AEI 2011: The sickly side of health care reform

Pete Souza/White House

President Barack Obama embraces Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after signing the healthcare reform bill in the East Room of the White House on March 23, 2010.

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  • With it nearing the Supreme Court, why is ObamaCare bad for America? #AEI2011

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  • How much does Medicaid overspend on drugs each year? #AEI2011

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  • Will ObamaCare be more or less appealing before the Supreme Court? #AEI2011

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On March 23, 2010, after a heated battle on the Hill, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. In spring 2012, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether or not Obama's healthcare reform is constitutional. In 2011, AEI health scholars have been dissecting the law and studying its ramifications for the country. This includes Tom Miller's book, "Why ObamaCare Is Wrong for America."

In March, Miller held an event for Hill staffers on his book, covering the reach of the healthcare law in American society, essential information on what’s in the law, and recommendations of what can be done about it. Watch the event videos here.

DON'T MISS: "ObamaCare in the Supreme Court" by Michael S. Greve, in which he explains how the highest court in the land can "forestall a litigation-driven expansion of ObamaCare and to preserve political accountability for its impending failure":

The "stakeholders" in the in-the-weeds cases hold only one stake--to expand the system (while blaming some fourth party, such as drug companies, for the exorbitant costs). They can afford to roll the dice on far-out legal theories because they can afford to lose time and again; in the end, all that matters is the one case they win. Meanwhile, no one can and will sue for a smaller system. HHS and even the state bureaucracies that now and then litigate Medicaid cases are interested only in the distribution of costs and economic rents within the system, not in checking the system as a whole. After all, they run it. And the constituency with a stake in limiting and disciplining the system, called taxpayers, is not at the table when the deals are cut and the cases are litigated. ObamaCare has enough self-inflating tendencies without the added boost of one-directional litigation. The justices understand this, and they will prohibit the inflation.

EVENT VIDEO: Will ObamaCare be More or Less Appealing before the Supreme Court?


In March, Alex Brill released a working paper studying overspending on multi-source drugs in Medicaid, finding a source of savings in a time of economic belt-tightening:

Among twenty popular multi-source drugs, Medicaid overspent by an estimated $329 million in 2009 by reimbursing for more costly brand drugs rather than lower-cost, therapeutically equivalent generics. As total spending on these twenty multi-source products was approximately $1.5 billion, this means Medicaid overspent by 22 percent ($1.5 billion versus $1.17 billion) on these products. Among the twenty drugs studied, Medicaid wasted an average of $95 per prescription. Most of the overspending (85 percent) was concentrated in eight identified chemical compounds. Total waste for these drugs was roughly $279 million.

ALSO: "Medicaid Is Worse Than No Coverage at All" by Scott Gottlieb


On March 9, Joe Antos wrote an Enterprise Blog post stating that the best replacement for Don Berwick, the controversial head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, would be his deputy, Marilyn Tavenner, who was running the place months before he got there. On Nov. 23, Obama announced that he would name Marilyn to the job.

Bridget Johnson is the managing editor of

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