Warby Parker is the most celebrated of the online optical shops upending the traditional eyeglass business. In a market where the average price for a pair of prescription glasses has been near $300, Warby Parker sells hipster-chic frames, complete with lenses, for around $100. Fast Company calls Warby “the first great made-on-the-Internet brand." Less chic, but perhaps even more significant, have been discount retailers Zenni Optical and EyeBuyDirect, companies that offer basic corrective lenses in cheap frames for as little as $10 or even less. These companies threaten to disrupt the old ways of doing business—which is just what we expect in a market economy. But such innovations are rare in the business of medicine.Read more
The Scrapbook has been secretly rooting for Bernie Sanders for a while now, because, well, he’s not Hillary Clinton. However, we are not without serious reservations about his candidacy. Many of his policy proposals reveal the rich fantasy life of the left, and not even the New York Times can conceal this fact. Sanders recently released more details on his single-payer health plan, and the paper of record found that his "Health Plan Is More of a Tax Plan." Indeed, Sanders would create "a special income tax, called a premium, increase payroll taxes and raise a variety of taxes on high-income Americans, including income and capital gains taxes," observes the Times.
Under Sanders's plan, Americans wouldn't have to payRead more
On the last weekend of January, priests in Catholic churches across America read extraordinary letters to their congregations. The missives informed the laity that President Obama and his administration had launched an assault on the church. In Virginia, Catholics heard from Bishop Paul Loverde, who wrote, “I am absolutely convinced that an unprecedented and very dangerous line has been crossed.” In Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Olmsted wrote, “We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.” In Pittsburgh, Bishop David Zubik wrote that President Obama had told Catholics, “To Hell with your religious beliefs.Read more
In a recent investigative piece on Massachusetts General Hospital, the Boston Globe casts light on the practice, common in certain hospitals, of “double booking" surgeons. In the name of efficiency, a particularly in-demand surgeon will participate in two procedures scheduled at the same time by moving back and forth between the two operating rooms—a practice that, unsurprisingly, occasionally renders him or her difficult to locate when a need arises in one or the other of the rooms. The Globe piece focuses on former MGH surgeon Dr. Dennis Burke, whose crusade against the practice revealed at least 44 problems allegedly attributable to it, including the sad case of 41-year-old dad Tony Meng, who woke up from aRead more
When the Democrats passed Obamacare (without a single Republican vote), part of how they were allegedly going to pay for it was through a "Cadillac tax" on expensive employer-based insurance. Yet, this week, many Republicans are working with Democrats to delay or even repeal this tax. For three reasons, Republicans' constituents shouldn't be at all happy about these efforts.
First, this is an attempt to "fix" Obamacare, something Republicans shouldn't be in the business of trying to do. Second, it would actually make Obamacare even more expensive and hence even worse—while at the same time letting Democrats off the hook for their policy choices and causing corporate lobbyists to lose a significant portion of theirRead more
Obamacare has an incurable preexisting condition: It eats away at the private insurance market on which it relies. That market cannot survive Obamacare's hubristic mandates, and Obamacare cannot survive the collapse of that market. On their present course, both are doomed.
The challenge for conservatives is to figure out how, upon Obamacare's repeal, to rescue private insurance. If conservatives don't save that market, liberals will—only it will no longer be a market for private insurance, and there will no longer be millions of purchasers, but just one.Read more
The media are cooing over the news that Medicare will reimburse doctors $86 for half-hour consultations about the kind of treatment patients would—or would not—want should they become incapacitated. Such coverage was slated to be part of Obamacare, but was dropped after it became controversial when Sarah Palin warned against “death panels.”Read more
The Boston Globe reports that Tom Stemberg, the founder of office-supply retailer Staples, has died. Stemberg started Staples with the help of Mitt Romney's Bain Capital investment firm, and the two men became friends.
