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Give me a break.

"They spend a lot on research, the FDA makes it hard and so they have to charge a lot."


How is it legal to charge two different people different prices by a factor of more than 1,000%?

Robinson-Patman says it's not where market power exists.

Drugs are physical commodities.  For on-patent medicines market power by definition exists and is enforced by said patent.

If I charged you a different price for gasoline for your car based on which firm writes your car insurance that would be immediately responded to with a lawsuit and/or criminal charges.  I further remind you that textbook publishers tried to sue and have prosecuted someone that bought textbooks in Asia and then resold them in the United States; that case went to the United States Supreme Court and the textbook publishers lost.

These practices need to be stopped and the law already provides for plenty of means to do sothey are destroying our economy, as are the business practices of virtually every other element in the medical field.

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2016-02-04 08:26 by Karl Denninger
in Health Reform , 242 references

This isn't really a remedy, but it is is a good start and it's a path available to everyone right here and now should you find yourself in a situation where you have medical care that is "uninsured" billed at you.

Average charge master pricing at Florida hospitals is a minimum of 500 percent of Medicare allowable amounts (which amounts to roughly three to four times more than hospitals negotiate as reasonable rates with commercial health insurers). The chart below illustrates typical Medicare allowable rates verses average Florida hospital charge master rates.21

Got that?  Walk into a hospital and you are being overcharged at least five times a reasonable and customary amount.

Now look at the prices on the right side of the chart.  Even if you're middle-class at best you can find a way to afford $20,000 in medical care if you have a heart attack and need open heart surgery -- "major cardiovascular procedures."

Yes, that's the price of a decent used car or a cheap new one, but you'd spend (or finance) that to save your own life, right?

You probably can't come up with $118,000 though.

Now here's the punch line:

When a provider represents that charge master list prices that it intends to bill are its regular, usual, standard, or customary charges, the provider is arguably making a false representation with the intent to mislead the patient. Florida law recognizes a cause of action for promissory fraud when a promise is made with no intention to perform.42 When such a promise is made, a cause of action arises for fraud in the inducement for which punitive damages may be awarded: “The overwhelming weight of authority in this state makes it clear that proof of fraud sufficient to support compensatory damages necessarily is sufficient to create a jury question regarding punitive damages.”43 Fraud in the inducement to make a contract is not barred by the economic loss rule. It is an independent tort that requires proof of facts that are distinct from the allegations of a breach of contract.44 Stated differently, inducing a party to enter into a contract by misrepresenting a material fact on which the party justifiably relies to its detriment constitutes an independent tort.45

In other words you not only can sue to get the bill reduced you can sue and demand punitive damages -- that is, punishment in the form of money.

Now yes, this is legal theory to a material degree, but punitive damage cases are quite interesting for a number of reasons, not the lease of which is that attorneys will often take them on contingency (that is, you don't have to fork up anything in advance) because the amount of money that can be awarded is essentially unlimited and thus taking a percentage looks quite attractive.

Now all we need is for an enterprising attorney, or group thereof, to take the obvious next step which is to bring a Racketeering suit in which treble damages are available and which is, by definition, a class action that will involve millions of dollars with the plaintiff class being every uninsured person treated in said hospital(s).  After all the "chargemaster" practice is not a singular act; it is in fact a pattern of conduct and is not confined to a single actor or facility -- it is industry-wide!

Are the landsharks beginning to smell blood?

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A man who will do anything, including blatantly lie, to get elected...... what will he do once in office?


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2016-02-03 08:31 by Karl Denninger
in 2ndAmendment , 2051 references

So we have a legislator who wants to ask the following questions......  They're questions he should hear lots of answers on, because he ought to know what he's playing with by asking them.

As a legislator and I am always interested in people's opinions. This is a thought experiment; a hypothetical. There are no right or wrong answers.

  • What would you do if all of the requirements of Article V of the Constitution were met and the Second Amendment was repealed?

  • What would you do if the Second Amendment was effectively repealed by a US Supreme Court ruling that the right to bear arms does apply to an individual, but only individuals in a militia?

  • If the defense of the Second Amendment rests in reference to the Constitution as it stands now, what argument would you use if the Constitution was changed to no longer protect the individual right to bear arms?

  • As a law abiding gun owner, would you give up your guns?

