Arnold Kling rightly notes that only left-of-center ideas are being considered for healthcare reform. I find this particularly weird since I’ve read about company after company coming up with interesting healthcare innovations. Here is Kling:
Has there been some good news in housing lately? You betcha. New home sales jumped 11 percent in June, while the inventory of new unsold homes tumbled sharply. Better yet, May home prices were pretty much flat rather than plunging. “Recent housing reports have been promising,” opines Patrick Newport of IHS Global Insight.
Time for a political reality check. Government-run public health insurance that competes with private plans — a Democratic dream since President Truman suggested it in 1945 — may not be dead for now on Capitol Hill, but its vital signs are awfully faint.
Might America and China be headed toward a falling out over currency issues as U.S. unemployment worsens? The always superinsightful Andy Busch of BMO Capital Markets makes a helluva point here (bold is mine):
Obama agenda falters, stock market rallies. I like to call this the Great Coincidence since, of course, the Investor Class would have no problem during a recession with higher income, investment, corporate, healthcare and energy taxes plus more regulation and intervention into the private sector. But wait! This article from The Hill makes the case that there might be something real to the GC after all (bold is mine):
This chart of the trend in durable goods orders makes me smile. Although June orders were down, notes Michael Darda of MKM Partners, “the weakness was concentrated in transportation, communications and defense. Non-defensecapital goods orders excluding aircraft, which is a component of the Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators, rose 1.4% m/m after a 4.3% m/m rise in May — the first back-to-back gains in a year.”
From superanalyst Dan Clifton of Strategas Research:
Should the Senate Finance Committee reach an agreement, the plan will likely take the form of an $800bn package inclusive of: a) an individual mandate; b) an employer mandate and a state based cooperative; c) insurance reforms such as guaranteed issue and community rating; d) a health insurance exchange subsidized up to 300 pct. of the poverty limit; and, e) an expansion of Medicaid in the range of 125 to 133 pct. of the poverty line. Notes – The health insurance exchange (part d) and the expansion of Medicaid (part e) are key to getting coverage, but also carry the highest cost – rendering them vulnerable to potential delays in program and eligibility implementation.
David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff doesn’t think so:
Much is being made of the fact that over 70% of U.S. companies are beating their low-balled earnings estimates, but the majority are still missing their revenue targets (as per Verizon and Honeywell in yesterday’s reports — top-lines down 6.7% and 22% respectively). Even so, a momentum-driven market will always be driven by just that — momentum; and there’s no doubt that investor risk appetite is being whetted. But after paying for the end of the recession in May, the market is now pricing in 40-50% earnings growth for next year, and while costs have aggressively been taken out of the system, this sort of unprecedented profits revival can only occur in the context of a V-shaped recovery, which we give 1-in-50 odds of occurring.
A Capitol Hill source tells me that a public healthcare option is dead, dead, dead in the Senate and thus dead overall. While some healthcare reform proponents hope to use the August recess to rally support, more likely it will be that the Dems will be telling the troops and interest groups that if you want some kind of healthcare bill, give up pushing for a public option. At this point, it is a waste of time, energy and money. But this does not mean Dems still might not push through some pretty big changes. As another source put it: