My latest newsletter discusses House Bill 74‘s proposed three-step process for periodic review of existing state regulations, potential limits to its effectiveness, and “sunrise” complements to sunset laws.
Because health plans under Obamacare are required to contain every benefit in the kitchen sink, patient demand will skyrocket. But wait time to seek care will only increase, due to the projected shortage of docs and medical providers.
Forbes Contributor John Goodman addresses the two reasons why there will be a shortage of docs and a longer wait time patient access to care.
On the supply side, there is really no provision under ObamaCare to create more doctors. In fact, the supply of doctor services is likely to decrease because of two more features of health reform. Doctors, who are already weary from third-party interference in the practice of medicine, will step up their retirement dates as they contemplate the prospects of even more bureaucracy. Also, hospitals are acquiring doctors as employees at a rapid rate. Indeed, more than half of all doctors are now working for hospitals. When doctors quit their private practices and start working for hospitals, they reduce the number of hours they work. (Forty hour work weeks and golf on the weekends replaces 50 and 60 hour work weeks.) Since they have a guaranteed income, they also become less productive.
Read more on the accelerating demand of health care services and the dwindling supply of medical providers here.
Senators are angry that tech giant Apple isn’t paying its fair share.
I’m not talking about taxes. This is about campaign contributions and lobbying fees.
An investigation by Sen. Carl Levin and a grilling of Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations were ostensibly about Apple’s low tax bill. But nobody accused Apple of breaking the law. The company moved money around to minimize the tax it owed and then paid the amount the law required. Apple didn’t write the tax law or even lobby very hard to shape it.
And that’s just the problem. The grilling of Apple is best understood as a shakedown by politicians upset with Apple for not playing the Washington game that yields contributions, power, and personal wealth for congressmen and their aides.
Apple doesn’t have a political action committee to fund incumbents’ re-elections. Apple doesn’t hire many congressional staff or any former congressmen as lobbyists. Apple mostly minds its own business — and how does that help the political class?
You might be wondering what a “skinny” or “low-benefit” insurance plan is. The terms may vary, but the basic idea is that policies would cover preventive care, a limited number of doctor visits and perhaps generic drugs.
They wouldn’t cover things such as surgery, hospital stays or prenatal care. That sounds similar to an auto insurance policy that reimburses you when you change the oil but not when your car gets totaled.
You might ask how Obamacare could encourage the proliferation of such policies. It was sold as a way to provide more coverage for more people, after all.
And people were told they could keep the health insurance they had.
As [Wall Street Journal reporters] Weaver and Mathews explain, Obamacare’s requirement that insurance policies include “essential” benefits such as mental health services apply only to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
But larger employers, they write, “need only cover preventive service, without a lifetime or annual dollar-value limit, in order to avoid the across-the-workforce penalty.” Low-benefit plans may cost an employer only $40 to $100 a month per employee. That’s less than the $2,000-per-employee penalty for providing no insurance.
“We wouldn’t have anticipated that there’d be demand for these type of Band-Aid plans in 2014,” the Journal quotes former White House health adviser Robert Kocher. “Our expectation was that employers would offer high-quality insurance.”
Oops. It turns out that Friedrich Hayek may have been right when he wrote that central planners would never have enough information to micromanage the economy.
The press can always be counted upon not just to speak up for itself, but to lavish attention on itself. “We can’t help that we’re so fascinating,” seems to be their unspoken mantra.
And that’s fine. What’s not fine is the way so many in the press talk about the First Amendment as if it’s their trade’s private license.
The problem is twofold. First, we all have a right to commit journalism under the First Amendment, whether it’s a New York Times reporter or some kid with an iPhone shooting video of a cop abusing someone.
I understand that professional journalists are on the front lines of the First Amendment’s free-press clause. But many elite outlets and journalism schools foster a guild mentality that sees journalism as a priestly caste deserving of special privileges. That’s why editorial boards love campaign-finance restrictions: They don’t like editorial competition from outside their ranks. Such elitism never made sense, but it’s particularly idiotic at a moment when technology — Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Vine, etc. — is democratizing political speech.
The second problem is that the First Amendment is about more than the press. In public discussion, First Amendment “experts” and “watchdogs” are really scholars and activists specializing in the little slice dedicated to the press. The Newseum, a gaudy palace in the nation’s capital celebrating the news industry, ostentatiously reprints the entire First Amendment on its facade. But if the curators of the Newseum are much interested in the free exercise of religion or the rights of the people peaceably to assemble, I’ve seen no evidence of it.
Sarah Curry analyzed the N.C. Senate’s budget plan for News 14 Carolina’s “Capital Tonight.”
Headlines continue to highlight the recent scandal involving IRS efforts to target conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny. Dallas Woodhouse of Americans for Prosperity’s North Carolina chapter discusses the political implications of the scandal during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.
Speaking of taxes, you’ll hear chief state Senate tax reformer Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, outline the principles underlying reform efforts. Michael Lowrey will discuss the potential impact of the American Airlines-US Airways merger for Tar Heel air travelers.
Troy Kickler will discuss a significant milestone in North Carolina constitutional history, and former Federal Communications Commission member Michael Copps will share his concerns about media consolidation.
This week’s Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features Donna Martinez’s conversation with Roy Cordato about important climate change news that attracted little attention from mainstream media outlets.
John Hood’s Daily Journal highlights more evidence of the link between state tax policy and economic growth.