Can A Strong Dollar Be A Bad Thing?

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 04: U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R), after Republicans passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing ObamaCare, on May 4, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

There are four simple things that will lead America out of the Obamacare box. These clues are hidden in the old English folk rhyme about the charms for a bride to wear on her wedding day to bring good luck: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.”

Do Republican legislators wish to be able to again attend town hall meetings without meeting torch-and-pitchfork wielding constituents? Does President Trump wish to secure his re-election prospects? If so, take heed.

“Repeal and replace” Obamacare is shorthand for what the American people really desire. We desire lower premiums for better coverage for all of us. This is exactly what Candidate Trump promised during his campaign.

In his announcement speech Trump proclaimed:

Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it. People have been paying it for years. And now many of these candidates want to cut it. You save it by making the United States, by making us rich again….

That’s exactly right. But how?

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.”

Something Old: Adhere to Conservative Principle

The House Freedom Caucus somehow strayed from its own Old-Time Religion. Its members overlooked the lesson contained in the very fountainhead of the libertarian canon, Hayek’s The Road To Serfdom:

Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance—where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks—the case the for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong. … [T]here is no incompatibility in principle between the state’s providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom.

Yes, you read that right.: [T]here is no incompatibility in principle between the state’s providing greater security (by the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance) and the preservation of individual freedom. Republicans can maintain full conservative, tea party, and even libertarian orthodoxy while still delivering the goods to their constituents.

President Trump! Call it Hayekare. Announce its principles at the Cato Institute’s Hayek Auditorium. Demand that the Senate produce a bill that preserves individual freedom and fulfills your campaign promises of lower premiums, better coverage, and universality. And tell the Freedom Caucus to come back the Old-Time Religion and vote yes!

Something New: embrace High Tech Information Systems

A Washington Post report on the massive WannaCry ransomware attack besetting the world last week included this tart observation:

The most exploitable industry in the world is the health-care sector,” said Tom Kellermann, chief executive of Strategic Cyber Ventures. He said the industry is chronically hobbled by regulation and insufficient investment in computer security.

How bad is it? A paper published by RAND researchers in 2005 observed:

The U.S. health care industry is arguably the world’s largest, most inefficient information enterprise. However, although health absorbs more than $1.7 trillion per year—twice the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average—premature mortality in the United States is much higher than OECD averages. Most medical records are still stored on paper, which means that they cannot be used to coordinate care, routinely measure quality, or reduce medical errors. Also, consumers generally lack the information they need about costs or quality to make informed decisions about their care.

Over a decade has passed since this paper was published. Yet the inefficiencies in the U.S. health care industry remain a national scandal.

Luckily for America, members of the bipartisan House Blockchain Caucus, co-founded by now OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and now co-chaired by Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), are convening next week to learn from presentations by members of the Chamber of Digital Commerce (which I serve as senior counselor) on the promise of the blockchain to cut the cost, and improve the quality, of health care.

One of the presenters, Micah Winkelspecht, founder and CEO of, which specializes in “complex data sharing made simple,” will be making the point that the health care sector annually spends a quarter of a trillion dollars to process 30 billion transactions, noting that 15 billion transactions still take place over a fax machine, at the cost of $8 per transaction, which is like paying $8 per credit card swipe for…