Patients need drug options, not limitations

Imagine being sick with a life-threatening disease. Most of us would want access to as many medicines as possible -- including the full range of proven treatment options. 

But under the Affordable Care Act, some people may see their drug choices severely restricted.


Healthcare is a right, not a privilege

Healthcare is a fundamental right, not a privilege. This is what we learned last month when the United States Supreme Court upheld key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Affordable Care Act).


Cutting healthcare costs

President Obama himself warned us that an individual mandate would be no solution to the problem of health care affordability. If forcing people to buy health insurance was the cure for high priced health care, he said, we would force poor people to buy houses to reduce homelessness. We almost did that in the housing market and all we got was subprime loans and the great recession. 
As a practicing physician serving the full spectrum of Washingtonians, I recognize that medical care is a commodity. If there isn’t enough to meet the demand at a reasonable price we can only solve the problem by using the laws of economics, not by trying to fight them. Here, then, are some medically sound proposals to address the economic problems facing health care today.


Healthcare law hurts

The so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) should never have been passed in the first place.
It is costing jobs, hurting seniors and preventing the economy from bouncing back.


Big money behind misinformation on healthcare law

I received a call from a gentleman, Ralph, this morning asking about my statement to the press yesterday regarding the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. He wanted to know why I thought the law was good for small businesses because he had heard so much about how it was going to be harmful.


Court took least disruptive route in healthcare ruling

The Supreme Court’s decision upholding the health reform law is the healthcare version of Y2K. The build-up, the anticipation, the belief that something momentous would occur, and then…nothing. The Court’s ruling was the least disruptive ruling possible.
The status quo reigns.


The Court has spoken - and we must listen

It might be said that all Supreme Court decisions are equal, but some are more equal than others. Upon being handed down, each decision has undeniable legal, political, and policy dimensions. What makes any one decision a “landmark” – think of Lochner v. New York, or Brown v. Board of Education, or Roe v. Wade – is that its repercussions on the law, on politics, and on policy usually last for decades if not longer.

Today NFIB v. Sebelius will take its place in that select group of cases.
Today, the Court upheld all the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the controversial individual mandate. Surprisingly, it was Chief Justice John Roberts who provided a decisive vote for the majority, rather than Justice Kennedy who had increasingly become the swing vote on numerous important cases after the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor.
Legally, the 5-4 decision is another indication of the stark ideological divide in the Court when it comes to a whole host of issues. To be fair, this ideological divide predated Chief Justice Roberts’ appointment. Yet today’s ruling needs to be seen in the context of other high profile cases over the last decade, including Bush. V. Gore in 2000 and Citizens United in 2009. In NFIB, it is once again evident that there is little consensus in this Court on the powers of Congress or the role of the Supreme Court to limit those powers.
We may never know all the reasons why Roberts chose to vote with the liberal wing of the Court. Regardless, no Chief Justice prefers divided decisions, especially on landmark decisions. Think of Chief Justice Warren securing a unanimous vote in Brown, or Justice Blackmun a 7-2 vote in Roe – or even Justice Henry Billings Brown, who wrote the now disgraced majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson that was signed by all of his colleagues except one. The Court’s legitimacy is always on the line, never more so in high profile cases. Unanimous or near unanimous decisions provide the Court a certain amount of cover. A decision like this is more of a cacophony – and moves us in the opposite direction. Ultimately it may reflect on Roberts’ stewardship for years to come when the books are closed on his tenure.


Healthcare law fails to address rising costs

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court is expected to deliver its ruling on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law. Whatever the court decides, it is clear to see that the president’s plan is not working.  Americans who already had health insurance coverage have continued to see their premiums dramatically increase each year, and those without coverage are being forced to buy more insurance than they actually need or can afford.


Pancreatic cancer patients and families deserve hope

It’s been nearly three years since my husband lost his heroic battle with pancreatic cancer. Patrick received his diagnosis in January 2008, and like most patients, he had to beat extremely tough odds to survive.
We knew it would be a difficult battle, but he fought his disease with incredible determination, even as the cancer weakened his body, that shining, positive spirit of his never let up.


Small business heroes before the Supreme Court

Small business is as American as baseball and apple pie.  Much like rooting for underdogs in baseball, in Washington we love cheering the success of small business and entrepreneurship. Why is it, then, that small business seems to come up short when politicians try to reform the tax code, reduce the deficit, fix health care, and cut red tape caused by excessive regulation?  Maybe it is because small business has its share of enemies. Periodically, a few economists opine that small firms are not the principal job creators, that business failures threaten our economy, and that the profit motive of entrepreneurs is evil. When activists in Washington disagree with small business, they attack the trade and membership organizations that advocate for their members in our nation’s capital.