Tag Archives: US Economy

A News Roundup of What I’m Reading

So, last week I did a good job with my new goal of writing more.  I posted 3 articles on Medium.com (you can find me there on my profile at this link).  I’ve been thinking a lot about a few things I’ve seen in the news and felt like this was a better place to share than on Medium, just because what I am writing about isn’t long enough for an entry there.

A couple days ago, Intel announced that they are purchasing Mobileye, an Israeli startup that makes cameras and sensors that are used for self-driving cars.  Interesting to see that Intel is getting into this business.  Intel likely sees how much potential the self-driving car market has and wants to try to get in.  They’ve really struggled to get any real footing with mobile devices.  This has been a problem, especially given the shrinking size of the PC market (desktops and laptops).  Fortune Magazine ran a good piece in June that I think is worth a read.

For any of my friends that are NPR fans, Morning Edition included a story about the Stradivarius violin that was stolen from Roman Totenberg (NPR Journalist Nina Totenberg’s father) nearly 40 years old.  Sadly, Mr. Totenberg died before the violin was finally recovered.  One of Mr. Totenberg’s students who Ms. Totenberg described as “like a sibling” became the first to play the instrument since it was recovered and restored.  Really a good listen if you have some time: http://www.npr.org/2017/03/14/519984134/a-stolen-then-recovered-stradivarius-returns-to-the-stage 

Janet Yellen announced today that for the second time in the last several months, the Federal Reserve increased the benchmark interest rate.  You can find really good coverage of this in the NY Times, Washington Post, and LA Times.  I don’t think anyone was too surprised by this.  The increase in the rate was modest, but Yellen suggested that there will be a few more increases in the rate as the year goes on.

As I have time, if I don’t have enough to write about one thing, I might post something like this.  I love sharing what I’m reading and if you want to share what you’ve been reading, I’d love to read it!

The Way I don’t want Health Insurance

“The final bill, with all its complexities, will probably be huge, a thousand pages or so. Americans don’t fear the devil’s in the details, they fear hell is. Do they want the same people running health care who gave us the Department of Motor Vehicles, the post office and the invasion of Iraq?” Peggy Noonan

Not too long ago, I woke up, ate a quick breakfast and took two pills every morning.  I had a doctor who I met with once every six months or so.  The medical system was quite adequate to me.  When I have a fever, I can go to the doctor’s office that I have always gone to without really thinking about it.  They have my health insurance on file and the doctors are friendly and know my name.  More than anything that could come of a public sector health care system is the fact that humans would be treated in non-human ways.
Just like the DMV treats everyone like a big machine as if we are all exactly the same, we could see the development of a health care system where a citizen loses their person and becomes just a number.  Care is supposed to be personalized and special.  It meets the needs of the people from a physical and emotional level.  I can say right away that when I have a doctor I don’t like, I find a new doctor.  In less than three months, I went through two doctors with the same function, not because they didn’t know what they were doing (one of them was a Graduate of the medical school at Yale), but because their personalities were not ones that provided me with the care that is necessary.
I hate making political statements on here that seem black and white, because nothing is black and white as we would like to make it appear, but I think that nationalized health care is something that would prove to be detrimental to the people of the U.S.  Now, with shooting down nationalized care, I guess there as readers of my blog you are hoping to hear some other solution to the problem.  To me, the free market solution will take some very specific legislation.  One of the largest problems doctors face is the constant threat of a lawsuit.  A cap on these lawsuits would reduce the costs of the insurance purchased by doctors.  Companies are being taxed for the benefits they give to their employees and so are the recipients.  If non-monetary benefits of up to a certain dollar were to go untaxed, we could see an increase in the number of recipients of these benefits as well as ones who can afford to purchase the insurance.  Provide those who can no afford health insurance with FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts) with enough money to buy insurance in the private sector to create a greater level of competition that will in turn lead to an inexpensive individual market for health insurance.
In the current economic client, the first priority should be the economy stupid, not health care.  Raising taxes does not lead to economic recovery by any means.  With estimates in the trillions, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 is destined to bring problems to the U.S., so I personally hope to see the bill fail.

Responses to Your Comments:

Max Phillips: “For one, you have more doctors that are interested in actually helping people then doing exactly what that person’s insurance dictates they can receive and the threat of lawsuit is hardly as terrifying as it is under our system.”  Now if doctors in Canada are interested in the people they are treating so much, why do hundreds of Canadian doctors come to the United States each year to make a real living in comparison to what is made in the Canadian health system.  Most people who can not afford to have a procedure like you talked about in your post have some of the procedure paid for by the U.S. government, so the hospital recoups a chunk of the money in that way.  33% of the money that we pay for actual medical procedures is due to a combination of those who can not pay as well as to help ensure there is money to pay legal protection of doctors.  Most doctors pay for malpractice insurance, but this coverage does not pay enough to protect them.  My biggest concern with giving the private sector a public competitor is that private corporations that are taxed will be forced to follow regulations set by the public sector and there will be a lack of checks and balances on the public sector system.

Jerry: In regards to the Israeli health system, if you look at the population of Israel, it is homogeneous in comparison to the U.S. There is a need for regulation to reduce costs, but what specifically will help is a big question.  I think the most helpful regulation that is actually in the current bill that President Obama supports is a new law that would force insurance companies to provide coverage for those with preexisting conditions.  We need to take a look at tort reform and find ways for doctors to be able to treat people for their illnesses, not treat them to avoid any chance of lawsuits.

“Jepadiah Green”: The statistic that is being used by the current administration and news industries of 40 million Americans being uninsured is not something that has actually been quantified from my research in any actual scientific way.  Some more recent estimates are saying the numbers are much lower, but this is besides the point.  In other countries, the level of personal attention from a doctor changes based on what you pay.  Now I’m not entirely sure which doctors say that insurance companies keep them from developing a personal relationship with their patients, but over the years, I have had doctors who are familiar with not only my health, but my family’s.  I don’t think that the current bill is going to change any restrictions by insurance companies that keep them from developing personal relationships with their patients.  Although there is a strong correlation between the economic situation and Health Care, creating a multi-billion dollar agency in the government will lead to higher taxes, taking money out of the hands of consumers who we need now more than ever to be spending to help revive the economy.  A healthier nation that is less productive due to a lack of innovation in the future in fields that include medicine.

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