Ep. 49 Obamacare Sinking? Why, It’s Just a Flesh Wound, Says Krugman!

29 August 2016     |     Tom Woods     |     145

The bad news keeps piling up for Obamacare: Aetna, for example, is pulling out of a lot of the exchanges. The failures are everywhere now. According to Krugman, a little tinkering here and there would fix it, if it weren’t for all the unreasonable right-wingers. OK, Paul.

Krugman Column

Obamacare Hits a Bump” (August 19, 2016)

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Book Mentioned

The Primal Prescription: Surviving the “Sick Care” Sinkhole, by Bob Murphy and Doug McGuff

Related Episodes

Ep. 11 Ignore the Bad News About Obamacare! Everything Is Fine!
Ep. 7 Obamacare Is a Big Success, Says Krugman

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  • https://www.facebook.com/david.rogers.hunt David_Rogers_Hunt

    There are only three ways to allocate scarce resources;
    1. Command and Control by autocrats.
    2. Waiting in lines.
    3. Price rationing.

    Now,… choose your poison…

  • Roger Barris

    A question to Bob: I think that pre-existing conditions is the trickiest part of healthcare insurance. Has anyone ever looked at treating these as a “long-tailed” insurance exposures, which remain the responsibility of the insurer whose policy was in force at the time the event arose? Or is this simply impractical because it is not possible to disentangle this from subsequent medical events?
    I am glad you pointed out Krugman’s growing tendency to indulge in conspiracy theories (while insulting Trump, rightly but hypocritically, for doing the same). As I am sure you know, the conspiracy theory about Aetna and its pulling out of the exchanges because its merger with Humana was refused is total nonsense. Aetna did not say anything on this issue until it was asked by a government lawyer what would be the consequences for its participation in the exchanges if the merger did not occur. It then answered that it would be less likely to participate, but probably only due to actuarial reasons. It is a strange threat indeed if you have to wait for the victim to ask you before you issue it.

    • BrotherDave

      Pre-existing conditions were limited by HIPAA back in 1997. Most people know it only for the privacy rules. It struck an interesting balance between the plan’s duty to the insured and the insured’s exercise of personal responsibility to maintain their rights. HIPAA allowed you to move from plan to plan without triggering new “waiting periods” as long a you maintained “creditable coverage” with no more than a 63-day “gap” between plans.

      HIPAA portability extended to movements from group plan to group plan, group plan to individual market plans, but NOT individual market plans to other individual market plans. This last item was the hole left in the 1997 legislation. All that was needed was amending HIPAA to extend the rules on portability to movements within the individual market. But as proof of free market solutions, carriers themselves began to allow “portability” for their individual market medical plans.

      The politicians totally mislead the public, brow beating them with the “pre-ex” issue as a reason to swallow the ACA. I felt sorry for poor John McCain….he was clueless how HIPAA worked and unable to respond to Obama on it during the debates.

      • Roger Barris

        Thanks, BrotherDave, for this clarification. I certainly did not know this.
        However, this doesn’t address my concern. What I am searching for is a market-based solution to the problem of pre-existing conditions. In other words, what insurance contract, with no legislative influence, would evolve to cover this problem. The analogy I am trying to make is with existing, private sector insurance contracts that cover “long-tailed” exposures (that is, exposures that arose during the period of the insurance, but which carry on beyond the period of insurance or which become manifest after the period of insurance). There are many insurance contracts that pick these up (eg., insurance against certain forms of pollution) without any legislative influence. I am wondering if anyone has considered this model for medical insurance.

        • BrotherDave

          You sound like a P&C guy, not a life and health guy like me. Still, I know a bit about P&C but this would appear a kind of hybrid life and health type risk. There is a provision that still exists in some health care plans called an “Extension of Benefits” that somewhat fits in your scenario. It simply obligates the insurer to continue payment for services beyond the end of the contract, provided the claim arose during the period of coverage. Other criteria can apply like a requirement you require continued services for the condition or remain disabled or in-hospital.

          The one’s I’ve seen are condition specific, time constrained but but in either case are limited in one form or another. Reading from one of my clients recently issued Medicare Supplemental policy it says:

          “Termination of your policy shall be without prejudice to any continuous Loss which commenced while your policy was in force.”
          It goes on to cite subject to continued disability, limited to duration of any Medicare Benefit Period, and limited to the specific injury or illness causing the condition while policy was inforce.

          This provision was also common in individual and group major medical plans.

          • http://www.economicmanblog.com Roger Barris

            Thanks, BrotherDave. Interesting clarifications. Actually, I am no type of insurance guy, just someone who is interested in the structure of markets and contracts.

            The problem with all the continuous coverage requirements is: at what price? If the insurance company can require continuous coverage, but is free to set any price, then this is no protection at all. Likewise, it is no protection if any insurer is able to charge for pre-existing conditions, since this basically means that the insured will end up paying the expected value of his pre-existing condition.

            What I am looking for is a system where people are free to shop around in order to get a fair price and where the lifetime cost of a medical problem is borne by the original insurer. This will mean that the original insurer will have to charge a higher premium, since he is on the hook for lifetime instead of annual costs, but this means that subsequent insurance will be cheaper. This preserves competition and does not expose the insured to covering the costs of pre-existing conditions.

          • BrotherDave

            Your goals are in conflict here. On one hand you want a system to shop for coverage at a fair price without regard to your health status. At the same time, you want “protection” against cost of pre-existing conditions. I’ve been involved in large group self-funded medical plans for some time and can attest to a basic fact: Claims are claims are claims….regardless who ends up paying them….somebody always does. So then, to whom do you intend to shift the cost onto?

            If you are Libertarian, you should have more confidence in people and markets to find solutions absent coercion of any kind, economic or political. It should be clear by now the U.S. health insurance market has been politicized, thus the distortions and disruptions you are feeling.

            Large self-funded group medical plans let the employer cover pre-existing conditions and limit their losses with purchase of “stop loss” coverage.
            The plan protects itself using either/both “run-in” claims protection or “run-out” claims protection….to cover tail-end liability on claims incurred but not yet presented for payment. But even these are time-limited to claims 6-12 months before or after.

            Requiring individuals or groups to maintain continuous coverage as an underwriting requirement is a risk management tool. Absent this, calculation of a required premium to provide it could substitute. Put yourself in the other guy’s shoes: Do you want to subsidize somebody else’s extra risk out of your pocket? The average Joe thinks insurance as his right to a “benefit” that appears out of nowhere….when it is fundamentally a financing tool. The concept of “insurance” got stripped out of the medical insurance industry some time ago….it now seeks to finance known costs vs. risk-sharing on unexpected major costs.

