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Archive for March 22nd, 2010

In which we learn to read more deeply than headlines

Posted by Charles II on March 22, 2010

The headline was “Health care companies pull stock market higher

But reading more deeply, we learn that “Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp. rose 9 percent, while insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. fell 3.2 percent.

So, instead of jerking our knees (or whatever part of the body is involved in reflexive reaction to headlines), we investigate. Screening American stocks for Large and Midcaps in the same sub-industry as United vs. the same sub-industry as Tenet, we find the following for the 1-day reaction to the passage of healthcare (hospital groups are smaller than health insurance groups):

Insurers Hospitals
UNH $40B -3.17% THC $3B +9.04%
AET $15B +0.52% BKD $2B +0.64%
CVH $4B -0.42% CYH $4B +6.16%
HNT $3B -1.30% HMA $2B +11.32%
HUM $9B -1.36% LPT $2B +5.78%
WLP $29B -1.05% UHC $3B +6.18%
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx WOOF $2B +2.17%
-1.1% +/-1.2% 5.90% +/-3.7%

Why would hospitals rise while insurers sink? Maybe hospitals think they will get paid more regularly, while insurers think that their prospects are not unlimited.

One-day stock market results don’t mean a lot. But clearly there’s more to the headline than those who paint this as an unmitigated victory for the healthcare industry would have us think.

Posted in health care, media | 1 Comment »

In which Michael Moore and Robert Reich (and even Noam Chomsky) reassure Phoenix Woman

Posted by Charles II on March 22, 2010

Robert Reich, minimalist (via t/o):

It’s not nearly as momentous as the passage of Medicare in 1965 and won’t fundamentally alter how Americans think about social safety nets. But the likely passage of Obama’s health care reform bill is the biggest thing Congress has done in decades, and has enormous political significance for the future….

Obama’s legislation comes from an alternative idea, begun under the Eisenhower administration and developed under Nixon, of a market for health care based on private insurers and employers. …

So don’t believe anyone who says Obama’s health care legislation marks a swing of the pendulum back toward the Great Society and the New Deal. Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican rather than a New Deal foundation. …

The significance of Obama’s health legislation is more political than substantive. For the first time since Ronald Reagan told America government is the problem, Obama’s health bill reasserts that government can provide a major solution. In political terms, that’s a very big deal….

We will not return to the New Deal or the Great Society, but nor will we continue to wallow in the increasingly obsolete Reagan view that we don’t need a strong and competent government. Today’s vote confirms our hope that we can have both strength and competence in Washington. It is an audacious hope, but we have no choice.

Michael Moore, optimist:

To My Fellow Citizens, the Republicans:

Thanks to last night’s vote, that child of yours who has had asthma since birth will now be covered after suffering for her first nine years as an American child with a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to last night’s vote, that 23-year-old of yours who will be hit one day by a drunk driver and spend six months recovering in the hospital will now not go bankrupt because you will be able to keep him on your insurance policy.

Thanks to last night’s vote, after your cancer returns for the third time — racking up another $200,000 in costs to keep you alive — your insurance company will have to commit a criminal act if they even think of dropping you from their rolls.
Yes, my Republican friends, even though you have opposed this health care bill, we’ve made sure it is going to cover you, too, in your time of need….

So don’t feel too bad. We’re a long way from universal health care. Over 15 million Americans will still be uncovered — and that means about 15,000 will still lose their lives each year because they won’t be able to afford to see a doctor or get an operation. But another 30,000 will live. I hope that’s ok with you.

Added: Via David W. at Avedon Carol’s Sideshow, Sahil Kapur at RawStory:

“If I were in Congress,” he said, “I’d probably hold my nose and vote for it, because the alternative of not passing it is worse, bad as this bill is. Unfortunately, that’s the reality.”

Posted in health care, Michael Moore/Sicko | 2 Comments »

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