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Search Results for 'third-party payer'

When writing about the Obamacare and its birth-control mandate, I’ve made a handful of observations. First, it is very bureaucratic and inefficient to use insurance for routine medical expenses. Sort of like using auto insurance to cover the cost of getting an oil change. Second, insurance coverage means third-party payer, which means birth control will […]

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When discussing government involvement in the health sector, I usually focus on the budgetary implications. Which makes sense since I’m a fiscal wonk and programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare are diverting ever-larger amounts of money from the economy’s productive sector. I also look at the tax side of the fiscal equation and complain […]

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Back in 2015, I basically applauded the Congressional Budget Office for its analysis of what would happen if Obamacare was repealed. The agency’s number crunchers didn’t get it exactly right, but they actually took important steps and produced numbers showing how the law was hurting taxpayers and the economy. Now we have a new set […]

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If I had to pick my least-favorite tax loophole, the economist part of my brain would select the healthcare exclusion. After all, that special preference creates a destructive incentive for over-insurance and contributes (along with Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc) to the third-party payer crisis that is crippling America’s healthcare system. But if I based my […]

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The good news is that the House put together an Obamacare-repeal bill that reduced the fiscal burden of government. The bad news is that the legislation didn’t address the regulations and interventions that produce rising costs and sectoral inefficiency because of the third-party payer problem. Whether the bill was a net plus is now moot […]

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I’m flabbergasted when people assert that America’s costly and inefficient healthcare system is proof that free markets don’t work. In hopes of helping them understand what’s really going on, I try to explain to them that an unfettered market involves consumers and producers directly interacting with their own money in an open and competitive environment. […]

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An essential part of a free market economy is the price system. The competitive pricing of goods and services transmits information to producers and consumers and creates incentives for the efficient allocation of resources. Just as the circulatory system or nervous system enables our bodies to function. And when you weaken or cripple markets with […]

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As I wrote yesterday (and have pontificated about on many occasions), the main problem with America’s healthcare system is that various government interventions (Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, tax code’s healthcare exclusion, etc) have created a system where people – for all intents and purposes – buy healthcare with other people’s money. And as Milton Friedman wisely […]

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I shared last year a matrix to illustrate Milton Friedman’s great insight about the superior results achieved by markets compared to government. Incentives explain why markets work best. When you spend your own money on yourself (box 1), you try to maximize quality while minimizing cost. And that drives the businesses that are competing for […]

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A couple of years ago, filled with disgust at the sleazy corruption of the federal Leviathan, I put forth a simple explanation for what happens in Washington, DC. I call it the “First Theorem of Government,” and I think it accurately reflects the real purpose and operation of government. Except I probably should have added […]

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Way back in 2009, some folks on the left shared a chart showing that national expenditures on healthcare compared to life expectancy. This comparison was not favorable to the United States, which easily spent the most money but didn’t have concomitantly impressive life expectancy. At the very least, people looking at the chart were supposed […]

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“So many bad ideas, so little time.” That’s my attitude about Hillary Clinton. She proposes misguided policies at such a rapid rate that I feel like I’m having to spend too much of each day trying to correct all the economic mistakes that emanate from her and her campaign. For the fifth time over the […]

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I’ve been accused of making supposedly inconsistent arguments against Hillary Clinton. Make up your mind, these critics say. Is she corrupt or is she a doctrinaire leftist? I always respond with the simple observation that she’s both. Not that this should come as a surprise. Proponents of bigger government have long track records of expanding […]

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The Congressional Budget Office has just released the 2016 version of its Long-Term Budget Outlook. It’s filled with all sorts of interesting data if you’re a budget wonk (and a bit of sloppy analysis if you’re an economist). If you’re a normal person and don’t want to wade through 118 pages, you’ll be happy to […]

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At the risk of understatement, Obamacare is a mess. It’s been bad for taxpayers, bad for consumers, and bad for healthcare. It’s even been bad for some of the special interest groups that backed the legislation. The big insurance companies supported the law, for instance, because they thought it would be good to have the […]