  • What do you think would happen to violent crime rates, accidental shootings and suicides?

  • Would you follow the new law of the land that was legitimately established, just as laws allowing the possession of a firearm have been legitimately established?

I care about the opinions of citizens of America; I would like thoughtful comments in the comment section about what law abiding gun owners would do if the Second Amendment were repealed or if the SCOTUS issued a new ruling reversing the Constitutionality of the individual right to bear arms.

I'll bite, because there are right and wrong answers to many -- but not all -- of these questions.

First, the Supreme Court cannot rewrite The Constitution, no matter what it may claim.  There is no "interpretation" of plain language; there has to be ambiguity for there to be "interpretation" and original intent not only counts it is paramount.

There is literally nobody I'm aware of that would claim that anyone using a device other than a hand-cranked printing press or their unaided mouth has no right to exercise Free Speech as guaranteed in the First Amendment.  The type of disseminating device, how fast it operates or how expensive it is has exactly nothing to do with the debate, as nothing in the First Amendment speaks to those issues.  Yet as soon as the Amendment in question goes from the First to the Second suddenly people in both the press and political class find a way to insert words that don't exist into the Constitution to suit their own ends.

To begin the word "arms" doesn't have a qualifier before it, neither does "the people", and for that matter neither do the words "keep and bear."

Never mind the very-clear phrase shall not be infringed; there's no room for interpretation there either.

Just as with the First Amendment there is nothing to interpret and therefore any such so-called Supreme Court decision is not and cannot become legitimately established law irrespective of what Mr. Heroux and others would like to claim.

This does not mean that you cannot be punished under the law once you misuse a firearm, just as you can be punished after you yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater -- assuming it is not on fire, of course.  And therein lies the issue with those who argue for prior restraint on Second Amendment rights, such as punishing people for mere possession of firearms; nobody would ever tolerate forcing "certain people" to wear a ball gag around, or to insert one before going into a courtroom or school because they might speak, only allowing those in without said ball gag that had first passed a background check and paid for a government-issued permit.

History, I remind Mr. Heroux, records how this nation came to be.  It was, specifically, British attempts to seize powder and ball, that is, ammunition for guns, and indeed guns themselves (cannon to be specific which were relatively common in private and community ownership at the time) that led to shooting in the American Revolution.  It was not imposing a tax on tea.  Yes, there was plenty of anger over that and even a trashed cargo involved there, but it was the specific act of raids on colonial stores of powder and ball, along with the burning of cannon carriages conducted by the British that ultimately resulted in armed revolt.  The precise same arguments were in fact made then; the people "didn't need" these caches of "military" weaponry and the ammunition for same, and certainly didn't need them in the sort of quantity that they were being stockpiled.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

But for those raids there probably would not have been a revolution at all.  There likely would have eventually been some other form of secession, as the grievances were not limited to seizure of people's arms, but it is without question that the spark that set off the American Revolution was in fact attempted confiscation of the very items necessary to render a firearm useful as anything more than a fixture for a bayonet -- or a club.

So let's dispense with the so-called "Supreme Court" option because any such decision is illegitimate as a matter of both The Constitution and law.  That doesn't mean that a large number of people might not adhere to said decision -- a large number will, just as they're willing to follow similarly-unconstitutional laws like Obamacare that was literally rewritten from the bench into a direct tax, an act that is black-letter unconstitutional as the tax is not apportioned nor is it on incomes as permitted in the 16th Amendment, the only two Constitutionally allowed means of leveling a direct tax.  Notwithstanding the fact that the decision on Obamacare is illegal, constitutionally infirm and thus illegitimate and no person owes any duty of obedience to that which is not in fact law, many will and do choose to obey that decision because they judge that the costs of disobedience, which might ultimately rise to violence, are not worth the benefits of the fight should it be won.

That leaves the second option -- an actual Constitutional Amendment to strike or amend The Second Amendment as written.

I, like Mr. Heroux, don't believe for a second that any such act is likely in my lifetime.  But let's assume it took place anyway.

