Supreme Court Ruling in King v. Burwell Means Americans Will Have to Wait Longer for a Free-Market Health Care System

ObamaCare Is Unsustainable as Exchanges Will Eventually Devolve into a Death Spiral
Ruling Also a Blow to the Rule of Law

Washington, D.C. – The Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell means Americans will have to wait longer for greater liberty in their health care system, said Dr. David Hogberg, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

“The Court has had two chances to stand up for freedom and against ObamaCare and has blown them both,” Dr. Hogberg said. “This won’t change the fight for health care freedom. It will just take more time to move toward a free-market based health care system.”

A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would have been a great opportunity to start replacing ObamaCare with free-market based policies. Rather, Americans will have to suffer the problems of ObamaCare for the foreseeable future.

Dr. Hogberg notes that the ObamaCare exchanges are already exhibiting signs of a death spiral, where insurance premiums rise precipitously, causing young and healthy people to drop their insurance. This renders the “risk pool” older and sicker, causing premiums to rise again, and the process repeats.

“We’re seeing loads of insurers ask for big premium hikes, at least 20% and in many cases much higher,” said Dr. Hogberg. He recently examined this in a National Policy Analysis entitled “ObamaCare Premium Hikes for 2016–Ignore Them at Your Own Risk.”

“In the end, the exchanges are not sustainable, and free-market based reform of our health care system will be necessary. Today’s Court ruling only delays that,” said Dr. Hogberg.

In the longer term, Congress must adopt policies that repeal ObamaCare and replace it with policies that promote liberty. NCPPR provides an easy-to-access spreadsheet at http://goo.gl/y1ALI2 that summarizes a dozen plans from conservative and libertarian think-tanks and Congressional Republicans offering free-market alternatives to ObamaCare. The spreadsheet explains how each plan treats vital health care policy issues such as tax credits, pre-existing conditions, Medicaid and Health Savings Accounts.

“There are a lot of great ideas out there, from the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute to Rep. Tom Price and the Republican Study Committee,” said Dr. Hogberg. “Unfortunately, most of the media has ignored them, so most Americans are unaware that free-market alternatives to ObamaCare exist.”

While the ruling isn’t a fatal blow to achieving health care freedom, it is a serious blow to the rule of law.

“From here on out, presidents and the bureaucracy can apply the law however they like, even if the law says differently,” said Dr. Hogberg. “As long as they can plausibly claim that Congress intended for the law to say something different, presidents and the bureaucracy will win every time before the Supreme Court.”

David Hogberg is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. He is author of the forthcoming book Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians.

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A Woman on the $20 Bill? Make Her an Entrepreneur

by David W. Almasi

There’s a campaign underway to remove President Andrew Jackson’s face from the $20 bill and replace it with a woman as a way of “promoting gender equality.”

The group Women on 20s wants Jackson’s portrait removed in time for the 2020 centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. They also, of course, want to “make our money more egalitarian, inclusive and an affirmation of American values.”

This group, however, doesn’t just want any woman. They want a woman of their own choosing. They will send President Barack Obama the specific woman they think should grace a future $20 bill. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks, abolitionist Harriet Tubman and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt were selected through an online vote from their 15 top choices. A fourth, Wilma Mankiller, the first female elected as a Native American tribal leader, was added “by popular demand” and as an obvious statement about the harsh Native American policies during the Jackson presidency.

All of these candidates share the distinction of being feminist icons, well-known historical figures or both. If this must be done at all, why not make a bold choice — one that’s free of a political agenda?

Since it’s money, how about having the first woman immortalized on paper currency be the first female self-made millionaire in American history?

Madam C.J. Walker is that woman, and her inspiring story makes her an ideal candidate.

Born on a Louisiana plantation in 1867 to newly-freed slaves, the future Madam Walker was an orphan by the age of seven and hard at work in the cotton fields. Her situation improved only slightly after moving to St. Louis, where she made just $1.50 a day doing laundry and cooking meals.

This drudgery led to her losing her hair and discovering a cosmetic product that helped her grow it back. She got a job selling the product to others, and later started her own company to market her own similar product. Walker’s “Wonderful Hair Grower” grew from a product sold door-to-door to being offered in mail-order catalogs. It eventually became the flagship for a whole line of beauty products targeted toward the black community.

Walker persevered in a male-dominated era where separate-but-equal Jim Crow discrimination was the law of the land. She saw how other businesses ignored black customers, and she stepped in to fill the void and became a success.

At the same time, she created jobs and new wealth in the black American community. She founded institutions that educated tens of thousands of “Walker Agents” and built factories to make her products. In 1914, Walker told the National Negro Business League: “I am not merely satisfied in making money for myself, for I am endeavoring to provide employment for hundreds of women of my race.”

