The Hill, April 23, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is arguably the most important regulatory agency in the country—regulating everything from the safety of imported seafood to the latest medicines developed for cancer and Parkinson’s. Yet when things go well, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg typically hears little praise from Congress and the media. But when crisis—real or perceived— strikes in food or drug safety, the agency faces withering criticism on the Hill.
There’s got to be a better way to routinely evaluate the FDA’s performance than trial by crises. The agency, after all, is enormously complex (with nearly 15,000 employees and dozens of centers and divisions), and like any complex organization, performance across divisions is bound to vary significantly.
The Weekly Standard, April 21, 2014
Since Obamacare “hit” its “enrollment” “target,” Democrats, liberals, and their friends in the press have enjoyed some old-fashioned taunting of Republicans. This would be justifiable if a.) Republicans had destroyed the website that needed fixing or b.) predicted that nobody would sign up for the program in the first place.
Neither condition holds, of course. The website was totally the design of CMS, HHS, and the White House, which are all run by Democrats. Meanwhile, as Michael Cannon argued, it is no big feat to get people to sign up for a heavily subsidized product.
All of this Democratic triumphalism makes it a good time to restate in summary form the conservative case against Obamacare.
For starters, its recent success is grossly overstated.
Forbes, April 17, 2014
During the past few months, insurance industry insider Bob Laszewski has chronicled many of the failures of ObamaCare’s launch. He has raised some very important questions and concerns from the insurance industry about future policy and premium bumps that lay ahead under the ACA. Unfortunately, his recent attack on Republican governors and state lawmakers who have rejected ObamaCare’s misguided Medicaid expansion completely misses the mark. He contends that Arkansas’ “Private Option” is really just a block grant for Medicaid. But the truth lies in the fine print, and while there is no question the Private Option puts state taxpayers at risk, it also creates a new entitlement and ceded most of the control for the program to the federal government. It’s like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.
The Federalist, April 18, 2014
President Obama yesterday again claimed his health care law had triumphed as enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges had reached eight million. However, it will prove a Pyrrhic victory.
Before we get to that, let’s take a look at some of the other figures the Administration used in an email following the President’s victory dance. Here is the second bullet point:
3 million young adults gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act by being able to stay on their parents plan.
About two weeks ago I released a study showing that the 3 million number was bogus.
Forbes, April 9, 2014
Some people say that bipartisanship is dead. But if rumblings in the House are to be believed, cooperation on Obamacare may yet be possible. The “Save American Workers Act of 2014,” which passed the House 248-179 (with 18 Democrats voting in favor) amends the ACA to redefine “full-time employees” as being those who work 40 hours, rather than the 30 hour definition in the law. While this would have a relatively marginal effect when all is said and done (criticism of the bill has focused on those who are expected to lose coverage as a result – on net about 1 million people), it does begin to repeal an important budget gimmick in Obamacare – the employer mandate.