Health Care

Mississippi is on the wrong track with telemedicine

Recent years have seen plenty of debates about misguided health and safety regulations, but the current one in Mississippi threatens to frustrate one of the brightest trends in …

‘Gov’ knows best

No one likes a controlling, overbearing boyfriend. You know the guy I’m talking about. Incessantly checking in, sticking his nose into every and any decision, disapproving of anyone …

And then there were three: Obamacare forces health insurer consolidation

In the latest in what has become a roller coaster of mergers and acquisitions in the health insurance sector this month, No. 2 insurer Anthem Inc. announced this …

Progressives turn their backs on the sharing economy

Santa Monica, Calif., is now spending $410,000 a year investigating, ticketing and fining residents who sublet their houses and apartments on Airbnb. In Key West, Fla., a new city …

Health-care premiums about to spike again

The Affordable Care Act is about to get a little less affordable. Again. Health insurers have petitioned for rate hikes of 20 percent or more, because all the people who've …

America’s Greece

The world is watching the situation in Greece closely, in the wake of the nation's default last night on a $1.7 billion loan payment to the International Monetary …

John Roberts and the long con

Conservatives and libertarians aren't very happy with John Roberts right now, and for good reason. For the second time, the Bush-appointed chief justice has handed down a decision …

Obamacare’s CO-OPs proving to be one big money pit

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the IRS' decision to provide health insurance subsidies through the federal exchanges, it's important to analyze whether these subsidies …

Interpreting the law in 2015

Almost any high school textbook on U.S. government will tell you Congress makes the laws, the president approves the laws and the Supreme Court interprets the laws. Based …

IRS created tool to calculate Obamacare repayments, didn’t share with public

The Internal Revenue Service developed an online tool that would have helped Americans who received health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to better calculate their tax …

Pointier Heads: Efficiency shrinks while government grows

I had my first reckoning with big government in a small town in New Jersey. The incident remains startlingly fresh in my mind, although it was years ago. A …

Coalition urges Congress to pull funding for the OECD

Dear Senators and Representatives: American taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize international organizations working against U.S. interests. The undersigned organizations, representing the Coalition for Tax Competition, call on …

It’s time for open data in insurance

The National Association of Police Organizations is a non-profit group that represents and serves police officers, police unions and local police associations. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners …

What if Congress won’t do its job?

The U.S. Constitution is abundantly clear about which branch of the federal government creates our laws: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of …

Head of womens health conglomerate unsure how insurance works

This week marked the fifth anniversary of Obamacare, and while some of us celebrated by spending hours on the phone with an insurance company rectifying a double charge …

Affordable Care Act’s tax traps may catch the middle class

Whoever decided that having the Internal Revenue Service enforce the penalties for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a good idea may have made a political mistake …

Harvard professors shocked at Obamacare rate hike

While we wait for the results in the Great House Republican Insurgency of 2015 (John Boehner looks to have dialed up the orange in his spray tan just …

Free-market groups outline requirements for new CBO director

Dear Leaders in the House and Senate, The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in recent years has employed inaccurate and opaque models that impacted political debates and policy outcomes, ultimately …

Rounding up NCOIL’s San Francisco meeting

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators is an organization founded with the goal of helping legislators make informed policy decisions. Over the course of three yearly meetings, members …

Tipping the hat to all the veterans

Today is Veteran's Day in the United States and the president -- apparently no longer particularly mindful of the optics of his role as commander-in-chief -- is in …

The real reason why Alabama is the reddest of the red states

After the midterm elections, Alabama has emerged as the reddest of the red states. To be clear, Alabama is not simply Republican; it is undeniably conservative. Perhaps what "conservative" …

Election post-mortem in California

If the key to success is maintaining low expectations, California Republicans had a great election night. Over the past several years, every objective measure of the party’s success has …

Redefining ‘public interest’

For decades, trial lawyers, the insurance industry, and health-care providers have battled over how to set insurance rates and adjudicate medical-liability claims. In California this year, two ballot …

Deconstructing the liberal myth of government management as a better solution

Too many Americans suffer from inadequate access to health care. The political left offers to construct government programs or expand the ones we already have. America's education system is …

Anatomy of a Trojan Horse: California’s permissive single-subject rule

When it comes to winning at the polls, hoodwinking voters by confusing the issues is a strategy that has stood the test of time. This November, Propositions 45 …

Prop 45: An internecine fight on the regulatory left

Ominously, Proposition 45, the "Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act," is heading for California's November ballot. If voters approve the Consumer Watchdog-sponsored initiative, health insurers would be …

Don’t take the Texas GOP’s crazy platform too seriously

In recent weeks, more than a few groups – including one on whose board I serve – have denounced various aspects of the Texas Republican Party's platform. Indeed, there's …

Is the U.S. more like Sweden or Qatar?

