- The Obamacare vote today doesn’t matter…
- … Because a development in medical science could soon change everything
- What if Trump got credit for saving millions of lives and billions of dollars?
- Saving Social Security by killing people before they can collect
- Here we go again with the brilliant North Korean cyber-thieves
- Canadian health care, as experienced by a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen
Here’s a cheeky proposition: The outcome of the “Obamacare Lite” vote today doesn’t matter. Because something far more important is afoot that will revolutionize health care.
As we write, the House has yet to vote on Paul Ryan’s half-fast “reform” bill that does nothing to lower costs or improve consumer choice but would give GOP lawmakers a chance to say they “did something” while putting off all the bad consequences until after the next midterm election. (Kinda like Obamacare in 2009!)
Now imagine for a moment: If a cancer cure came along, would it really matter whether the bill passes today? Millions of people would live longer, healthier lives… while the gargantuan costs of the U.S. health care system would shrink dramatically. Considering how much Uncle Sam spends on health care, the national debt might start to shrink, too.
It’s entirely plausible that President Trump’s choice for FDA commissioner will clear the way for this cancer cure.
We told you about him a few days ago — Scott Gottlieb. When it comes to deregulation, he’s pretty hard-core. As he once wrote, “In so heavily prioritizing one of its obligations — the protection of consumers — the FDA has sometimes subordinated and neglected its other key obligation, which is to guide new medical innovations to market.”
Key point: Gottlieb is a cancer survivor. So he knows the human costs when FDA regulators drag their feet and keep promising treatments out of the hands of patients who have no other hope.
“He wants to help change the focus of the regulator,” says Ray Blanco of our science-and-wealth team, “to better balance blocking potentially harmful products with the harm of potentially lifesaving products never getting to people who need them.”
“In particular, Gottlieb has been a critic of how the FDA regulates new diagnostic technology,” Ray goes on. “He notes that raising the regulatory burden will only stifle innovation and block new tests from coming to market.”
Ray often sings the praises of lifesaving new drugs, but new diagnostic technology matters just as much. “New diagnostic technology can help spot a health problem we weren’t able to before, and catching it early can help make survival for diseases like cancer much easier to attain.”
With Gottlieb in charge at the FDA, an extremely promising new tool for diagnosing cancer might come to market far sooner than it would have under a President Clinton.
We told you about this tool three weeks ago — a reddish liquid, infused with a tiny amount of gold, that can deliver a reliable diagnosis of prostate cancer.
The operative word there is “reliable” — because the current PSA screening is a joke. Your numbers might be high but your situation completely benign. There’s no way of knowing for sure, however, without a transrectal biopsy. Fun, huh? (Costly, too.)
With this liquid, however, a technician can take a drop of blood from your fingertip… mix it with the liquid in a machine small enough to fit in your palm… and get reliable results in 10 minutes.
Prostate cancer is the most promising avenue for this liquid right now… but once that’s proven, scientists say it’ll be easy to demonstrate its usefulness for diagnosing other forms of cancer.
“It’s not inconceivable,” Ray continues, “that eventually there’d be a version of this machine for personal use. Imagine having a version at home, allowing you to get a medical diagnosis without making a doctor’s appointment.
“The device could be wired to the internet, sending pertinent information to your doctor if there’s any hint of trouble. That means you’ll be able to start treatment as soon as possible — increasing your odds of beating the diagnosis.
“And as the researchers increase the number of conditions the device can diagnose, the more diseases you can catch early. Before long, it could be a must-have appliance for every home.
“In fact, I think so many lives could be saved by this early-warning system, I think of it as a ‘universal cure machine.’”
So there you go. The outcome of the “Obamacare Lite” vote today pales in comparison to a “universal cure machine” that saves millions of lives and billions of dollars. Trump’s FDA commissioner would make sure the feds would stay out of the way. And rightly or wrongly, Trump would get the credit.
Investable, you wonder? Why, yes — with the potential to make 100 times your money. See for yourself, right here.
If the market tumbled Tuesday because of nervousness over the “Obamacare Lite” vote… it should be tumbling further today, right? But it’s not…
At last check, the major U.S. indexes were all up about one-third of a percent, the Dow back above 20,700. Gold has dipped a bit, to $1,244.
The big economic number of the day is another good sign for homebuilders, already this year’s strongest-performing stock market sector. New home sales in February trounced the “expert consensus,” jumping 6.1%.
Interest rates might be rising… but from Europe comes a reminder that negative interest rates haven’t gone away.
Anyone who deposits more than a million euros — $1.08 million — at the Swiss banking giant UBS will have to pay the bank 0.6% a year for the privilege. Large deposits in Swiss francs are already subjected to a similar charge.
In a sense, UBS is just passing along its costs; anything UBS keeps on deposit at the European Central Bank is subject to negative rates as well. “The ECB penalizes banks that store euros with it,” the BBC explains, “in an effort to make them lend rather than hoard their cash.”
And now the latest chapter in our ongoing chronicle that two years ago we called “The Awful Way Social Security Might Be ‘Saved.’”
Back then we pointed out that the most educated highest-earning Americans are working longer and continuing to contribute to the Social Security system. Meanwhile, life expectancy among Americans who never finished high school is falling; many die before they can ever collect benefits
Then about 18 months ago, Princeton economists Angus Deaton and his wife, Anne Case, issued startling research revealing the death rate among whites age 25–54 with no more than a high-school education exploded from 1999–2014 — from a rate of 218 per 100,000 people to 415.
