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.

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[.]

Nike

Nike makes shoes, among other things.  It also has chosen to use Colin Kaepernick in its new Just Do It campaign.  You recall Kaepernick: ex-49er quarterback who’s the instigator and leader of the NFL players’ campaign of contempt for our national anthem and our flag and of insult for the generations of our veterans who’ve fought, been maimed, and died for our freedom, including these players’ right to be stupid and to engage in contemptible and insulting behavior.

Trust Us

It seems that Alphabet and Mastercard have hooked up: Mastercard seems to have agreed to share its customers’ shopping habits with Alphabet’s Google in return for Google’s separately accumulated data on those same customers.  The subhead on Bloomberg‘s piece is instructive:

Google found the perfect way to link online ads to store purchases: credit card data

The hookup is this:

For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the US. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

Governance by the Left

It’s only light bulbs, so who cares?  The Know Betters of the EU care, and the subhead on the Deutsche Welle article at the link says it all.

The sale of halogen lightbulbs is being banned across the EU, as LEDs are touted as greener alternatives. Advocates insist the move will save consumers money in the long run and lead to lower carbon emissions.

If that were true, then LEDs would have no trouble competing in a free market and supplanting halogens quite rapidly and freely.

However.

On Keeping the Senate Informed

…to the level Senators deem appropriate.  In a Wall Street Journal article about the fate of the newly negotiated trade agreement between the US and Mexico, there was this plaint from one Senator among others:

Lawmakers from both parties have complained that the Trump administration has broken with precedent by not regularly briefing with Capitol Hill and leaving them largely in the dark about crucial details of the negotiations. “Who knows what’s happening,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R, TN), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, with a shrug.

Turkey and Natural Gas Pipelines

War on the Rocks has an interesting piece on Turkey’s desire to become a natural gas transshipment hub feeding Europe and perhaps Russia.  I think, though, that WOTR underplays the purpose of Turkey’s transshipment goal.

Recall the existing conflict between Turkey and Europe over immigration, economics, rule of law EU-style rather than as Recep Erdoğan does it, and a host of other excuses for Turkey to claim to be put upon.

Privacy

Now Facebook wants to hook up with banks to collect our financial information and our shopping habits as revealed by our credit card charging history.

No. Not ever. Not with Facebook’s lack of concern for our privacy or our personal data.

Facebook said it wouldn’t use the bank data for ad-targeting purposes or share it with third parties.

Sure. I might know about some beachfront property for sale north of Santa Fe, too.

Any bank that hooks up with Facebook in any way loses my business altogether.  Full stop.