We’ll be taking the week off; and hope you will have a Merry Christmas, too!
We’ll be back blogging the week of December 28.
Chris Jacobs of the Conservative Review has an interesting review of Hillary Clinton’s business income from health insurers and pharmaceutical manufacturers:
At the end of this campaign’s first debate for Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton claimed that she counted the pharmaceutical and insurance industries as her enemies. Since that time, various reports have focused on the way in which her campaigns, as well as the Clinton Foundation, have profited from contributions by drug and insurance companies. However, few have reported how Bill and Hillary Clinton personally profited from insurance and drug company largesse.
To call it mere profit would be an understatement. As the below spreadsheet shows, financial disclosure records filed by the Clintons demonstrate that since Bill Clinton left office in January 2001, he and his wife have received more than $9.3 million in honoraria for speeches before groups associated with health care, and a whopping $3.4 million for speeches paid for by groups in the drug, device, and insurance industries (bolded in the spreadsheet).
(Readers can download the spreadsheet at Mr. Jacob’s article.)
My own conclusion is that the health insurers will get what they paid for, if Mrs. Clinton is elected President, whereas the drug-makers will be reminded of the old adage that “you cannot buy politicians; but only rent them.”
This is a screenshot of an ad run by the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the Canadian federal election held last Monday, October 19. Although the single-payer Canadian system is run by the provincial governments, the question of funding it dominates federal elections.
This morning’s Employment Situation Summary, which showed slow job growth overall, contained a big jump for health services: 23 percent of last month’s jobs were in health services (see Table I).
Of the 41,000 health jobs, a little more than half were in ambulatory settings. Because of a long-term shift in the location of care, there are now almost seven million people working in ambulatory settings, versus just under five million working in hospitals. This is a positive development.
Slang words describing human feces are often used to denote products of poor quality or that have absolutely no value whatsoever. A product that is substandard is sometimes derisively referred to as “crap” — or worse. Now, a company in Massachusetts is collecting fecal material into a “stool bank,” and selling the screened preparations to hospitals for $385 apiece. The material is later injected into sick patients’ digestive tracts infected with Clostridium difficile. These are difficult-to-treat bacterial infections that kill an estimated 14,000 people annually. The donated feces are obtained from healthy donors, who are paid $40 per donation. The average donation is screened and divided into four preparations, enough to treat four patients. In a clinical trial, the results from using donated fecal material were superior to using antibiotics.
According to an article in the Washington Post, “There’s one food, though, that has almost nothing going for it. It occupies precious crop acreage, requires fossil fuels to be shipped, refrigerated, around the world, and adds nothing but crunch to the plate.”
The culprit is the ubiquitous salad. As any meat-eater will tell you, salads are worthless and should be banned from the dinner table! Salad vegetables are very low in nutrition. Salads mislead dieters and fools them into loading up on high fat additives to make them palatable. Salads are also the chief source of vegetable food waste; about one billion pounds of uneaten salads are “tossed” out annually. Salad is also a vector for food-borne diseases; nearly one-quarter of food poisonings are from salads.
The Fraser Institute has released a study estimating the costs of Canada’s government monopoly, a.k.a. single-payer health system. A typical Canadian family of four will pay $11,735 for public health care insurance in 2015. The study also tracks the cost of health care insurance over time: Between 2005 and 2015, the cost of health care for the average Canadian family (all family types) increased by 48.5 per cent, dwarfing increases in income (30.8 per cent), shelter (35.9 per cent) and food (18.2 per cent).
Accenture, the management consulting firm, has concluded that the flood of venture capital into digital health startups is not only maturing, it has created a race of zombies that will be bought up on the cheap by established players. In language not usually employed by the elite ranks of sober-minded management consultants:
Accenture predicts that more than half of digital health start-ups funded between 2008 and 2013 are not likely to survive longer than 20 months. Some healthcare companies will look to buy these “zombie start-ups” to drive growth by infusing top talent, fueling innovation and bolstering existing solutions.
While digital health and healthcare IT start-up funding is accelerating, the reality is that few start-ups will stand out. Even fewer will survive. Of the nearly 900 digital health start-ups that Accenture studied, 51 percent are zombie start-ups, at risk to die. These are companies that each received less than $50 million in total funding between 2008 and 2013 and have not received funding in 20 months or more.
The July Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed health services jobs growing at about the same pace as other jobs: 0.18 percent growth versus 0.15 percent growth. This is a break from most previous months, when health services job growth outpaced other nonfarm civilian jobs significantly. 28,000 of the 215,000 jobs added in July were in health services.
However, there was a significant uptick in the rate of jobs growth in hospitals: Adding 16,000 jobs, hospital employment counted for significantly more than half of health services jobs growth (see Table I).
Jobs growth in nursing care facilities continued to stagnate, where employment in has been flat for twelve months (See Table II).
Suppose you lived in an otherwise free country where you were forced to get medical care from a government-controlled monopoly funded by your taxes. Suppose that country made it almost impossible, by law and regulation, to get medical care outside that monopoly within its borders.
Because the government’s rationing of care would affect your ability to work or otherwise enjoy life, it would impose a private cost upon you greater than the tax burden. That country would be Canada, and the average cost imposed on patients by the government monopoly is $1,289, according to The Fraser Institute.