“The Way Insurance Companies Have Rigged Our Health Care System, They’re Probably Going to Emerge as Financial Winners from This”

Author and former health insurance executive Wendell Potter explains to ProMarket why the employer-based health care system in the US is “collapsing” and why health insurance companies see the Covid-19 crisis as a “net saving.”  

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Option-Based Credit Spreads Signal a Recession, but the US Stimulus Will Soften the Blow

Over the past month, option-based credit spreads spiked and remain at elevated levels. The surge signals that a recession is at our door, but its dampening over the past week suggests that the unprecedented stimulus may mitigate the blow. In the last week, the likelihood of a recession in the next 12 months has come down from 100 percent to 73 percent. 

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The Case for Lockdown: in Italy’s Lombardy, It Can Reduce Covid-19 Potential Fatalities from 160,000 to 25,000

According to an analysis by Bocconi University professor Carlo Favero, the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Lombardy, Northern Italy, is 120,000, while official figures put it at around 24,000. Hospitalizations will peak in the second week of April. With a fatality rate of 2 percent, casualties will still rise from the current 5,400 to 25,000. The alternative scenario, with no lockdown, would be much more dramatic, with a predicted cumulative toll of 160,000.  

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America’s Broken Health Care System Is the Biggest Obstacle to Containing the Coronavirus

Over the past few weeks, it has become abundantly clear that the US health care system is uniquely ill-equipped to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. For years, physicians, economists, and health advocates have warned that the American health care system is a disaster in waiting. Now the disaster is here.  

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Why Mass Testing Is Crucial: the US Should Study the Veneto Model to Fight Covid-19

The Italian experience suggests that locking downtowns is a necessary but insufficient condition to stop the spread of the disease. If 50 percent of the infected are asymptomatic, there is no hope of containing the disease unless we subject ourselves to massive testing. On February 22, 3 percent of the inhabitants of Vo Euganeo, a small town close to Padua, were infected. After two weeks in which the town was locked down and a massive testing program applied, only 0.25 percent were infected.

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Populism Weakened the Immune System of Our Democracies. Chile Is an Example

Modern societies have developed immune systems to deal with epidemics: international cooperation, social cohesion, universal health care systems. But today we face the greatest planetary emergency since World War II with these immune systems severely weakened: populist nationalisms disrupt international cooperation and promote every-man-for-himself, and the anti-science wave infects the debate with irrationality.

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This Is Not the Time to Be Cautious. We Need to Contain the Economic Contagion of the Coronavirus

A real danger is that the virus mutates and infects our economic system, even as we manage to root it out of our bodies. The objective of economic policy cannot be to eliminate the recession altogether. The priority is to short-circuit all the negative feedback loops and channels of contagion that otherwise amplify this negative shock. 

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Keeping Business Alive During the Coronavirus Crisis: Government as Buyer of Last Resort

The government has to compensate businesses and workers for their losses so that each business can re-emerge almost intact after the hibernation due to social distancing ends. An economy-wide fall in the demand for goods and services of 40 percent over 3 months leads to a 10 percent drop in annual GDP. The government can transfer 10 points of GDP to the private sector, financed via public debt.

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