**Written by Doug Powers
Alarmist rhetoric is like penicillin — the more you use the stuff when it isn’t necessary the less effective it becomes — and Dems are now trying to inject everybody with it by the gallon. After taking the obligatory 1/2 hour off from accusing the other side of murder after the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, they were back at it about a potential “repeal and replace” of Obamacare.
Leading off we have Hillary Clinton, who has stumbled across a great anti-death line she can use the next time she’s accepting another Margaret Sanger “Golden Forceps Award” from Planned Parenthood:
Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they're the death party. https://t.co/jCStfOaBjy
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 23, 2017
Judging from the electoral map combined with other national, state and local election results, the Democrats are the “death party” based on their somewhat self-inflicted demise. Hillary proved they learned nothing.
Bernie Sanders is also among the many Democrats sounding the death siren by sounding like a socialist Grim Reaper:
Let us be clear and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 23, 2017
Bernie and his wife might be hoping that their legal defense team aren’t among those slayed by the Republican plan.
Elizabeth Warren, aka Dances With Identity Fraud, also had some arrows to sling at the GOP, accusing them of “paying for tax cuts” by repealing the only thing that’s kept people alive since 2010: Obamacare:
I’ve read the Republican “health care” bill. This is blood money. They’re paying for tax cuts with American lives. pic.twitter.com/298DLguNiM
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 22, 2017
I hope all the “you’re about to die” Dems are paying royalties to Alan Grayson, who pioneered the technique before Obamacare even became law:
How in the world did Americans survive before the Democrats came along and passed a law they knew so many people would like that they had to make it mandatory?
If Dems want to start a panic about a health care law, they should start with the one that’s currently the law.
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) June 22, 2017
**Written by Doug Powers
**Written by Doug Powers
A woman defeated a man in Georgia’s 6th District this week, which Planned Parenthood considers a loss for women (and you know why):
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) June 21, 2017
Apparently women aren’t women until they become lock-step fellow travelers. Whenever you read anything from Planned Parenthood, substitute “women” with “abortion” because that’s what they really mean.
**Written by Doug Powers
Michael D. Tanner
It is an old joke among health policy wonks that what the American people really want from health care reform is unlimited care, from the doctor of their choice, with no wait, free of charge.
For Republicans, trying to square this circle has led to panic, paralysis, and half-baked policy proposals such as the ObamaCare replacement bill. For Democrats, it has led from simple disasters such as ObamaCare itself to a position somewhere between fantasy and delusion.
The latest effort to fix health care with fairy dust comes from California, whose Senate voted to establish a statewide single-payer system. As ambitious as the California legislation is, encompassing everything from routine checkups to dental and nursing home care, its authors haven’t yet figured out how it will be paid for. The plan includes no co-pays, premiums or deductibles. Perhaps that’s because the legislature’s own estimates suggest it would cost at least $400 billion, more than the state’s entire present-day budget.
Adopting a single-payer system would crush the American economy, lowering wages, destroying jobs and throwing millions into poverty.
In fairness, legislators hope to recoup about half that amount from the federal government and the elimination of existing state and local health programs. But even so, the plan would necessitate a $200 billion tax hike. One suggestion being bandied about is a 15 percent state payroll tax. Ouch.
The cost of California’s plan is right in line with that of other recent single-payer proposals. For example, last fall, Colorado voters rejected a proposal to establish a single-payer system in that state that was projected to cost more than $64 billion per year by 2028. Voters apparently took note of the fact that, even after figuring in savings from existing programs, possible federal funding, and a new 10 percent payroll tax, the plan would have still run a $12 billion deficit within 10 years.
Similarly, last year Vermont was forced to abandon its efforts to set up a single-payer system after it couldn’t find a way to pay for the plan’s nearly $4 trillion price tag. The state had considered a number of financing mechanisms, including an 11.5 percent payroll tax and an income tax hike (disguised as a premium) to 9.5 percent.
On the national level, who could forget Bernie Sanders’ proposed “Medicare for All” system, which would have cost $13.8 trillion over its first decade of operation? Bernie would have paid for his plan by increasing the top US income-tax rate to an astounding 52 percent, raising everyone else’s income taxes by 2.2 percentage points, and raising payroll taxes by 6.2 points.
Of course, it is no surprise that Medicare for All would be so expensive, since our current Medicare program is running $58 trillion in the red going forward. It turns out that “free” health care isn’t really free at all.
How, though, could a single-payer system possibly cost so much? Aren’t we constantly told that other countries spend far less than we do on health care?