Yet again, House Speaker John Boehner is in trouble with conservative lawmakers. This time it's because he wisecracked at a Rotary Club luncheon about his fellow House Republicans' …

The limits of consumer choice

Most conservatives, and even some liberals of the dwindling "New Democrat" variety, put near-religious faith in the maxim that greater consumer choice would improve nearly every heavily regulated …

Movin’ on up to the right side

In a debate near the end of her premiership, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was faced with a questioner who complained that while "the prime minister has achieved …

R Street’s Sanders on the Thom Hartmann Show

R Street's Lori Sanders took part in an hour-long panel with progressive commentator Nate Sweet and Project 21/MoveOnUp.org's Hughey Newsome on RT's Thom Hartmann Show. Topics covered include …

The Obamacare trap

Last week's release of Congressional Budget Office numbers showing that Obamacare is projected to decrease employment by 2.5 million jobs has, by now, been litigated almost to the …

CVS abandons tobacco and reason

Tobacco control advocates have for years pressured pharmacies to stop selling tobacco. Today, CVS, the nation's second-largest drugstore chain, announced it will end all tobacco product sales effective …

Fear and clarity in Davos

I happened to be watching the World Economic Forum in Davos this week and was struck by the number of CEOs who mentioned "clarity" as the overarching need …

SAVE THE DATE: Florida Chamber’s 7th Annual Insurance Summit

Those interested in the future of insurance in the Sunshine State should register for the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Seventh Annual Insurance Summit, set for Jan. 15-17 at …

Letter to the South Carolina PEBA Tobacco Surcharge Study Committee

PEBA Tobacco Surcharge Study Committee c/o Communications Department PO Box 11661, Columbia, SC 29211-1661 Dec. 26, 2013 Members of the Committee: My name is Eli Lehrer and I am president of the R …

Why I signed up for Obamacare

The deadline for enrolling in the Obamacare insurance exchanges for those who want coverage that starts on Jan. 1 is about to pass. Late last week, I became one …

The death of the Obamacare individual mandate

Obamacare is best understood as a collection of carrots and sticks designed to expand access to insurance coverage. But what happens to Obamacare if we get rid of …

Missing the point on ‘Pajama Boy’

Like every conservative, when I saw the recent Obamacare ads featuring the by-this-point infamous "Pajama Boy," my first reaction was near-instant derision, and not just because of unpleasant …

The election Obamacare postponed

Imagine a purely hypothetical election. An incumbent president who is despised with unmatched wrath by his party base is swept out of office in disgrace after his administration's …

Salam on the Obamacare delay for small business

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam joined CNN's Erin Burnett and Democratic Strategist Chris Kofinis to discuss the latest announced Obamacare delay, as the portion of the federal …

The FDA’s war on information

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on a "dangerous" medical product, but it's not a drug or a diet or a surgery. It's information. On Nov. 22, the …

Did Obamacare reveal its own alternative?

When it comes to Obamacare's current problems, there is a story often told at libertarian seminars that springs to mind. The story tells of a town that, plagued …

The 375 Charts You Must See

For years, blog posts promising "The One Chart That Explains" some complex subject or "Three Graphs Tell You Everything You Need to Know About" a current policy debate …

Finding new ways to make work pay

One of the scariest notions about America's sluggish labor market recovery is that it doesn’t represent an aberration, but rather a new reality in which good jobs are …

Doubling down on dishonesty

"Somebody is on the wrong side of history," said Joe Trippi, the "netroots" guru and former campaign manager for Howard Dean's presidential quest, on a recent TV news …

Words alone won’t draw foreign investment

At least when it suits him, President Barack Obama proves himself more than willing to welcome international business to the United States. In late October, for example, he …

Obama’s apology (of sorts) for his ‘keep your plan’ promise

This week, President Barack Obama offered an apology (of sorts) to Americans who believed him when he repeatedly assured the public that anyone who liked their current health …

Where does Obamacare leave millennials?

