Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Blankley Fellow: IWF’s Hadley Heath Manning<p> <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt=" photo 598x391-Steamboat_zps5esdhzcb.png" border="0" src="" /></a></p> <p> We are proud to announce today that&nbsp;Hadley Heath Manning is the recipient of the 2016-17 Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism.</p> <p> &ldquo;At the young age of 28, Hadley has established a national reputation as an excellent communicator on health care policy issues,&rdquo; said Founder Jennifer Schubert-Akin.&nbsp;&ldquo;Like Tony Blankley, Hadley has a passion for clearly articulating free-market solutions for the proper role of government and what it means for citizens to re-assert their sovereignty and independence. We are proud to support the work of this outstanding young leader.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;It is an incredible honor to be selected as the next Tony Blankley Chair,&rdquo; said Manning, senior policy analyst and director of health policy at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. &ldquo;I have long admired the Steamboat Institute, and I look forward to working with this esteemed organization dedicated to America&rsquo;s founding ideas and our continued national prosperity. I will strive to honor Tony Blankley&rsquo;s name and legacy; he was the best kind of champion for conservatism, always communicating effectively and with wit and good cheer. I&rsquo;m very thankful for this opportunity and can&rsquo;t wait to get started.&rdquo;</p> <p> Manning will receive a $10,000 stipend, as well as support for travel, speaking engagements and investigative reporting trips. She will be honored at a dinner as part of the Steamboat Institute&rsquo;s 8th Annual Freedom Conference &amp; Festival in Steamboat Springs, CO on August 26, 2016, where Carly Fiorina will be the keynote speaker.</p> <p> &ldquo;Hadley will be a strong and committed Fellow who will work hard to advocate for the Steamboat Institute principles that Tony wrote and spoke about so forcefully and eloquently,&rdquo; said Lynda Davis, widow of Tony Blankley.</p> <p> The Selection Committee for the Tony Blankley Chair includes:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Ed Meese &ndash; 75th Attorney General of the United States</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Lynda Davis, Ph.D. &ndash; widow of Tony Blankley</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Steve Hofman &ndash; Consultant; former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Mary Kissel &ndash; Wall Street Journal editorial board</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Lauren Maddox &ndash; Principal, Podesta Group; former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Thomas P. McDevitt &ndash; Chairman, Board of Directors &ndash; The Washington Times</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; John O&rsquo;Sullivan &ndash; British commentator and former speechwriter for Prime Minister</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Margaret Thatcher; Senior Fellow with National Review</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; John Roberts &ndash; author and TV producer for The McLaughlin Group (on which Tom Rogan is a panelist and on which Tony Blankley was a panelist for many years)</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; &nbsp;Tom Rogan &ndash; Senior Blankley Fellow and columnist for National Review</p> <p> &ldquo;Reviewing the tremendous group of emerging thought leaders this year was really inspirational,&rdquo; said Tom McDevitt, chairman of the board of directors, The Washington Times. &ldquo;These are the times in which efforts like those of the Steamboat Institute make a vital contribution in shoring up the willpower to overcome the myriad challenges we face in America.&rdquo;</p> <p> In addition to naming Hadley Heath Manning as the 2016-17 Chair, the Steamboat Institute is announcing that previous Chairs Jillian Melchior and Tom Rogan will continue to work with the Steamboat Institute as Senior Fellows.</p> <p> &ldquo;In recognition of the outstanding contributions of Tom Rogan and Jillian Melchior, we are continuing our collaboration with each of them as Senior Fellows. We will be establishing a nationwide Tony Blankley Fellows Lecture Series and will also provide support for their investigative reporting on matters of national and global interest,&rdquo; said Schubert-Akin.</p> <p> &ldquo;Tom and Jillian&rsquo;s leadership as our first two Tony Blankley Fellows set this program on a great path,&rdquo; Schubert-Akin said. &ldquo;As the trailblazers for this endeavor, we wanted to honor their contributions by naming them as our Senior Fellows.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>About Hadley Heath Manning</strong></p> <p> Hadley Heath Manning is a senior policy analyst and director of health policy at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. She frequently comments on health care, entitlements and economic policy, and manages IWF&rsquo;s health policy projects and publications. Manning appears frequently in radio and TV outlets across the country, including Fox Business&rsquo; Stossel Show and Fox News&rsquo; Your World with Neil Cavuto. Her work has been featured in publications including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, POLITICO, Roll Call, Real Clear Policy, National Review Online and Huffington Post. In 2016, Manning was named to Forbes&rsquo; 30 Under 30 list in Law and Policy. In 2015, the Republican National Committee honored her as a Rising Star, and in 2014, she was named to the Red Alert Politics 30 Under 30 list. She has also completed the National Review Institute&rsquo;s Washington Fellowship, class of 2012-2013. Manning graduated with distinction from the University of North Carolina in 2010 as a Morehead-Cain Scholar with a double major in economics and journalism.