Investors trembled in January 2018 when three corporate giants,
announced a joint venture aimed at cutting worker health-care costs. No one knew how they planned to do that, but the news sent the S&P 500 Managed Health Care index down 4.4% in a day.
Three years later, the trio has now closed the JV, known as Haven Healthcare. In a statement, Haven said it had “explored a wide range of health-care solutions, as well as piloted new ways to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use, and prescription drugs more affordable.” The managed-care index rose 2.2% the afternoon the news broke.
Haven has said little. In November 2019, Bloomberg News reported that Haven was testing a plan with JPMorgan employees that had no deductibles and offered employees perks for achieving health goals. That seemed to suggest it was exploring alternatives to cost-sharing, a popular strategy to contain costs that some employers have begun to worry is counterproductive. But Haven never spoke publicly about the project.
Instead, most of the news focused on arrivals and departures. In July 2018, Haven hired Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and author of books on health care, as CEO. In May 2019, the COO left after nine months, and a year later Gawande exited as CEO. Haven’s demise might speak to the challenge of corporate collaborations; CNBC reported that the stakeholders put its ideas into practice separately. But Haven’s struggle also underlines a truth: Cutting health-care costs is tough.
Rising Above It All
A new market year dawned to political turmoil, and stocks initially took the biggest tumble since October. Then came the Georgia elections and the Capitol riot. Treasury yields and stocks rose, despite the chaos, on newfound enthusiasm for a unified government and more relief. Jobs, however, fell for the first time since April. On the week, the Dow industrials rose 1.6%, to 31,097.97; the S&P 500 advanced 1.8%, to 3824.68; and the Nasdaq Composite picked up 2.4%, to 13201.98. Bitcoin passed $40,000.
In the Georgia runoff elections, two Democratic candidates, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, edged out Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. The two wins gave Democrats control of the Senate. President Trump roiled the situation by claiming Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia was rigged. With the Senate in hand, President-elect Biden said he would nominate federal appeals judge Merrick Garland, whose Supreme Court nomination had been blocked by a GOP Senate, to be attorney general.
The Mob at the Door
A mob claiming an electoral “steal,” drawn to Washington and egged on by Trump and his allies, stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress met to certify the Electoral College. Sweeping past Capitol Police, they broke into offices and House and Senate chambers. Earlier in the week, Trump had urged Georgia officials to “find him” enough votes to win the state but was rebuffed. After the riot, Congress confirmed Biden’s victory, calls for Trump’s removal mounted,
blocked his account until his term is over, and
permanently suspended him.
Lame Duck China Policy
The New York Stock Exchange reversed its delisting of Chinese stocks
China Unicom (Hong Kong)
after consulting with regulators, then reversed the reversal, citing Treasury. The order stemmed from a U.S. ban on Chinese companies with military ties or those that did not meet U.S. accounting standards. The White House also banned eight Chinese payment apps, including Alipay and weighed adding
to the blacklist.
Behind the Curve
Covid rolled on. The more contagious variant of the virus raised fears as it emerged across the U.S. and as the vaccine rollout sputtered. In the U.S., hospitalizations set a record of 128,000, and topped 4,000 daily deaths on Thursday.
Annals of Deal-Making
which owns bookmaker Ladbrokes, rejected an $11 billion offer from
MGM Resorts International.
agreed to put up as much as a billion dollars toward the bid…
agreed to pay $13 billion for health-care tech provider
..The Wall Street Journal said that
will pay “significantly less” than $100 million for Quibi’s content.
Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at email@example.com