First, violent crime rates would almost-certainly rise.  Why?  Because criminals don't give a damn about the law; that is quite clear and not in dispute.  They certainly don't follow the existing 50,000+ gun laws on the books and their reason for refusing to do so has nothing to do with those laws constitutional infirmity.  For them a gun is a tool used to commit some other offense against a person or property and it is quite clear that they are not deterred by the presence of said laws nor the threat of incarceration for violating them.  Adding one more law to the pile, or dozens of them, will change nothing for them.

But what it will do is increase the odds that the person(s) they encounter while committing their crimes will be unarmed.

It will thus embolden criminals; this is basic logic. Indeed there is plenty of precedent for this; in states and communities with the tightest "gun control" crime rates are higher.  When Florida mandated "must issue" concealed carry permits statewide violent crime dropped precipitously.  This pattern has been repeated in other states and cities; it is not a "one off", and despite the incessant screaming by people who believe in "gun control", including those who put up signs in Florida saying  "Welcome to the Gunshine State" their claimed apocalypse following the passage of same has never, in the history of America, happened.

As far as suicide rates, I doubt it would change them materially.  It is also illegal to commit suicide, although this one of the stupidest laws ever to be passed; how do you prosecute a corpse?  Those laws are nothing more than an attempt to label someone who tries and fails legally infirm so you can plaster them with restrictions of various sorts.  It is a direct and proximate insult to the premise that one owns their own body and in fact the foundation on which this nation was formed, but that's not the debate on the table here.  Repealing the Second Amendment might shift the form of suicide, but dead is dead and the only benefit I see from said shift is likely to come from the fact that blowing one's own brains out is pretty messy in comparison to the other alternatives if the act occurs indoors.

Would accidental death rates come down?  Probably, if people gave up their guns.  But let's add perspective here because it's important:

Only about 600 people kill themselves or others in the US by accident (2010 figures) with a gun.  2/3rds of deaths are suicides and the other third, almost-entirely, are homicides.

To put some facts to this more people are poisoned to death than shot in the United States (source: CDC); both figures include intentional self-harm.

Having dispensed with what is legitimate and what is not, and the likely impact on both crime and suicide of a Constitutional Amendment, I'll now turn to the two questions that undoubtedly will generate some heat:

Said lawmaker then asked:
  • As a law abiding gun owner, would you give up your guns?

  • Would you follow the new law of the land that was legitimately established, just as laws allowing the possession of a firearm have been legitimately established?

First, there was no "law" passed that "allowed" the possession of a firearm.  I have a natural, God-given right to defend myself from any unlawful aggression.  The Constitution does not "allow" such since you cannot grant what you do not first possess, it instead recognizes that which I already had.

With that in mind you're not going to like my answer, but it's the only true answer: Assuming the change came from a Constitutional Amendment (NOT a Supreme Court decision, which as I have already discussed is not legitimate irrespective of anyone else's claims to the contraryI do not have the ability to answer the question in the form of a declarative statement and neither does anyone else who is being honest with you.

There are two groups of people who will give you declarative statements: Those who like to shoot their mouths off but almost to an individual will not cash the checks they write with their mouth with their hands and, in this case, their lives and those who are so imbued with personal weakness and lack of respect for their own lives and those of their loved ones that if faced with a violent felon and a gun was in their hand at the time they would watch their wife be raped in front of them rather than shoot the offender.

Neither of those groups are people who care one whit about the history of the Second Amendment nor the potential and in fact likely consequences of ignoring said history, as their sense of self-preservation and a belief in a duty to protect their loved ones and those unable to defend themselves literally does not exist.

The rest, who are sane, cannot give you an honest declarative answer.  The reason for that is simple; such a change in the Constitution would leave something like one third of the adult population of the country with two choices: Surrender the only means of defending one's life against lawless violence forever or at least threaten even if by silent refusal to comply, if not outright use, said means to commit violence right here and now.

The logic behind this is simple: Such a change would render anyone who refuses to surrender their weapons a felon and subject to the use of deadly force against them.  Therefore, such a change in the Constitution means that one is already lawless in the eyes of the State.  There is therefore no reason to pretend to be law-abiding any more, since your fundamental right to prevent your own serious injury or death has been disrespected and you've been threatened with prison time or death should you refuse to comply with said demand.

