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BeyondGeography's Journal
BeyondGeography's Journal
November 6, 2019

BCBS report points to growing Millennial health crisis

In the course of the last several years, millennials have shown that they are very different from previous generations in a number of ways. Defined as the generation born from 1981 to 1996, they are the largest, most educated, and most connected generation the world has ever seen1. However, recent data also show the beginnings of troubling generational health patterns that could hamper the future prosperity of millennials, and in turn the prosperity of the U.S. If the current pace of decline in millennial health continues unabated, the long-term consequences to the U.S. economy could be severe.

Millennials now make up the largest share of the U.S. population and labor force, placing them at the heart of U.S. economic growth as consumers, workers, and business owners. How their health plays out in the years ahead will determine not only the overall health of the country, but also its potential economic trajectory. By using Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index data to analyze these questions, we are able to take a much broader and forward-looking view of these impacts relative to previous studies. In our examination of millennial health patterns we have found several interesting and concerning findings, particularly regarding future impacts on healthcare costs and economic activity.

-Millennials are seeing their health decline faster than the previous generation as they age. This extends to both physical health conditions, such as hypertension and high cholesterol, and behavioral health conditions, such as major depression and hyperactivity. Without intervention, millennials could feasibly see mortality rates climb up by more than 40% compared to Gen-Xers at the same age.

-These accelerated declines will result in greater demand for treatment and higher healthcare costs in the years ahead. Under the most adverse scenario, millennial treatment costs are projected to be as much as 33% higher than Gen-Xers experienced at a comparable age.

-Poorer health among millennials will keep them from contributing as much to the economy as they otherwise would, manifesting itself through higher unemployment and slower income growth.

Under the most adverse set of projections, lower levels of health alone could cost millennials more than $4,500 per year in real per-capita income compared to similarly aged Gen-Xers. Such impacts would be most likely concentrated in areas already struggling economically, potentially exacerbating instances of income inequality and contributing to a vicious cycle of even greater prevalence of behavioral and physical health conditions.

These findings should serve as a call to action among policymakers and the healthcare community at large to address declining health among younger Americans before the more severe consequences in this analysis become reality. If nothing is done, the impacts could be game-changing for the U.S. and its economy.

More at link: https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/reports/how-millennials-current-and-future-health-could-affect-our-economy?utm_source=STAT+Newsletters&utm_campaign=d26ed194d2-MR_COPY_02&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8cab1d7961-d26ed194d2-112704497

COMMENT: This is an important part of the MFA/Public Option discussion. With an aging population, some 10,000 people per day qualify for Medicare. Any of the Democratic candidate proposals will increase the demand for health care services, now they also apparently need to anticipate the whipsaw effect of our youngest adults needing historically high levels of health care.
November 6, 2019

Joe Biden had an End of Irony moment last night

Some background on the hosts:

Jack B. Piatt and Nardelli, both co-chairs, are well-known Pittsburgh-area commercial real estate executives. Nardelli is a founder, manager, and partner at Castlebrook Development. Castlebrook is the developer for Shell’s ethane “cracker” plant in the Beaver Valley, which President Donald Trump visited in August.

...Several of the hosts have a history of giving to Republican candidates for president and Congress, and to the Republican campaign arms of both the Senate and House, and to the Republican National Committee. Many of them also gave to Democratic candidates and campaign committees.

Piatt, who has not yet given to Biden this cycle, is the founder and chair of Millcraft Investments, a real estate company based in Pittsburgh. He’s the former director of the Pittsburgh’s Federal Home Loan Bank, and the Pittsburgh branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He also sits on the board of the St. Clair Hospital Foundation. Piatt also has a history of donating to Republicans in presidential races. He gave $2,700 to Kasich’s 2015 campaign, $1,000 to the committee supporting George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s 2004 ticket, and $2,300 to Rudy Giuliani’s presidential committee in 2007. Piatt and the other co-hosts did not respond to requests for comment.

