In our latest Liberty Update, we highlight an eye-opening new study confirming how drug price controls…
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AEI's Michael Rosen: "Omicron Variant Sows Chaos but Doesn’t Move Needle on Patent Waiver Debate"

In our latest Liberty Update, we highlight an eye-opening new study confirming how drug price controls kill pharmaceutical investment and innovation at the worst possible time, when America and the entire world depend upon them more than ever.

In similar vein, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Adjunct Fellow and healthcare expert Michael Rosen nicely illustrates how the omicron variant of Covid has paused the destructive global effort to suspend enforcement of patent rights belonging to lifesaving vaccine developers:

But the new omicron variant of the virus has intervened, shelving the planned WTO meeting and throwing into continued contrast the supposed haves and have-nots of vaccine protection...  But the EU has held firm in resisting the vaccine waiver, and rightly so."


December 06, 2021 • 12:20 PM

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New Health Care Bill, Same Old Problems Print
By Sam Batkins
Wednesday, September 23 2009
Senator Baucus' 'new' health care proposal -- ObamaCare 6.0 -- is another sad rehash of more mandates, more regulation and higher spending.

This week, the Senate Finance Committee began its review of Senator Max Baucus’ “new” health care bill.  If the previous versions of “reform” upset you, don’t expect the Baucus bill to make you feel any better.  This “new” health care proposal -- ObamaCare 6.0 -- is another sad rehash of more mandates, more regulation and higher spending.

In its current form, Baucus’ proposal is nothing more than a 233-page shell or “conceptual framework” of what the final legislation – anticipated to be more than 1,500 pages when all is said and done – will look like.  In other words, the Finance Committee is working from the Cliff Notes version of legislation that affects 16% of the nation’s economy.  The full bill hasn’t even been written yet, much less been read by the Committee’s members who are tasked with producing the final version.

As for the details, Baucus’ proposal is slightly different from its House counterpart (H.R. 3200).  But much like H.R. 3200, the results will be the same: budget-breaking, government-dictated health care for all.  

The cost of this “new” plan, as taxpayers should by now expect, is astronomically high.  While Senator Baucus claims his bill is a “balanced” and “moderate” approach to health care, in terms of cost, there is nothing moderate about it.   Proponents claim that it will cost approximately $800 billion over ten years, and be fully funded.  However, politicians arrived at that figure through a budgetary sleight of hand.  The actual cost of the bill will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.67 trillion, according to the Senate Budget Committee and the CBO, because the real spending provisions will not take effect until 2013.  Not to disappoint, the $838 billion in taxes and fees, which Baucus claims will fund the bill, take effect immediately.

Despite President Obama’s pledge that no American earning less than $250,000 would see any form of tax increase during his Administration, ObamaCare 6.0 imposes enormous new taxes on middle-class Americans.  Most notable is the provision which calls on the IRS to impose a tax on individuals and families for failing to obtain health insurance, a penalty of up to $1,900 annually.  So much for individual choice and personal responsibility.

The White House, including Obama himself, adamantly denies that this “penalty” is a “tax,” but the language on page 29 of Chairman Baucus’ framework is clear.  “The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax.”  Baucus didn’t even attempt to cloak the funding of the bill in traditional Orwellian language such as “fee,” “charge” or “revenue enhancement.” He calls it exactly what it is: a tax.

Then, there is the costly employer mandate that will likely drive more workers into the government-run, or government-dictated, plan.

Baucus’ plan fines employers for failing to provide health care coverage for their employees, but the fine is set so low that many employers would actually save money by dropping their employees’ coverage altogether, instead paying the fine.  Moreover, if the government forces employers to provide care, costs of coverage will be passed on to employees in the form of lower wages or reduced hours.

Next, like the health care reform proposals floated before it, the Baucus plan will dramatically expand existing entitlements at an unsustainable pace. 

Medicaid, for example, is full of problems that need to be reformed or eliminated, not expanded.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, less than 50 percent of doctors are willing to accept Medicaid, mainly because of the insultingly-low reimbursement rates they are forced to accept and the endless red tape associated with the program.

As much as Washington loves to brag about the “low administrative costs” of Medicaid and Medicare, what they don’t tell the public is that both programs are full of waste, fraud, and abuse.  In Medicaid, $32.7 billion was improperly paid in 2007 alone (10 percent of the total program cost), according to the Government Accountability Office.  And if anyone were really going to do anything about that, it would have happened. 

Finally, during the President’s prime-time address to a joint session of Congress, he pledged to work with the medical community and Republicans to incorporate medical liability reform into the new health care bill.  It appears, however, that the President’s pledge has been reduced to empty rhetoric.

The Baucus proposal contains merely a “Sense of the Senate” that Congress should attempt to reduce catastrophic medical liability costs.  This “Sense of the Senate” is non-binding and pays only lip service to the millions of doctors who have to pay, in some cases, well over $100,000 per year in liability insurance.  What Washington doesn’t care about, is that not only do doctors bear this cost, but so do consumers in the form of higher medical costs and extra fees.

Simply put, ObamaCare 6.0 is just as bad, if not worse, than its predecessors.  After all of the protests, the town hall meetings and letters to Congress, it’s as if the politicians in Washington are content with continuing to rework and repackage the same old bag of health care goods against the wishes of the people.

Fight on America. Fight with the same passion displayed during the August recess. Your voices must grow louder and more numerous. Do not accept ObamaCare 6.0 in the form of the Baucus bill.  As Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said of the Baucus plan this week, “This is a stunning assault on liberty.”

Quiz Question   
How many gun purchase background checks were processed by the FBI during Thanksgiving Week 2021?
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Notable Quote   
"A bank that misplaced over one-fifth of its deposits would be shut down almost immediately. So would a hospital that bungled one in five operations, or a private health insurer that mishandled one-fifth of its claims.But apparently, the bar is a lot lower for government programs. The Biden administration recently admitted that 'improper payments' made up 21.69% of total Medicaid spending in fiscal…[more]
—Sally Pipes, President, CEO, and the Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Healthcare Policy at the Pacific Research Institute
— Sally Pipes, President, CEO, and the Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Healthcare Policy at the Pacific Research Institute
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