The question you lay forward is pretty-much the most-serious that can be undertaken in one's life, and it's not to be made lightly nor can one accurately predict how that decision process would play out without full knowledge of the facts and circumstances at the time.  Of course it is impossible to know those facts and circumstances in advance -- what our society looks like, what one's personal belief of risk might be both in terms of future violence by ordinary criminals and by the state, whether the Rule of Law is being generally respected especially by members of the government and other "privileged" classes and more.  As just one example are the current medical monopolists who are committing acts daily that would have landed myself as a technology entrepreneur in prison for decades still walking free and enjoying their yachts, or have the all been prosecuted?  How about the banksters that ripped off the American public and investors for trillions of dollars?  Still at it or in prison?  Or how about a certain politician who has been shown to have intentionally and negligently mishandled classified data that, when others have done so, have led them to be in prison?  Is she walking free or even President of the United States or is she in a federal prison for the rest of her life?  How about the cops who threw a bomb into a baby's crib in Georgia for their own expedience?  Still free or imprisoned for attempted murder?  Is the President, and are you, going to be the first ones to disarm when there is no right to protect oneself with a firearm from all criminal attempts to kill you, foreign or domestic, or are you going to insist on a special dispensation that nobody else has?

How that equation looks today may be starkly different than it looks tomorrow, when such an event comes to pass, but without that knowledge there is no rational basis for evaluating the two questions you asked.

So rather than play the blowhard on the Internet, or the mealy-mouthed pajama boy -- I'm neither -- I'm going to instead provide you, Mr. Heroux, with an arithmetic exercise and something for you and other lawmakers who are contemplating such questions and actions to think long and hard about.

Approximately 1/3rd of American adults own a gun.  Alaska tops the list with just short of two-thirds of residents.  Delaware has the fewest with about 5% of the population.  There are also estimates that the average gun owner in America owns eight firearms, although I don't know how accurate that figure is.  Obviously some people only own one gun and some own a whole lot more than eight.

The Census says that out of the ~310 odd million people in America (not including the ~20ish million illegals) about 75 million are not adults -- that is, they're under the age of 18.  This means that on a national basis there are approximately 78 million Americans in possession of at least one peacefully-owned firearm that was not acquired for unlawful purpose.  To this we can add however many gangbangers you wish to believe are armed and who acquired their guns to use in criminal activity; I suspect the answer is "nearly all of them", but for the purpose of this discussion I'll leave them out of the numbers because they're already considered lawless by both the State and civilized society.

It was not that long ago here in this immediate area that an entire police department deployed to stop one (very bad) man who had just murdered two police officers.  They spike-stripped his truck and a gunfight ensued.  When the smoke cleared he was dead behind the open door of his truck where he had sought cover; the alleged perpetrator used his last round on himself and none of the well north of a hundred rounds fired at him by the police hit their target.  There's a nice FBI report on this incident and it's a hell of an indictment against police marksmanship -- or, more-accurately, the lack thereof.  This is not a singular incident either; it doesn't take much investigation to find plenty of instances where officers accidentally shoot innocent people due to poor marksmanship, deficient judgment (e.g. the two women delivering newspapers that were "mistaken" for Dorner despite being both female and not looking anything like the suspect) or both.

Unfortunately for those who believe they could get away with such a Constitutional change envisioning a 97% compliance rate appears, on the face of the evidence, to be a fantasy in the realm of a belief that the entire Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad will magically appear and pleasure you within the next hour.  In New York which passed the blatantly-unconstitutional "SAFE" act only 23,847 people registered firearms in two years since it went into effect.  Incidentally, New York tried to prevent this statistic from being known; it required an FOIA lawsuit to get this figure out of them as they originally refused to release the data.

Law enforcement officials believe there are one million such weapons in New York State; that is, given that ~45,000 said weapons were registered compliance is not 98%, but closer to 5%.  Granted, that's a law and a blatantly-unconstitutional one at that, but it provides you with a decent means of calibrating how people vote with their acts rather than their mouths.

Connecticut shows a similar pattern; they passed a 2013 law to register both firearms and magazines.  By the deadline to do so a year later only 50,000 firearms and 38,000 magazines had been registered out of an estimated several hundred thousand guns and more than two million magazines.  Note that both New York and Connecticut didn't (at this time) try to confiscate said guns, "just" register them.  Yet only a tiny fraction of people complied.

