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OpenMarket: Health Care

  • Alito’s Excellent Defense of “Corporate Personhood” in Hobby Lobby

    June 30, 2014

    The groundbreaking decision today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Obamacare’s contraception mandate violates the religious freedom of two closely held corporations,  will be dissected heavily for days, and studied for weeks, years and decades. My colleague Hans Bader has more here.

    For consistent civil libertarians, one of the most remarkable—and favorable—aspects of the majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito is a no-hold-barred defense of corporations asserting rights of “persons.” Though this case dealt with statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and did not directly involve constitutional liberties, Alito...

  • Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Hobby Lobby; Religious Businesses Can Invoke RFRA

    June 30, 2014

    In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the Supreme Court has ruled that it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) for the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to require religious business owners to provide contraceptive and abortifacient coverage for their employees. HHS imposed the birth control requirement as a regulation issued under the 2010 healthcare law popularly known as Obamacare.

    We previously argued that the requirement indeed violates RFRA, since the requirement substantially burdened the free exercise of religion, and was not the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling governmental interest (see here, ...

  • The Doctor Will Release You Now: How Official Time Contributed to the VA Scandal

    June 3, 2014
    Socialized medicine and union corruption are a potent combination and, in the case of the VA, a deadly one. The VA scandal has brought the network of hospitals under a national spotlight. But the troubled hospitals have been joined under the spotlight by a more widespread problem in America: union “official time,” also known as, “release time.” Kim Strassel of The Wall Street Journal has shed light on how the VA is in a Big Labor choke hold, granting the president of local lodge 1798 of the National Federation of Federal Employees 100 percent “official time,” which effectively means that the president is not really a VA employee since she is not obligated to do any work for the hospital. But “official” or release time at the VA doesn’t end with the union president....
  • Failed Obamacare Exchanges and No-Work Contracts Drive up Obamacare Costs

    May 19, 2014
    Politico tallies the rising costs for "four failed Obamacare exchanges," reporting:
    Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four  state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher. Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. All have come under scathing criticism and now face months of uncertainty as they rush to rebuild their systems or transition to the federal exchange. The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare....
  • Insurance Premiums Rising More Due to Obamacare

    May 16, 2014
    There are "rate hikes for all" coming due to Obamacare, predicts The Daily Caller, citing state insurance filings:
    Virginians will see upped health insurance premiums in 2015 . . . according to the filings from the first state to release any information about what Obamacare could bring next year. The premium proposals were submitted to the state insurance office for official approval and were made public Monday. Each health plan expects to increase its prices in 201  past nominal increases for inflation, the...
  • Massachusetts Seeks Millions More from Taxpayers as Its Obamacare Exchange Fails

    May 12, 2014
    Massachusetts' Obamacare exchange has failed, even though Massachusetts adopted an individual health-insurance mandate in 2006, and thus had a built-in advantage over other states in handling Obamacare's requirements. The New York Times reports:

    The board of the broken Massachusetts health insurance exchange voted on Thursday to support a state plan to buy new software to help people enroll in coverage, while also preparing to join the federal marketplace if the system is not ready by fall.

    But insurers complained about the plan, and several members of the exchange board expressed concerns about the cost — an estimated $121 million, on top of tens of millions already spent on the broken exchange, known as the Health Connector...
  • Washington, D.C., Imposes One Percent Obamacare Health Insurance Tax

    May 7, 2014
    The costs of Obamacare keep rising. The Council of the District of Columbia has imposed a one percent tax on all health insurance policies to pay for costs associated with the Affordable Care Act. The Washington Post reports that this “first in the nation tax on all health...
  • Professional Licensing: A Risk to the Free Markets and Freedom of Speech

    April 7, 2014
    From physicians to dentists to lawyers, the licensing requirements of many professions are well known—but for bloggers? A recent case in North Carolina demonstrates the dangers that mandatory occupational licensing poses to liberty and how established interests use such requirements to protect their bottom line. North Carolina resident Steve Cooksey was ill, obese, and struggling with type 2 diabetes. In 2009, after being rushed to the hospital, nearly in a coma, he decided to do everything in his power to get healthy. By following a low-carbohydrate diet, Cooksey claims he was able to drop 45 pounds and get off insulin and drugs. He documented his story on his personal blog, where he provided advice to others practicing the “paleo” diet that he believes saved his life. That sounds like a win-win situation, but not...
  • How Matt Drudge (and Other Obamacare Victims) Can Escape the "Liberty Tax"

    March 25, 2014
    Former Competitive Enterprise Institute Research Associate Michael Mayfield provided invaluable assistance with this post. Matt Drudge's widely discussed tweet that he has already paid Obamacare's "liberty tax" highlights the uncertainties the self-employed face both from the health care law and the tax code in general. As pointed out by an editorial in Investor's Business Daily, "self-employed entrepreneurs ranging from Drudge to small-shop proprietors and independent contractors have long been aware of the requirement to...
  • Two Million Jobs Will Disappear Due to Obamacare, CBO Predicts; Deficit to Rise

    February 4, 2014
    "The new healthcare law will slow economic growth over the next decade, costing the nation about 2.3 million jobs and contributing to a $1 trillion increase in projected deficits, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released Tuesday. The non-partisan group’s report found that the healthcare law’s negative effects on the economy will be 'substantially larger' than what it had previously anticipated," reports The Hill. "The CBO is now estimating that the law will reduce labor force compensation by 1 percent from 2017 to 2024, twice the reduction it previously had projected. This will decrease the number of full-time equivalent jobs in 2021 by 2.3 million, CBO said. It had previously estimated the decrease would be 800,000." Originally, the Congressional Budget Office had ...

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