</p> <p> <strong>About the Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism</strong></p> <p> The Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism was established by the Steamboat Institute to provide high-profile recognition and financial support to emerging conservative thought leaders who share the principles and ideals espoused by the late Tony Blankley and the Steamboat Institute. Those principles are lower taxes, limited government, free market capitalism, individual rights and responsibilities, and strong national defense.</p> <p> Tony Blankley (1948-2012) was editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He served as press secretary for Newt Gingrich during his tenure as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1990s. He was also a regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group and later served as Executive Vice President with Edelman public relations in Washington, D.C. Mr. Blankley served as Conference Moderator for the Steamboat Institute&rsquo;s first three Freedom Conferences (2009, 2010 and 2011).</p> <p> <strong>About Jillian Melchior</strong></p> <p> Jillian Kay Melchior, political editor at Heat Street, is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. She does investigative reporting on domestic issues, including government waste, fraud and abuse, energy and environment issues, and organized labor. She has lived in China, reporting on Christianity and persecution, and has also done foreign correspondence in Iraq, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.</p> <p> She has worked as an investigative reporter for National Review and the Franklin Center, an editorial writer for The Daily, an online editor for Commentary, a Robert Novak fellow, and a Bartley Fellow at the Wall Street Journal Asia. Her writings have been published in National Review, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, TechCrunch, The Detroit News and other publications. She is a graduate of Hillsdale College and a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming.</p> <p> Follow Jillian on Twitter @JillianKayM</p> <p> <strong>About Tom Rogan</strong></p> <p> In 2014, Tom Rogan was the recipient of the inaugural Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism. In 2015, in recognition of Tom&rsquo;s outstanding contributions as the inaugural Blankley Chair, the Steamboat Institute extended Tom&rsquo;s fellowship, naming him &ldquo;Senior Fellow.&rdquo;</p> <p> Rogan is based in Washington, D.C., and is a columnist for both National Review and Opportunity Lives. He is a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and makes frequent appearances on various TV programs, including The Greg Gutfeld Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, Fox News, CNN, Newsmax TV, BBC News and many others. Rogan is an honors graduate of King&rsquo;s College of London (War Studies) and a graduate of the law program at The College of Law, London.</p> <p> Follow Tom on Twitter @TomRtweets</p> <p> <strong>About the Steamboat Institute</strong></p> <p> The Steamboat Institute is a Colorado-based 501(c)(3) non-partisan educational organization, founded in 2008. The Steamboat Institute promotes America&rsquo;s first principles and inspires active involvement in the defense of liberty.</p> <p> For more information on the Steamboat Institute, the Tony Blankley Chair and the 8th Annual Freedom Conference &amp; Festival, Aug 26-27, 2016, please visit</p> HeathMon, 8 Aug 2016 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObama Justice Department Makes Case Against Single-Payer Healthcare<p> They didn&rsquo;t mean to, but officials at the Obama Justice Department have laid out the case against government-run healthcare. In filing suit against mammoth health insurance mergers, they&rsquo;ve explained that reduced competition limits options for consumers, raises costs, and threatens access to care. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s exactly why a single-payer system would be a disaster for America.</p> <p> The Justice Department is right: competition is good for consumers, and the government does have a legitimate role in enforcing antitrust laws. The recent trend in healthcare and health insurance markets, driven mostly by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been toward consolidation.</p> <p> But the&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>Justice Department intervened</strong></a>&nbsp;against billion-dollar mergers between Cigna and Anthem, Humana and Aetna&mdash; together four of the largest insurers in the country &mdash; to try to preserve options for consumers. &nbsp;The public should applaud this move and support more actions to reform public policies and foster greater competition.