            The bottom line: An actuary for a large insurer serving the small group market (pre-ACA debacle) told me any claims difference between guaranteed issue (with no pre-ex period) and fully underwritten groups (with pre-ex periods) was fully mitigated in three and half years. So why not just do this, i.e. take new business rates and attach 42 months of “trend” to them and call it a day? Reason? Everyone wanted the lowest cost today, not 42 months out…there was no demand for such a product and thus no supply of it.

        • BrotherDave

          See my other comment; otherwise easiest way to cover this is on the front end….where client discloses the risk and as an option, agrees to pay a higher premium. If I were the insurer, I would require that continuous coverage for this be maintained, otherwise not eligible. I think the old Lloyds of London thinking can still apply today, i.e. there is no risk that cannot be insured; it is simply a matter of the premium required.

  • David Arum

    The intention of Obamacare is not to provide healthcare ,it is to provide paths to power for politicians.

  • Nerdsamwich

    You have some fair points. All of them are inextricably linked to the need for profitability in medical insurance. You’ve pretty well proven that leaving room for private enterprise in primary healthcare is a bad idea. Obamacare clearly stopped far short of the right answer. Single-payer is definitely the way to go.

    • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

      So you want allocation of scarce resources to be settled by politicians.

      • Nerdsamwich

        Why does healthcare need to be a scarce resource? It’s mostly information, which is non-depletable, and biological products, which are as renewable as anything on the planet.

        • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

          The materials are all scarce, and so are the people who employ them. Renewable resources are still scarce resources.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Even stipulating your conditions, you’d rather put a consortium of price-gougers in charge of something you literally can’t live without?

          • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

            No, I prefer the diffuse power of those limited to market means.

          • Nerdsamwich

            The unrestricted market always leads to consolidation. Big fish eat little fish, till the only ones left are too big to eat.

          • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

            I know the theory proffered by the ruling class. You needn’t regurgitate it for me.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Look around. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

          • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

            Where are there unrestricted markets?

          • Nerdsamwich

            Perhaps you could take a glance at the capitalist free-for-all of the late 19th and early 20th century, culminating in the Crash of 1929. Over a century of laissez-faire policy produced the great robber barons, whose greed placed so many into abjectly squalid lives, dangerous working conditions, and shitty products.

          • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

            They enjoyed subsidy access to eminent domain, and grants of monopoly.

            Try again.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Regulatory capture is a natural result of being allowed to grow too big. Besides, Rockefeller wasn’t “granted” a monopoly on oil, he was just the only one drilling. Of course, he moved immediately to create barriers to entry as soon as the market took off. Did the Triangle Shirtwaist Company have a granted monopoly and eminent domain? No. Just a lack of regulation.

          • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

            You can only create those barriers if there’s a monopoly power like the State present to erect them.

          • Nerdsamwich

            No one regulatorily protects DeBeers. They do it all by themselves through being big enough to manipulate the market. Don’t believe me? Try to start mining, trading, or selling diamonds. It won’t be a government that stops you.

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            Not true. The South African government nationalized all diamond mines, even ones it hadn’t yet discovered. Thus, a property owner who discovers diamonds on his property finds ownership title instantly transferred to the government. Mine operators, in turn, who lease the mines, must get a license from the government. By an interesting happenstance, the licensees have all wound up being either DeBeers itself or operators willing to distribute their diamonds through the DeBeers Central Selling Organization. Miners trying to distribute diamonds in defiance of government restrictions have faced stiff penalties.

          • Nerdsamwich

            One already-corrupt government getting bought out does not invalidate the argument. They were able to buy the government because they were already too damn big.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Incorrect. You can also create barriers through just being big enough to control the market. DeBeers doesn’t have any governments giving them monopoly power, but if you try to start trading diamonds, they’re going to bury you. They own the mines, they own the warehouses, they own the distribution. They have such a large stockpile of product that they can–and have–flood the market to kill start-up competitors. They don’t need legal protectionism. But it’s nice to see you just flat out state your underlying anarchist agenda. It’s not about building an efficient economy, it’s about not having to follow rules.

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            Rockefeller was never the only one in town, and by the time the federal government broke him up, natural competition — which you contend is impossible — had already reduced his market share to 25%. Meanwhile, Rockefeller pushed petroleum products to unheard-of low prices.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Regulatory capture is a natural result of being allowed to grow too big”

            What? How did they create the government regulatory body in order for them to take it over?

            Oh, right, that is _exactly_ what they did in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve, the banking monopoly that created the Great Depression.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Incorrect. The under-regulated stock exchange caused the Depression. Are you unaware that there was a 2008-level recession every decade during the US Free Banking Era? Not having a central bank was jacking up the economy worse than anything you imagine being done by the government.

          • Bob_Robert

            Well, I’m impressed. Come back when you graduate from grammar school and can read a book.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Where I come from, that kind of an ad-hom is counted as an admission of defeat.

          • Bob_Robert

            Good thing I’m not from where ever it is you come from. I’ve read a book.

            “The under-regulated stock exchange caused the Depression.”

            Clearly, you haven’t.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Citing Mises to prove Mises is no more valid than citing the Bible to prove the Bible.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Citing Mises to prove Mises”

            Thank you! You didn’t even bother to look at the link. You have proven yourself not merely ignorant, but deliberately so.

            If you wish to speak on a subject, learn something of that subject first. That way you don’t look stupid, as you do now.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Reading up on the Austrian School is not learning something about the subject of economics. Real economists haven’t considered much of it valid in quite some time.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Reading up on the Austrian School is not learning something about the subject of economics.”

            Then why do you visit this forum? Do you like looking like a fool?

          • Nerdsamwich

            Showed up on my Facebook feed, for whatever reason. Figured I’d mention, while I was here, that money exists to serve people, and not the other way around.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Figured I’d mention, while I was here, that money exists to serve people, and not the other way around.”

            If you had said that, you would have found no disagreement.

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            So the crash of 1929 had nothing at all, in your view, to do with the Federal Reserve? Even though the president of the New York Fed (who as you know was the key figure at the Fed back then) announced his intention to give a “coup d’whiskey” to the stock market?

          • Nerdsamwich

            And what does your model have to say about the once-a-decade major depressions of the Free Banking era?

          • http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-anarchism-is-not-a-romantic-fable-but-the-hardheaded-realization-based-on-five-thousand-edward-abbey-41-88-49.jpg Phil Miller

            Read this and get back to us if you really want to know. Fractional reserve banking and pyramiding deposits caused those depressions. See pages 112 to 114.

          • Nerdsamwich

            And? There was still no evil central bank to blame it on. Can’t say the Depression was all the Fed’s fault when the same damn thing happened without it, only more often.

