Inside the Beltway: Normal guy Romney

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “is so complex and so technical it’s mind numbing. But it’s so significant. It will have a dramatic impact on different segments of health care” says Robert J. Hugin, chairman of Celgene Corp., a multinational biopharmaceutical company. Mr. Hugin says that financing the new coverage will mean health-care costs will jump from 16 percent of the gross domestic product to 25 percent by 2025.

Richard Evans, general manager of Sector & Sovereign LLC, a research and investment adviser, noted that the new health-care law will require a subsidy for about 65 percent of American households to buy health insurance on exchanges. And what’s coming? There won’t be enough physicians for the influx of new patients, and hospitals and health plans will likely merge to save money.

“We’ll bring in physicians from outside the U.S., and we’ll rely more on nurse practitioners,” he predicts.

A CLOSE SHAVE

Beyond the drone of talking heads, ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” will soon showcase bald, talking heads.

“Politics can be hairy. I had a bet with my political counterpart, Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee. We each agreed to let the other shave our head on national television if our candidate lost the presidential election,” says Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the Democratic National Committee “I was excited that I’d be shaving Sean’s head instead of him shaving mine.”

That was until Mr. Woodhouse and Mr. Spicer heard of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation (www.stbaldricks.org), a charity that has raised $101 million to fund research grants for childhood cancer through public events where many good-hearted volunteers shave their heads. The pair lose their hair on “This Week,” and with good cheer.

“We’re having our heads shaved to stand in solidarity with kids fighting cancer, but more importantly, to raise money to find cures,” Mr. Spicer says.

The big shave day is Sunday, with ABC political analyst Jon Karl as barber.

POLL DU JOUR

• 67 percent of Americans are looking forward to the Christmas and holiday season.

• 57 percent have not begun shopping yet; 17 percent are waiting for sales, 6 percent “hate” shopping.

• 52 percent have a gift budget, 36 percent are buying less this year, 15 percent are still paying off last year’s bills.

• 34 percent will shop online during Black Friday and over the weekend, 32 percent will shop in stores.

• 15 percent still have an unused gift card from 2011.

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