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OpenMarket: Health and Safety

  • Unions Plead for Changes to Obamacare, Citing Lost Wages and Benefits

    July 15, 2013
    The Wall Street Journal reports today that the leaders of three major labor unions are asking Congress to make fundamental changes to Obamacare, saying that without such changes, it will "shatter" employee health benefits, cut employee hours and wages, and "destroy" a "foundation" of America's middle class:
    Since last year, union leaders have complained that many of the law’s requirements will drive up costs for union-sponsored health-care plans that are managed jointly by unions and mostly small employers, making unionized workers less competitive and potentially causing unionized employers to drop the plans that cover more than 20 million people. To offset the expected rising costs of these “multiemployer” plans, several union groups want their lower-paid members to be...
  • Obama Administration Discards Reporting Requirements in Obamacare

    July 9, 2013
    The Obama administration has illegally discarded the reporting requirements mandated by the 2010 healthcare law, which were designed to prevent countless billions of dollars in fraud by claimants seeking reimbursement for healthcare expenses in Obamacare's state health-insurance exchanges. Eligible participants in the exchanges can commonly claim thousands of dollars in federal subsidies for participating them. The reporting requirements, which require that exchanges verify participants' income and health insurance status, were designed to ensure that such people do not defraud the taxpayers by seeking subsidies even though they already have employer-provided health...
  • Another Federal Appeals Court Rules against Obama Administration's Contraceptive Mandate

    June 28, 2013
    Contraceptives are easy to obtain, and forcing employers to include a broad array of contraceptives in employee health insurance makes as little sense as forcing an auto insurer to cover routine oil changes. Actually, it makes much less sense, since without an oil change, your car will eventually break down, but some people have no desire to ever use any contraceptive (and get by just fine without them). But that did not stop the Obama administration from imposing a contraceptive mandate on employee health insurance, requiring even religious employers (with the exception of churches) to provide them (and not just contraceptives, but -- more controversially -- certain abortifacients). Some objectors, like Bishop Lori, have likened the administration's demand that Catholic institutions provide contraceptive and abortifacient coverage to forcing a kosher deli to serve ham. HHS...
  • Obamacare and Activist State Courts Drive Up Health Plan Costs

    June 18, 2013
    The so-called rate shock from Obamacare has hit Ohio. The state’s Department of Insurance announced last Thursday that the average individual-market health insurance premium in 2014 will cost approximately $420," per month, "representing an increase of 88 percent.”  "We have warned of these increases,” said Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. “Consumers will have fewer choices and pay much higher premiums for their health insurance starting in 2014."  Projected costs ranged from $282.51 to $577.40 for individual health plans. "But for many experts who understand the economics of health...
  • Does Austerity Really "Kill"?

    May 23, 2013
    Does austerity kill? In a recent New York Times op-ed, David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu claim that fiscal austerity leads to a worsening of health outcomes, using higher suicide and disease rates across Southern Europe as their case-in-point. But there are problems with this formulation. First, the authors make the mistake of linking fiscal austerity with less health spending.  Greece, Spain, and Italy chose to cut health spending even though there were better choices for cuts. And health spending didn't put them into deep debt to begin with. Borrowing at cheap interest rates and spending it on pet projects and political patronage -- which includes the welfare state, but not so much in health -- put them in deep debt. Estonia swiftly and severely began to reduce the size of...
  • Possible Unintended Consequences in New Obamacare Regulation

    May 22, 2013
    The PCIP program gives health care providers an incentive to refuse treatment to people who desperately need it.
  • CEI Podcast For May 2, 2013: Small Business Owners Sue Over IRS Obamacare Power Grab

    May 2, 2013
    Small business owners and individuals in six states, with help from CEI, are suing the IRS over what General Counsel Sam Kazman calls a flagrantly illegal expansion of the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Train Wreck That Is Obamacare

    April 18, 2013
    At least one union that supported passage of Obamacare, is now calling for its repeal. As The Wall Street Journal notes, the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers has given up on salvaging the deeply-flawed health care law:
    Organized labor . . . recently has voiced concerns that the law could lead members to lose their existing health plans. . .“After the law was passed, I had great hope…that maybe the rough spots would be worked out and we’d have a great law,” said Kinsey Robinson, international president of the [roofer's] union...
  • Obamacare Strangles Job Creation, Stifles Medical Innovation

    April 10, 2013
    Earlier, I wrote about the dismal March jobs report and how high unemployment has been masked by rising numbers of discouraged workers and people going onto Social Security Disability. I also noted Obamacare has wiped out some jobs and prevented the creation of others. Economists including Mark Zandi and economics writers such as James Pethokoukis recently cited Obamacare as...
  • Obamacare Harms Colleges And Their Employees

    March 20, 2013
    The University of Virginia is expecting a roughly $7-million bill for Obamacare's new employer penalties, said Susan Carkeek, the University's vice president and chief human resources officer. "We're expecting fairly significant cost implications from the Affordable Care Act that pass on new penalties and charges, fees to employers -- probably in the order of $7 million a year," she explained in an interview. Community colleges across the country are slashing employee hours to avoid costly Obamacare mandates. For example,"Pennsylvania’s Community...


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