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WikiLeaks Releases More of ObamaTrade Draft Altering Healthcare, Halting Medicare Reform

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Congress wouldn’t be able to reform Medicare

Alex Swoyer reports: The Healthcare Annex, according to WikiLeaks, “seeks to regulate state schemes for medicines and medical devices. It forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grants corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests.”

“The inclusion of the Healthcare Transparency Annex in the TPP serves no useful public interest purpose. It sets a terrible precedent for using regional trade deals to tamper with other countries’ health systems and could circumscribe the options available to developing countries seeking to introduce pharmaceutical coverage programs in the future.”

Dr. Deborah Gleeson, who gave professional review and analysis to WikiLeaks said, “The purported aim of the Annex is to facilitate ‘high-quality healthcare’ but the Annex does nothing to achieve this. It is clearly intended to cater to the interests of the pharmaceutical industry.” Gleeson added, “Nor does this do anything to promote ‘free trade.’”

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart]

“The inclusion of the Healthcare Transparency Annex in the TPP serves no useful public interest purpose. It sets a terrible precedent for using regional trade deals to tamper with other countries’ health systems and could circumscribe the options available to developing countries seeking to introduce pharmaceutical coverage programs in the future,” noted Gleeson. Read the rest of this entry »

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George W. Bush found the solution to America’s healthcare crisis seven years ago. Too bad nobody listened.

 (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BUSHCARE

Edward Lazear writes:  The Congressional Budget Office’s warning that the Affordable Care Act will cause employment to fall by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers is just the latest of Obamacare’s negative surprises. Unfortunately, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s statement that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” is proving to be depressingly accurate.

The law’s defenders legitimately argue that it is not sufficient merely to criticize the Affordable Care Act; responsible action requires proposing an alternative. Fortunately, Republicans have a good one, and it’s been hiding in plain sight for the past seven years. The plan was first described in President George W. Bush’s 2007 State of the Union Address, but it remains timely. This plan would remedy most of the major problems that exist in America’s health care system and cause less destruction with fewer adverse consequences than Obamacare.

There are two main problems associated with health care in the United States today. First, it is expensive. Health economists, among them Daniel Kessler at Stanford, have shown convincingly that the United States spends a larger share of its gross domestic product on health care than other countries (for example, about one-and-a-half times what Switzerland spends per capita) because of inappropriate incentives to use care efficiently. Patients who have insurance or rely on state funds to cover their expenses bear little of the cost of any treatment received, which causes them to use health resources as if they were almost free. This means that health care is overused and the scarce resources do not always go to those who need them most. Part of this is a result of a Tax Code that subsidizes expensive plans, which have low co-payments and overly extensive coverage. The second problem is the large number of uninsured Americans who do not have reasonable access to health care and who obtain the health care that they do receive in inefficient ways, such as using emergency rooms for minor ailments.

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Pressing the Panic Button?

Obama-troubled

Yuval Levin  writes:  As usual, it’s hard to tell just what’s going on inside the administration regarding Obamacare, but I don’t think we can really take the steps announced by HHS yesterday as anything but a bright, red, flashing warning light about the internal expectations regarding January.

Some of what they announced is frankly bizarre and slightly crazy. Beside extending the high-risk pool program (which isn’t nuts, just a strong indication that they’re not ready for January at this very late stage), they are asking insurers to pay claims for consumers who haven’t paid their premiums, to treat out-of-network doctors and hospitals as though they were in-network, and to pay for prescription drugs not actually covered by the plans they offer.

The administration is trying to present this as a set of perfectly ordinary kind of transition measures that insurers normally make available to new customers, and some of the more reliable members of their amen chorus on Obamacare have echoed that. But that’s not what this looks like to me, and a few conversations today suggest it’s not what it looks like to the insurers.

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Nonsmokers USA: Americans Get Fatter, Drunker (but have a more pleasant smell)

Americans Get Fatter, Drunker: Scientific American

Lost in the U.S. health care debate is whether the countrys citizens are hurting themselves with bad habits. The bottom line is mixed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Americans are imbibing alcohol and overeating more yet are smoking less.

Some of the behaviors have patterns; others do not. Obesity is heaviest in the Southeast. Smoking is concentrated there as well. Excess drinking is high in the Northeast.

Comparing 2010 and 1995 figures provides the greatest insight into trends. Heavy drinking has worsened in 47 states, and obesity has expanded in every state. Tobacco use has declined in all states except Oklahoma and West Virginia. The “good” habit, exercise, is up in many places—even in the Southeast, where it has lagged…

 

Full details for each state >>  ScientificAmerican.com/oct2012/graphic-science