          • http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-anarchism-is-not-a-romantic-fable-but-the-hardheaded-realization-based-on-five-thousand-edward-abbey-41-88-49.jpg Phil Miller

            And those economic downturns, caused by fractional reserve banking and pyramiding deposits, weren’t as severe, long lasting, or widespread as the Great Depression because there was no central bank exacerbating the situation.

          • Nerdsamwich

            The Depression was exacerbated by the austerity measures put in place everywhere as a reaction to it, and by the food shortage brought on by the Dust Bowl.

          • http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-anarchism-is-not-a-romantic-fable-but-the-hardheaded-realization-based-on-five-thousand-edward-abbey-41-88-49.jpg Phil Miller

            What austerity measures? Public works programs were in place since the early 1920s, with Hoover signing off on massive works projects in 1929. The Foster–Catchings Plan called for an organized public works program of $3 billion. In 1930, Congress authorized the expenditure of a giant $915 million public works program, including a Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. States carried out public works projects as well, financed by bonds and costing billions.

            You’re arguing from ignorance here and simply making shit up to have something to say.

          • Nerdsamwich

            And public works worked. People got jobs, they were able to pay for the necessities of life, keeping businesses alive. The circle of economic life. It all starts with the guy at the bottom. The better off he is, the better off everyone is.

          • http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-anarchism-is-not-a-romantic-fable-but-the-hardheaded-realization-based-on-five-thousand-edward-abbey-41-88-49.jpg Phil Miller

            No, they didn’t work. Hoover even admitted his public works failed. You just keep making shit up. You’re good at that. Like a shit machine or a monkey that flings its poo at the zoo.

            In a conference in 1932, Hoover admitted that his public works program, which had nearly doubled Federal construction since the start of the depression, had failed. It was very expensive, costing over $1200 per family aided. ($21,000 when adjusted for inflation.)

            Stop making shit up.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Sounds like they should have upped what they were paying. $21000 isn’t shit to raise a family on.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Stop making shit up.”

            It’s a script he was given by his paymaster.

          • Nerdsamwich

            So you agree that central banking is not the root of all evil. Good on ya.

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            George Selgin discusses the data in “Has the Fed Been a Failure?” I don’t agree with George on everything, but that’s a devastating paper. What “major depression” was there between 1837 and 1873, by the way? Surely you don’t mean the Panic of 1857. Do you know anything about any of these, apart from their existence?

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            Now we get the so-called robber barons. Was there anything in your seventh-grade textbook that you questioned?

            Question: of the industries most frequently accused of being monopolized in the 19th century, what was the trend in prices and output for each?

          • Nerdsamwich

            And what were the lives of the workers like?

          • http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-anarchism-is-not-a-romantic-fable-but-the-hardheaded-realization-based-on-five-thousand-edward-abbey-41-88-49.jpg Phil Miller

            Answering a question with a question? How very slippery of you.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Hey, economies exist to serve people, not the other way around. If your economic system doesn’t result in positive outcomes for the majority of people, it’s not a very good system, now, is it?

          • http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-anarchism-is-not-a-romantic-fable-but-the-hardheaded-realization-based-on-five-thousand-edward-abbey-41-88-49.jpg Phil Miller

            More questions answered with questions.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Ever hear of the Socratic method?

          • Nerdsamwich

            Was that really a question, though, or was it a statement phrased as a question?

          • Nerdsamwich

            To revisit this one, is that all you think matters? Sure, prices went down and volume went up, but quality was way down as well. So was affordability for the people who made the products, meaning that for a huge chunk of the populace, the real cost went up. Money is just a way to measure the labor you trade to live. If the amount of labor I need to do to stay in my house and feed my family goes up, it doesn’t matter what the number on the price tag is.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Perhaps you could take a glance at the capitalist free-for-all of the late 19th and early 20th century”

            And a wonderful time for consumers it was!

            https://mises.org/library/truth-about-robber-barons

            “culminating in the Crash of 1929”

            16 years after the founding of the Federal Reserve and the usurpation of all money printing into the hands of the Federal Government, and you complain about “free-for-all”?

            Talk about needing to read history!

          • Nerdsamwich

            “Usurpation”? You realize that the Constitution grants the Congress exclusive power to coin money, right? Regulating money is literally the reason mankind invented governments. That and coordinating the amount of labor it takes to farm deserts. Talk about needing to read history, indeed.

          • Bob_Robert

            “the Constitution grants the Congress exclusive power to coin money, right?”

            No, unless you can show me where the word “exclusive” is:

            “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;”

            Please. I look forward to this mystery word suddenly appearing.

          • Nerdsamwich

            You sound like the yutzes arguing against the separation of church and state. “It doesn’t say the one magic word, so the concept doesn’t exist!” You conveniently fail to note that the section you quote is in the list of powers granted Congress. Due to the separation of powers established elsewhere in the same document, powers granted Congress are not available to be used by others. You keep telling me I should look beyond junior high. Maybe you should go back.

          • Bob_Robert

            “You sound like the yutzes arguing against the separation of church and state.”

            That would be insane, since I am arguing in favor of the separation of money and state.

            “You conveniently fail to note that the section you quote is in the list of powers granted Congress.”

            I don’t fail to note it. That is exactly why I quoted it.

            “powers granted Congress are not available to be used by others”

            Others in government, correct.

            The judiciary does not coin currency.

          • Nerdsamwich

            And neither do real estate agencies. The powers granted Congress are reserved to Congress, just as the powers reserved to the States or the People are their sole prerogative.

          • Bob_Robert

            “And neither do real estate agencies.”

            Yet they could print bank notes, prior to the Federal Reserve.

            “The powers granted Congress are reserved to Congress”

            Within the government, yes. I’ve already said that. Thank you for agreeing with me.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Coinage is an administrative function. It is properly the realm of a governing body. Without standard currency, you’re looking at getting all of your paychecks in company scrip. At best, you’ll have several competing standards and have to have accounts at multiple different banks, having to deal with exchange rates between them, just to do your shopping. Your power company might only take Sears-Roe Bucks, while your landlord only accepts Dogecoin, and the toll road you have to take to get to work requires Sony Cents. Meanwhile, you get paid in Krugerrands. It’d be utter chaos, and only a good thing if you’re a bank, or already rich enough to profitably engage in currency arbitrage. Better to have a single, legally-mandated standard to protect not only our sanity, but our wallets.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Coinage is an administrative function.”

            False. Coins are a commodity. They are today, and always have been, made privately.

            “It is properly the realm of a governing body.”

            Prove it. By what law of nature do you base this? Gravity? The strong nuclear force?

