Amazon Health Services?

By | 2018-02-01T07:07:45+00:00 February 1st, 2018|Global Market Update|

Amazon Health Services? “Your margin is my opportunity.” Health Care Aggregation. Source: Strategery That’s how Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos sees the world. When a company tries to optimize its operations to satisfy an arbitrary Wall Street ratio, that creates space for someone else to disrupt their enterprise. And health care is full of high-margin businesses ripe for disruption. Amazon, Berkshire, and JP Morgan have launched a long-term initiative to provide health care for their employees. In many ways, their initiative is an ideal platform [...]

It’s the People

By | 2018-01-05T07:24:03+00:00 January 5th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Why does US healthcare cost so much? Photo: Norbert Kaiser. Source: Wikimedia People complain about healthcare costs all the time. And it’s shocking when you look at what a routine medical procedure costs, whether your Medicare pays, or your insurance company pays, or you’re on your own. And compared with other countries, the US is in a league of its own. We devote about 17% of our total economy on health care, while other wealthy countries spend around 12%. Why do we spend so [...]

Rx: Competition

By | 2017-07-17T16:46:20+00:00 July 10th, 2017|Global Market Update|

What’s wrong with the health care debate? Public Domain. Source: Wikipedia I don’t pretend to have a solution. Health care is complex and multi-faceted, with lots of market and non-market elements. And it’s huge: a sixth of our $20 trillion economy. But one thing that’s so disheartening about the debate is that it mostly focusses on the demand side of the equation. Health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, exchanges – these are all ways that we get access to care. It’s as if we debated food [...]

Health Care Values

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:28+00:00 March 7th, 2017|Global Market Update|

What makes health care a good (or bad) investment? Photo: Clever Cupcakes. Source: Wikimedia Commons Lots of people are looking at health care stocks. Since the end of 2015, their performance has been fairly modest, rising by less than 6%, while the rest of the market has returned almost 18%. Health care is among the cheaper sectors, with a forward P/E ratio of only 16.4x, vs the market’s 18.4x. Only telecom, which has falling revenues, is cheaper. So they are intriguing to value investors. [...]

Politics and Investing

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:38+00:00 October 31st, 2016|Global Market Update|

Should politics impact our investing? Source: Wikipedia Many folks are concerned about the upcoming presidential election. The two major party candidates elicit strong reactions. Three quarters of those surveyed think it will have a big impact on their personal finances. And many folks are pulling out of the market in response to their fears of a Clinton or Trump presidency. Is this a good idea? It’s helpful to look at a little history. During the dot-com busty from 2000 to 2003 the Nasdaq index [...]

Unhealthy Economics

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:45+00:00 August 29th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Should the market try to be fair, or efficient, or both? Photo: James Hellman, MD. Source: Wikipedia Life isn’t fair. We know this. But something inside us recoils when a drug-maker buys the rights to a product that used to cost about $50, then raises the price to $600 over the course of 9 years, even though nothing has changed other than the market has gotten bigger. In 2007, Mylan Pharaceuticals bought the rights to make and market the epipen, a device that injects [...]

State of Denial

By | 2013-10-17T10:04:04+00:00 October 17th, 2013|Global Market Update|

Were the problems at heathcare dot gov predictable? That’s what many are saying. Lost passwords, reset identities, servers crashing—the web-site’s problems have been the talk of the tech world ever since it launched on October 1st. Did anyone see this coming? They should have. Large software roll-outs are often fraught with problems. Remember Windows Vista or Apple Maps? Having millions of users putting a new product through its paces in unexpected ways is bound to raise unforeseen issues—just consider the Mustang II or Chevy [...]

Live Long and Prosper?

By | 2013-06-11T11:18:07+00:00 June 11th, 2013|Global Market Update|

Can we ever retire? It used to be that a million dollars was a lot of money. Save a million before you retire, use the interest to supplement Social Security, and you were set. But that was before ultra-low interest rates, extended lifespans, and aggressive healthcare inflation. Now a 65-year old couple with a million dollar nest egg that spends 4% per year has a three-quarter chance of outliving their funds. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that most people [...]