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Posted July 31, 2019

Byron King

By Byron King


In response to last weeks discussion about Medicare-for-all and trying to nail down terms, a reader writes:

Socialized medicine means the doctors work for the government. Period. Trying to redefine it is calling a tail a leg; it does not make the term fit. It doesn't mean single-payer."

(Well have more on this tomorrow.)

Our contributor next addresses the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital in Philly:

And if hospitals can't stay afloat on what Medicare pays, it means either their cost structures are out of whack or that Medicare payments aren't high enough to sustain the system and need to be increased. Can't tell on the basis of one hospital."

Regarding the VA health system...

Finally, the VA: you can find plenty of dissatisfaction with the VA, but overall, its users are more satisfied than are users of regular hospitals. I'm not sure what that tells us."

Our reader most likely refers to a 2016 Gallup study that found 75% veterans were satisfied with their care through the VA.

According to the same survey, 66% of those with insurance through their employer were satisfied; the percentage drops to 62% for those who pay for their own health insurance.

How about you? How satisfied are you with your healthcare plan?

Your Rundown for Wednesday, July 31, 2019:

Powells Historic (Knee-Jerk) Moment

The Federal Reserve is expected to say Wednesday it will reduce its benchmark interest rate by one quarter percentage point, the WSJ says.

A quarter of a percent? Not exactly blowing our skirt up.

But its a historic move thats only happened four times in the last 25 years at the central bank.

The most recent Fed rate cut occurred in late 2008, when the central bank lowered rates to near zero after the financial crisis and then held rates at that level for seven years.

So why now? We get 2008. Do we ever.

But inflations low. Ditto unemployment. The economys grown by 2.1%. What gives?

The article at The Wall Street Journal offers four reasons but we found its third to be pretty telling

Stock- and bond-market conditions have been buoyant recently because investors expect the Fed to lower rates. (emphasis added)

Failing to cut would, in effect, serve to tighten policy, which could further weaken investment.

So investors dictate what the Fed does? And because investors expect rate cuts, the Fed hops to? Seems like the chicken-or-the-egg debate with some dire consequences.

Heres another theory: Trumps been tweeting about Fed Chairman Powell and company for months now, accusing the Fed of putting the brakes on the markets.

And if Trump wants to get re-elected -- we can only assume he does -- the buoyant markets better ride off into the sunset or at least through the election.

So do you think Powells decision to cut rates is a knee jerk reaction to the presidents taunts? And do you foresee some negative consequences from the rate cut?

(As an aside, one colleague said to me, IMAGINE Clinton strong arming Greenspan back in the day. Well...)

Market Rundown for Wed. July 31, 2019

S&P 500 futures are up 2 points to 3,015.57.

Oil is up 46 cents per barrel to $58.51.

Golds added $1.10 to its price of $1,442.90 per ounce.

Bitcoin is up $292.32 to $9,887.62.

Have a great day. Well talk tomorrow

For the Rundown,

Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler

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