The Globe quotes Romney speaking fondly of Stemberg and his influence on the future Republican nominee for president:Read more
It has been clear for some time that Republicans need just two things in order to repeal Obamacare—a winning alternative and political willpower. The jury is still out on how much of the latter the party possesses. But when it comes to uniting around a well-conceived alternative that can pave the way to full repeal, the news is increasingly good. Jeb Bush’s just-released ObamRead more
The Republican congressional leadership has been nominally--but sometimes it seems only nominally--committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a conservative alternative. Now one of the two leading candidates for House majority leader—the number-two position in leadership—is Dr.Read more
Jake Tapper and CNN pretended during the Republican presidential debate that Obamacare doesn’t exist. But Republican voters won’t follow suit. Instead, they are likely to cast their votes largely based on who looks most committed to repealing President Obama’s tenuously perched signature legislation.Read more
At a speech at President Reagan’s alma mater on Thursday, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker challenged his GOP rivals on Obamacare. Walker highlighted his own Obamacare alternative, promising he would send it to Congress on Day One. Observing that members of Congress “need a little incentive to get that repeal passed,” Walker said he would also take executive action that same day to endRead more
So far, the Republican presidential contest has been light on Obamacare, with Scott Walker — who has essentially championed the 2017 Project’s “Winning Alternative to Obamacare” — providing a noteworthy exception. Since Obamacare is the biggest issue of Barack Obama’s presidency, why are most GOP candidates shying away from talking about their plans to bring about its full repeal? The answer, in part, is that while almost all Tea Partiers and most grassroots Republicans are fully committed to repeal, two groups within the Republican party or the conservative (or libertarian) movement are either not fully dedicated to the cause or are actively working against it.Read more
Jeb Bush has said Donald Trump "should be treated like the frontrunner" for the Republican nomination. On Tuesday, the Bush campaign continues to do just that with a short web video aimed squarely at the leading GOP contender's past "liberal" views on taxes, health care, and abortion as well as Trump's friendship with Hillary Clinton.Read more
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is nothing if not a campaign veteran. He’s run and won three statewide races since 2010, including the highly contentious recall election in 2012. In fact, since an unsuccessful bid for the state assembly in 1990 when he was just 22, Walker hasn’t lost an election. That’s a great record to have going into a campaign for president, but just a month into his official candidacy, Walker is suffering from a perception that he’s already losing.Read more
Hillary Clinton said the lack of medical insurance coverage for gender-reassignment surgery is an issue that's "going to have to be dealt with." At a townhall campaign event in Nevada Tuesday, a woman who said she was the mother of a transgendered person asked the Democratic candidate about insuring her child's "genetic issue," Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed reports.
Clinton responded, "The issues you're raising are going to have to be dealt with." Here are Cramer's tweets:Read more
The man leading the GOP primary polls made it clear on Thursday night that he still has a high opinion of health care systems that are to the left of Obamacare.Read more
An Obamacare contractor has been found to be running a "fight club" in a New Zealand prison. The contractor is Serco and the scandal in New Zealand appears to be rapidly unfolding.Read more
Among the Affordable Care Act’s many features is a tax on high dollar health insurance coverage that is part of an individual’s employment compensation. The thinking is that someone who is self-employed or doesn’t have employer provided coverage pays for health insurance with after-tax dollars so it isn’t fair that others should get this in-kind, untaxed income.Read more
The mainstream press corps and (at least privately) many Republicans officeholders have adopted two seemingly irreconcilable positions. They claim Obamacare is politically toxic for Democrats yet is somehow immune to repeal by Republicans (even after President Obama leaves office). A recent piece by National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar perfectly illustrates this confusion. Kraushaar observes that “the politRead more
The Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell is disappointing. But it also provides a welcome moment of clarity: We can finally dispense with the false belief that the Supreme Court will save us from Obamacare.Read more
In anticipation of the Supreme Court's forthcoming ruling on the Obamacare case, the Republican National Committee is going on the offensive. In a new 66-second web video, which is set to be released later today, Republicans are blaiming the law on Democrats who "pushed through Obamacare." Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare's passage.
The ad features some of the loudest (and most unpopular) voices on Obamacare.Read more
After the Democrats passed Obamacare without a single Republican vote, Republicans generally (and wisely) united around the notion that they shouldn’t pursue partial repeal or “fixes” to Obamacare. Rather than willingly giving Obamacare a newly bipartisan sheen, they publicly committed to repealing it in full. (The only exception to this partial-repeal moratorium was supposed to beRead more
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