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Bill of health

the economistMié, 16/04/2014 - 16:35

IF DEMOCRATS and Republicans can agree on one thing, it is that Obamacare is hugely important. Democrats say it is a boon, Republicans that it amounts to the apocalypse. But knowing precisely what Obamacare does is rather difficult. The law’s knock-on effects—on the broader economy, on health-care businesses and on health, such as its effect on heart disease or cancer—may never be precisely quantified. It is even difficult to measure Obamacare’s progress towards its main goal, expanding insurance. Gallup, a pollster, is the latest group to make the attempt, presenting new data on April 16th.

The figure, if it could be precisely measured, would show how many people Obamacare has benefited. It would also help Democrats argue that Obamacare is a success or add fuel to Republicans’ fiery proclamations that it is a disaster. Changes in how the Census measures insurance will make it harder to quantify exactly how many people have gained coverage. Not surprisingly, however, both the health department and independent researchers continue to produce their own estimates. Importantly, the survey from Gallup is larger than those of many competitors—the company interviews about 15,000 Americans about their health each month.

Obamacare has been...Continue reading

Excellence.NO EXCUSES.

Tom PetersLun, 14/04/2014 - 19:38

The following is the Executive Summmary from my 603-page superdoc: “Excellence. NO EXCUSES.” You’ll find it below, and also in PDF and PowerPoint formats. Herewith: In 1985, I gave a 2-day seminar to YPO members in Manhattan. As we moved to close, I asked for feedback. Early on, a chap by the name of Manny […]

The post Excellence.
NO EXCUSES.
appeared first on Tom Peters.

Cross-Atlantic extremism

the economistSáb, 12/04/2014 - 18:36

I HAVE long had a sneaking suspicion that Tea Party voters and eurosceptics are more or less the same sorts of people, born on different sides of the Atlantic. Both are traditionalist movements driven by economic anxiety and mistrust of centralised government power. Both have received a huge political boost due to the financial crisis (or, as it played out in Europe, the euro crisis), with eurosceptic parties expected to reap large gains in this May's European Parliament elections. This week, I got a new opportunity to test my thesis. The Dutch-based research group Motivaction International has just come out with a new study of eurosceptic voters across five countries, showing that they share certain traits and values. So I asked Martijn Lampert, Motivaction's research director, whether they could extend this comparison to America's Tea Party voters. It turned out the eurosceptics data was drawn from a 20-country survey that also included 2,185 Americans, and the comparison is pretty interesting. It suggests that I'm partly right, but mostly wrong. Eurosceptics and Tea Party supporters...Continue reading

Now what?

the economistVie, 11/04/2014 - 18:49

IT WAS not a matter of if, but when. Kathleen Sebelius, Barack Obama’s health secretary, is one of the longest serving members of his cabinet. To compare her tenure to a rollercoaster ride would be generous, unless that rollercoaster jumped the tracks and careened into quicksand. So the announcement that she would resign is big news, but not surprising.

Obamacare’s deadline for having insurance, or paying a penalty, was April 1st. Mrs Sebelius had spent the past six months desperately trying to fix Obamacare’s insurance website and convince Americans that the law could help them, contrary to everything Republicans said. With the April deadline past, now is as good a time as any for her to resign. The main questions are whether it will have much practical or political impact.

The appointment of Sylvia Matthews Burwell, head of Mr...Continue reading

Ezra Klein's strangled Vox

the economistVie, 11/04/2014 - 14:33

LAST weekend saw the launch of Vox, a new own online news site founded by the one-time wunderkind political blogger, Ezra Klein. For the happy occasion, Mr Klein, Vox's editor-in-chief, has produced an interesting think-piece, "How politics makes us stupid", in which he provides a diverting overview of recent experimental work on the hardy human propensity to shield tribal political faith from rational scrutiny. That Mr Klein's essay ultimately runs aground, tangled in its own question, may shed some light on the promise of Vox and its aspiration to help readers really understand the news.

Mr Klein's essay is chiefly dedicated to explaining the work of Dan Kahan, a professor at Yale Law School. Mr Kahan and his colleagues have conducted a spate of experiments that show how our ability to reason soundly, particularly about political subjects, is undermined by the need to protect our core beliefs. Mr Klein writes:

Kahan calls this theory...Continue reading

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