</p> <p> First, a little background: Why are these gigantic companies attempting to merge? They&rsquo;ve suffered under the ACA, losing&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>billions of dollars in the law&rsquo;s exchanges</strong></a>, where enrollees are sicker and more costly than they anticipated. The law requires them to write policies for any and everyone, and to price those policies blindly, without regard for the many factors that would typically dictate financial risk.</p> <p> These large insurers have suffered, but they&rsquo;ve survived: In this sense they are the fortunate few. Many smaller insurers have already&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>shuttered their doors</strong></a>&nbsp;in the wake of the law&rsquo;s expensive regulations and poorly designed structure.</p> <p> The Government Accountability Office studied this phenomenon in 2014 and found that the average number of individual insurance plans available to consumers in each state shrunk from&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>36 to three in just two years</strong></a>, a 90 percent decrease. Even the non-profit Consumer-Oriented and Operated Plans (or &ldquo;co-ops&rdquo;) created by the law have failed at a rate of&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>nearly 70 percent</strong></a>, mostly for the same financial reasons.</p> <p> As expensive as health insurance plans are today, it&rsquo;s hard for consumers to shed tears for insurance companies. Many people have had terrible customer service experiences with insurers who seem intent on charging as much and offering as little as possible. In some sense, our interests will always be opposed: Consumers want the greatest value for themselves, while companies are out to maximize profit.</p> <p> However, consumers should recognize that the profit motive, when combined with market competition, can serve us well. When sellers compete, they attempt to undercut one another on price and outdo one another in the quality of services or goods provided. &nbsp;If they fail to do so, then they will go out of business, meaning it&rsquo;s in their interest to serve customers.</p> <p> The problem with our current health system is not the profit motive, but a lack of competition. This problem would get worse in the wake of large-scale mergers, but consumers are already suffering from a non-competitive insurance marketplace.</p> <p> The ACA effectively requires all plans to offer the same coverage, at levels that vary only according to the government standards of bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. In some sense, the only variation among insurance companies is the logo next to the plans they sell. This meaningless competition doesn&rsquo;t offer real choice.</p> <p> However, things could get worse. The ultimate lack of competition is single-payer, also known as socialized medicine, or most recently, &ldquo;Medicare for all.&rdquo; Put simply, this proposed policy change would replace private insurance companies entirely, instead using government funds to pay for everyone&rsquo;s medical costs.</p> <p> In this case, the government would function as a monopsony, with all the downsides spelled out in the Justice Department&rsquo;s case against mergers between private companies: reduced competition, higher costs, more difficult access to care. &nbsp;Moving to a single-payer system would make it harder, perhaps impossible, to change laws in the opposite direction to encourage greater competition among private companies.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s likely tempting for many consumers, burned by the ACA&rsquo;s disappointing results, to trade one bad, government-centric approach for another. But we risk learning the wrong lesson from the ACA if we blame private companies, rather than a lack of competition, for the law&rsquo;s failure.</p> <p> The Justice Department is right that competition is the key to providing consumers with some control on price and some leverage in the marketplace. But we can&rsquo;t just stop at preventing mergers; we should apply this lesson more broadly and reform our healthcare system to better foster a more robust, competitive market with consumers at the center.</p> <p> <em>Hadley Heath Manning is the director of health policy for the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</em></p> HeathFri, 29 Jul 2016 07:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTypical: Daily Show Deceives on Equal Pay for Women's Soccer Team<p> After the Daily Show put together a segment on the equal-pay lawsuit brought by members of the U.S. Soccer team, <a href="">the video clip</a> made viral rounds online.&nbsp;</p> <p> I&#39;ve <a href="'s-Soccer-Lawsuit-Misses-The-Goal">written about this issue before</a>, and I understand that both sides of the argument can build a case based on certain facts. The women players typically emphasize (as they did on the Daily Show) that they&#39;ve had far more on-field success than the men&#39;s team (more championships, more Olympic medals, etc.) and that they have recently (in 2015) been bringing in more revenue than the men&#39;s team. Those are valid points, but they don&#39;t tell the full story.</p> <p> The Daily Show mentions, as a side note, that &quot;The U.S. Soccer Federation has its own interpretation of the pay differences.