really follow FinTech — I can’t even keep up with HealthTech! — but it caught
my eye when Visa announced that
it was acquiring FinTech company Plaid for $5.3b; a 2018 funding round valued
the company at $2.65b. A 100% increase in valuation within a year suggests
that something important is going on, or at least that people think something
there may be some lessons for healthcare in there somewhere.
of you who are equally as unfamiliar with FinTech’s terrain, Plaid has been described as
the “plumbing” that supports many other FinTech companies.
Launched in 2013, one in four people with a U.S. bank account are now believed to
use Plaid to connect with 2,600 FinTech developers connected to more than
11,000 financial institutions. Its customers include Acorns, Betterment,
Chime, Coinbase, Gemini, Robinhood, Transferwise, and Venmo. Plaid claims
it connects with 200 million consumer accounts.
The New York Times had an article that surprised me: Current Job: Award Winning Chef. Education: IHOP.The article, by food writer Priya Krishna, profiled how many high-end chefs credit their training in — gasp! — chain restaurants, such as IHOP, as being invaluable for their success.
Ms. Krishna mentions several well-known chefs “who prize the lessons
they learned — many as teenagers — in the scaled-up, streamlined world of chain
restaurants.” In addition to IHOP, chefs mentioned experiences at
chains such as Applebee’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Chipotle, Hillstone,
Houston’s, Howard Johnson’s, Olive Garden, Panda Express, Pappas, Red Lobster,
Waffle House, and Wendy’s.
Some of the lessons learned are
instructive. “It was pretty much that the customer is always
right,” one chef mentioned. Another said she learned “how to be
quick, have a good memory, and know the timing of everything.” A
third spoke to the focus that was drilled into all employees: “Hot food
hot. Cold food cold. Money to the bank. Clean restrooms,”
Now that health reform at the federal level seems to have hit an impasse, Congress and the Administration are scrambling to see if anything can be salvaged this year. Although both the House and Senate bills are severely flawed, each falling short both on true health reform and on fiscal responsibility, it would be a shame if we walked away from these efforts with nothing to show for it.
Doing something about those “evil” insurance companies remains a primary target, with brave talk still coming out about removing the ability of health insurers to consider pre-existing conditions in accepting new applicants.
This singular focus ignores two important facts – first, that this problem is primarily in the individual market, since such use of medical underwriting/preexisting conditions exclusions is largely absent from the predominant group health insurance market, and second, that such restrictions will inevitably lead to higher costs. The latter statement is not fear-mongering; it is Economics 101.Continue reading…