In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
John Foust, a Democrat running for the 10th congressional seat in Northern Virginia, is — like Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state Democrats — gung-ho to expand Medicaid. His wife’s position is, shall we say, a bit more nuanced.Foust has slammed his opponent, Republican Del. Barbara Comstock, for her opposition to expansion. He has spoken […]
Although the mainstream media have turned its attention away from the wreckage of Obamacare, don’t think for a second that all is well.As the politicos in D.C. focus their attention on the midterm elections in November, now is a great time to study, prepare, and seek out the most affordable, accessible, and highest quality options […]
Health care costs in the U.S. have been rising so steadily for so long that containment barely seems possible. Even optimists don’t dream of cutting the price tag. As its official name — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — suggests, Obamacare aims for affordability, not radical reduction.But at a time when we’re all […]
One issue I have with our modern lifestyle – of many — is the emphasis on perfection. Newer, slimmer, bigger, better, faster: the message of perfection screams out to us from glossy magazines, slick television ads and popup ad after popup ad. (Or purrs, cajoles, teases, and smothers.)While I do believe fundamentally in pursuing whatever your […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
In September 2009, when President Obama made a primetime speech pitching his not-yet-passed health care overhaul, he made the following promise: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. Period.” To prove his seriousness, he further promised that “there will be a provision […]
What’s the #1 reason a start-up fails?It runs out of money!And why would it run out of money?Because nobody wants the product it’s selling!For early-stage investors, this presents a bit of a conundrum:If a product doesn’t exist yet, how do you figure out if there’s demand for it?And how do you figure it out before […]
Biotech breakthroughs and other transformative innovations are a few of the brightly shining spots in the U.S. economy. In fact, Paul Mampilly believes this is the golden age of biotech investing, and that you can earn massive returns while investing in companies with drugs that benefit all of humanity. Read on for his latest example...
Obama recently claimed this was the “Decade of the Brain”. But it not the first time the government made that promise. The last time they did it, they wasted millions of your tax dollars. Now they’re back for round two. But this time, their failure could mean more than squandered money. It could mean making Alzheimer’s even worse for those who suffer from it.
Why Is U.S. Health Care So Much More Expensive?After years of research and many conversations with health policy experts, I see three key culprits of expensive health care in the U.S.In no particular order, they are the third-party payer system (i.e., employer-provided health care), malpractice suits, and administrative support costs/paperwork.The unintended consequence of institutionalized employer-provided […]
Back in the 1980s, John Nestor became infamous for single-handedly causing massive traffic jams on the Capital Beltway. But in his professional life, he created a completely different kind of traffic jam... one that may have contributed to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Juan Enriquez has the full story. Read on...
The Food and Drug Administration will tell you they’re there to protect you. To make sure the food and medicine you put in your body won’t hurt you. But good intentions and actual results rarely match up. Instead, the FDA’s drug certification process has made it easy for business to corner drug markets, and jack up prices. In the end, the only thing the FDA protects are these companies’ profits.
Given the insane amount of time, effort and money it costs to bring a drug to market, it's no wonder why drugs are so expensive in America. And even when a drug comes along that IS cost effective, you can count on the FDA to play its part in jacking up the price. Mark Thornton explains...
Generic drugs are supposed to lower healthcare costs and provide you with another medical alternative. That’s what it says on paper. But there’s a real danger that goes along with these drugs. A danger even your doctor might not be aware of.
Too many people think that long-term care planning is just a decision about whether to purchase long-term care insurance. However, long-term care planning is so much more. It is a discussion about how you will fund this expense, where you will receive long-term care, and who will provide the care.
Politicians talk about the uninsured. Special interests argue on behalf of those with pre-existing conditions. But why is no one wondering how doctors are affected by the new law? They’re the ones on the frontlines dealing directly with new patients, as well as the red tape that makes bureaucracies go round.
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
The Congressional Budget Office said the government needed to reach 7 million people by the end of March. They claim to have reached the goal and now the debate about Obamacare is over. But what does this milestone really mean in the ongoing healthcare discussion? And more importantly, how will it affect reforms going forward?
In an effort to cut costs and keep track of patients' records, governments could institute a medical guideline cookbook. Bureaucrats might think they have the best of intentions in mind, but these new rules would drag down the medical process and destroy whatever quality is left in our current system.
When government expansion is allowed to continue unabated or when it casts a heavy regulatory shadow on America’s entrepreneurial spirit, the freedoms that we’ve come to know, and perhaps take for granted, slowly begin to slip away.
The new reality of Obamacare’s tax credits has left finance reporters to pen articles warning readers to “take care” when considering a tax credit and providing strategies for how best to “protect yourself.” So what do finance reporters know that the White House doesn’t?
As full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) approaches, every doctor, research professional, and health administrator I talk to tells me the same thing: Obamacare is going to reduce the quality of care and cost you more… in some cases, a lot more.
This technology is not simply for modeling and prototyping, either. TV personality Jay Leno uses a 3-D printer to make custom and hard-to-find parts from scratch for his collection of classic cars. Entrepreneurs have been using these printers in a myriad of ways, and the trend is speeding up.
