The ham hands of government are grabbing more and more power of the the health care sector, and Obama's "plan" shows signs of moving much further into that area. Once the government starts paying for something, the political forces create much pressure to control it and all its details more and more. Here are two examples.
WSJ: "Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday to encourage limits on the compensation of insurance executives, responding to charges that expanding health insurance coverage would enrich insurance companies. ... Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark.) said the limit is needed because insurance companies are going to reap a windfall of new customers under the legislation. "This is the right thing, and the right message to the American people,"
I don't really care about insurance executives, and I've written many times that top corporate executives are overpaid, but this level of nitpicking is ridiculous.
WSJ: "More than 660,000 seniors next year will lose the private Medicare plans they now have because some insurers are dropping coverage in response to tougher federal requirements.
Most of those beneficiaries are enrolled in a type of Medicare Advantage plan called Private Fee for Service, where enrollment has surged from about 820,000 three years ago to more than 2.44 million today. PFFS enrollees, unlike those under other Medicare Advantage plans, can see any doctor they like as long as he or she accepts payments through their plan. ... Congress, alarmed by the high cost of PFFS plans, voted in 2008 to require the plans to establish networks of providers beginning in 2011. Companies such as Humana Inc., which has established networks that can cover at least 80% of PFFS enrollees, are doing just that. But Medicare officials acknowledged Thursday that others are pulling out. Plans with a total enrollment of 667,000 people are scheduled to be canceled next year, they said."
In other words, contrary to claims of Congressmen, choice of doctors will NOT be maintained under Obama-care. Once it pays directly, Government imposes more and more requirements and coverage that eventually dictates every aspect of a health care plan.
All this should be simplified. Why is Medicare a separate system ? Why is Medicaid a separate system ? All that create huge billing complexity and more and more administration Eventually the costs of administration outweigh any claimed savings.
I recognize that people are not going to let people die in the streets from lack of care in this modern, relatively prosperous world. We should simply recognize that a level of basic health care is to be a shared benefit of society. In reality, it already is, as persons without coverage now go to the emergency rooms with illnesses and broken limbs, etc.
Provide everyone with a simple voucher (electronically) to choose their own basic care plan. If a person doesn't choose, his plan can be randomly assigned to existing, qualified plans. Health care providers would compete for our business. And people would be free to decide to spend more money to buy additional care plans, that might provide for more convenience and care, extra tests, private rooms, etc.
This is more like some European plans like Germany and France, as I understand them. The marketplace would keep costs down as plans would have to compete for our business.
How to pay ? That's for another blog.
Big drop yesterday as all the long beefers sold trading positions as the same time, as usual. And I suppose the bears piled on. These moves should be no surprise to anyone, and we should all expect them from time to time.
I have a good bit of cash from prior sales in Fido Fund to buy stocks for longer term positions, and will start looking around. I might make some 1-2-3 Fund stock buys, too, for shorter term trades.
Word of the Day
"Anfractuosity" - noun [$10] and "Anfractuous" - adjective [$100] A Big Al word !!!
Anfractuosity means 1. circuitousness; 2. intricacy.
Anfractuous means characterized by windings and turnings; sinuous; circuitous [1615-1625 back formation from anfractuosity]
Sentence: Streets in the very old sections of East coast cities and towns can be so anfractuous that one needs a compass to keep one's direction. ... or ... The anfractuosity of creating ObamaCare has become so pronounced that only a cluster FUBAR can result.
Here is a chant that we can all do to create positive vibes and concentrate mental energy to increase stock prices. It says "they increase" in seven languages.
augunt ... Sie steigen ... Ils montent ... aumentano ... aumentan ... wzrastają ... they increase.
Chant this seven times with a seven second "ommmmmmmmmm" in between each chant.
This will be a perfect 7x7x7 chant - imagine that power of it !
[FYI, this is a joke, but it's fun.]