Free Markets for Health Care

Here’s an illustration of why one is badly needed.  The Wall Street Journal‘s article is centered on health coverage plans, but the underlying problem is in health care provision and the monopolistic nature of both provision and coverage.

Last year, Cigna Corp and the New York hospital system Northwell Health discussed developing an insurance plan that would offer low-cost coverage by excluding some other health-care providers, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It never happened.
The problem was a separate contract between Cigna and NewYork-Presbyterian, the powerful hospital operator that is a Northwell rival. Cigna couldn’t find a way to work around restrictive language that blocked it from selling any plans that didn’t include NewYork-Presbyterian, according to the people.

Jobs

French President Emmanuel Macron had the effrontery to say to a heretofore unsuccessful job seeker that, were the latter not absolutely set on a job in his chosen career field, the man easily could find work in France.  And the man wouldn’t even have to relocate very far.  The Left is in an uproar over Macron’s arrogance in saying an obvious truth.

The jobseeker, an aspiring gardener, said to Macron at an Elysee Palace open house,

I’m 25 years old, I send resumes and cover letters, they don’t lead to anything[.]

Macron’s terrible advice?

Foolish

Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT) has offered legislation, in coordination with Congressman Ro Khanna (D, CA), that is his latest bit of socialism.  His legislation would hit large businesses with a tax equal to 100% of the welfare payments any of their employees might receive while working.

Sanders and Khanna say—and they’re actually serious—that this would pay for the welfare programs involved.

Andy Puzder has a different view of such legislation.

Responsibility

The government of Puerto Rico is insisting on some in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The Puerto Rican government is taking a hard line on rebuilding properties decimated by last year’s Hurricane Maria, offering homeowners federal financial assistance only if they move out of flood-prone areas.

It’s about time some politicians stood tall and required some personal responsibility instead of subsidizing its lack with taxpayers’ money.

Talks and Conflicts

The Saturday Wall Street Journal had a piece that worried about President Donald Trump’s decision to add more tariffs to People’s Republic of China’s goods just prior to another round of trade talks with the PRC.

[T]he decision’s timing risks deepening the already bitter trade fight by starting another tit-for-tat round of tariffs.

And

The tariffs are bound to complicate—if not derail—talks with top Chinese officials, which are currently scheduled in Washington for Sept 27 and Sept 28, say people familiar with the plans.

He Didn’t Build That

Our economy had the awe-uninspiring growth rate of 2% per year during ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) time in office.  Now, the Census Bureau has reported that

  • [r]eal median household incomes rose 1.8% to $61,372 between 2016 and 2017
  • the overall poverty rate dropped 0.4 per centage points to 12.3%
  • poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics fell to 21.2% and 18.3%, respectively, the lowest in more than 45 years
  • the share of people earning less than $15,000 declining 0.3 per centage points

Obama didn’t build that.  Those folks also think they’ve reached the point where they’ve made enough money.

The PLO and Peace

The US is cutting off funding for the PLO, and we’re closing the PLO’s delegation office in DC.  Various apologists for the terrorist organization are up in arms over the Trump administration’s sterner stand.

…the administration that appear to be moving away from the 1993-95 Oslo accords before the administration has explained what it thinks should come next.

Walking away from the Oslo peace framework? That framework doesn’t exist; the PLO walked away from it long ago.  See, for instance, PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s intifada after walking away from the historic and generous Israeli peace offer brokered by Bill Clinton in 2000.

A Change in Tone?

Recall the start of President Donald Trump’s response to the People’s Republic of China’s economic conflict with us, when he began imposing tariffs on PRC goods over their continued theft of American companies’ intellectual property.

Vice President Wang warned US business chieftains there would be corporate casualties. President Xi told others that Beijing would “punch back” at the US.

Now we’re getting sweet words.

Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s economic-policy chief, told visiting American business representatives that US companies’ China operations won’t be targeted in Beijing’s trade-brawl counterattacks. “We won’t allow retribution against foreign companies,” Mr Liu said[.]

Greece and Austerity

Greece finally is out from under its EU/IMF bailout yoke, and now it wants give its citizens relief from the austerity measures it implemented during its years-long crisis.

[Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras]…announced ambitions to cut taxes as well as increase spending to boost employment and on welfare programs.

Reducing taxes is consistent with reducing austerity—provided the government also tightens its tax collection regime.

Increasing spending, though, increases austerity: it crowds out private businesses as government, which doesn’t have to worry about the cost of money, outcompetes businesses, both for sales and for the resources needed for production. That increased spending also drives up the cost of money for those private enterprises.

Government Diktat

California style.  That state has passed a law.

The law requires a company to appoint one woman to its board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 a five-member board would need to have two women, while boards with six or more directors would need three. The Legislature, always alert to possible micro-aggressions, defines female as “an individual who self-identifies her gender as a woman, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

(One wonders whether the law would be satisfied by a male Board member self-identifying as a woman for the purpose of Board-related activities.  [/snark])