How Experts Enable Corruption: The Role of Conflicted Lawyers at CalPERS and Other Public Pension Funds

As Trump is about to be sworn in, the press and pundits are agog about his and his fellow Cabinet members’ deep and extensive conflicts of interest, and how dangerous they is for democracy.1 But the hue and cry about conflicts of interest is late in coming. They’ve been tolerated more and more over time […]

Trump, Policy, Markets

Trump, Policy, Markets David R. Kotok Cumberland, January 17, 2017       As Don Rissmiller of Strategas Research Partners succinctly points out: “There are four types of government policy that can be used to steer the economy: 1) monetary policy, 2) fiscal policy, 3) regulatory policy, and 4) trade policy.” We will use Don’s…

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Phil Mattingly on Twitter: „Asked Senate HELP Chair Lamar Alexander if he’d spoken to Trump or his team about the president-elect’s healthcare plan: „I have not.““

*Live from the Cage of the Orange-Haired Baboon: Phil Mattingly *: On Twitter: "Asked Senate HELP Chair Lamar Alexander if he'd spoken to Trump or his team about the president-elect's healthcare plan: 'I have not.'"

bradford-delong.com: Grasping Reality with Both Hands 2017-01-17 23:46:39

Live from Planet Gutenberg: The day's book haul. These both look very good. Unfortunately, the first day of classes is absolutely the last day you want your book showing up in my mailbox in the form of a review copy...

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James Kwak (2016): Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality (New York: Pantheon: 1101871199) http://amzn.to/2k1yt3y

Daniel Wolff: Grown-Up Anger: The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet Massacre of 1913 (New York: Harper: 0062451693)http://amzn.to/2ixYJSP

The Economics of the Affordable Care Act

Dean Baker at INET:

The Economics of the Affordable Care Act: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal, was crafted to overcome two basic problems in the provision of health care... First, the costs are incredibly skewed, with just 10 percent of patients accounting for almost two thirds of the nation’s healthcare spending. The other problem is asymmetric information: Patients have far more knowledge about the state of their own health than insurers do. This means that the people with the largest costs are the ones most likely to sign up for insurance. These two problems make it impossible to get to universal coverage under a purely market-based system. ...
Covering the least costly 90 percent of patients is manageable, but the cost of covering the least healthy 10 percent is exorbitant. ...
The ACA gets around this problem by requiring that everyone buy insurance — a mandate that allows people with serious health problems to get insurance at a reasonably affordable price. Since many people cannot afford an insurance policy even if it’s based on average costs, the ACA also provided subsidies to low and moderate income people. It pays for the subsidies primarily through a tax on the wealthiest households, those with incomes over $200,000.
Thus far, the ACA has actually worked better than expected in most respects. ...
Insofar as the ACA has run into problems, those have been attributable to too few healthy people in the health care exchanges, and too little competition among insurers. Many commentators have wrongly blamed the problem in the exchanges on a failure of young healthy people to sign up for insurance. This is not the cause of the problem, since more people are getting insured than had been projected. The reason fewer healthy people are showing up on the exchanges is that fewer employers dropped insurance than had been projected. ... By continuing to provide insurance for their workers despite the ACA, employers are effectively keeping healthy people out of the exchanges.
The other problem with the exchanges has been limited competition, as many insurers have dropped out after the first few years. The loss of competition has meant higher prices. ...
One way to make insurance more affordable would be to reduce the costs of the health care system as a whole. Americans pay twice as much per person as people in other wealthy countries, with few obvious benefits in terms of outcomes. But such cost cutting would mean reducing the incomes of drug companies, doctors, and insurance companies — the big winners under the current system. It seems unlikely the Republicans will go this route. They are more likely to restore a version of the pre-ACA situation, in which many more people are uninsured and most workers know that their insurance is only as secure as their job.
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