The Obamacare rollout has been a disaster. In sharp contrast to the devastating technological effectiveness of President Obama's 2012 campaign, HealthCare.gov has become the butt of jokes not …

The GOP’s insurance hypocrisy

For most of last month, a group of committed tea party Republicans helped shut down the government to hold back a wave of subsidies and regulations set to …

UK market offers hints on how insurers may treat e-cigarettes

For several years now now, a lot of people involved with insurance—me included —have been puzzling out the ways that new tobacco products like e-cigarettes and snus might impact …

GOP goes back to the future

Following the unmitigated political disaster that was the two-week government shutdown, there has been a heartening rise in the number of people on the right speaking out against …

Let them eat care

Last week, Obamacare's exchanges opened. Not that you'd know, given that they have remained inaccessible ever since. Almost as inaccessible as a decent excuse by which the GOP …

CNN poll: 57% oppose Obamacare, GOP gets blame for government shutdown

Opposition to Obamacare has hit its highest level since March 2011, according to the latest CNN poll, but Americans place the blame for the government shutdown largely on …

Obamacare’s threat to health-care innovation

Next week, the new state-based health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, will be open for business. Or rather — some of …

In childhood obesity battle, BMI-tracking by schools is losing policy

As schools around the country wrap up their first month back in session, parents soon may start receiving the first reports on how their children are shaping up …

Obamacare will cost Delta Air Lines $100 million

Delta Air Lines sent a letter to the Obama Administration in June warning them that the mandates and taxes in Obamacare will cost the company $100 million. The letter, …

Libertarian populism’s female problem

In the search for a fresh GOP narrative after 2012's losses, "libertarian populism" has emerged as perhaps the most viable alternative, partially because it already has a few …

The White House’s ‘new’ newspeak

"I got tired of cursing the newspaper every morning. I got tired of seeing what was going wrong and not being able to do anything about it."  - …

House convenes ‘Stop Government Abuse Week’

This week, the U.S. House will consider ten bills aimed at curbing government abuse, covering topics such as the IRS' involvement in health care, customer service standards for …

Obamacare fee – $3; Cost of paying – $100

Like a lot of conservatives, I have plenty of doubts about the president's massive health care overhaul that's going to change the way Americans get health coverage come …

It isn’t the McDonald’s budget that’s out of touch; it’s the media

Last week, the Northeast-corridor media ran wild with pithy derision over an effort led by McDonald's and Visa to provide McDonald's employees with financial planning tools and advice. …

Does Obama have authority to suspend the employer mandate?

"We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,: says the U.S. Treasury spokesman about the Obamacare …

Obamacare’s sliding scales and slippery slopes

Last week, as Americans celebrated Independence Day, the Obama administration made a pair of big announcements about the Affordable Care Act, the crown jewel of the president’s domestic …

Reihan Salam on why single-payer wouldn’t work here

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam discusses single-payer health care systems, and why the United States may not be ideally suited for one. …

Salam on the employer mandate delay

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam discusses the Treasury Department's decision to delay the Obamacare employer mandate with Josh Barro of Business Insider. …

The Obamacare employer mandate should be delayed…forever

The big news this morning is the Treasury Department’s announcement that it will delay for one year provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require employers with more …

Indiana balance-billing law latest in fight over ‘reasonable’ charges

One of the long-standing tensions in health care  finance -- whether you're talking about health insurance or managed care, for-profit or non-profit, workers' compensation, Medicare, Tricare,  automobile medical …

Study from free-market groups shows how – and why – conservatives can reform Pentagon budget

WASHINGTON (June 4, 2013) --  Is it possible to defend America’s national interests and defend taxpayers' wallets at the same time? According to a joint report released today …

When insurance, politics collide

When government and commerce collide, it can leave behind sticky residue that economists call inefficiency. Decades of academic studies pose theories and parse terabytes of data to determine …

Risky business

Buried deep in the recesses of President Obama’s budget are two items that could have vast and potentially devastating consequences for millions of Americans involved with dozens of …

What Republican war on sex?

