Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Human progress is usually made one funeral at a time.
Doomed to Success: Obamacare's success will doom it. The idea was to provide health insurance to millions of Americans who could not afford commercial plans. And millions did sign up. And then they thought they were supposed to use the new policies, and they did. But insurance companies do not want to insure people who actually use their insurance, any more than auto insurance companies want people who have accidents. Aetna, Humanna, UnitedHealth, Cigna and their friends want only the medical version of the safe driver. Any insurer who takes on people who actually get sick is not going to make as much profit as it wants. And insurers know – thanks to all the data everyone has on everyone these days – exactly who to insure and who to avoid. And under Obamacare, the government is going to end up having to front the cost of all those people the private companies don't want. Eventually the government will have to move towards a single payer system where the relatively healthy (the young) pay more than they “use” so that the relatively unhealthy (mostly the older) can get decent treatment. This will be done with the promise that when the current young become older and sicker, they too will be taken care of. It will eventually become Medicare for all. What we're going through now is simply the bumpy road to a national health service. Either we'll get there, or we'll have the sick and maimed begging in the streets.
Yellen's Quiet Yelling: Fed Chair Janet Yellen's yawner at the Jackson Hole conference, carefully examined, confirms that the world's central bankers have no idea what they are doing or what might come next or what they might be able to do when another crash comes along. Obviously the 'new normal' is that the central banks will continue what was supposed to be – eight or nine years ago when it began – an emergency measure. Lost completely in the central banks' panic to support banks and stock markets have been various nations' economies and laboring classes.
Plundering 101: We are getting a refresher course in capitalism via the EpiPen epic. And it's not just Mylan, it's Gilead ($1,000 a pill hep C drug) and Valeant (Welbutin at $1,400 a month for life) and Pharma-Bro Martin Shkreli's Turing ($750 a tab for an AIDs medicine). All of these pharmaceutical companies were pricing their goods as high as they could to maximize their profits from people who then had to chose between paying up or dying. The real treat is that these companies find ways to transfer the cost to the taxpayers when the actual customers don't have the money. Along the way several of these exemplary capitalists have moved their putative headquarters overseas to avoid US taxation. All legal and all above board and I don't see what the problem is unless you want some sort of socialized medicine.
Third Place: The world has three ice caps – the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Himalaya. All three are melting, but the 46,000 glaciers covering 100,000 square kilometers of the Himalayas is likely to cause the most direct damage and quite soon, relatively. About1.3 billion people will be directly affected – along the major river systems flowing out the area; the Yellow and Yangtze, the Irrawaddy and Ganges and the Mekong. First they will flood and then they will fade.
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:58 AM