Interview with doctor misses key issues
The Take Five interview with Dr. Carolyn McClanahan, a physician and director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners Inc., “A doctor deconstructs the Affordable Care Act” (InvestmentNews, Oct. 7), misses key issues with the health care law.
President Barack Obama said that a marketplace plan costs less than a monthly cellphone bill — untrue, with or without a subsidy. Marketplace plans are not affordable unless one qualifies for a tax credit.
Where do subsidies come from? Citizenry taxes, fines, mandates and whatever else the government comes up with to keep yet another entitlement alive.
Tax credits are designed to attract participation but, in the case of the health care law, actually work to coerce as many of us as possible into Obamacare. The result is more funding to support the law and moving Americans ever closer to the single-payer system that Mr. Obama has always said that he wants.
Ms. McClanahan's claim that marketplace plans have better benefits is simplistic and untrue. And most plans require a change in doctors because marketplace plans have reduced provider networks to include only those doctors agreeing to deeper price cuts, raising a red flag over the consequent loss in quality care under such a plan.
With pre-existing conditions no longer being a barrier to coverage, insurers' costs had to increase to offset those liabilities that even marketplace-standardized, so-called metallic benefit plans can't overcome. The health plans and doctors that Mr. Obama said that we could keep are gone.
Employers are no longer interested in sponsoring group health insurance and are already closing down plans and instead sending employees to marketplaces.
They have an incentive to dump people on the public dole, eroding the prior mindset of entrepreneurs to attract and retain employees via such benefits. Employers who used to have a partnership mindset with employees and vice versa now no longer enjoy such sensibilities.
Employers know that workers aren't going to quit over their benefits loss, at least not in this high-unemployment environment.
Large employers with 50 or more employees are just reducing hours so that they can avoid the mandate to cover employees and attached fines, further shrinking the funds necessary to keep the system afloat. Rising costs will cause it to implode, with the only way to avoid this being ever-increasing taxes, penalties and fines.
Paul M. League
League Financial & Insurance Services
Palm Desert, Calif.
Don't whine about investing in wine market
Regarding “Cash pours into wine funds with taste for unknown” (InvestmentNews, Sept. 30): To argue that an investment in wine isn't for the faint of heart when there has been a raft of corporate collapses and when the S&P 500 fell 50% between October 2007 and February 2009 seems both subjective and alarmist.
As for the quote from Brian Mota, co-founder of TWT Investment Partners LP, “In wine, what happens in downturns is that the big names fall the hardest,” plenty of wines have performed perfectly well over the past two years, with some of the big names such as Petrus, Le Pin and Domaine Romanee Conti appreciating most.
What happened in the wine market correction was simply that the downturn was felt most in cases where the most rapid appreciation had been earlier.
When we look closely at the wine fund about which the article was written, we find that it isn't really a wine fund at all. Insofar as it is a wine fund, its risk is off the scale.
It is nothing less than a punt on three areas, 19th-century Tokaj, Cognac and French Jura. It has invested 1% of the fund in a single bottle over 200 years old.
There is nothing whatever the matter with this so long as people understand that what they're looking at isn't representative of the broader wine market in any way.
Finally, the article quotes an investment adviser who claims to have invested in wine over the past 20 years yet who seems to warn people off because he owns bottles “that do nothing but go down in value.”
If he has been investing over that time frame, his winners ought to have colossally exceeded his losers.
APM Wine Investment