            “Without standard currency, you’re looking at getting all of your paychecks in company scrip”

            False. When people chose what commodities to use as money, they settled on gold and silver, with copper being minted by some firms for small change since governments could not be bothered with such trivia.

            It is only GOVERNMENTS who have made fiat currency through their use of Legal Tender laws.

            Your attempted hobgoblin “company scrip” is what GOVERNMENTS have done, not private firms.

            “It’d be utter chaos”

            You are again ignoring history, and reality. So what happened when I was in Canada, and the good I wanted were priced in Canadian dollars? Golly, was it “utter chaos”? No, the conversion was automatic.

            “Better to have a single, legally-mandated standard to protect not only our sanity, but our wallets.”

            So you are willing to kill people just because you want everyone else to price things in your way.

            Got it. You’re a homicidal maniac.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Kill people? Now who’s being absurd? Gold and silver were used as currency because they’re shiny, easy to work, and don’t have a lot in the way of better things to do with them. As for coinage being the province of private forms, bullshit. We literally invented governments largely to regulate money. Without a standard in place, coins get shaved, adulterated, and so on. Which wouldn’t really matter except that people by that time had forgotten that money is just a symbol for something you want, not the thing in itself. See, it also doesn’t matter if you use a “fiat currency” or even one that only exists as ones and zeroes–so long as everyone agrees to use it. When you use money, you aren’t really buying a thing so much as you’re selling someone a token for their goods. They take that token and sell it to someone else for goods that they want. Money is all fake anyway, so why try to have several different competing types of pretend in the same damn country?

          • Bob_Robert

            “Kill people? Now who’s being absurd?”

            You are. All laws, from the smallest ticket to the biggest Legal Tender law, are all backed up by the very real threat of overwhelming violence and death.

            Doing anything “by law” is a threat of death, it is a statement that you want people to die if they disobey.

            “Gold and silver were used as currency because they’re shiny, easy to work, and don’t have a lot in the way of better things to do with them.”

            Seriously, I recommend reading some economics. You’d fare better in an economics forum that way. Oh, golly, here’s one now:

            https://mises.org/library/why-gold-0

            “As for coinage being the province of private forms, bullshit.”

            Hahahaha, Seriously, I recommend reading some history, and looking around you, before you write on a subject you clearly know nothing about.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin

            https://fee.org/articles/private-coinage-in-america/

            I mean, it’s not like this is difficult to find.

            http://www.independent.org/store/book.asp?id=75

            “We literally invented governments”

            Who is “we”? You were alive in 4,000 BC?

            “Without a standard in place, coins get shaved, adulterated, and so on.”

            Clearly you have no clue that the biggest coin shavers, adulterers, and debasers, were and are GOVERNMENTS?

            https://goo.gl/images/1OV3xq

            For that is all the Federal Reserve was created to do, debase the currency.

            https://goo.gl/images/s4purj

            “Which wouldn’t really matter except that people by that time had forgotten that money is just a symbol for something you want, not the thing in itself.”

            Hahahahahaha! Good sir, you have that exactly backwards. A commodity currency IS something in of itself. A gold, silver, platinum, whatever, coin IS a quantity of metal.

            What has occurred is that people have been fooled, over time, into forgetting that a currency is something in of itself. They are told that it has “value”, when it actually exists only as a symbol. A continually debased symbol.

            “Money is all fake anyway, so why try to have several different competing types of pretend in the same damn country?”

            Your error is in thinking you’re saying anything new, or even anything to disagree with.

            In case you didn’t notice, the US Dollar has a standard. It is one ounce of fine silver. Which is why the US Silver Eagle says on it, “One Dollar”.

            And if that fixing of a standard were all that the US Fed.Gov had done, this argument would not be happening.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/29ad941c8777077d4789e1b1f69e22f37e905f36c47b563e1a122e707ccca3f5.jpg

          • Nerdsamwich

            What good to a starving man in the middle of the woods is a gold brick? Sure, there are some thing of value that can be accomplished with gold, but beyond electronics, it’s pretty useless. Gold is worth exactly what anything else is worth: what you can get someone to give you for it. I thought this was an economics forum?

          • Bob_Robert

            “What good to a starving man in the middle of the woods is a gold brick?”

            Nothing, which is why money is a _social_ function, the use of a generally accepted medium of exchange.

            “I thought this was an economics forum?”

            Exactly. Please read some economics, it will help with your posts here.

          • Nerdsamwich

            The salient point there is “generally accepted”. That is, money is worth exactly what you agree it’s worth, no matter what it’s made out of. Paper is worth exactly as much as gold: what you can trade it for. Please read some economics, maybe you’ll get it someday.

          • Bob_Robert

            “That is, money is worth exactly what you agree it’s worth”

            You contradict yourself.

            You said, “Sure, there are some thing of value that can be accomplished with gold, but beyond electronics, it’s pretty useless.”

            Now which is it?

            Please, this _is_ an economics forum.

          • Nerdsamwich

            How are those mutually exclusive statements? Gold is considerably more valuable in electronic components than as money. As money, it’s no better than paper–worse, actually, because it’s hard to carry. As jewelry, it’s not terrible, but it’s not great, either. It’s so soft it’s got to be alloyed with something stiffer, and the color doesn’t really go that well with a lot of skin tones. So gold, other than in electronic components, is pretty useless. As money, it’s worse than paper.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Gold is considerably more valuable in electronic components than as money.”

            Really? Do you have a source for that?

            “As money, it’s no better than paper”

            Since you clearly have never read anything about money, I will disabuse you of this.

            Gold cannot be printed. It has a cost to be produced, and it is produced slowly. This makes the supply of gold very reliable.

            As money, it is FAR better than paper because of this limitation on production. When used as a currency, gold is not inflationary.

            I recommend you read Rothbard’s “What has government done to our money”

            https://mises.org/library/what-has-government-done-our-money

          • Nerdsamwich

            What’s the matter with inflation? As long as wages keep pace with prices, moderate inflation is great for the consumer, and anyone with debt. It allows for greater granularity in pricing, which allows for lower real prices. It allows the debtor to offset the burden of interest. Both of those things are good for the average consumer–you and me. Gold, as money, is worth what any other money is: what you can get someone to trade you for it. That leaves no advantage to gold as a currency. It’s subject to the same swings in price as any other commodity, making it unstable, which is bad for the economy. It is produced slowly, and in ever-diminishing amounts, which necessarily retards the growth of the economy. When used as a currency, gold tends to be deflationary. See above for why that’s a bad thing. The final mark against gold is that there isn’t enough to cover the size of the US economy, let alone anyone else’s. If we went back to a gold standard tomorrow, the government would have to buy all possible gold supplies, which would leave all of the dollars out of the country, and none available for my paychecks. Since every dollar would have to have gold behind it, we’d have no way to get our dollars back out of the hands of the foreign speculators who sold us the gold. And with our net trade deficit, we’d wind up broke in no time with no way to expand the money supply. And that doesn’t even touch the fact that most of our transactions nowadays are digital! I don’t give a shaved penny what Rothbard has to say, gold currency would be an absolute disaster in the modern economy.

