Thursday, June 25, 2015

Risky Roundup

■ Last month, we mentioned some of the very positive results that would arise from a Plaintiff's victory in King v Burntwell. Today, Cato's Michael Cannon offers even more, noting that "the benefits of a ruling for the challengers would swamp all other effects."

A few:

·  Over 11 million citizens "freed from an illegal tax averaging $1,200

·  A pay raise of over $900 for affected employees

·  Almost 240,000 new jobs
And the list goes on.

■ FoIB Allison Bell wonders about the implications of a failed Palmetto State CO-OP, which left (on average) some $2,400 per enrollee in unpaid claims. Some are covered by their states' Guaranty Fund, but some aren't. It depends on whether or not the plan is considered a MEWA, and thus not eligible:

"South Carolina Health Cooperative was a nonprofit, member-owned MEWA formed outside the PPACA system. Because it was not classified as a health plan under South Carolina law, its members were not eligible for guaranty fund protection"

This could prove to be a major problem as these types of plans continue to fail.

■ Ever heard of Bitcoin? It's a non-government-backed "virtual" currency that's become attractive as both an alternate payment method and an investment strategy. But it's also risky business: with no government to backstop it, what happens if the value collapses? And since it's virtual (that is, completely on-line, with no physical analog), there are added cyber-security risks, as well:

"[G]lobal insurance giant Lloyd’s of London released a report titled *Bitcoin: Risk Factors for Insurance* ...  businesses seeking to enter the virtual currency marketplace—whether by running an exchange, holding bitcoins in secure “wallets” for users, or simply accepting bitcoins as payment—must be aware that Bitcoin’s “security risk will never be reduced to zero.”

On the one hand, I'm not convinced that **any** risk can be "reduced to zero" (else it's no longer "risk") but the point here is that the currency is now ubiquitous enough that it represents a significant risk factor for businesses.

Interesting stuff.
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