Viewpoints: Schumer’s Second Thoughts About Obamacare; Need For ‘Candor’ On Welfare State
A selection of opinions on health care from around the United States.
The Wall Street Journal:
Schumer’s ObamaCare Mea Culpa
Now that 28—soon probably 29—of the 60 Senate Democrats who voted for ObamaCare are out of office, one of the surviving believers is confessing a crisis of faith. New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s striking remarks on Tuesday suggest that the church of ObamaCare is losing congregants even in the front pews. Speaking at the National Press Club, the influential Senate leader identified the decline of middle-class incomes as the defining challenge of the age. Democrats can only win elections, Mr. Schumer said, as “the pro-government party”—and ObamaCare is undermining that larger political project. (11/25)
The Washington Post:
Our Giant Welfare State
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — a group of wealthy nations — has recently published new figures on government social spending. ... Direct government spending isn’t the only way that societies provide social services. They also channel payments through private companies, encouraged, regulated and subsidized by government. This is what the United States does, notably with employer-provided health insurance (which is subsidized by government by not counting employer contributions as taxable income) and tax-favored retirement savings accounts. ... The main message that Americans can take from this report is that we need a higher level of candor. (Robert Samuelson, 11/25)
The New York Times:
My Mission To Buy Small Business Health Insurance Begins Again
Every November, I return to my annual task of making a decision about health insurance. I’ve been offering this benefit to my employees for more than 20 years, and some aspects are predictable (cost increases) while others are different every year (my choice of plans, the consequences of dropping coverage.) Last year, obviously, was my first look at the world of Affordable Care Act plans, and I ended up spending way too much time trying to figure out what to do. (Paul Downs, 11/25)
The New York Times:
The Problem With Prostate Screening
Scientific data from clinical trials provides the foundation of medical decision making, from a doctor’s prescription pad to sweeping public health policies. Public trust that the data is accurate and unbiased is the glue that binds our $3 trillion health care system. I worry that this trust, particularly when it comes to American men and their physicians and screening programs for prostate cancer, is now at risk. In 1970 I discovered the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, which is now the most widely used tool in prostate screenings. But there has been a growing concern about whether the use of the PSA test has led to overdiagnosis and overtreatment, with millions of unnecessary surgeries, complications and deaths. (Richard J. Ablin, 11/25)
Bring Congress's Budget Watchdog Out Of The Shadows
Republicans who want a new director have disparaged some of the reports the agency issued during Elmendorf's term -- particularly its positive findings about President Barack Obama's stimulus spending and his health-care law -- and criticized the organization for not embracing "dynamic scoring." They think that when estimating how tax cuts or tax reform would affect federal revenue, for example, the CBO should take into account the possibility that the policy change would cause the economy to grow faster. (Ramesh Ponnuru, 11/25).