          • Bob_Robert

            “What’s the matter with inflation?”

            Oh come on. I will admit, you had be going there for a short time, thinking that you weren’t a deliberate shill, that you were simply ignorant of economics.

            I was wrong.

            Looking through your scripted list of talking points, it’s clear that you have come here deliberately.

            When you’re ready, or if you get fired from your government job, past Mises University lectures are available on Mises.org that will go through point by point everything you’re pushing here.

            Go push somewhere else.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Now, none of your assumptions about my occupation are even remotely true, but you raise what, to me, is a fascinating question. What about working in a field for a living would render my opinion on that field invalid?

            And no, you’re not assigning me homework over an internet discussion forum. Nice try, though. If you can’t present the argument yourself in a cogent and convincing fashion, maybe it’s not nearly as good as you think it is.

          • Bob_Robert

            “If you can’t present the argument yourself in a cogent and convincing fashion”

            I have. You are deliberately being stupid, which is why you are obviously a paid troll.

            You visit an economics forum, and then call reading economics “homework”. Clearly, you have a purpose and agenda being here that has nothing what so ever to do with economics.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Can you point me to the folks who pay people to do this kind of thing? Because that would be awesome. Maybe that could get me into the income bracket where inflation starts being a bad thing.
            My purpose and agenda behind getting into debates on the internet is probably the same as yours: I find debate entertaining.
            Seriously, I can’t get over the “paid troll” bit. Do you seriously think you’re that important? That someone would pay good money to irritate you by forum thread? You keep saying you’re all about economics; what financial sense does that even make?

            PS- You continue to refuse to state in your own words a single reason why inflation is a bad thing. In fact, you seem to be willing to derail the conversation into wild paranoid fantasy rather than engage the subject. You…do have an argument, right?

          • Bob_Robert

            “Seriously, I can’t get over the “paid troll” bit”

            That is your problem.

            If you were here for actual discussion, you would accept that your false statements have all been made before, and read the disputations.

            But no, you refuse to consider the disputations, which means you already know you’re wrong.

            “You continue to refuse to state in your own words a single reason why inflation is a bad thing.”

            I don’t have to. It’s been done over and over by better than I. That you refuse to read their words is what is telling.

            “You…do have an argument, right?”

            Yes. You’re a fool who refuses to admit when you’re wrong. You simply deny anything that shows you’ve made false statements, and then declare yourself the winner.

            That is not argumentation, that is distraction. Therefore, you are here to distract, and the only reason for doing so is if you’re being paid because otherwise there is no reason to waste your time.

            If you’re here entirely on your own, trying to make false claims that were proven false 150 years ago, then you’re doubly foolish. So really, my statement that you’re a paid shill is in your favor. Otherwise, you’d have to admit that you’re a damned fool all on your own.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Ah, so your problem is that you’re still following 150-year-old economists. Ones who were, let’s be real here, on the stodgy side even back then. The economy has outgrown gold. Trying to go back to a metallic standard today would be an unmitigated disaster. For one thing, there just isn’t enough gold to cover the business being done these days. It’s estimated that all of the gold ever mined in history has a value of around 8 trillion US dollars. That’s all the gold ever. Now in 2015, it was estimated that the US GDP was nearly $18 trillion. More than twice the value of all of the available gold on the planet. To make the money match the available metal, you’d have to massively devalue the dollar, and isn’t that the opposite of the goal?

            By all means, though, keep telling yourself that I’m the one indulging in self-deception.

          • Bob_Robert

            “keep telling yourself that I’m the one indulging in self-deception”

            You have that backwards, as usual. Read what I wrote: You are indulging in trying to deceive others.

            Since you refuse to either read the sources or admit your errors, any further discussion is a waste of time.

          • Nerdsamwich

            What errors? BTW, I did check out the site you keep linking to, and found it to be an echo chamber of the same silly gold-buggery and naive trust of the rich I keep hearing from you. What’s the point of infecting my hard drive with it, since it’s nothing new?

          • http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-anarchism-is-not-a-romantic-fable-but-the-hardheaded-realization-based-on-five-thousand-edward-abbey-41-88-49.jpg Phil Miller

            “You sound like the yutzes arguing against the separation of church and state.”

            Where I come from, when someone starts calling people names and appealing to ridicule, it shows they’ve lost the argument.

          • Nerdsamwich

            It’s not name-calling, it’s a comparison. If the comparison makes your position look ridiculous, it’s not my fault.

          • http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-anarchism-is-not-a-romantic-fable-but-the-hardheaded-realization-based-on-five-thousand-edward-abbey-41-88-49.jpg Phil Miller

            I see. “Yutzes” (which means foolish or useless) isn’t name calling. Thanks for clarifying that isn’t actually name calling.

          • Nerdsamwich

            I didn’t call you anything. I just said you were starting to sound like them. Unless you’re also an Antidisestablishmentarian?

          • Nerdsamwich

            More recent case: the internet. Look at the rise of Google. Twenty years ago, there were a galaxy of search engines out there, now there’s only one that means anything. Microprocessors. Do you know how many companies make those? Maybe three. Same with RAM. One company makes over 90% of it. There’s no law against entering any of those markets; there’s just no opportunity.

          • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

            You keep citing events that occurred in a market overseen by regulation by the State. You will not find an “unrestricted” market. They don’t exist. You might find markets which are relatively free. You might find people who produce a product that is preferred enough to dominate the market. They might be able to buy out competitors. There were people who started up oil companies just to get them bought out by Standard Oil. It was efficient enough to win people over through prices. Are you proposing that this is bad, or are you saying that left unchecked, Standard Oil would have grabbed enough market share that it would have then just jacked up prices?

            No offense, but you’re saying the same things I said several years ago before I started reading more. I have seen too much evidence countering what you’re saying (and about exactly all of the companies you’ve cited) to be convinced by your mere assertions. It’s quite possible in the future I will see enough evidence to overwhelm my current position. But you’re simply not bringing it. I’m sure that works from your end, as well.

          • Nerdsamwich

            The reason completely unregulated markets don’t exist is because they’re a bad idea.The US Free Banking Era was an unmitigated disaster. Lack of regulation gave us the Triangle Shirtwaist fiasco, the Cuyahoga River fire, and the Colorado Coalfield War. I think business has been given enough chances to show us how well it can run things. Time for another approach.

          • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

            You need to read more than your high school textbook.

          • Nerdsamwich

            You need to read your history. Do you know about the state of food before the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act? Whole poisoned rats were routinely thrown into sausage grinders. Rotten meat was treated with chemicals to disguise the off flavor and sold next to the good stuff. Men would fall into lard-boiling vats, and they wouldn’t stop to fish out the body, much less throw out the batch. We have regulations for a damn good reason. They wailed back then that it would kill business. I think you can guess that they were wrong. You hear the same thing every time minimum wage goes up. Surprise! It’s just as wrong.

          • http://www.realultimatepower.com/ Chucky Arla

            hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            Are you just repeating Upton Sinclair?

          • Nerdsamwich

            Like what? Some BS from the Mises camp that claims math doesn’t belong in economics?

          • Bob_Robert

            “Some BS from the Mises camp that claims math doesn’t belong in economics?”

            So you’ve never read anything to do with Austrian economics.

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            Wait, what? Free banking was a disaster? Tell me what you know about it. Will it just be another fact-free public school story from seventh grade, or have you actually read any scholarly work on the subject?

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            I suppose “lack of regulation” gave us the housing bubble, even though there were ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN state and federal agencies overseeing the financial sector at the time, and spending on regulatory enforcement has increased threefold in inflation-adjusted terms since 1980?

          • Bob_Robert

            “Look at the rise of Google”

            Not once, anywhere, am I required to use Google.

            That “galaxy of search engines” is still there. Don’t blame free markets for your stupidity.

          • Nerdsamwich

            That’s right. You’re not required to. But you do anyway. That was my entire point: monopolies don’t need legal enforcement to exist. They just need time for one member of a market to outgrow its competitors and create entirely market-based barriers to entry.

          • Bob_Robert

            “You’re not required to [use google?]. But you do anyway.”

            Really? When? Please be specific. Or admit that you’re lying.

            “and create entirely market-based barriers to entry.”

            Here is your ignorance in a nut-shell. Without GOVERNMENT granting a legal monopoly, the one and only way for a firm to stay big is to innovate continuously. Just the threat of competition requires such constant innovation. And if that innovation satisfies those who use the service, are you going to say that they are wrong for doing so?

            If you don’t like Google, don’t use them. You have that choice. That you are so abusive of others who also have that choices says far more about you than it does Google.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Constant innovation isn’t the only way to monopolize. You can acquire more of the supply chain, and hedge out competition that way. If my liquid hand soap company buys out the entire supply of those little pump things that go on the bottle, no one else can make a competing product, at least not for the time it takes to build a whole new factory to make the things. By the time a competitor can get their pump factory built, I’ve secured control of the supply of the springs that go in the pumps, so the factory is useless and you go under from the expense of building it.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Constant innovation isn’t the only way to monopolize”

            You have that backwards. Constant innovation is the only way to stay in business, at all.

            “If my liquid hand soap company buys out the entire supply of those little pump things that go on the bottle, no one else can make a competing product…”

            Then sell the soap in bottles, like Dr. Bronner’s, with no “little pump things”, and charge substantially less than the company that has to make back the costs of buying the factory.

            Then that company that over-extended itself and has COMPETITION will have a loss.

            You keep ignoring competition.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Funny, because Softsoap did exactly that, shutting out other companies from getting into the liquid hand soap market for a little over three years.

          • Bob_Robert

            Funny, I never bought it.

            Must be some kind of remarkable monopoly to not be able to force anyone to buy their product.

          • Nerdsamwich

            You keep harping on complete monopoly. Why? An oligopoly like the ones that dominate most American industries isn’t really much better. Does it matter if your cereal is made by Kellogg’s or General Mills? You get the illusion of choice, and that’s about it. Ever buy mayonnaise? No matter whose branding was on the label, if the lid was blue, it was made by Best Foods. Luxotica produces 90% of the eyewear on the market, regardless of brand. They also own most of the distribution. They don’t have legal protection for this. They don’t need it. When Oakley appeared on the scene a few years back, they just pulled some market shenanigans to tank Oakley’s stock price, then bought them.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Does it matter if your cereal is made by Kellogg’s or General Mills?”

            My cereal isn’t. If you want that, you go right ahead.

            You go on and on about brands I don’t buy. Yes, I know the government has fostered consolidation of the food industry. What I find absurd is that you don’t know that.

          • Bob_Robert

            “The unrestricted market always leads to consolidation.”

            Prove it. Prove it now, or admit that you are WRONG.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vw6uF2LdZw

          • Nerdsamwich

            Already mentioned Google. They don’t have any granted monopoly power, they’re just the biggest in the business, and no one can change that. Same with DeBeers. They don’t need legal monopoly power; they control basically the entire diamond industry. Any time a would-be competitor appears, they flood the market and tank prices until said competitor is gone. One more time: they don’t NEED legal protection, because they outgrew their competition long enough ago that they now effectively own the industry.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Already mentioned Google.”

            You were wrong then, you’re still wrong.

            “They don’t have any granted monopoly power, they’re just the biggest in the business, and no one can change that.”

            Bald face lie, again. IBM? Biggest, not anymore. HP, huge, now not. There will always be a “biggest in the business”, and then they will pass, unless GOVERNMENT steps in to subsidize them.

            Where is the law that says I have to buy Microsoft? None, and I don’t. Microsoft makes no money from me, because they have no legal monopoly.

            “Any time a would-be competitor appears, they flood the market and tank prices until said competitor is gone.”

            Ah, trotting out that lie. Well, I’m impressed, you’re going for all the cliches. When you run out, will you go away?

            “they now effectively own the industry.

            False. So long as they have no legal monopoly grant from GOVERNMENT, they cannot prevent competition. Just as Yahoo was the biggest, just as AltaVista was the biggest, Google too shall fall to the next competitor with the better idea.

        • Bob_Robert

          “Why does healthcare need to be a scarce resource?”

          What are you going to do, clone doctors? Make everyone a surgeon?

          Medical care is expensive because it’s HARD.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Not in England, it isn’t. Nor in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, basically any other industrialized nation. We pay more in the US than anyone else in the world for less-favorable outcomes. And the reason is that we insist that someone make money on it at every step of the way.

          • Bob_Robert

            “We pay more in the US”

            Because of the regulatory morass which governments have erected.

            “Not in England, it isn’t. Nor in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, basically any other industrialized nation.”