This week, Deaton and Case have updated their research. Death rates among whites with a high-school education or less now exceed those of blacks overall. Zoom in on the age group 50–54 and the white death rate is 30% higher.
It’s not just a function of falling standards of living, say the researchers — because blacks and Hispanics are having the same issues, and their mortality is still declining. Instead, larger numbers of whites are succumbing to suicides and substance abuse. “This doesn’t seem to be about current income,” Professor Case tells reporters. “It seems to be about accumulating despair.”
Helluva way to shore up Social Security’s finances…
The feds are getting closer to pinning the cyber-theft of $81 million on the North Koreans. We’re still not so sure.
Today’s Wall Street Journal tells us federal prosecutors are “building cases” against Chinese middlemen supposedly acting on behalf of North Korea’s government. The victim of the theft in February 2016 was the central bank of Bangladesh — which held the money in an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The Journal says the feds are working on the theory that the thieves’ digital fingerprints resemble those left by the people who hacked Sony Pictures in late 2014. The FBI was convinced North Korea pulled off the hack as revenge for a craptastic Seth Rogen movie set in North Korea that no one remembers now.
Doesn’t that just look preposterous when you read it? At the time, we pointed out many cyber-experts found the FBI’s “evidence” wanting and said it was more likely an inside job by a disgruntled Sony employee. But no, our all-knowing gummint says it’s the suuuuper-geniuses of Kim Jong Un’s regime that can’t shoot a missile straight or feed their own people.
Hey, it’s been almost a year since we last ran one of our favorite photos…
Our original 2013 caption: “And the left arrow takes you back to the page you just visited.”
The Journal piece today does point out there’s a pocket of skepticism within the feds: “Some officials believe the hackers who carried out the theft may have appropriated, tweaked or repurposed the malicious code that the U.S. government made public after the Sony hack — which wouldn’t necessarily indicate they are linked to North Korea — the people familiar with the discussions said.”
“Your Obamacare supporter was offended?” writes one of our regulars, in a third day of piling on a fellow who took us to task Monday. “Staggering.
“As a dual U.S./Canadian citizen, who has lived half my life under both systems, Obama’s socialized medicine was, and is, an insult to human dignity itself. When I left Ottawa, there was a year wait for MRIs, unless it was an emergency. In the U.S. where we are, turnaround is almost immediate. Exactly how is the Canadian system more compassionate?
“In my other home province, B.C., The Vancouver Sun reported 8/9/2009, in an article by Dave Eberhart that more than 6,000 life-preserving surgeries were going to be denied to close a $200 million budget shortfall in B.C. Yes, that meant these people were going to die — only their euthanasia is passive, not active euthanasia. Similarly, in Ontario, August 2010, a man (who happens to be a Sri Lankan Christian pastor) had a heart attack that put him into a coma. The province of Ontario ruled that unless he was sentient enough to ask for a sustenance himself, he was to be denied and left to die, per Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board, given that there were no local family members to make a decision for him.
“Personally, when we moved to the U.S., my wife, who has an elevated risk for breast cancer, had a lump. The time it was biopsied, assayed and given a clean bill of health was 28 hours. We have a friend in Canada who was in the exact same situation and it took her THREE MONTHS to get the all-clear. Both were benign, thank God, but imagine if both had been malignant and the Canadian patient had had three months for things to metastasize? THAT, mes amis, is NOT ‘compassion.’ It also adds massive amounts of costs to the system. And no, care in Canada is not ‘free.’ You pay taxes through the nose, and of course your tax dollars are filtered through a zillion people who add ZERO value. Even worse, there already IS a two-tier system — the rich and politically connected already do medical tourism (e.g., the Newfoundland premier went to the U.S. for his heart operation a few years a back).
“Even the leftist Supreme Court of Canada (whose staff I have done computer training for) ruled in June 2005 that bans on private health insurance are unconstitutional, viz. ‘The prohibition on obtaining private health insurance… is not constitutional where the public system fails to deliver reasonable service.’ There’s a reason this ruling occurred: The system is failing the people (and is bankrupt). And now Obumbler and Pelosi have gone and created an even worse system (which, of course, they exempted themselves from) in the USA, which is even less compassionate. There’s also reason why Zeke Emanuel also tacitly told those over 75 to not get health care a year or two ago. I’m just surprised he didn’t also tell oldsters to sign up in his soylent green program as well. BTW, private health care clinics are currently opening up in Canada all over the place, and some of my family are using them.
“I found the note by your writer uninformed and insulting. The only people who support the Canadian model are those who have a vested interest in it, are ideologically bound to the Venezuelan economic model or are deluded.”
The 5: All valid… but let’s not let the American pre-Obamacare system off the hook. It’s madness, which Obamacare did nothing about, and which Paul Ryan’s bill does nothing about.
The finance blogger Karl Denninger had another good analogy recently: Imagine pulling up to a gas station, but you can’t start filling your tank until you show your auto insurance card. The price you’re charged will vary depending on who your insurance carrier is. And you won’t know what that price is until you’re done filling up and put the nozzle back on the pump.
But for Congress to fix that would involve goring way too many lobbyists’ oxen…
The 5 Min. Forecast
P.S. Did you play it? Yesterday, FDA Trader editor Ray Blanco urged readers to sell a cancer drugmaker for 172% gains in just 14 months.
Don’t worry if you missed out: Ray says an even more lucrative anti-cancer play is yours for the taking right now. Check it out right here.