&quot; I&#39;ll bet they do! Here&#39;s (part of) the other side of the story: While the women&#39;s team wins a whole lot more, and while the women have had high revenues in recent years, the men&#39;s team *traditionally* brings in more revenue, and the structure of the men&#39;s and women&#39;s compensation (when we consider salary pay vs. bonus pay and the amount of benefits players receive) is different. Ignoring these facts just makes for a one-sided version of the issue (which is par for the course on the Daily Show, but viewers deserve better).</p> <p> <span style="font-size: 12px;">The Daily Show did interview one person -- Gavin McInnes, a Fox News contributor -- who disagrees with the women&#39;s lawsuit. But it was clear the Daily Show was out to mock his point of view, rather than seriously consider it. He made one fair point about ratings (on the footage the show used), which was immediately countered by a cherry-picked data point from the women soccer players. Otherwise McInnes didn&#39;t do himself any favors... He didn&#39;t present a very tactful defense of his point of view, throwing around phrases like &quot;you&#39;re playing a man&#39;s game.&quot; Come on. Eye roll. You don&#39;t have to think that soccer is &quot;a man&#39;s game&quot; to see the problems with this equal-pay lawsuit.&nbsp;</span></p> <p> Importantly, if the trend in revenues is changing, the women players should make their argument on this point (and they do, in part). If the women players are bringing in more revenue than the men, then why are they asking for equal pay for crying out loud? They should be demanding to be paid <u>more</u>&nbsp;than the male players. Their pay should be a reflection of their value to the Soccer Federation, not benchmarked to the men&#39;s team in any way. It may be that the U.S. women&#39;s team members are underpaid, but that is a negotiation between the women players and their employer.&nbsp;</p> <p> And this brings me to my main point: Different market conditions apply to men&#39;s and women&#39;s soccer.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 12px;">The women and men who play soccer (as is often the case in sports) are not interchangeable.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">While it would be easy to say that Hope Solo and Tim Howard are doing &quot;the same job,&quot; the reality is that these two are not doing the same job in the same market under the same </span><em style="font-size: 12px;">market conditions</em><span style="font-size: 12px;">. I&#39;m sure this seems unfair to some people, but from an economic perspective, the demand for men&#39;s soccer is typically higher, and this has been a major driving force behind the pay disparity. If you don&#39;t like it, buy tickets to the women&#39;s games, turn their broadcast games on your TV (to boost their ratings), and go out and buy their team gear.&nbsp;</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size: 12px;">The Daily Show, in an attempt to be funny (and to rile up its liberal audience), oversimplified this issue and gave it pretty unfair coverage. For fairer coverage of this complicated issue, <a href="">check out this analysis</a> from the New York Times (hardly a bastion of conservativism). Like the broader issue of equal pay in our economy, the subject of equal pay in sports deserves our attention and deserves robust discussion with the presentation of all of the facts, not just one side.</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathThu, 28 Jul 2016 14:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumChelsea Clinton Asks Ivanka Trump About Equal Pay Comments<p> The Independent Women&#39;s Forum released <a href="'S-FORUM-RESPONSE-TO-IVANKA-TRUMP'S-PRO-WORKING-FAMILIES-CONVENTION-SPEECH">this statement</a> about a week ago when Ivanka Trump delivered a stirring speech on behalf of her father Donald Trump. We didn&#39;t miss it, and neither did many liberals, when Ivanka said her father would fight for equal pay for women and quality childcare for all. Today in a Facebook Live video, former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton <a href=";linkId=26983613">said she would like to know what her friend Ivanka Trump meant</a> by these comments. What would Mr. Trump do, as President, to address these economic issues facing working families?</p> <p> It&#39;s likely that Chelsea Clinton and others supporting Hillary are thinking of the boilerplate left-wing respsonses to equal pay, family leave, and childcare.</p> <ul> <li> They&#39;d like to pass the <a href="">Paycheck Fairness Act </a>(a misnamed piece of legislation that would only ultimately increase the legal exposure -- and cost -- of hiring and promoting women).</li> <li> They&#39;d like to pass the <a href="">FAMILY Act</a> (which would create a new entitlement program to pay everyone working woman during a maternity leave period... which would also set women back in the workplace).</li> <li> They&#39;d like the government to expand its role in providing for every family&#39;s childcare needs, through <a href="">universal daycare</a> or a increased <a href="">childcare tax credit</a> (and sadly, ironically, these approaches would result in fewer and less favorable choices for families when it comes to care).</li> </ul> <p> These policies all have good intentions, but the results wouldn&#39;t be good for anyone, including women.