Category Archives: Economy

Insurance Industry Opposes Republican Health Bill

Fortune seemed surprised that insurers oppose last ditch Republican efforts to replace and repeal ObamaCare.

As usual, the industry’s concern is for consumers.

Insurance Industry Explains Why

Industry spokesmen displayed their concern in an article titled “Even the Insurance Industry is Against the Latest GOP Health Care Plan”:

Despite the general view that health insurance companies would benefit from a free and open market, two of the biggest trade groups for insurers — Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans — announced their first opposition to the Republicans’ latest plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Both the Blue Cross and the AHIP came out against the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill Wednesday, arguing that the legislation would lead to an unstable market that would harm both insurers and patients.

“The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions,’’ the Blue Cross association said in a statement. “The legislation reduces funding for many states significantly and would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.”

The AHIP doubled down on those sentiments, writing that the bill “would have real consequences on consumers and patients by further destabilizing the individual market” and could “potentially allowing government-controlled, single payer health care to grow,” in a letter to Senate majority and minority leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The insurance trade associations’ resistance joins a number of health care groups already speaking out against the proposed bill, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Association of Retired Persons.

The Graham-Cassidy bill, named after two of its drafters, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), has a voting deadline of Sept. 30. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation next week after several previously unsuccessful attempts earlier this year.

President Donald Trump talked up the bill Wednesday, saying that it has “a very good chance” of passing in the Senate.

Tax Reform Rescue Mission

tax reform

During a week of inspiring rescues, President Trump introduced his tax reform plan. The U.S. has the world’s highest corporate tax rate at 39%. As a result, over two trillion dollars is parked overseas in low tax countries like Ireland. Trump proposes a 15% corporate rate as ransom to rescue that cash and bring it home. Which in return will lead to growth.

Tax Reform

Of course Democrats don’t see it that way. To them it’s all just an elitist gift to the rich. Maybe, but Kimberly Strassel points out in the WSJ that Trump is an ideal pitchman for the plan. He’s rich but he’s also seen as a populist outsider:

Mr. Trump has defined himself as the protector of America’s forgotten man, an outsider to the swamp, an America Firster. The result is that he is uniquely qualified to sell a tax plan decried as “elitist” to average Americans.

In Missouri, Mr. Trump busted up the left’s class-warfare model. He didn’t make tax reform about blue-collar workers fighting corporate America. Instead it was a question of “our workers” and “our companies” and “our country” competing against China. He noted that America’s high tax rates force companies to move overseas. He directly and correctly tied corporate rate cuts to prosperity for workers, noting that tax reform would “keep jobs in America, create jobs in America,” and lead to higher wages.

Google Engineer James Damore

google engineer james damore

There are certain things one doesn’t ask in polite elite society. Lucky for you you’re nowhere near there. You’re in Bokbluster, so I’ll ask:

Is it possible, on average, that girls don’t like math as much as boys? It’s possible, on average. Unless you’re Larry Summers, the former president of Harvard.

Is it possible, on average, that girls are less fond of computer engineering than boys? That’s a possibility too. Unless you’re another Harvard guy, former Google engineer James Damore.

Damore’s Downfall

Damore wrote a 10 page memo (screed to the politically correct among us) asking if it’s possible that women are underrepresented in engineering because of biology rather than bias.

Google management was having none of that. Here’s Google CEO Sundar Pichai:

To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.

Coming down firmly on the side of bias, he fired Damore.

 

 

Medicaid Addiction Crisis

addiction

Here’s a nifty graphic from Axios AM.  It’s based on data gathered by The Kaiser Family Foundation. The data show that most people are covered by group health insurance. But Medicaid comes in second.

The Affordable Care Act encouraged states to expand Medicaid to the able bodied poor. The deal was that the feds would pay 100% of the costs until 2020 and 90% from then on.

Addiction to Medicaid

The Medicaid expansion created a new entitlement. And Governors like John Kasich got hooked on it. And, as with most addictions, the price skyrocketed.

Daniel Henninger in the WSJ finds it ironic that Republicans are using the opioid addiction crises as a reason not to cut back on soaring Medicaid expenses.

What an irony it is that one of the Republican arguments made now for preserving ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is the opioid crisis. Even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Medicaid’s expansion was optional, some Republican governors got hooked on the promise of federal cash flow to the horizon.

Uber Founder Ejected

uber founder ejected

Uber investors forced C.E.O. Travis Kalanick out of the company he founded.

Here’s Reuters:

The resignation sent shockwaves through Silicon Valley and leaves Uber’s board of directors with the problem of finding a dynamic leader who also has a steady hand needed to heal Uber after a bruising six months.

Uber Founder Ejected

And here’s MIT Technology Review on Uber’s driverless car problem:

Its new CEO will inherit many problems, but a business plan based on the elusive dream of driverless cars is the largest.