Tom VanKirk, one of six co-hosts, including his wife Bonnie, is the executive vice president of Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh-based health care company affiliated with BlueCross BlueShield. It’s one of the largest insurers in the country. Highmark runs as an integrated delivery and finance system, meaning it’s a holding company for health care providers and health care insurers, including nonprofit and for-profit entities. VanKirk oversees the company’s legal affairs. VanKirk is also the former chair and CEO of the firm Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney PC, where he was a practicing litigator and “corporate adviser to many Fortune 1,000 companies.”

VanKirk is a frequent Democratic donor and has also contributed to numerous Republicans in recent years, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Pat Toomey in 2015.

Doug Campbell is a financial litigation attorney and founding member of Campbell and Levine, LLC, a firm that handles asset protection, bankruptcy and insolvency cases, debt and creditors’ rights, and settlements...

More at https://theintercept.com/2019/10/28/joe-biden-real-estate-fundraiser/
November 6, 2019

NE Public Radio: When Warren Came To Harvard Law, The School Was In The Throes Of Change

...It was professor Andrew Kaufman who first suggested Harvard invite Warren to teach. At the time, she was a professor at the University of Texas School of Law. Kaufman had been invited by Warren to a conference, and she participated in a presentation he gave.

“Maybe blown away is too strong a term, but I was mightily impressed,” Kaufman says. “I said: ‘Are you free for dinner?’ I thought, this is a really impressive person. I wrote a note to our appointments committee.”

Warren was doing something unusual in legal scholarship. She was going to courthouses to look up the stories of actual people who had filed for bankruptcy. She had co-written a groundbreaking book on the subject.

Professor Charles Fried, who served on the appointments committee that proposed Warren for tenure, says Harvard really did not have a professor interested in personal bankruptcy.

“She was,” Fried remembers. “So that’s one reason she came to my attention.”

...At Harvard, Kaufman remembers teaching right after Warren in the same classroom.

“I went to one of her classes,” Kaufman recalls. “She ran a class like nobody else here. She called on people one after another, one after another, rapid fire, back and forth, for the whole period. If I had been a student in there, I would have been exhausted. Excited, but exhausted. You run into somebody like that once in a while.”

Audio at link:

More at https://www.nepr.net/post/when-warren-came-harvard-law-school-was-throes-change#stream/0
November 5, 2019

Elizabeth Warren and the Wrath of the Wall Street Snowflakes

By Paul Krugman

Given all the recent focus on health policy, you might think that the medical-industrial complex would be heavily involved in the Democratic primary race, going all out to block Elizabeth Warren. And a coalition of drug companies, insurers and hospitals is indeed running ads attacking “Medicare for All.” But the health industry’s political role has been relatively muted so far. Partly this may reflect realism: Even if Warren becomes president, the chances of getting Medicare for All through Congress are small. It may also reflect the surprising openness of doctors to reform. While the American Medical Association still officially opposes single-payer, at a recent meeting, 47% of the delegates voted to drop that opposition.

No, the really intense backlash against Warren and progressive Democrats in general is coming from Wall Street. And while that opposition partly reflects self-interest, Wall Street’s Warren hatred has a level of virulence, sometimes crossing into hysteria, that goes beyond normal political calculation.

... The real tell here, I think, is that much of the Wall Street vitriol now being directed at Warren was previously directed at, of all people, President Barack Obama. Objectively, Obama treated Wall Street with kid gloves. In the aftermath of a devastating financial crisis, his administration bailed out collapsing institutions on favorable terms. He and Democrats in Congress did impose some new regulations, but they were very mild compared with the regulations put in place after the banking crisis of the 1930s.

He did, however, refer on a few occasions to “fat cat” bankers and suggested that financial-industry excesses were responsible for the 2008 crisis because, well, they were. And the result, quite early in his administration, was that Wall Street became consumed with “Obama rage,” and the financial industry went all in for Mitt Romney in 2012.