</p> <p> So back to the question, how could Mr. Trump address these same issues, which we know are challenges for working women, without resorting to big-government policies?</p> <p> Oo, oo, pick me! I know the answer! If Mr. Trump is looking for suggestions for how to make the workplace more navigable for working women and their families -- without backfiring on women&#39;s economic prospects, he should check out our suggestions in our <a href="">Working for Women Report</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> Instead of one-size-fits-all solutions, we suggest:</p> <ul> <li> Strengthening the Equal Pay Act (a law that has existed since 1963 and protects women&#39;s right to equal pay) and clarifying the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.</li> <li> Creating Personal Care Accounts (PCAs), tax-free savings accounts for families to use for expenses during a maternity leave period. Families, employers, and even charitable non-profits could contribute to these accounts.</li> <li> Deregulating the childcare industry. Of course basic health and safety regulations need to be in place, but there are some regulations on daycares that have no effect on quality or safety and only serve to raise prices. These regulations should be reviewed and when possible, eliminated.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p> Although Ivanka Trump used some of the same rhetoric on equal pay and childcare that we often hear from the left (perhaps a smart political move), she and her father have the opportunity to offer alternative solutions and draw contrast with the Clintons here. I&#39;m glad Chelsea Clinton is asking her friend Ivanka to clarify... I just hope that candidates and campaigns across the political spectrum will see the value in a more free-market approach to the challenges facing working women today.&nbsp;</p> HeathThu, 28 Jul 2016 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWere Trump's Comments On Russia To Dominate The News Cycle? • After The Bell HeathWed, 27 Jul 2016 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumInsurance Companies Blocked From Averting Suicide<p> As explained by <em>The Associated Pres</em>s, the U.S. government is suing to stop two major health insurance mergers, a move regulators say is needed to protect Americans from potential cost hikes and lower quality care.</p> <p> The Department of Justice said recently that the combinations of Aetna and Humana, and Anthem and Cigna, would hurt competition that restrains the price of coverage and reduce benefits, among other drawbacks.</p> <p> The Department of Justice wants to stop Anthem&rsquo;s $54 billion takeover of Cigna and Aetna&rsquo;s $37 billion bid to buy Humana, political website <a href="">The Hill </a>reported last week.&nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;We&#39;ve known for a while that Aetna and Humana, and Cigna and Anthem, have wanted to merge, and I&#39;ve commented before that these mergers represent consolidation in the health insurance sector, which would ultimately be bad for consumers because it does mean they have fewer options,&quot; says Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;But one interesting aspect to this story,&quot; Manning adds, &quot;is that consumers, especially who are buying Obamacare plans through exchanges, the competition in those exchanges isn&#39;t very meaningful competition.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Although the logo may change next to the plans, she explains, the plans themselves are very similar regardless of which insurer is offering them.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">If the Department of Justice recognizes that competition is good for consumers, then Manning says they might want to consider some policies that would open up the competition in those exchanges, or at least make that competition more meaningful.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;The government has a role in anti-trust law,&quot; Manning observes, &quot;so the government wants to generally foster a marketplace where there is some market competition.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But when it comes to health care and its affordability, she says, the misnamed Affordable Care Act is at the root of the problem. That&#39;s because these health insurance companies have been hurt so bad under it that they&#39;re trying to merge to recover.</span></strong></span></span></p> HeathWed, 27 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhen It Comes to Personality, Is Pence A Better Pick For VP? • After The Bell HeathThu, 14 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSad But Not Surprising: Report Shows ‘Profound Deficiencies’ at VA<p> &ldquo;Many profound deficiencies&rdquo; continue to plague the system: That was the sad, but not surprising, conclusion of <a href="">a new report</a> from the federally mandated Commission on Care for the Veterans Health Administration. The report shows that despite good intentions, the response to the Phoenix-based scandal of 2014 didn&rsquo;t go far enough to improve veterans&rsquo; care.</p> <p> Two years ago, journalists uncovered secret, unofficial waiting lists <a href="">at the Phoenix VA</a>. Forty veterans died while waiting for care. Investigations followed &ndash; from the VA Inspector General, Congress, and the White House &ndash; and uncovered that the problems of long and manipulated waiting times were not limited to Phoenix, but affected tens of thousands of veterans across the country.