She also wasn’t stingy. Her philanthropic efforts built homes for the elderly, funded scholarships and helped build the YMCA in Indianapolis. Her inheritance helped foster the famed Harlem Renaissance.

She funded the newly-formed NAACP and National Conference on Lynching — lobbying President Woodrow Wilson herself late in her life to promote a federal ban on lynching.

The memories of Tubman, Parks and Roosevelt are already immortalized in statues, awards, street and highway names and buildings. Rosa Parks even has an asteroid named for her! Madam C.J. Walker was on a postage stamp in 1998, but all of the others, with the exception of Mankiller (who died in 2010), similarly had stamps issued in their honor.

Rather than just pushing a name people already know, making Madam C.J. Walker the new face of the $20 bill would be an inspired choice. It would honor a clever entrepreneur, job creator and philanthropist. It doesn’t simply fulfill a political agenda and potentially foster division.

Madam C.J. Walker is someone everyone should admire and a fine candidate to represent American women on our currency.

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David W. Almasi is Executive Director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org .

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.

Underserved and Overlooked

by Bishop Council Nedd II

10399357_19130916958_8045_nCompanies manufacturing new drugs to combat illnesses from the flu to AIDS are at risk of losing their patent rights.  Supporters of this say it will make drugs cheaper and more plentiful.  Stripping drug companies of this financial security, however, removes the incentive for them to continue the costly process of developing new and more effective drugs.

I recently escorted a delegation of American patients’ rights activists to a meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss this problem.  The WHO is a United Nations agency that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health matters.  Unfortunately, it is plagued by an undemocratic and elitist element.

The WHO’s stated objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”  Imagine my surprise when I arrived in Geneva to find other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) objecting to my delegation’s request to participate in discussing a global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property.

Not only did these NGOs object to our presence, but they sought to have us barred from participating.  In particular, the delegation from Thailand worked with those NGOs to have our delegation removed from the meeting.  They failed, but their actions were shocking to those of us who expected at least a modicum of tolerance for opposing viewpoints.

Thailand’s leaders, over the years, have stood accused of human rights abuses by international observers.  A 2006 coup led by the Thai military led to a suspension of the country’s constitution, a cancellation of planned elections, bans on political activity, the arrest of prominent government officials and suppression of the free press.  Recent elections were considered far from free and fair, and the country is also known for virtually unabated activities in a sex industry that many liken to slavery.

Who would want an ally like that?  The answer, it seems, is James Love – a disciple of leftist luminary Ralph Nader.  Love heads an NGO called Knowledge Ecology International.  He opposes drug patent protections, and doesn’t seem shy about trying to squash any and all debate.  He collaborated with the Thai delegation on the motion to have patient advocates’ testimony – including mine – at the Geneva proceedings stricken from the record.

With so much WHO focus on post-colonial Africa, I now know what my father meant when he said, “Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss.”  I should not be surprised this seemingly privileged white man is acting with virtually no hesitation in imposing his values and political agenda on the Third World.

Mr. Love’s attitude is one that manifests itself generally among the liberal elites who step into the public sandbox and proclaim it their own personal playground.  The paternalistic mindset is almost neocolonialist in its depreciation of native peoples.  I can’t say I wouldn’t be shocked to hear such people say “the Negro can’t take care of himself” or “they are like children who need a firm parent.”

I do not have enough guile in my body to claim to speak for everyone, and neither would I want that authority.  But some people obviously do. 

There is also a socialist hegemony at play in the WHO, which makes it no surprise that Naderites are flourishing there.  Does a contempt for the free market justify the suffering of the less fortunate in the long-term?  I cannot make that decision on Mr. Love’s behalf, but neither do I have to live with it.

Then there is his affiliation with Thailand.  Is Mr. Love aware of the allegations against the Thai government?  No doubt.  Does he care?  Apparently not.  When it comes right down to it, some white males of privilege really seem to believe they know better than everyone else and they will do what they have to do to make their point.  In his case, Mr. Love apparently found an ally in Thailand.

We need to return to the founding tenets of the United Nations and World Health Organization, and take heed of the challenges and contributions of all people.  We cannot afford to cede control to those who believe that intellectual property is something that can be plundered and pillaged as spoils of class warfare. 

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Project 21 member Council Nedd II, the bishop of the Chesapeake and the Northeast for the Episcopal Missionary Church, is the honorary chairman of In God We Trust (http://www.ingodwetrustusa.org) – a group formed to oppose anti-religious bigotry.  Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org .

Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21 or the National Center for Public Policy Research.