Health Plan Providers Are Concerned

These providers, which surprisingly The Wall Street Journal misapprehends as insurers, are bracing for a drop in enrollment in the ongoing health plan provision program “turmoil.”  There’s this key passage in the article at the link:

[M]any firms say they expect to lose consumers who will bear the full brunt of the rate increases—those who aren’t eligible for the health law’s premium subsidies, which help enrollees with annual incomes of less than around $48,000.

Laziness

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC, banks allegedly involved in rigging the erstwhile international debt interest rate benchmark LIBOR, are going to pay $132 million in aggregate to “settle” a court case over that alleged involvement.

The proposed settlements…include no admission of wrongdoing.

The banks are paying the money for—as the plaintiffs plainly agree by their own acceptance of the settlement—not doing anything.

This is a bad deal. If the banks didn’t do anything wrong, for what are they paying? If they deserve fines, why aren’t they being kept in court for an on-the-record public recitation of their wrongdoing and punishment?

Health Plan Coverage and Contraception

The Wall Street Journal has noted that the Trump administration has taken regulatory action to reduce, if not eliminate (the Supreme Court still has to do its job vis-à-vis a Little Sisters of the Poor case, as does Congress legislatively, contra a short handful of Republicans who prefer Obamacare intact over any step toward getting rid of it), the requirement that health plan providers provide contraception to women at no cost to those women coverees and do so regardless of any question of conscience or religious tenet.

Naturally, Progressive-Democrats and the Left generally have their collective panties in a wedgie over that.  However, they carefully ignore certain inconvenient facts.

Two Health Insurance Markets?

The Wall Street Journal has misunderstood the situation and the proposal [emphasis added].

President Donald Trump’s executive order on health insurance, the most significant step so far to put his stamp on health policy, is designed to give more options to healthy consumers. It also could divide the insurance market in two.

What Trump is purportedly going to do with his Executive Order is

  • instruct[] federal agencies to loosen rules on health plans that the administration says have driven up premiums and reduced insurance offerings

YGTBSM

This is from a Food and Drug Administration warning letter to the owners of Nashoba Brook Bakery, via The Wall Street Journal:

Your…products are misbranded…because…the labels fail to bear a complete list of all the ingredients by common or usual name….

Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient “Love.” Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name…. “Love” is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.

Another Example

…of government regulatory failure.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which regulates, among other financial institutions, brokerage houses, has its own investment portfolio.  FINRA charges fees from those it regulates for their privilege of being regulated.  And

In years when FINRA’s fee revenue exceeds forecasts and investment gains are strong, the regulator can rebate fees paid by firms it regulates.

Investment gains are strong.  However, FINRA turns out to be a crappy investor, getting just two-thirds of the return since 2004, when the regulatory body’s investment portfolio was created, that a simple-minded standard portfolio mix of 50% each of bonds and stocks would have gotten in the same period.  Its return shortfall, 3.4% vs that standard portfolio’s 6%, is a real money shortfall: $440 million for a portfolio of $1.6 billion.

What’s Their Limiting Principle?

Progressives, as The Wall Street Journal puts it,

believe that every human problem can be solved with a policy tweak. A ban here, a background check there, and, voila, no more mass shootings.

But what’s their limiting principle?  What level of gun control would satisfy them?  What fundamental concept would make them believe they’ve gone far enough with their tweaks, checks, bans on an American citizen’s access to the means of defending himself and his family?  Besides their empty rhetoric of “I wouldn’t do that, I wouldn’t take all your guns away…,” I mean.

The Not Good Enough Legacy

Here are some stats regarding Obamacare’s impact on our poor, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

More than one in three of taxed [via the individual mandate penalty] households earned less than $25,000, which is roughly the federal poverty line for a family of four.

And

More than 75% of penalized households made less than $50,000 and nine in 10 earned less than $75,000.

And

Fewer families paid the tax in 2015 than in 2014, yet government revenues increased to more than $3 billion from about $1.7 billion, as the financial punishment for lacking coverage increased.

Some Thoughts on Graham-Cassidy

These are…triggered…by Thursday’s Wall Street Journal piece on how the Graham-Cassidy Plan Would Change Health Coverage.

The Congressional Budget Office has said that, without a rule requiring insurers to charge all customers comparable premiums, health plans could become prohibitively expensive for some people with pre-existing conditions.

The plans wouldn’t be insurance plans, either, since the premiums wouldn’t have anything to do with the risk being transferred.  The plans would be welfare plans.

Separately, states could also waive a requirement that insurers provide a set of medical benefits like mental-health services and prescription-drug coverage. If those benefits aren’t required, people with costly medical conditions could have difficulty buying insurance with the relevant services or medications.

The PRC and Bitcoin

The behavior of the People’s Republic of China regarding bitcoin has purpose far beyond controlling bitcoin.  As background, The Wall Street Journal had this assessment of the PRC’s financial industry:

China has digitized its financial sector faster than any other nation.

The reason for their rapid pace is this according to Li Lihui, a spokesman for the National Internet Finance Association of China, and it has nothing at all to do with a sovereign nation’s legitimate desire to control its own currency and money supply:

A goal of China’s monetary regulation is to ensure that “the source and destination of every piece of money can be tracked[.]”