I'm a conservative Republican, a married father, and a strong supporter of everyone's freedom to marry. And it strikes me that the Huffington Post is being hugely unfair …

Columbus makes ICF’s ‘Significant Seven’

As we prepare to celebrate the conclusion of the most popular national sports tournament in this country, the Intelligent Community Forum has picked my hometown, Columbus, Ohio, as …

Extremism is OK, thoughtlessness isn’t

Even in their "best" years -- the times when they manage to convince their colleagues to support measures that benefit their districts, themselves, and their values -- members …

A step from the left on entitlement reform

Isabel Sawhill and Harry Holzer correctly identify the cost to society (and also in terms of reduced government services) that's created by soaring entitlement costs in their Washington Post …

Who navigates Obamacare’s navigators?

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed to address both the cost of medical treatment through insurance and the fact that many people didn't have …

An open letter to President Obama and the Congress: Spend less, and spend smarter at the Pentagon

We, the leaders of the undersigned organizations, may not agree on many things, but we all agree on this: The time has come to reduce wasteful and ineffective …

Why John Harbaugh’s job is easier than John Kasich’s

A great source of frustration to me when I worked in corporate America was that the people I worked with and who lived in my community would organize …

FDA: Adverse events related to e-cigarettes are almost nonexistent

The FDA Center for Tobacco Products’s Dr. Ii-Lun Chen describes in Nicotine and Tobacco Research adverse events related to e-cigarettes reported to the agency from 2008 to the …

Defense savings strengthen our economic security

February 6, 2013 Dear Member of Congress, On behalf of the undersigned organizations and our combined memberships, we urge you to help protect our nation’s economic security by pursuing a …

How smokers will tell us if Obamacare is working

Cigarette smoking, to say the least, poses serious and well-known health risks. Stern public health warnings about the dangers of tobacco have been issued just about everywhere since …

Saving on snacks, the Washington way

I just saved $500 last night and I’m feeling quite proud of myself. It didn’t take much effort: I simply discovered that my local drug store sells my …

Durbin wrong on tax ‘loopholes’

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois recently appeared on CNN to voice his support for increasing government revenue by getting rid of various loopholes that allow individuals and companies …

Finding a path for pot in the post-criminal world

Pot smokers with no medical justification finally broke through in November in a couple of states where citizen-initiated lawmaking allowed the state’s voters to decide to allow recreational marijuana …

Texas lawmakers already looking to raid Rainy Day Fund

Swearing in for the Texas Legislature will open with a sunnier financial outlook than previously expected. State Comptroller Susan Combs announced a $101.4 billion revenue estimate for the …

Letter to the Helena (Mont.) Independent Record

In their joint op-ed ("Rate review important for cost control," Jan. 8) Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen and state Rep. Jeffrey Welborn, R-Dillon, argue that the state's health …

Examining the U.S. regulatory ‘budget’

The nation’s federal budget deficit gets a lot of attention from policy wonks and political commentators, and for good reason. Most people agree that the rapid rise in …

Picking up the tab

"There is no reason for me, at the moment, to believe anything they tell me,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of his party’s congressional leadership at a …

Medical cost containment in the Wisconsin workers’ compensation market

Wisconsin’s 20-year-old certified database system, used to resolve disputes about the reasonableness of medical reimbursements paid by workers’ compensation carriers, has failed to control costs and should be …

Backing away from the cliff

The broader long-term implications of the election should be apparent after the fiscal cliff is resolved. Whatever the outcome, it will not be the most important piece of …

Eli Lehrer featured on the Insurance Journal podcast

R Street President Eli Lehrer was interviewed by Andy Simpson of Insurance Journal for IJ's podcast about the results of the 2012 elections and how they bode for …

Why the GOP has every reason to look forward to 2013

The Washington Redskins lost their last home game before the 2012 election; President Barack Obama still won the presidency. As a result, the already battered Redskins rule -- …

After elections, time to address long-term issues

With this election winding down to the final provisional and absentee ballot-counting in the seats too close to determine a winner on Election Day, there are a few …

Why Romney lost: It’s governance, stupid

Every faction of the Republican Party will use the 2012 presidential campaign to draw conclusions that pander to their ideological biases. Arch Tea Partiers will argue that the "moderate …

The coming election

Since Ohio makes the news on a regular basis in any election year expected to be a close contest for the presidency, everywhere I go people are asking …

R Street’s Peter Cramton on Medicare’s bizarre auction process

The above video includes R Street Associate Fellow Peter  Cramton, professor of economics at the University of Maryland and one of the nation's foremost experts in auction theory, …

Watching the debt pile up

Watching the Republican and Democratic conventions the last few days is not exactly reassuring to those of us who have been watching what is going on in Washington …

Texas state senator asks governor to sack insurance commish

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, is calling on Gov. Rick Perry to replace Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman, charging that in the year since she was appointed …

Yes, Akin’s gaffe is bigger news than Biden’s

Missouri U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin has headlined most newspapers and websites over the past 72 hours because of his absurd claim that women who were subject to …

The Medicaid expansion standoff

During the national debate in 2010 on the federal health care proposal that became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I was watching one of the weekend …

Will the NAIC’s CIPR survive Terri Vaughan’s departure?

I’ve just returned from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ summer meetings in Atlanta, where the big news was the announcement of NAIC CEO Terri Vaughan’s pending …

What is insurance, anyway?

A friend involved in the crop insurance industry recently wrote to me taking issue with a reference I had made proposed shallow loss “insurance”  (my words) program in …

The health risks of cigar smoking

Cigarette smoking risks are well known, but cigars are also combustible tobacco products.  Do cigars present the same health risks as cigarettes?   Researchers from the Kaiser Medical Care Program, …

Lying, incompetent or what?

A few years ago following a number of major hurricanes, the public relations staff of the property casualty insurance company I was employed by at the time managed …

The Great Unmentionable: The role of high salaries and wages in health care inflation

In discussions of America’s high health care costs, surprisingly little attention is paid to salaries and wages. Yet the fact that medical jobs simply pay more than those …

Farmers, farms and the GOP’s brand of client politics

I'm a Republican, but on a handful of issues -- gay marriage, the earned income tax credit and some types of environmental laws -- my own views are …

Cut Medicare and Social Security now

Everyone has a different way of defining the "fat" in the federal budget. Liberals like to point to waste at the Pentagon and certain types of "corporate welfare" …

R Street-Heartland paper looks at how insurers treat tobacco

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 12, 2012) -- As a growing number of former smokers turn to nicotine replacement therapies, e-cigarettes and certain other forms of smokeless tobacco, state and …

The decay of federalism

Within my own lifetime of several decades, I can remember a time when there was wide agreement among citizens of this country about issues that affected nearly everybody. …

Dred Scott? Really, fellow conservatives? Really?

More than a few of my friends on the political right have taken to comparing the Supreme Court’s decision on the individual health insurance mandate to the infamous …

A conservative defense of the Obamacare ruling and what’s next

Walking near the Supreme Court just a few minutes after it handed down its ruling on Obamacare, I overheard part of a Tea Party rally. "Are we going …

R Street comments on Supreme Court’s health care decision

WASHINGTON (June 28, 2012) -- The R Street Institute, a free market think tank that specializes in insurance issues, welcomed today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on …

Walker recall victory eclipses this week’s other once-in-a-lifetime event

Earlier this week, we were able to witness one of the two telescopic proofs of heliocentrism offered by Galileo in the 17th Century: that Venus could pass in …

The Royce-NAIC spat heats up

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is neither a regulator nor a trade association, but an “association of elected and appointed state regulatory officials charged with regulating the …

Oklahoma commish draws line in sand on ‘states rights’

He was elected back in 2010, but the just-completed National Association of Insurance Commissioners spring meetings in New Orleans may well prove to have been Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner …

Romneycare: A road not taken

It's quite clear to me that President Mitt Romney's healthcare plan has been and will continue to be a disaster for the country. Like all other progressives, I'm …

Letter from Washington: Finance and insurance predictions for 2012

Happy New Year! It’s time to take down the holiday decorations, finish the eggnog, and get back to work. It’s also time for some predictions about what’s going …

S.C. insurance director resigns

David Black has resigned as director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, effective Dec. 28, the department announced in a media advisory. No reason was given for Black’s …

Letter from Ohio: Buckeye State voters eye exchanges

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) bills were signed by President Obama in March 2010, states already were moving to protect themselves from this overtly …

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