</p> <p> In response, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the <a href="">Veterans&rsquo; Access, Choice, and Accountability Act</a>. This law included a new veterans&rsquo; choice program that would (theoretically) allow patients to go outside of the VA system when they faced a waiting time of 30 days or more, or if they lived more than 40 miles from the closest VA facility.</p> <p> The new law also created the Commission on Care, a group of experts charged with reviewing the VA system and examining ways to improve veterans&rsquo; access to care. This summer, the Commission offered its report, which concluded that &ldquo;VA operations require urgent reform&hellip;The most public and glaring deficiency was access problems.&rdquo;</p> <p> This is no surprise. Just this spring, a report from the VA Office of the Inspector General <a href="">revealed that 21 of 38 facilities</a> investigated were still using &ldquo;improper scheduling.&rdquo; This means they would (among other erroneous practices) record a patient&rsquo;s desired date as his actual appointment date, reflecting no waiting time.</p> <p> But the latest report from the Commission on Care isn&rsquo;t yawn-worthy because it&rsquo;s just the latest installment in a constant stream of bad reports on the VA. It should be an outrage and a warning about what we can expect from any government-run health system.</p> <p> Simply put, government bureaucrats don&rsquo;t have the information that markets do and therefore can&rsquo;t respond quickly when there is a mismatch in supply and demand. When government-run health systems run into the inevitable problems (most frequently more patients need more care than providers can offer), the result is either explicit rationing or implicit rationing.</p> <p> Explicit rationing means making rules about who can have what treatments and when, according to cost-effectiveness as determined by a government body. Americans typically reject this obvious attempt at limiting access to health care.</p> <p> Implicit rationing accomplishes the same purpose, but uses means that are less easily recognized. One form of implicit rationing is long wait times. The United States &ndash; although our healthcare system deteriorates each day under the government-centric Affordable Care Act &ndash; has traditionally offered some of the <a href="">shortest waiting times in the world</a> when it comes to accessing health care.</p> <p> That is, unless you are a veteran. The sad irony is that we&rsquo;ve trapped some of our most esteemed citizens in a second-rate, bureaucratic VA system. The VA is even more limiting than other government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, where patients have access to a wider variety of providers.</p> <p> This limitation is what Congress attempted to address with legislation in 2014. But this latest report shows we still have a long way to go toward solving the problem. The Commission concluded that the new choice program is flawed in both design and execution, and recommends expanding vets&rsquo; access to private providers.</p> <p> We should go even further. The real flaw in the 2014 legislation was that it left in place too many complicated guidelines for when and how veterans could go outside of the system to get more timely care. Veterans deserve the best our healthcare system has to offer; they should be free to see any provider, any time, no matter if the provider is technically a VHA provider or not.</p> <p> The American people agree: A <a href="">March 2016 Gallup poll</a> found that 91 percent of Americans believe veterans should be able to see any practitioner who accepts Medicare. We would be hard pressed to find another issue with this kind of support.</p> <p> The latest Commission on Care report is far from the first time we&rsquo;ve heard about trouble within the VA. But it should be the last. Congress and the president should act now to fundamentally transform the VHA to offer veterans maximum choice and access to timely, high-quality care wherever they choose to seek it.</p> HeathWed, 13 Jul 2016 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFeeling good: Facts Vindicate Critics Of ObamaCare<p> It&#39;s no longer speculative: many ObamaCare enrollees are less healthy than the uninsured.</p> <p> A <a href="">Health Affairs data analysis</a> shows the Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought sicker and more expensive people into the individual marketplace. At the same time, healthier people chose to forgo enrollment.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;I think that&#39;s interesting, but not surprising,&quot; says Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">. &quot;In the insurance world, we call this </span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">adverse selection</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> &ndash; and we knew it would happen under the ACA.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> And it&#39;s the natural result, she explains, when health insurance companies to have to sell a policy to every person at the same rate, regardless of health histories or health statuses.