The case for a health care futures market

January 16, 2020, 11:31 AM UTC

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Good morning.

Do we need a futures market for health care? That’s the argument Greg Simon and Jeff Feldman make in the new issue of Fortune magazine. Financial futures, created in the 1970s, helped bring stability during a time of wild inflation and skyrocketing interest rates. Oil futures, created in the 1980s, did the same for an era of soaring energy prices. So why not try it to help manage health care costs?

“To put the problem in perspective,” Simon and Feldman write, “the United States spends roughly $350 billion a year on oil. The value of structured financial products to hedge or speculate on the price of oil, based on that expenditure, totals hundreds of billions of dollars. We spend a similar amount annually just on diabetes care, but there are no financial products to provide predictable and stable prices for vital components of diabetes treatment, such as insulin.”

It’s a thought-provoking proposal—and the first of a new magazine feature called The Big Idea. February is the 90th anniversary of our magazine, and to mark the occasion, editor-in-chief Clifton Leaf has spearheaded what he calls “the most ambitious redesign in our history.” It starts with a stunning cover, illustrated by Craig & Karl, whose work has been exhibited at museums in Athens, New York, Paris and Shanghai. The cover is, in Leaf’s words, “both a look back to Fortune’s many decades of bold cover design and a leap forward.” You can read The Big Idea here, and get an early peak at the cover below.


And speaking of bold design, we are putting the final touches on our Fortune Brainstorm Design conference, being held in Singapore on March 25 and 26. The event is dedicated to executives using design principals to rethink their businesses and please their customers. Among those attending are top design executives from PepsiCo, Walmart, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Aston Martin, Twitter, 3M, Salesforce, IKEA, Royal Phillips, Waymo, General Mills, and more. I’ll be there, too, and if you are interested in joining, shoot me a note at, or go here.

More news below.

Alan Murray


Phase One

The "phase one" trade deal that the U.S. and China signed yesterday may already have hit a snag. A pillar of the agreement is that China buys almost $95 billion more in American commodities, but some raw materials included in the deal, such as soybeans and corn, fell Wednesday. Traders want to see evidence of Chinese shipments increasing. Fortune

Impeachment march

Democratic House leaders yesterday marched the formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over to the Republican-dominated Senate, which will today become an impeachment court, with opening arguments due Tuesday. The White House is confident of acquittal there. Fortune

Goldman profits

Goldman Sachs's 2019 profits took a 13% hit as a result of the 1MDB Malaysian corruption scandal. The bank had to stash away an extra $1.1 billion late in the year, in anticipation of an expected settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, and that pushed its return on equity to a poor 10% for 2019. Wall Street Journal

Apple A.I.

Apple has bought a Seattle-based A.I. startup called, which was incubated in Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Experts believe's tech will help Apple better analyze the pictures that its users take, though it could also be used to make Siri more independent from the cloud when processing users' commands. Fortune


Tech and disabilities

Presidential contender Elizabeth Warren writes for Fortune that, should she enter the Oval Office, she would push for technology to work better for people with disabilities. Warren: "If companies that receive government funding to develop their products will not or cannot offer key assistive technologies at reasonable prices, my administration will… license patented innovations to companies that will ensure that technologies are affordable and accessible to people with disabilities." Fortune

Patent trolls

A host of tech firms and carmakers, including Apple and BMW, have urged the European Commission to target patent trolls—that is, companies that buy up patents in order to milk other companies via lawsuits and licensing. The firms particularly want EU courts to steer clear of issuing blanket bans on products in cases where very few patents have been infringed upon. Financial Times

Twitter ads

Twitter has apologized for letting advertisers target hate groups such as neo-Nazis and homophobes. The apology came as a result of a BBC investigation that found discriminatory terms such as "anti-gay" were not excluded from the characteristics of ad targets that are available to advertisers. BBC

Oil cap

Citi Private Bank reckons there's an "ultimate cap" on oil prices now, due to the fact that solar electricity has for the last couple years been cheaper to produce. The bank's chief investment officer, David Bailin, said today that the limited, brief boost to oil prices caused by last year's drone attack on Saudi oil facilities served as evidence of this shift. CNBC

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.


In 1930, Fortune published its first-ever issue, featuring the goddess Fortuna and her wheel on the cover. This year, on our 90th anniversary, we’re celebrating with a new Fortune. Here’s what’s in store for you:

  • We’ve launched a new site, where you’ll find the best of business all in one place: strategic insights, deep-dive stories, and exclusive access to what executives are thinking. To access all of our revamped stories, register for free.
  • Later this month, we’re launching new newslettersThe Bull Sheet, a daily brief on finance news, and The Broadside, a monthly bulletin for career-oriented women. Sign up to stay up to date on their launches.
  • We’ve launched a new hub for our exclusive videos. It curates collections of executive insights—the latest and best from our interviews with business leaders, analysis series, and conference sessions. Access hundreds of hours of content.
  • Starting with the February 2020 issue, we’re substantially upgrading our print magazine. There will be more stories per issue, and the reading experience will be more premium, with gorgeous, higher quality covers and stock. To see for yourself, subscribe to the magazine.

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