It is true that the US spends nearly a third more on health care than the second-highest-spending developed country (Sweden), both in per-capita dollars and as a percentage of GDP. But that reduction in spending can come with a price of its own: The most effective way to hold down health care costs is to limit the availability of care. Some other developed countries ration care directly. Some spend less on facilities, technology or physician incomes, leading to long waits for care.
Such trade-offs are not inherently bad, and not all health care is of equal value, though that would seem to be a determination most appropriately made by patients rather than the government. But the fact remains that no health care system anywhere in the world provides everyone with unlimited care.
Moreover, foreign health care systems rely heavily on the US system to drive medical innovation and technology. There’s a reason why more than half of all new drugs are patented in the United States, and why 80 percent of non-pharmaceutical medical breakthroughs, from transplants to MRIs, were introduced first here. If the US were to reduce its investment in such innovation in order to bring costs into line with international norms, would other countries pick up the slack, or would the next revolutionary cancer drug simply never be developed? In the end, there is still no free lunch.
American single-payer advocates simply ignore these trade-offs. They know that their fellow citizens instinctively resist rationing imposed from outside, so they promise “unlimited” care for all, which is about as realistic as promising personal unicorns for all.
In the process, they also ignore the fact that many of the systems they admire are neither single-payer nor free to patients. Above and beyond the exorbitant taxes that must almost always be levied to fund their single-payer schemes, many of these countries impose other costs on patients. There are frequently co-payments, deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements. In fact, in countries such as Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland, consumers cover a greater portion of health care spending out-of-pocket than do Americans. But American single-payer proposals eliminate most or all such cost-sharing.
Adopting a single-payer system would crush the American economy, lowering wages, destroying jobs and throwing millions into poverty. The Tax Foundation, for instance, estimated that Sanders’ plan would have reduced the US GDP by 9.5 percent and after-tax income for all Americans by an average of 12.8 percent in the long run. That is, simply put, not going to happen. So Americans are likely to end up with a lot less health care than they have been promised.
Santa Claus will always be more popular than the Grinch. But the health care debate needs a bit more Grinch and a lot less Santa Claus. Americans cannot have unlimited care, from the doctor of their choice, with no wait, for free. The politician who tells them as much will not be popular. But he or she may save them from something that will much more likely resemble a nightmare than a utopian dream.Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of “Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis.”
Michael F. Cannon
Senate Republicans have released their supposed ObamaCare-repeal bill, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” Like its counterpart, the House-passed “American Health Care Act,” the Senate bill would not repeal ObamaCare. Indeed, it’s not even fair to call it a partial repeal or “ObamaCare-lite.”
The Senate bill fails to repeal ObamaCare’s major provisions. Its purported repeal and reform provisions, particularly those tied to Medicaid, are phony. Indeed, the bill would actually expand ObamaCare in significant respects.
Let’s start with what it will do to the cost, quality and stability of private health insurance.
ObamaCare’s “community rating” price controls are causing premiums to rise, coverage to get worse for the sick and insurance markets to collapse across the country. The Senate bill would modify those government price controls somewhat, allowing insurers to charge 64-year-olds five times what they charge 18-year-olds (as opposed to three times, under current law).
But these price controls would continue to make a mess of markets and cause insurers to flee. The bill would also preserve other ObamaCare mandates and regulations that contribute to higher premiums.
On top of that, the Senate bill wouldn’t even repeal the parts of ObamaCare Republicans claim it would. On paper, it would repeal ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid — but not until 2024.
There will be three federal election cycles, three new Congresses and potentially a brand new president between now and then. It is almost certain Democrats will control at least one of those Congresses, and could then rescind this “repeal” as if it never happened.
The Senate bill fails to repeal ObamaCare’s major provisions. Its purported repeal and reform provisions, particularly those tied to Medicaid, are phony
The rest of the bill’s supposed Medicaid cuts are no less phony. The bill wouldn’t cut traditional Medicaid by one penny. It would reduce the rate of growth in traditional Medicaid spending, but Medicaid spending would still grow, year after year, forever. Yet even those changes are phony. They would not take effect until 2025, giving four future Congresses the opportunity to rescind them.
Republicans have been promising full ObamaCare repeal for seven years. That means repealing all of ObamaCare’s regulations, mandates, bailouts and subsidies, including the entire Medicaid expansion. Instead, the Senate bill actually expands ObamaCare in at least two ways.
First, it expands eligibility for ObamaCare’s so-called “premium-assistance tax credits” to 2.6 million people in the 19 states that didn’t expand Medicaid, which is effectively a Medicaid expansion by other means.
Second, the bill would fund ObamaCare’s “cost-sharing” subsidies — something not even Democrats ever did. The Democratic Congress that enacted ObamaCare authorized but did not fund those subsidies — which, a federal judge ruled, makes the Obama and Trump administrations’ payment of those subsidies to insurers unconstitutional.
Rather than let those unconstitutional subsidies die, the Republican bill would expand ObamaCare beyond what a Democratic Congress created.
Finally, rather than let Democrats outdo them when it comes to budget gimmicks, Senate Republicans ordered the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to “score” their bill against spending and revenue projections that overestimate the number of exchange enrollees and exchange spending. Comparing their bill to inflated spending estimates allows Republicans to spend more ObamaCare money than honest budgeting would.
We may never know for sure, but Senate Republicans could be hiding that their bill would increase federal deficits and/or even increase actual spending on exchange subsidies.
Nevertheless, Senate Republicans will claim that their bill repeals ObamaCare and replaces it with free-market reforms. Perhaps the worst part is that ObamaCare supporters would be able to blame the ongoing harm their law causes on free markets rather than the actual culprit.Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute.
Steve H. Hanke
For some time, the flavor of the day has been “green.” Indeed, companies around the world are scrambling to go green. Some are so desperate that they engage in “greenwashing.” This practice amounts to little more than the use of public relations campaigns to assert greenness. McDonalds, for example, literally became green by changing the colors on its signature logo. Now, McDonalds’ classic yellow “M” is displayed with a green, not a red, background. That said, many companies are, and have been, engaged in producing products and employing production processes that, by any definition, would qualify as green.
Just how large is the green investment space? Well, it’s large, and it’s growing rapidly. For example, the FTSE4Good, which is a sub-index of London’s FTSE, has the largest market capitalization of any of the green equity indices. At the end of May 2017, the global FTSE4Good’s market capitalization stood at a whopping $20.9 trillion. That’s somewhat larger than the current GDP of the United States &mdashl $19.0 trillion.
With investors favoring green, and investment flows being earmarked as green, an obvious question arises: “How does an investment qualify for the coveted green designation?” The current methods used to measure green and qualify an investment as “green” fail to meet rudimentary standards of measurement. The most basic principal of measurement is replication. But, the current methods are, for the most part, subjective and opaque. They are “black boxes,” yielding results that can’t be replicated. This leaves a multi-trillion dollar green investment house wobbling on stilts, rather than a sound foundation.
In order to firm up the green investment house’s foundation, Dr. Heinz Schimmelbusch, Founder & CEO of the Advanced Metallurgical Group (where I am a member of the Supervisory Board), and I have developed a methodology that is simple, transparent, and replicable. Our metric is determined by starting at the origin of the supply chain. It is from that starting point that we measure the amount of greenness ultimately enabled by the production of a so-called green enabler.
How does an investment qualify for the coveted green designation?
For example, the reduction in CO2 is a green good. If a company produces graphite that enables the production of more efficient insulation, which results in lower demand for energy required for heating and cooling, then the graphite producer is a net supplier of a green good - the net reduction in CO2. In short, the enabler of the production of the green good is the supplier of graphite. So, the source of greenness resides at the very beginning of the supply chain. When it comes to the measurement of greenness, this enabling notion leads to simplicity and transparency, as well as an objective measure of the amount of greenness associated with each supplier that is enabling the production of green goods.
To operationalize the enabling concept in the context of CO2 emissions, the following transparent and replicable formulation for measuring greenness with precision can be used:
The enabling greenness ratio is simply the net CO2 reduced by a company divided by the level of a company’s invested capital. Because this metric is divided by a company’s total assets, it provides net CO2 reduction relative to a company’s size. This is analogous to the traditional accounting measure - return on assets.
Our suggested methodology can be applied with precision. We use the Advanced Metallurgical Group (AMG) to illustrate. The table below contains our results.
Over the past eight years AMG has produced products that have enabled an estimated net CO2 reduction of 157.47 million metric tons. Very green, indeed. And yes, there’s more; due to the cumulative nature of supplying raw materials that enable the production of green goods, AMG’s greenness enabling ratio soars over time - indicating that AMG’s green rate of return is growing rapidly.Steve Hanke is a professor of applied economics at The Johns Hopkins University and senior fellow at the Cato Institute.