Obama reportedly told all “his people” to read this New Yorker article. Swamp Report agrees that this article should be read by everyone. The basic assertion of the article is that high health care costs in America are driven by doctors’ (and to a lessor extent insurance companies’) greed, not law suits. While the Mayo Clinic’s approach (see page 6) appears to be effective in reducing costs if the approach is universally applied through government control, it is clearly socialism:
The core tenet of the Mayo Clinic is “The needs of the patient come first”—not the convenience of the doctors, not their revenues. The doctors and nurses, and even the janitors, sat in meetings almost weekly, working on ideas to make the service and the care better, not to get more money out of patients. I asked Cortese how the Mayo Clinic made this possible.
“It’s not easy,” he said. But decades ago Mayo recognized that the first thing it needed to do was eliminate the financial barriers. It pooled all the money the doctors and the hospital system received and began paying everyone a salary, so that the doctors’ goal in patient care couldn’t be increasing their income. Mayo promoted leaders who focussed first on what was best for patients, and then on how to make this financially possible.
However, without taking sides with the doctors or other analysts, Swamp Report would like to add to the mix: More competition is at least part of the answer. And… we mean private -not government subsidized- competition. Clearly, restricting the number of (supply of) doctors raises doctors’ incomes and even encourages them to expect more each year. A comparison of 2008 matriculation data (18036 matriculants) to 2003 (16538 matriculants) and an examiniation of applications, shows the intentional restrictions. What would a doubling of the Med school matriculation rate for the next ten years in the US do to the availability of cost efficient health care here? And please don’t tell us there aren’t enough qualified applicants… Restricting the supply of workers in ANY field (the purpose of unions) raises wages to the lucky few who are admitted to the club.
More competition by private insurers will also go a long way to reducing costs. But creating a subsidized government run organization to “compete” with private companies will only reduce the number of competing private firms…and thus drive up costs. We need more not less.
Of course adding to the supply without giving the patient an incentive to shop around would be a mistake. We also need the patient to bear a larger percentage of the cost – so they have a vested interest in keeping costs down by comparing costs.
The Conference Board‘s Consumer Confidence Index for June was 49.3, down from its revised May level of 54.8. Because consumer confidence is a coincident indicator that follows the stock market, Swamp Report did not read much into the previous recent rises and does not now read much into this fall. However, the pessimism regarding jobs was particularly gloomy:
Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased to 17.4 percent from 19.3 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 27.3 percent from 25.6 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes declined to 9.8 percent from 10.8 percent.
Bloomberg’s “confidence index that measures respondents appraisal of current business conditions and current employment conditions also fell and as Zero Hedge points out, is diverging from the current stock market euphoria.
Check out Matt Taibi’s blog on the aftermath of his piece in Rolling Stone. Here’s a snippet, but read the whole thing. Goldman Sachs, Rapes and Pillages’ obfuscation is incredible – to say the least:
Actually I did contact Goldman and gave the bank every opportunity to respond to the factual issues in the article. I’m bringing this up because their decision not to comment on any of those questions was actually pretty interesting.
So what I decided to do the first time I approached them was to send a short list of simple factual questions.
I intentionally put a lot of yes/no questions on that list. If the underlying thinking behind any of those questions was faulty, it would have been easy enough for them to say so and to educate us as to the truth. Instead, here is the response that we got:
“Your questions are couched in such a way that presupposes the conclusions and suggests the people you spoke with have an agenda or do not fully understand the issues.”
In a very rare straying from the party line: this CNBC piece focuses on the a market propped up by “manipulation and government intervention” with no painful healing process allowed…
Just as in the US, the UK government’s massive spending is benefiting the financial oligarchy, but not the real economy and the real people in it…
Every day is a new day … and I don’t know how in the world anybody can be bored.
Making stock trades doesn’t mix with making laws in Congress
–Cleveland: Plain Dealer
Texas hit hard in commercial real estate spiral
–Dallas Morning News
Paul Volcker’s role at White House is unclear
The media’s love affair with President Obama
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Today’s theme – there’s a slow simmer going on and people are beginning to get ticked off. The economic problems have their roots in political problems. Maybe we need to stop and fix our political problems before addressing our economic one – namely getting our elected officials to do the right thing. Read and get mad.
Corporately Owned Congress Blocking The Way For Meaningful Reform
Financial Sector Regulation: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Too big to fail
Bernanke Worried About HR 1207 Destablizing the Dollar
–Lew Rockwell, CA
Fed Documents Fuel Concerns About Expanding Central Bank’s Role
–Wall Street Journal
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