            That is a bald faced lie. Medical care in those countries is expensive too, it’s merely tax paid rather than user paid.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Incorrect. Their total costs are lower, with better average outcomes.
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2014/06/16/u-s-healthcare-ranked-dead-last-compared-to-10-other-countries/#74a2c9811b96

            Unless you think Forbes is too liberal?

          • Bob_Robert

            “Their total costs are lower”

            And their service sucks. That’s why it’s taxpayer paid, because otherwise no one would buy it.

            You keep ignoring competition.

          • Nerdsamwich

            The service is only worse if you’re rich and looking for a non-essential treatment. When I was in high school, my parents took me to Calgary, Alberta to get my wisdom teeth removed because even with a 6-hour drive and an overnight in a hotel, it was $700 less than going to the next county. That was over 15 years ago. The costs here have only gone up, while the Canadians aren’t paying any more than they were. And the service was so “terrible” that they went to Canada to have my sister delivered, too.

          • Bob_Robert

            “while the Canadians aren’t paying any more than they were.”

            You cannot know that, since they hide it in taxation.

            I’m glad you had the choice to use that service. That is what I promote, choice.

          • Nerdsamwich

            The part of the tax that pays for medical care is itemized. Canadians pay about $35 per month for full access to all needed medical procedures and most medications. Those medications they do pay for cost less than half as much. Much lower cost, better outcomes for basically everyone. They do still have the option to go to a private clinic if they want to, and they can pay themselves for anything the national system won’t cover. If they do, they pay a fraction of what we do. The difference is that the whole system is structured around patient care and outcomes, rather than making money.

          • Bob_Robert

            “The part of the tax that pays for medical care is itemized. ”

            So show me the numbers. Number of Canadians times $35/month equals the entire cost of all medical care in Canada.

            Yes, I would like to see that. Please.

    • http://tklist.us TKList

      If people want single payer in health care; why not a single payer for food, water, clothing, housing, electricity, gas, auto insurance, life insurance, internet and cell service?

      • Nerdsamwich

        Why not for-profit police? Firefighters? Note that we already have single-payer water systems, and publicly-administered telecom is why South Korea has fiber internet nationwide for less than half of what shitty cable costs me. Public education is the sole reason literacy rates are above 20%. What’s your objection, again?

        • http://tklist.us TKList

          We have for profit police, it is called private security ask Hillary Clinton about it.

          “There are 256 private firefighting companies nationwide, and that number is expected to grow to more than 320 by 2017”
          Google it.

          We do not have single-payer water systems. Everyone’s bill is a different amount based on their usage.

          South Korea will have issues with that system in regards to innovation and upkeep. Just look at our public roads. They better enjoy it while they can.

          Public education is a failure. Give all parents school vouchers.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Have you seen the numbers on charter schools? On average, they do no better than public schools, despite getting to pick their students like private schools.
            Sure, there are plenty of private firefighters out there. Do you want to have to sit and watch your house burn while they look up whether or not you’re current on your bill? Even better, what about when they come to sell you the “premium package” that only includes the services you thought you were already getting on the basic plan? Or when three different fire companies show up to your house and it burns down while they fight about who gets the gig? I’ll take my public services, thanks.

          • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

            Charter schools are not private, so it’s a bogus comparison.

            As for firefighters, since no one would want a system like that, no private system would be set up that way.

            “If batteries were produced privately, different battery companies would produce different sized batteries and nothing would work!”

            “Government had better control lamps and lightbulbs, because who says the lightbulb companies will produce the right kind of bulbs?”

            Zero imagination. That’s the point of public education. To make you feel like a helpless boob without your overlords.

          • Dalton Wilcox

            Don’t you ever get tired of defending your ridiculous, unworkable and selfish Libertarian ideals?

            Especially considering that it doesn’t take a genius to drop some facts about how Libertarian policies fail miserably in reality.

            Just look at Sam Brownback’s Kansas to see how all those tax-cutting free market ideals are spiraling towards invalidity.

        • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

          Wait a minute: public education is the sole reason literacy is above 20%? More like it’s the sole reason people would repeat provably false nonsense like this.

          Two questions for you. What was the most literate society in the world in the 19th century? Was schooling there public or private?

        • Bob_Robert

          “Why not for-profit police? Firefighters?”

          Yes! Great! Right now!

          http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-597-can-the-private-sector-protect-against-crime-this-case-study-will-blow-your-mind/

          “Note that we already have single-payer water systems”

          Abolish that crap right now. Look how wonderfully it worked in Flint!

          “Public education is the sole reason literacy rates are above 20%”

          Agreed. Literacy rates were well over 90% prior to government schools. Abolish them, they are hideously expensive and failing!

  • steve stange

    Does anyone believe that the goal is for Obamacare to succeed? Those who do are not very observant.

  • http://tklist.us TKList

    Get government out of the health insurance business as much as possible. Limit them to limited regulation and financial support for health insurance to those who need it.

    Government is about half the health insurance market with Medicare, Medicaid and the VA. This is why the health insurance market is not functioning like a normal market in any other industry.

    Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare and VA hospitals should be phased out. People under these programs and those who are financially below the poverty level should be given a yearly amount that they could use to purchase health insurance.

    Keep the federal regulation stating that insurance companies have to cover pre-existing conditions as long as the person had previous insurance.
    Allow people to purchase insurance from any state. Deregulate state health insurance markets. Unhinge medical insurance from employers in the tax code.

    Getting government out and increasing competition in this way will lower health insurance costs. It cuts the bureaucracy costs, cuts the fraud costs and improves competition and quality of care.

    Why not do financial support for health insurance the same way we do financial support for food?

  • JDHoward

    Based on the posts I see on Facebook from my “progressive” friends, there should be a CONTRA REICH rather than a CONTRA KRUGMAN. I refer, of course, to Robert Reich who gets quoted all over Facebook for his economic (!) positions.

    • https://www.facebook.com/Voluntary-Thelema-346396075477984 Apollonius Dionysius

      Krugman’s too obviously a Hillbot for Sandernistas to stomach, so they tend to cite Reich.

  • ddearborn

    Hmmm

    Your assertion that prices must raise in response to increased coverage of less healthy people is patently ridiculous. Given that as a whole, the industry continues to record record profits means that instead of prices rising, profits have ample room to drop to accommodate the additional overhead without jeopardizing the financial stability of the industry. Of course it would tend to dampen the run away pay of corporate CEO’s………

    Furthermore, the government could step in at stop the completely out of control price increases that the medical industry has rammed down our throats for over a decade now. How anyone can support with a straight face, let alone justify yearly price increases that are running 5 to times higher than inflation is beyond me. Good god, America has the highest medical and prescription drug costs in the entire world and yet pundits are still claiming Americans can’t get medical insurance because corporate America can’t afford it? Bullshit.