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Because of course the rates offered will look like a much better deal to people who are sicker and have higher medical costs; and people who are healthier will see these rates as a bad value,&quot; she says. &quot;Ultimately, people who are healthier are happier to take the risk of going uninsured anyway.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> And while none of this was surprising to Manning, not to mention other policy experts OneNewsNow interviews, she says it was nice to see some data on it.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Our philosophical opponents can&#39;t just call conservatives &#39;speculative&#39; on this matter,&quot; she explains. &quot;It is a matter of fact that </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">the uninsured population is now healthier</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Supporters of ObamaCare believe more people will enroll in exchange plans &ndash; specifically younger, healthier people. Reasons include everything from employers doing away with insurance plans to taxpayer subsidies to help cover premiums and tax penalties for those who choose to go without.</p> <p> Still, critics argue not everyone can receive a subsidy, while adding that money comes from somewhere (i.e., taxpayers). Others have simply chosen to do the math and take the risk of paying a tax penalty over premiums, which are expected to be higher, on average, this upcoming enrollment season.</p> HeathWed, 13 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF Health Policy Expert: Ryan’s GOP Health Care Alternative Trumps Obamacare<p> The Republican health care plan unveiled last month by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan isn&rsquo;t a perfect free-market system, but it&rsquo;s a realistic, positive alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Hadley Heath Manning, senior policy analyst and director of health policy at the Independent Women&#39;s Forum (IWF), said</p> <p> &ldquo;It reflects traditionally conservative steps toward a more consumer-driven, market-friendly health reform plan,&quot; Manning told <em>Patient Daily News</em> today. &quot;I think this is a good step both policy-wise and politically for Speaker Ryan to unveil this plan.&quot;</p> <p> The proposal is part of Ryan&rsquo;s pre-Nov. 8 election blueprint called &ldquo;A Better Way,&rdquo; which lays out a GOP alternative to the Democrats on myriad policy issues, including not just Obamacare, but national security and the war on poverty. In the coming weeks Ryan is expected to release more agenda alternatives around tax reform, regulations and constitutional authority ahead of the presidential election.</p> <p> Manning said there&rsquo;s a lot in this GOP health care plan, which is not yet written in legislative language but is basically a policy paper.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s got a lot of ideas in it and not a lot of specifics,&quot; Manning said. &quot;But I do think that there are some major components of it that should get people&rsquo;s attention, especially because one of the major concerns of individuals, families and businesses in our country continues to be the high cost of health insurance; and his plan, I think, would do a better job of targeting the root cause of our ever-increasing health insurance costs.&quot;</p> <p> Specifically, according to Manning, Ryan&rsquo;s health care policy plan attempts to address the past inequities between employer-sponsored insurance and individually purchased insurance plans by making the goal of those individually purchased plans more affordable for everyone.</p> <p> &ldquo;I understand Obamacare has a system of tax credits and Speaker Ryan&rsquo;s plan would have a system of tax credits, but there are some important differences in how those would be implemented; and I think Ryan&rsquo;s plan would be more friendly to the economy and more friendly to our pocketbooks,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> Ryan&rsquo;s plan also essentially attempts to address the high cost of health insurance through de-regulation, Manning said.</p> <p> &ldquo;He would allow Americans, individual families, business owners -- whoever is making the decision about insurance plans -- to choose a plan that does not necessarily meet the stringent requirements of the so-called essential health benefits that are required under the ACA,&rdquo; she explained.</p> <p> Additionally, Ryan&rsquo;s plan would attack the varying coverage mandates at the state level that create issues for many Americans depending on which state they live in.</p> <p> &ldquo;This plan would remove those federal requirements for what every (state) insurance plan has to cover,&quot; Manning said. &quot;Of course, some people have praised these benefit mandates because they say they ensure that everyone has robust coverage, but then on the flip side of that it takes away our freedom to buy catastrophic health insurance plans or more basic health insurance plans that might better suit the budgets of millions of people.&quot;</p> <p> In her opinion, it should be left up to individuals, families and business owners to decide what level of insurance coverage is appropriate for their risk level and for their budgets.&nbsp;</p> <p> &ldquo;That shouldn&rsquo;t be something the government has to oversee at the federal level,&quot; Manning said.