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The Lighthouse


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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 14, Issue 34: August 21, 2012

  1. Healthcare Gridlock Is Coming
  2. ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Isn’t Worth a Police State
  3. Will U.S. Policy in Syria Be a Bipartisan Quagmire?
  4. Lighthouse Readers Survey
  5. New Blog Posts



1) Healthcare Gridlock Is Coming

Get ready for healthcare gridlock. Once the new healthcare law fully takes effect, all Americans will be entitled to a long list of preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs, but the healthcare system won’t have enough doctors to provide them. The shortage will create longer waiting periods that some patients will be able to cope with better than others. Lower income patients will be worse off, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow John C. Goodman.

“As physicians increasingly have to allocate their time, patients in [health] plans that pay below-market prices will likely wait longest,” Goodman writes in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. “Those patients will be the elderly and the disabled on Medicare, low-income families on Medicaid, and (if the Massachusetts model is followed) people with subsidized insurance acquired in ObamaCare’s newly created health insurance exchanges.”

Many patients who can afford to do so will sign up for concierge care—medical practices in which patients pay a retainer fee for more personalized and responsive service, such as same day or next-day appointments. Physicians who open a concierge practice typically take about 500 of their patients with them, leaving behind 2,000 former patients to find a new doctor. (Those figures come from MDVIP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respectively.) “So in general, as concierge care grows, the strain on the rest of the system will become greater,” Goodman continues. “We will quickly evolve into a two-tiered health-care system, with those who can afford it getting more care and better care. In the meantime, the most vulnerable populations will have less access to care than they had before ObamaCare became law.”

Why the Doctor Can’t See You, by John C. Goodman (The Wall Street Journal, 8/14/12)

Medicare Drama More Hype than Reality, by Thomas R. Saving and John C. Goodman (USA Today, 8/16/12)

See John C. Goodman at these exciting upcoming events:

Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman

Video: John C. Goodman on C-SPAN2’s Book TV (8/12/20)

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2) ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Isn’t Worth a Police State

Last year, the New York Police Department stopped and frisked more than 685,000 people. Although the main rationale for the policy is to keep illicit firearms off the street, the searches don’t turn up many—only one gun per two hundred searches. Complaints of unfair searches are common, with young African-American and Hispanic men bearing the brunt disproportionately and women accusing policemen of using the search policy as an excuse to grope them. Some people claim that the stop-and-frisk policy has helped reduce violent crime, but cities that don’t use tactics similar to New York’s have also seen violent crime fall. But even if the NYPD’s tactics lowered crime, they would still be highly objectionable, according to Independent Institute Research Editor Anthony Gregory.

“If your chances of being robbed have declined, but your chances of being stopped, harassed, or even brutalized by police have risen, are you better off?” Gregory writes in the Huffington Post. “If the number of people stopped, frisked, arrested, imprisoned, beaten, and shot by police has risen, can it really be said that communities are safer?”

New York has seen a 600 percent increase in police searches since Michael Bloomberg became mayor, but the policy is indicative of a broader problem in American society, according to Gregory: a growing political deference to law enforcement that has contributed to an increase in the aggressiveness and even lawlessness of police departments. “Looking around our society, we see frightening trends: The militarization of police, officers disciplining children violently, family pets summarily shot in mistaken midnight raids, a hundred SWAT-style home invasions a day, and the largest per capita prison population on earth,” Gregory writes. “Now, citizens of America’s most famous city must contend with fears of being stopped, forced to produce documentation, and potentially groped or otherwise harassed without warrant. The American colonists of the late eighteenth century fought a revolution over less.”

Do We Want a ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Society?, by Anthony Gregory (Huffington Post, 8/15/12)

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3) Will U.S. Policy in Syria Be a Bipartisan Quagmire?

As noted in last week’s Lighthouse, U.S. intervention in Syria runs the significant risk of getting the United States bogged down in an Iraq-style quagmire. A U.S. occupation may be even worse in Syria, however, because Syrian society may be more divided than Iraq was after the fall of Saddam. Unfortunately, elements of both the American left and right are beating the war drums. In his latest op-ed, Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute’s Center on Peace & Liberty, examines this trend.

Joining the pro-intervention chorus of Sen. John McCain and the neoconservatives of the GOP are former Clinton administration officials William Perry and Madeleine Albright, former Obama State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. The muscular left often couches its motives in the language of humanitarian causes, as compared to the interventionists of the right, but the net effect would be the same: the sacrifice of U.S. blood and treasure without making Americans more secure.

So far, President Obama has resisted pressures to do more than impose economic sanctions on the Assad regime and provide “nonlethal” communications equipment to Syria’s rebels. “But with America’s prestige now on the line after those earlier policy moves and the advocacy of Assad’s ouster, the post-election road to an ill-advised escalation may be open, no matter who wins the plebiscite,” Eland concludes.

Left and Right Call for Escalation in Syria, by Ivan Eland (8/16/12)

No War for Oil: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East, by Ivan Eland

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4) Lighthouse Readers Survey

Attention, readers: Here’s your chance to help us help you by giving us feedback. Please visit this link and complete the brief survey.

Thank you, again, for your continued readership—and for spreading the message!

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5) New Blog Posts

From The Beacon:

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

You can find the Independent Institute’s Spanish-language blog here.

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