    • Shane Richmond

      “Given that as a whole, the industry continues to record record profits…” What are you talking about? They are BILLIONS of dollars in the RED for the last QUARTER.

      • ddearborn

        Hmmm

        Hold on now. The “industry” is not billions of dollars in the red. The obamacare sector of the insurance industry is in the red.

        • Shane Richmond

          No, there are multiple private companies that were guaranteed FDIC-type insurance from the government where the gov said if they didn’t make as much money as they thought they would, the government would reimburse them the difference. These numbers are literally in the billions. These are PRIVATE insurance companies.

          The money that the government had set aside was also already spent (illegally, and without anyone suffering any consequences). There was another fund that the government had set up where they were going to tax insurance companies that made MORE than they thought they were going to (isn’t this just ridiculous?) to transfer to the less “profitable” companies. But there were NO companies that made enough money to contribute to that fund.

          If they were making record profits, this fund would have been filled.

          The government is written into law to owe these companies the money they lost, and the government spent every penny they had for this and didn’t receive the additional funds they thought they were going to get from these so-called “record profits,” so now the TAXPAYERS are going to get hit with another tax to cover this contract on top of the rising costs of health insurance and care.

          There are NO record profits in the health insurance industry.

          • ddearborn

            Hmmm

            Shane what planet are you living on? I ask because the planet I live on says that companies like UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) reported that in 2015

            Revenues Grew 20% Year-Over-Year to More Than $157 Billion. Operating Earnings Reached $11 Billion Cash Flows From Operations Exceeded $9.7 Billion Full Year Adjusted Net Earnings Were $6.45 Per Share

            That is about 6 BILLION DOLLARS PROFIT.

            Currently shares are trading at roughly $136 within a few dollars of its 52 week high. They are sitting on 11 Billion in cash and through the end of June 2016 are still making money hand over fist. Revenues/profits are on track to once again increase another 20% year over year.

            Now once again I have to ask: what planet are you living on Shane? Or perhaps more to the point which insurance company or industry trade group do you work for?

          • Shane Richmond

            Really?

            “A large portion of United’s business comes from its Medicare supplement and Medicare Part C”

            That’s government handout right there. And it accounts for the majority of their revenue. Imagine that. And they make up 12.36% of the market share. So the majority of over 10% of ALL healthcare is directly paid for by the government (which means, you and me). That’s not “private company.”

            http://www.jasonstapleton.com/america-just-entered-the-war-in-yemen/

            24:50 mark. Have a listen.

          • ddearborn

            Hmmm

            I offered a factual rebuttal your statement:

            “What are you talking about? They are BILLIONS of dollars in the RED for the last QUARTER.”

            My rebuttal was supporting my assertion that health Insurance companies are making so much money that they could easily afford to LOWER Obamacare premiums. I might add the the entire health care Industry including big Pharma has been rolling in record profits for years now. And the reality is that consumer pricing for entire industry needs to be reigned in.

            In point of fact, prices have risen to such a degree industry wide that it is no longer “Obamacare” per say that is the problem so much as the pure unadulterated greed of the healthcare industry as a whole…..

            Which in turn means that instead of feeding the industry greed which in turn has essentially bankrupted Obamacare we should force the industry to lower prices more in line with what is fair and reasonable. Hell Shane, if the government can spend 10+ trillion on wars for Israel in the Middle East, billion dollar tax breaks for billionaires, surely it isn’t unreasonable to grant the citizens that, as you point out are in fact paying for all this access to affordable healthcare.

            Since you decided to broaden the scope of discussion. I see the problem being that very shortly the average working person on the street is going to stop wondering about why they are getting screwed and start demanding that it stop. Lack of access to adequate healthcare is just another symptom. There is no question in my mind we are witnessing a race going on between the ruling elite trying to prevent this accounting by legislating the 1st/2nd/4th amendments to the point of irrelevance and a ground swell which is on the verge of becoming the majority who are going to stop them. And I might add, if history is any guide, and it usually is, this majority will in the end extract a measure of justice appropriate to crimes that have been perpetrated against them. Have a nice day Shane.

          • Shane Richmond

            I offered a factual rebuttal as well. My statement was that the INDUSTRY was in the Red. It is. You cited a large health insurance company that is making lots of profit. I pointed out that those profits aren’t from the free market, but from taxpayer funds, which is theft. They’re not making money on offering plans, they’re making money on AARP Medicare through the government.

            The top health insurance companies making profit comprise approximately 25% of the market share. There are far more companies that make up the rest of the 75% of the industry that have to stop offering plans because they’re losing money.

            I don’t care how much money the government has to spend on anything. EVERY DIME is stolen from you. me. and other taxpayers in the present (through taxation), or stolen from future generations through inflation from borrowing. None of that money is theirs, and they have no constitutional authority to do the things they do with it.

            Extrapolate that to the profits of the major healthcare companies you cite, and you’ll see that they’re NOT making record profits. They’re making record THEFT.

            Did you listen to the podcast I linked at the time stamp I put?

  • Bill Huber

    As a middle class person who was hurt by the Affordable Care Act I was disappointed that Mr. Krugman did not reach out to the middle class with some better ideas. My annual health insurance premium went from $3,732 in 2011 to $6,564 in 2016. The lowest cost bronze plan for 2016 was going to cost me $12,300. I do not need a Nobel prize in economics to figure out that I am much worse off in 2016 than I was in 2011. For a person who has not filed a health insurance claim in this century, I lay the blame on the Affordable Care Act.

    Since it is highly likely that my grandfathered health insurance plan will not be available to me in 2017, next year I am confronted with an interesting dilemma. The IRS says I should spending no more than 8.05% of my income on health insurance. That means the lowest cost bronze plan will be affordable for when I start earning $152,795. Sadly I am not earning anywhere close to that number. In an ironic twist since there are no health insurance plans available from the exchange that meets this criteria, it appears that the Affordable Care Act is recommending that I should be uninsured. I am not sure which universe Mr. Krugman is living in but the lack of affordable health insurance in the exchange is more than a bump in the road to the average middle class person. For the first time in my forty year career I will not have affordable health insurance available to me. Is this the good news he was referring to?

  • James Adams

    You know where you won’t be forced to buy a more expensive package than you’d otherwise choose?

  • Bob_Robert

    I’m one of those people who has been saying since the beginning that nothing this bad could have been “designed” accidentally.

    It was written in cooperation with the insurance companies in order to up their stock so they could make some money, before the Feds took over medicine completely, and put the insurance companies out of business.

    Progressives have wanted socialized medicine since day 1, and they are determined to get it by whatever means necessary.