The Affordable Care Act creates a new health insurance marketplace (the exchange). But because of the great uncertainty about what buyers will enter the market and who will buy what product, the law creates three vehicles to reduce insurance company risk.
Facts are easy. You can check facts. What supporters of the Affordable Care Act are doing, on the other hand, transcends factual bungling. It’s far more advanced: a warping of reality so debauched it looks like something out of a tale by H.P. Lovecraft.
There’s so much bad news about health care these days. Maybe it’s time for some good news.
One sector, technology, is advancing at a pace never seen before. Customers have a range of services to choose from, and price competition is very intense. The doctor sees you whether you have insurance or not. Customers mostly pay directly for services. Overall spending is increasing, but that’s because there are more services to purchase. Competition between providers is very intense.
Sadly, for humans, all this is taking place within veterinary medicine, and the beneficiaries are animals, mostly pets. According to The New York Times, the demand for advanced treatment is booming, and supply is responding. The paper cites the case of Tina, the 10-year-old chow that recently underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at a clinic associated with the Mayo Clinic. The $15,000 spent on this may sound like a lot, but it is far cheaper than the same services provided to people.
“A long list of cancers, urinary-tract disorders, kidney ailments, joint failures and even canine dementia can now be diagnosed and treated, with the prospect of a cure or greatly improved health, thanks to imaging technology, better drugs, new surgical techniques and holistic approaches like acupuncture.”
To be sure, not too many people are willing to shell out this much to help their pets achieve a better life. This is a niche market. But that makes the existence of technological progress all the more remarkable. “Improved veterinary care for all pets has increased consumer spending in this area to $13.4 billion last year from $9.2 billion in 2006, according to the American Pet Products Association.”
Some people theorize that progress in medicine is possible only with massive government involvement. You have to force business to provide insurance, for example. But only 3% of pet owners have insurance on their pets, and somehow the system works. You pay for what you need. Prices are posted and openly discussed. Everyone knows what’s what. You can even find out the costs of services by looking on the Internet. Imagine that!
Also, and strikingly, veterinary medicine is relatively unregulated compared with the human health care industry. There are no budget-busting government programs to provide for poor pets or pets in their older years. There are no prescription drug benefits. There are no subsidies, mandates or third-party payment systems, much less threats, bureaucracies or a giant central plan designed to achieve universal access.
Instead, medicine for animals works just like any other normal market. There are standards, rules and private boards to assure quality control. There are strict and highly regrettable regulations on how many universities can offer certification, a fact that undoubtedly raises prices and salaries, but harms availability. But once the certified doctor opens shop, the customer is in charge.
You know it immediately when you walk in. There is not an intimidating receptionist, a long wait that takes all afternoon, detailed checks on your coverage or anything else. Instead, it is a friendly environment in which everyone speaks to you like a normal human being. You are welcome to call the doctor by his or her first name. They tell you everything you need to know. Prices are posted openly, and you can select among a vast range of services.
The customer comes first. And there is a constant awareness at every step that the customer is the one paying the bills, and that changes everything. You get thorough explanations of every option and procedure, along with a realistic look at risks relative to spending. You are in a position to accept or refuse, which gives the entire clinic a strong reason to be open and forthcoming about every aspect of treatment.
There are sometimes malpractice lawsuits, but they are rare because there is such open discussion of risks and uncertainties. The typical veterinarian pays $500 per year in insurance to guard against such lawsuits. The annual fees for human doctors are $15,000 and up.
What I find most striking in this case is the way progress in animal health care is happening as if driven by an invisible hand. There are no congressional debates, executive decisions or plans from the White House, no nationwide solutions imposed from the top down.
Now, you might say that this is a superficial example, that humans are obviously more important than animals, so it makes no sense to compare the two systems. The truth is that the same laws of economics of apply to both. The laws of economics are universal and apply to every sector in all times and all places. So there are lessons to be learned.
If the customer were not paying, and the doctor were paid by a third party through some sort of mandate with a centrally planned price list, you would see prices go through the roof. Moreover, if there were some sort of universal access provided by government funding and control, you would see further upward price pressure.
In fact, if you were to set out to wreck this industry, you would follow a path very much like what has occurred in human health care. You would have business be responsible for the insurance, and make that insurance pay not only for emergency situations but for routine care involving simple shots and fleas. Then you would create giant programs to provide funding for young pets, old pets and poor pets and contemplate the bliss of universal coverage. If anything ever went wrong, you would have courts side with the pets over the doctor every time. You would have the government fund massive pet hospitals and insist that there should be no range of services, but rather that absolutely every pet has a “animal right” to the best care available no matter what.
You would popularize arguments: “Animal care is too important to be left to the wiles of the free market.” Maybe you would even put this statement in a U.N. charter document on universal rights. In short, if you wanted to wreck this sector, you would socialize it, thereby dramatically reducing service, raising prices, increasing costs and stopping technological advance.
So far, the health care debate for humans has been driven by all the wrong impulses. The correct example of where we need to be going is right in front of our eyes. But it would mean getting the government to give up its control, and there is no more difficult task than that.