism is most cogent, why not watch and share the above 16-second video? Let’s see if we can replicate what Patrick Ruffini did in 2007 with YouTube’s “10 Questions” contest.

August 7th, 2007

HillaryCare on the Installment Plan


A version of this blog post appeared on Redstate on August 7, 2007.

Established in 1997, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, pronounced “s-chip”) is a partnership between the states and federal government to insure poor children. The program is up for reauthorization by September 30, but big-government liberals want not just to renew it, but also to expand it.

The problem is, the expansion (H.R. 3162, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007) contradicts SCHIP’s original, limited intent.

First, it redefines eligibility by recognizing people up to 21 as “children.”

Second, it extends coverage to a family of four with an income of $82,600—hardly a “low-income” group.

Third, by removing the requirement for reauthorization, it transforms SCHIP from its current block grant status into a permanent entitlement, like Medicaid, which is automatically funded every year, regardless of congressional approval.

Thus, what’s being proposed is not reauthorization but repudiation. SCHIP was intended to insure kids. Now it’s being exploited to encompass adults and even wealthy families. Instead of distorting language and creating new entitlement programs, we should reaffirm sensible age, income and reauthorization parameters.

Furthermore, the proposed expansion crowds out private insurers in favor of government health care. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the bill will cause nearly two million people to abandon market-based medicine for Washington-based mandates.

In order to avoid caricature, this debate is not about whether to insure poor children. This debate is about how to insure them: not via welfare-style coverage, but via market forces that have facilitated the world’s most advanced drugs and cures.

Finally, at a time of ballooning deficits, expanding SCHIP makes a mockery of fiscal responsibility. According to CBO estimates, the bill will cost nearly $60 billion over 10 years, which is 10 times President Bush’s budget request.

Moreover, in order to finance all this, smokers would be hit with an extra half dollar in taxes for every pack of cigarettes they buy. Such a sin tax is inequitable and regressive.

Democrats are picking up where Hillary Clinton left off 14 years ago. Their Hillary Care-lite legislation deserves the same fate as hers: ignominious defeat.