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Charts & Hedging

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Ron was educated as a mathematics teacher, trained as a land use economist and has been involved with trading futures for more than 20 years.

Japanese vs American Health Care

Mar 15, 2011

Tuesday night -- beans and wheat are sharply higher in Asian trading. The lack of logic of traders is amazing. Destroy Japan so the Japanese can't feed themselves, then assume that will send grain prices -- lower? Fear does strange things.

I spent part of the day checking health care costs. My wife, not medicare age, has had a hip replacement and, for practical purposes, cannot get health care insurance. I find that to be amazing, apalling and a few other items. That got me thinking about the poor Japanese, and how overburden their health care system seems likely to become sooner rather than later. Imagine a grave disaster in America, one that sent millions of folks to the hospital on top of the usual traffic. What then?

The HMOs would not have sufficient funds to pay the costs. After setting aside an estimated $50 million per company for executive golden parachutes, they would declare bankruptcy. So who would pick up the costs? The government would have to do it or those millions would die (this is my emergency -- I get to make it really bad to make the point). So all those premiums we have paid into the system would go not to health care, but to the executives (as 20%, more or less, do now) and the taxpayer would still have to pay the freight.

Fortunately for the Japanese, they have a publically funded health care system. By the way, that system has been considered by the analysts at the World Health Organization to be much better than the American system. And it won't go bankrupt, thereby denying health care to a devastated nation.

Food for thought.


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