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What’s the worst loophole (properly defined) in the cluttered internal revenue code? I think the deduction for state and local taxes is very bad policy since it enables higher tax burdens in states such as California, New Jersey, and Illinois. The exemption for municipal bond interest is another misguided provision since it makes it easier […]

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As a general rule, I’m not overly concerned about debt, even when looking at government red ink. I don’t like deficit and debt, to be sure, but government borrowing should be seen as the symptom. The real problem is excessive government spending. This is one of the reasons I’m not a fan of a balanced […]

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Even before it was enacted, it was obvious that Obamacare was going to have a negative economic impact. From a fiscal policy perspective, the law was bad news because all the new spending and higher taxes increased the fiscal burden of government. From a regulatory intervention perspective, the law was bad news because it exacerbated […]

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Time for a mea culpa. In the past, I’ve criticized Obamacare for a variety of reasons. I’ve argued that it’s a fiscal boondoggle. I’ve pointed out that it’s grossly inconsistent with the Constitution. I’ve complained that it’s undermined the rule of law. And it undermined growth by increasing marginal tax rates. Moreover, I’ve explained how […]

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Government intervention has messed up the healthcare sector, leading to needlessly high prices and massive inefficiency. Fixing the mess won’t be easy since it would involve addressing several contributing problems, including Medicare, Medicaid, the healthcare exclusion in the tax code, Obamacare, and the mess at the Veterans Administration. But at least we know the right […]

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The communist economic system was a total disaster, but it wasn’t because of excessive taxation. Communist countries generally didn’t even have tax systems. The real problem was that communism was based on central planning, which is the notion that supposedly wise bureaucrats and politicians could scientifically determine the allocation of resources. But it turns out […]

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Like many Americans, I’m suffering from Obamacare fatigue. Before the law was implemented, I repeatedly explained that more spending and more intervention  in the health sector would worsen a system that already was suffering from too much government. And since the law went into effect, I’ve pointed out – over and over again – the […]

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Over the past few years, Hillary Clinton has taken advantage of several opportunities to demonstrate that she doesn’t understand economics. Though that’s not a problem. I have friends who routinely demonstrate their economic ignorance by saying things that don’t make sense. The problem is that Hillary may actually wind up in a position of power. […]

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I have a very mixed view of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is an organization representing self-styled deficit hawks in Washington. They do careful work and I always feel confident about citing their numbers. Yet I frequently get frustrated because they seem to think that tax increases have to be part of […]

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Back during the 2012 presidential campaign, I criticized the view that America was divided between “makers” and “takers.” But not because I disagreed with the notion that people trapped in government dependency have an unfortunate self-interest in supporting politicians who want a bigger welfare state. Indeed, I’ve explicitly warned that some statist politicians explicitly want […]

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I’ve often complained that government-created third-party payer is the main problem with America’s healthcare system, and I was making that point well before Obamacare was imposed upon the country. The issue is very straightforward. In a genuine free market, people pay “out of pocket” for routine expenses. And they rely on insurance only in cases where they may face large, unexpected costs. […]

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In the grand scheme of things, the most important development in health policy is the pending Supreme Court case revolving around whether subsidies can be provided to people obtaining health insurance from the federal exchange, even though the law explicitly says handouts are only available to people getting policies via state exchanges. If the Court […]

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Last year, I shared some libertarian humor relating to Valentine’s Day. This year, we’re going to be a bit more on the wonky side. Using roses as an example, we’re going to explore how the invisible hand of the market produces amazing results. Here’s a great new video from Marginal Revolution University. Narrated by Professor […]

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Way back in 2010, immediately after Obamacare was rammed down our throats, I put together four guiding principles for a counter-offensive. One of my goals was to help people understand that the problem was far greater than Obamacare. Indeed, the so-called Affordable Care Act was merely another step on a long (and very bad) journey […]

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One of the good things about working at the Cato Institute is that there’s never any pressure to put your thumb on the scale to help any political party. Our loyalties are to libertarian principles, many of which are reflected in the Constitution, so we’re free to criticize or praise politicians based on their ideas […]

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