That's the recent historical background on such "laws": The people, almost to an individual, refuse to comply despite the fact that this exposes them to criminal charges and imprisonment.

Now let's do a bit of math.

Let us assume that after the Constitutional Amendment is passed 97% of the population capitulates and turns over their guns.  You now have over 2 million new felons in America, all of whom are armed, all of whom you wish to throw in prison and you are then forced to point guns at them in order to arrest and prosecute them should you attempt to enforce said change in the law.  How many cops did you say you had again, and oh, by the way, have you looked at the above-mentioned poor marksmanship cops display as a group?  Further, you won't have the element of surprise against any of these people as all of them will know they're labeled as a criminal and the cops are looking for them.  What's worse is that because today these are law-abiding citizens, many of them are hunters or involved in the shooting sports, and most have middle-class or better lifestyles and thus some degree of resource to their name they're rather likely to be well-skilled with their arms, unlike the common gang-banger who can't hit the broad side of a barn because he's probably never actually fired it to practice.

I believe the compliance rate would be far under 97%.  In fact, I'll split the difference between that and the two existing and recent laws, which strongly imply that compliance will be closer to 5% than 97%.  But maybe, just maybe New York and Connecticut are bad examples and half of the people will turn over their guns, not just register them.  That's nice.  

You have about a million law enforcement officers of all stripes in the United States but you just created 35 million newly-minted felons that you intend to imprison or murder facing down those one million police officers!

Are you really going to attempt to arrest, prosecute and imprison 35 million armed individuals?  Do you think you or anyone else could even begin or threaten such an exercise without initiating a civil war -- or revolution?  Of those who decide to turn over their guns, exactly how many of them do you believe would immediately change their mind and have blood in their eyes when the inevitable "wrong house" raids took place by the millions resulting in innocent people, including children, being murdered by the police?

I direct you back to the top section of this post and insist that you read it again because it was exactly that sort of arrogance that was the direct cause of outbreak of the Revolutionary War in what is now The United States.

Are you really asking for opinions on whether it makes sense to contemplate doing the very same thing?

I am forced to ask: Are you insane?

That's the math.  This is not advocacy, because you'd have to be insane to advocate or wish for such an outcome.  It would literally tear our country apart and the odds of what we ended up with down the road being anything that we'd recognize or like are slim and none -- and slim slithered out of the building when the first ballots were cast at 3250fps.

But to even ask the questions you put forward means you're actively considering such an act, which leads me to question your sanity, or whether you simply haven't thought about the numbers involved and the inevitable math that faces anyone attempting such a change in our Constitution, and whether you ever learned anything about how the American Revolution turned into a shooting war -- and why.

Here's hoping its the latter Mr. Heroux, or even that The Huffington Post put you up to such a display of idiocy and you took their bait without thinking it through as I don't want to live in a nation wracked by the inevitable consequences of such an event, and neither do you.

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The Japanese Central Bank bought itself what amounted to a one-day monster bounce in the market.

Tonight, Kuroda (the JCB head) gave a nice speech about playing Draghi -- "what it takes", you know.

Nobody believed him.  As I write this the Nikkei is down over 500 points, 3.5%.  His "rally" is now, for all intents and purposes, gone.

They shouldn't believe him either; negative interest rates are nothing more than a scam as I've pointed out -- they are the central bank equivalent of "Beatings will continue until morale improves."

How's that work for 'ya, if you don't mind my asking?

There's a bigger problem afoot, however -- I've seen some analysis that say that not only Deutsche Bank may be in trouble but so may other major international institutions -- including Citibank.  One of those people believes Citi is a zero.

Needless to say if that's true -- or even if it's not, but some of the other major International financial institutions are (e.g. Deutsche Bank) our markets won't be trading anywhere near Dow 16,000 or S&P 1900.  More like Dow 6,000 and S&P 700 are on deck, if we're lucky.

Yep, a round-trip from 2009.

Now that would be quite the kick in the nuts, and honestly -- we have it coming due to our refusal as citizens to demand and enforce a return of the rule of law and an honest accounting of these firms liabilities and assets -- with nice long prison terms for those who have lied.

Since we didn't, and we still don't, we get to endure what's on tap now instead of taking our medicine then and being well on the road to actual recovery.

No Gertrude, another shot of heroin will not cure your drug addiction......

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