...In any case, the point is that Wall Street billionaires, even more than billionaires in general, seem to be snowflakes, emotionally unable to handle criticism. I’m not sure why that should be the case, but it may be that in their hearts they suspect that the critics have a point.

What, after all, does modern finance actually do for the economy? Unlike the robber barons of yore, today’s Wall Street tycoons don’t build anything tangible. They don’t even direct money to the people who actually are building the industries of the future. The vast expansion of credit in America after around 1980 basically involved a surge in consumer debt rather than new money for business investment.

Moreover, there is growing evidence that when the financial sector gets too big it actually acts as a drag on the economy — and America is well past that point.

Now, human nature being what it is, people who secretly wonder whether they really deserve their wealth get especially angry when others express these doubts publicly. So it’s not surprising that people who couldn’t handle Obama’s mild, polite criticism are completely losing it over Warren.
What this means is that you should beware of Wall Street claims that progressive policies would have dire effects. Such claims don’t reflect deep economic wisdom; to a large extent they’re coming from people with vast wealth but fragile egos, whose rants should be discounted appropriately.


November 4, 2019

Pierce: Pete Buttigieg Is Now the Darling of the MJ Don't-Run-With-Scissors Crowd

... It's become clear over the past few days that the big guns of privilege have begun to open up on the Warren campaign. It began with a series of stories quoting anonymous Wall Street types threatening to jump to the president* or sit out the election entirely if SPW is the nominee. (This should have surprised precisely nobody.) The next step was another series of stories in which anonymous Wall Street types began to threaten financial calamity if she were to get elected and reinstate the kind of financial regulatory regime that worked so well for, you know, 70 years.

Then she rolled out the mechanics of her Medicare For All plan, which were initially applauded, but that applause was quickly drowned out by the HowYaGonnaPayForIt? Hallelujah Chorus. (Democratic leaders are starting to talk about The Deficit again, never a good sign.) Her snipe about Biden's possibly running in "the wrong primary" probably wasn't a good move but, what the hell, if you're the Democratic frontrunner and using conservative talking points against your primary rival, then what SPW said was only what a lot of Democratic voters were thinking anyway.

The general state of the race over the past couple of weeks has evinced the inevitable power of the back-to-normal narrative. There is a substantial portion of the electorate that just wants a break. Biden is that candidate, although Buttigieg is making a strong pitch for being the voice of that desire as well. It's not showing up in any polls yet, but he's clearly becoming the darling of the Morning Joe don't-run-with-scissors crowd. Over the weekend in Iowa, he received considerable praise for comments that, on their own, are almost overpowering in their stunning banality.

“ The purpose of the presidency is not the glorification of the president, but the unification of the American people.

The purpose of the presidency is to see that the laws are faithfully executed, which includes obeying them yourself. Period. This is consultant-speak, West Wing pablum. And then there was this, on ABC on Sunday.

I think it [Medicare for All] could very well be the long-run destination, but I think there's got to be some humility in our policy here.

No, I don't know what "humility" has to do with anything, either. And, finally, there was this beauty, from a town hall in New Hampshire.

A new culture of belonging is the sort of thing that only the powers of the presidency can deliver. Not the legal powers; the symbolic, the cultural, the moral power of the office. Because the purpose of the presidency is not the glorification of the President, it is the unification and empowerment to the American people.

The presidency is meant to foster "a new culture of belonging"? And people say Marianne Williamson is the cosmic muffin of this campaign. But the people who follow such things, and who yearn for a return to the status quo of the days before Camp Runamuck, love this kind of thing, especially when dished out by a handsome young white man. If those NYT numbers get enough people a'skeered, then, Mayor Pete's "moment" may well be upon us. Double digits, here he comes!

More at https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29685923/pete-buttigieg-back-to-normal-joe-biden-elizabeth-warren/

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