&nbsp;</p> <p> Generally, there are a number of other things in Ryan&rsquo;s policy paper, whether it comes to torte reform or Medicaid reform, that address certain parts of the U.S. health care system that the ACA altogether ignored, Manning said.</p> <p> &ldquo;That&rsquo;s another step in the right direction in terms of medical liability reform and reforming &hellip; Medicaid,&quot; she said. &quot;And I do believe that the Republicans and Paul Ryan are being politically smart, but also being humanitarian in their concerns for people with pre-existing conditions and for people who are low-income, so I think it&rsquo;s a very realistic plan &hellip; and I&rsquo;m happy to see it address some of these issues that the ACA seems to avoid or ignore.&quot;</p> HeathThu, 7 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDoes Clinton Have A Positive Case To Make With The Economy? • Coast To Coast HeathTue, 5 Jul 2016 13:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBrexit: Is Sovereignty Worth Paying The Price Of Market Disruption? • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 2 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCan We Put A Dollar Figure On Safety In America? • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 2 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShould An Independent Prosecutor Be Assigned To Hillary's Email Case? • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 2 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumColoradoCare A Costly Cure, Says Critic<p> <strong>Coloradans continue to debate single-payer healthcare ahead of a ballot initiative this November.</strong></p> <p> The ballot initiative is known as Amendment 69 and creates something called ColoradoCare. <a href="">Supporters of the effort</a> are quoted as saying everything from &quot;it is going to make a huge difference in people&#39;s lives&quot; &ndash; to &quot;this shows you the power and strength of when people come together.&quot; Some critics, meanwhile, say this creates a &quot;Communist healthcare system,&quot; while others believe it ranks among the worst ideas ever in government.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning of </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Voice</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> lives in Colorado. She&#39;s definitely not fond of the idea, citing free market and cost concerns.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;This would result in a very high increase in our taxes and about a $25 billion a year increase in our state spending,&quot; says Manning. &quot;Now, you have to take this with a grain of salt, because just about every government healthcare program has gone over budget in reality compared to the cost projections.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Manning adds that employers are going to be faced with a payroll tax increase of 6.67 percent, and workers themselves will pay the other 3.33 percent, making it a 10-percent increase in payroll taxes.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;This would give Colorado the highest payroll and income tax of any state in the country,&quot; she continues. &quot;There is certainly a concern that there will be an in-migration of people who want to take advantage of the benefits of this kind of program; and also an out-migration of people in the state of Colorado, who do want to do business here, who have an entrepreneurial spirit, who have many workers on their payroll because this kind of tax increase simply won&#39;t be one that&#39;s easy to bear.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Incidentally, ColoradoCare is permitted under ObamaCare.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ObamaCare has a section which allows states to apply for a waiver from some of the law&#39;s requirements &ndash; and the way that a state can get one of these waivers is essentially by coming up with its own plan,&quot; explains Manning. &quot;States have to ensure that they&#39;re going to cover just as many people as the ACA would cover and that people who are covered have the same level of benefit coverage as they would have had under the ACA.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The website says people would save big with ColoradoCare, while having better quality care under a plan that aims to cover everyone in Colorado. Supporters of ObamaCare have made similar claims over the years &ndash; claims that have been brought up every time there is a news report of higher premiums, taxes, and problems in Obamacare.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;What&#39;s ironic is, one state has already tried something very similar to what Coloradans have the opportunity to do this fall,&quot; says Manning. &quot;Vermont actually passed a single-payer healthcare program at the state level, but ultimately abandoned the proposal when they found that this was going to be bad for economic growth in their state, that the costs were actually going to heavily outweigh the benefits and it wasn&#39;t going to be feasible from a financial perspective. So I think that Coloradans should actually be paying attention to what&#39;s already taken place in Vermont.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> HeathWed, 29 Jun 2016 13:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum