According to news reports, including the Associated Press, the pride of the Russian military – Vladimir Putin’s T-14 Armata tank – broke down in the middle of Red Square on Thursday during a practice run of the Victory Day parade scheduled for Saturday. The state-of-the-art tank was one of eight rolling through Moscow Thursday morning when it unexpectedly came to a halt while the others rolled on.
According to the AP, the soldiers on hand first tried to tow the tank away, but were unsuccessful. After about 15 minutes, the problem was apparently solved, and the tank rolled off under its own power.
An executive of the company that produced the tank told the AP that, despite the apparent attempts to tow it away, the tank had not broken down and was functioning properly.
The T-14 is meant to be the main battle tank that will carry the Russian Army into the rest of the 21st century. Its unmanned turret is controlled remotely by crew members safely inside an armored compartment in the body of the tank. It has advanced weapons system and armor, and is believed to be a match for any tank currently in service with North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces.
The T-14 has been written about extensively in the government-controlled Russian press, and its public unveiling is being treated as a major event. In addition, the parade Saturday will be watched not only by millions of Russians, but also by dozens of foreign dignitaries on hand to hel celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. That means any malfunction of the tank during the actual parade on Saturday would be terribly embarrassing to the Kremlin.
Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a variety of new taxes to pay for their preferred social programs. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou took a look at how the top four candidates would fare under their own tax proposals.
“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”
— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”
The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:
- The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
- U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
- U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
- The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.
The U.S. ranks 18th for retiree well-being among developed nations, according to the latest Global Retirement Index from Natixis, the French corporate and investment bank. The U.S. fell two spots in the ranking this year, due in part to rising economic inequality and poor performance for life expectancy.