The Health Care Choice

The Wall Street Journal has the right of it, and it’s a stark one for the Republican Party and for us Americans.  The House and the Senate bills for getting rid of Obamacare and replacing it with something better are far from perfect, but they are significant improvements over the Obamacare assault on Americans’ access to health care, and on individual liberty and responsibility.  Further, the House plan has always been billed as the first part of a three-part effort at complete repeal and replacement; it’s never been claimed to be a final answer.  And the Senate bill on offer is not one, either.  Senate Republicans are well aware of this.

Medicaid-Receiving Companies Object to the Senate Bill

The Senate is proposing an overhaul of Obamacare and an improvement to the health coverage providing industry, and one of those improvements is a rollback of the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid and an eventual capping of Federal funds transfers to the States’ Medicaid programs.  There are objections to this.

The primary objections are from insurers and hospitals, et al., who get a significant fraction of their income from the guarantees of Medicaid payments; they don’t want to have to compete in the open market.  They prefer the supposed safety of that guaranteed income, paltry though it is, especially compared to the income available from a free market, and they don’t care what that “safety” costs those who must pay for it.

Obstructionism

…for the sake of obstructionism.  And now the Progressive-Democrats in the Senate are getting blatant about it.  They don’t want to help reform the health care coverage disaster of the last eight years, so to block Republican and Conservative efforts at reform, these Progressive-Democrats have decided to block everything in the Senate.  Here’s Senator Chris Murphy (D, CT) o the overall attitude:

What more could we do—hold Republican Senators by the arms to stop them from getting to the chamber?  I think we’ll use every tool at our disposal.

Saudi Oil Embargo Against the US?

Saudi Arabia is cutting its oil exports to the US for the express purpose of directing our use of our own oil to Saudi purposes—to make us use up our existing “excess” supplies.

Saudi Arabia is slashing its US oil exports to a near three-decade low for this time of the year, intensifying its efforts to reduce a global supply glut that has been pummeling crude prices.

Not just the global gut—our supply in particular.  Saudi Arabian Oil Co is cutting its exports to the US to the lowest level since the late ’80s.  Saudi Aramco is cutting its exports to us to the lowest level since 2009, the end-game of the Panic of 2008.

Currency Valuations and Economic Growth

There’s an interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal that looks at the economic theory that suggests that a nation’s devaluing currency, by making its exports cheaper, would spur domestic production and so economic growth.  As the article says, Great Britain is offering a real-time experiment that tests that theory.

In that experiment, the pound has lost value in the exchange markets to a significant degree, but exports—and the British economy—have not expanded as much as was expected by some under the theory.  This “failure” of the theory is being blamed on globalization.  For example,

General Reform

25% of us don’t see doctors because that costs too much.

32% of older millennials (is there such a thing?  Gad) skip the doctor.  13% of Americans don’t have any health coverage plan at all—paying the penalty is more valuable to them.  Half of us don’t think we’ll have affordable health insurance much less Obamacare’s health coverage welfare.

This, together with today’s other post, just illustrates the fact that no single part of our economy—or of our Federal government—can effectively be treated in isolation: not Obamacare alone, not Federal spending alone (especially not by “cutting” through reducing the rate of growth in spending), not taxing alone, not debt handling alone.

Losing Health Coverage

The CBO and Progressive-Democrats in Congress loudly claim that millions will lose their health coverage plans under Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

What the Progressive-Democrats are carefully ignoring (the CBO not so much; they weren’t tasked with comparing the Republican plans and Obamacare) are the real millions that already are losing or are about to lose their health coverage plans because Obamacare is collapsing now.

The nation’s second largest health insurance company, Anthem, will extract itself from the majority of the ObamaCare market in the state of Ohio by 2018, the company announced Tuesday, raising questions about the future of its exchange participation.

Hollywood, Too

A month into the summer movie season and the box office is already suffering from poor performances by a number of widely panned films.

Box office gross receipts are off nearly 5% through the summer compared to the same period last year and its this-year Memorial Day weekend wasn’t this bad since 1999.

Megan Colligan, Paramount’s President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution on her studio’s Baywatch:

The cast could not have done more work in aggressively promoting “Baywatch.” Dwayne [Johnson] gave this 150%[.]

It is to weep.  They tried so hard—where’s their participation ribbon?

Medicaid Transfers

It’s well understood that Medicaid badly wants reform.  My own view is to give it back to the States by reducing Federal fund transfers to them until the transfers are zero, which also would eliminate Federal strings jerking the States to do everything the same way, the Federal way.

There are lots of paths to that end, and there are a number of other reforms that would help the situation at least a little.  The House plan for repeal and replace of Obamacare, the first step of which was the American Health Care Act, has one such step, the repeal of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

Hindsight

…and learning from it for better anticipations.

Federal Reserve officials grappling with the legacy of expansive stimulus would find it difficult to return to the central bank’s precrisis role on the sidelines of financial markets, analysts and central-bank watchers say.

Well, NSS.  Frankly, these worthies should have known the outcomes likely from their intervention before they intervened.

Aside from the magnitude of the necessary rollback and its attendant difficulty—the Fed’s balance sheet has expanded four and a half times, from $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion since right before the Panic of 2008—there’s the human engineering aspect of personal political power: