Hospitals Mock the Free Market


Changing memory
Changing memory

Hospitals Mock the Free Market

Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences

When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690.

Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday.

Americans have long become accustomed to bewilderment and anxiety when confronting health care bills. The new database underscores why, revealing the perplexing assortment of prices for medical care, with the details of bills seemingly untethered to any graspable principle.

Even within the same metropolitan area, hospitals charge prices that differ by staggering degrees for the same procedures. People without health insurance pay vastly higher costs for care when less expensive options are often available nearby. Virtually everyone who seeks health care winds up paying inflated prices in one form or another as these stark disparities in price sow inefficiencies throughout the market.

Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences

Given the opportunity to charge without oversight, hospitals developed a byzantine pricing system that was favorable to them in every way. I am shocked. I want the free market fundamentalists to come here and take a long good look. This is reality. Market actors misusing the system to cruelly abuse their customers and our only hope of salvation, the much maligned government. That is, unless, you want to wait for the hospitals to wake up and realize that the free market is better for everybody? Maybe their profits blind them to the unearthly beauty of your doctrine? What do you think?

James Pilant

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The Average Stock Is Held For 22 Seconds! – The Logical Result of Computer Trading

Michael Hudson

From Michael Hudson

<em>Take any stock in the United States. The average time in which you hold a stock is–it’s gone up from 20 seconds to 22 seconds in the last year. Most trades are computerized. Most trades are short-term. The average foreign currency investment lasts–it’s up now to 30 seconds, up from 28 seconds last month.

What does that mean for you? If you are an actual human being you are competing, when you make a stock purchase, with a supercomputer, like the ones they use to analyze the weather. That is why the amount of time a stock is held is so low – computer trading.

It’s not a level playing field. A more apt comparison might be a gambling house where the table is rigged to favor the owner almost but not quite always every time. You have to have the occasional lucky winner whose stories will keep the others coming in.

An exaggeration?

Okay, how about this from 2009 –

With all of the scrutiny that high-frequency trading is now under in the media and in Congress, the New York Stock Exchange is probably none too thrilled that the Wall Street Journal has uncovered fresh details of NYSE’s giant new datacenter, which the exchange is building in a former New Jersey quarry. The new datacenter will significantly advance the amount of computer-automated trading that already dominates global markets, housing as it will “several football fields of cutting-edge computing equipment for hedge funds and other firms that engage in high-frequency trading,” according to the WSJ. So if you were recently shocked to learn that an estimated 70 percent of stock trading is just computers trading against one another, get ready for that number to go even higher.

Or this –

Fewer and fewer Wall Street traders are human beings. Instead, they’re computersthat execute trades in milliseconds (a millisecond is one thousandth of a second). A forerunner of today’s robotic trading, computerized program trading, was largely responsible for the stock market crash of October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 22.6%.


This kind of computer trading or should I say, Algorithmic trading, isn’t going away. So if you are a mere mortal, you might find your ability to make money on stock a little constricted by non-human competitors.

James Pilant

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“Fiscal Conservative” Goes Full Circle (via Ryan Thomas McNeely)

Mr. McNeely has a new blog. The good folks at Rortybomb were kind enough to point it out to me. This is good writing and a good grip on issues. A lot of what he has written has been dealing with the deficits at the different levels of government and the different ways the government has reacted.

This is one of those blogs that I recommend you put in your favorites. A subscription would be a good idea.

But above all – Welcome! Ryan Thomas McNeely – to the good fight or at least the Internet part of it.

I’m wish you thousands of hits, hundreds of subscribers and a host of talk show invites!

James Pilant

"Fiscal Conservative" Goes Full Circle A couple weeks back, Greg Sargent had a great post where he essentially argued that the term “fiscal hawk” does not actually mean what progressives think it means (or want it to mean) — namely, someone who wants to aggressively tackle the deficit. Rather, since the media regularly confers the term on people like Paul Ryan, someone who voted for debt-financed Medicare expansion and tax cuts without offsets, the term “fiscal hawk” actually means ” … Read More

via Ryan Thomas McNeely