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

Volume 15, Issue 20: May 14, 2013

  1. Medicaid’s Failure and Obamacare’s Prognosis
  2. What Are Spendthrift Politicians Costing You?
  3. Student Seminar in Colorado Springs, June 17-21
  4. The Independent Institute Seeks a Development Director
  5. New Blog Posts
  6. Selected News Alerts

The Independent Review: Subscribe or renew today and get a free copy of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Crisis and Levithan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, by Robert Higgs.


1) Medicaid’s Failure and Obamacare’s Prognosis

A new study comparing health outcomes for Medicaid patients and the uninsured has put supporters of Obamacare in a tizzy. The study, published May 2 in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, concludes that enrollees in the Oregon Health Plan—the Beaver State’s version of Medicaid—fared no better than patients without health insurance. This finding has huge significance, in part because the federal healthcare law will bring an estimated 17 million formerly uninsured people under the umbrella of Medicaid nationwide next year.

“Yet, if Medicaid doesn’t make people any healthier than they were when they were uninsured, that implies that the entire Obamacare program could be one huge waste of money,” writes Independent Institute Research Fellow John C. Goodman in Townhall.

Goodman speculates that the poor performance of the Oregon Health Plan resulted from an inadequate number of healthcare providers who serve Medicaid enrollees in the state. Such a bottleneck in the supply chain probably means that Medicaid patients must wait longer to get care than they waited when they relied on the patchwork of free care that serves low-income people who are not enrolled in Medicaid. Goodman also suggests that Medicaid’s poor performance is a key reason why people across the country who are eligible for the program often choose not to enroll. (Why go through the extra hassle of enrolling when it doesn’t improve one’s health?) The health policy community has had trouble dealing with these phenomena, Goodman argues, because it tends to focus on expanding access to health insurance while ignoring the utilization of healthcare itself—a pro-insurance bias that may result from the concern that middle- and upper-income people have with protecting their assets. “They chose for poor people the same thing they would want themselves,” he writes. “They didn’t think about access to care because they have never had a personal problem with it.”

Devastating News for Obamacare Backers, by John C. Goodman (Townhall, 5/6/13)

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

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2) What Are Spendthrift Politicians Costing You?

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” –P. J. O’Rourke

Lighthouse readers know how severely the growth of government power has diminished our civil and economic liberties. MyGovCost.org—a project of the Independent Institute—lets visitors see how Big Government takes a toll on their pocket book. The website’s Government Cost Calculator allows you to determine your total estimated federal tax liabilities—and the return you could have earned had that money instead earned the average return that the stock market has earned since 1871. Simply enter your age, current income, and level of schooling. You can even find out what 17 different spending subcategories will end up costing you.

Consider the case of Mike, a 55-year-old with a bachelor’s degree who makes $75,000 per year. Based on projections from sources like the Congressional Budget Office (and using its latest numbers), Mike can expect to pay a total of $370,741 in federal taxes if he passes away at age 82. An estimated $67,322 of that would have gone to fund Medicare—a sum that would have grown to $162,761 had it been invested and earned an annual return of 6.1 percent. And how big would Mike’s nest egg have been worth had he earned that return on his entire future tax liabilities? A comfortable sum of $923,211.

See what our leaders’ fiscal profligacy is costing you. Visit MyGovCost.org now. And stay tuned for the upcoming MyGovCost mobile app!

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3) Student Seminar in Colorado Springs, June 17-21

Attention, College Students: Looking for an exciting way to kick off summer vacation? Then join us in Colorado Springs for the Challenge of Liberty Student Seminar! Learn about the economics, history, and philosophy of liberty with a team of brilliant lecturers: Robert Higgs (The Independent Institute), Ivan Pongracic (Hillsdale College), Paul Prentice (Yorktown University), Alexandre Padilla (Metropolitan State College of Denver), John Cochran (Metropolitan State College of Denver), Anthony Gregory (Independent Institute), and Jose Yúlo (Academy of Art University, San Francisco).

Each day is devoted to a crucial theme:

Day 1: The Rise of Liberty
The Challenge of Liberty
Ethics and Liberty
Western Civilization and Thought
From Crusoe to Smith
Institutions and Property Rights
Division of Labor, Comparative Advantage, and Free Trade

Day 2: Economics Fundamentals
Competition and the Market Process
The Firm and Entrepreneurship
Praxeology
Externalities
Public Choice

Day 3: Interventionism
Regulation and Interventionism
Monopoly and Antitrust
Money and Banking
Business Cycles
The Economic Crisis of 2008
Planned Chaos: Why Socialism Failed

Day 4: Government Failure in the Modern World
Environmentalism
Education and the State
Ideology and Government Growth
The Welfare State
Totalitarianism and Lawlessness

Day 5: The Future of Freedom
America’s Great Depression
The Myth of War Prosperity
The Future of Liberty

Space is filling up quickly and only a limited number of scholarships are available, so please make your reservation as soon as you can!

The Challenge of Liberty 2013 Student Seminars

College Students: June 17–21 (Colorado Springs, CO)
College Students: July 15–19 (Berkeley, CA)
High School Students: July 22-26 (Oakland, CA)

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4) The Independent Institute Seeks a Development Director

The Independent Institute is currently seeking an experienced Development professional with a strong commitment to individual liberty to lead our Development team in furthering the Institute’s mission and impact.

The Development Director has responsibility for establishing and executing on the annual and rolling five-year Strategic Plan for the department. Central to this is maintaining and developing relationships with donors, including major gifts, annual campaigns, special events, direct mail and electronic efforts. As such, the qualified candidate will be a self-motivated, committed professional with successful fund-raising experience to assist us in our continued growth.

Excellent verbal, written, organizational, and interpersonal skills are required, as well as a demonstrated track record in planning, organizing, coordinating, and implementing successful development programs, including direct mail, special events, annual solicitation, major gifts/planned giving and donor management.

For details, please see our Employment Opportunities page.

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5) New Blog Posts

From The Beacon:

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

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

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6) Selected News Alerts

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