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High Deductible Health Plans: Good or Bad?

They've been called blunt, unfair, cruel, likely to lead to bankruptcy or avoided care, consumer-directed health plans, account-based health plans. They've also been called necessary, cost-effective, ways to align interests. With all the debate, high deductible health plans (HDHPs), have become a way to save on premiums--the fixed costs that affect all, and for most people, all in, they are the "best" plan. What many economists like about them is the skin in the game. One big reason price transp ...

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The Power of Inversion, or What to Avoid.

Charlie Munger reminds us that inversion helps us solve problems we may not be able to solve in other ways. As an example, he says if you want to help India it's helpful to first ask "what's doing the worst damage in India....and how do I avoid it?" What will lead to failure in life? His top three: sloth, unreliability, and intense ideologies. Being unreliable and lazy cancels out your virtues, and intense ideologies lock up your mind and make you less likely to change when confronted with new e ...

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Journey and Experience Inflation

The best companies lean towards the subtle and simple. Nike says to "Just Do It", not that their shoes will help you on your "journeys" or that they'll lower your cholesterol. Apple had the "Think different" campaign. Now the iPhone X welcomes you to: "Say hello to the future." Google moved from the anti-evil slogan to another weird one: "Do the right thing." Amazon has no external slogan, but internally says: "Work hard, have fun, make history." Healthcare in the US rightly can't promise t ...

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What is Medical Price Transparency Worth?

Shopping for medical care, like reducing food waste, or the adage that half of advertising is wastedeven more than 50% is probably wasted due to high abandonment rates and manipulation. See Facebook example of not counting ad views of under 3 seconds., is an exercise that first starts with disbelief and ends with reality. Simple observations are cheap. 99th percentiles masquerade as the norm. Some key findings and structural limits can guide us through why price transparency has its limits. ...

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On Case Studies

I have a case study of a perfect stock trade where I made 3x my money in three years. It had it all: Mr. Market offered a discount relative to growth and earnings power. I had an analytical edge, plus the temperament of a monk. It was also a micro-cap company where the markets are (probably) less efficient. The market for this company (ticker: PETS) was growing and is large. American's spend over $70B a year on pets. The company was in my circle of competence, and it's business had a moat. In t ...