Patient Power and the Internet

The growth of the Internet and the vast amount of information it makes available are dramatically changing health care and medicine. As many as 100 million people in the United States now have access to the Internet, and that number is expected to grow by 50 percent over the next few years. Health information is some of the most popular content on the Internet.

MSAs for Everyone, Part II

Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) are usually associated with large deductibles. For example, under a federal pilot program, in order for employers and their employees to make tax-free deposits to MSA accounts, patients must incur $1,550 or more in expenses before the insurance kicks in. All the expenses below the deductible are to be paid from the MSA or directly out of pocket. Once the deductible is satisfied, the insurance acts like any other health plan.

MSAs for Everyone, Part I

Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) give patients direct ownership of and control over a portion of their health care dollars. They have two main advantages. First, when people spend their own health care dollars, they become more careful and prudent consumers of care than when they spend other people's dollars. The result is lower health care costs and better value for the money spent. Second, when patients pay the bills, doctors and other providers are more likely to act as the patients' agents rather than as agents of a third-party payer. The result is care that better meets the patients' needs.

Focus Point – Big Spending Republicans

The political trend that's pained me most over the past few years has been the inability of Congressional Republicans to stick to the promises of 1994. I've given examples before. Now, Investor's Business Daily is the latest to run the numbers.

Focus Point – Real Campaign Reform

President Clinton is wrong about Bradley Smith. Clinton nominated Smith — reluctantly — to the Federal Election Commission. Republicans and Democrats each nominate three people to the commission. Smith's a Republican who, Clinton says, hates campaign reform.

Focus Point – Taxing the Net

The battle to keep Internet commerce tax free won a small victory last week when a Blue Ribbon Commission voted to extend the moratorium on Internet taxes until 2006.

Focus Point – Really Helping the Uninsured

Every year the federal governments "spends" about $125 billion in tax subsidies (read: Your Money) encouraging people to buy private health insurance. But the number of uninsured is 44 million and growing. How come? Because the subsidies actually cause people to decline insurance.

The End of the Sales Tax?

The commission studying Internet taxation has been hearing two starkly different scenarios of our future with e-commerce. On the one hand, the word is that taxing Internet commerce will kill the goose just as it begins to lay golden eggs. On the other hand, there are predictions that state and local government revenue bases will dry up unless Internet sales are subject to the same taxes that apply to traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses.

Taxing the Internet

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Commission today on the issue of Internet taxation. Whatever this Commission decides to do will unquestionably shape the debate for years to come. You are to be congratulated for the thorough job you and the other members are doing in this important area.