PredictIt Plays of the Week: Healthcare Is Back, and the GOP House Will Be Too

July 27, 2017

by Jon Schweppe


A couple weeks ago, when The National Pulse began this PredictIt-centric column, I promised that the healthcare bill had no chance of passing the Senate by July 31:

This contract specifically states that the Better Care Reconciliation Act — i.e. the Obamacare repeal and replace bill — has to pass the Senate by July 31 for it to resolve to YES. Everything I’ve read and heard from Capitol Hill indicates that the 50 votes needed to pass this through the Senate simply aren’t there.

With NO shares at 89 cents currently, we’re looking at a 12.3 percent gain in just under three weeks. That seems like a pretty good investment. This is a lock, after all.

Well, um, shoot. A lot can change in two weeks. Healthcare reform failing in the Senate was, indeed, not a lock. As of this writing, YES shares on passage are now up to 46 cents, with NO shares sitting at 54 cents.

My hope is that our readers, as astute and savvy PredictIt investors, took the profits and ran last Monday when NO shares rose to an astonishing 99 cents, avoiding the risk of a sudden turnaround to grab 1 or 2 more cents of value.

I know that I personally changed my mind on the fate of the bill a few days ago as it became clear that the Senate was still prioritizing healthcare before breaking for August recess. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 51-50 (with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie) to debate the bill and open the process up to amendments. YES shares have been spiking ever since then.

This is the beauty of PredictIt, folks. In truth, there’s no such thing as a LOCK. Crazy things happen all the time. Remember that time Donald Trump won the Republican primary and then the general election? Now we may have another spectacular failure of conventional wisdom: the healthcare bill had no shot at passing by July 31, and now it looks like it very well might.

Right now, I can’t really recommend any healthcare-related contracts as value plays, and I certainly don’t believe passage is a lock for the very same reasons I outlined two weeks ago. With prices hovering around 50 cents on passage, the prices for individual senators’ votes fluctuating wildly, and the specific contents of the final version of the bill still unknown, I’d recommend staying away from these markets at this point.

However.

This wouldn’t be a PredictIt Plays of the Week column unless I gave readers at least one play, and I do have one this week:

VALUE PLAY: The Republicans Will Keep the House

  • Expiration Date(s):
    • Late 2018

Last week, I wrote about the impossible path forward for Democrats in the Senate. It’s just not going to happen for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. But when it comes to winning the House, conventional wisdom tends to give the Democrats a much better chance at success.

Right now, the PredictIt market is setting the price on the Republican Party controlling the House after the 2018 elections at 53 cents for YES and 47 cents for NO — a virtual coin flip. Betting on the GOP here is a great VALUE PLAY and, frankly, it might even be close to a LOCK.

I promise I’m not crazy, and I’m not being a crazy partisan, either. Here’s why.

I wrote in June that the Democrats were in trouble after they failed to win the Georgia 6th District special election:

This House math looks an awful lot like the impossible Senate math. If the Democrats can’t win a race like the Georgia 6th — where Trump only won by 1.5 points in 2016, where they raised and spent more than $30 million, and where they had the opportunity to run against a Republican who didn’t have incumbency advantage — where are they supposed to win?

In each of the 27 districts that are “more favorable” to the Democrats than Georgia-6, the Democrats will be up against an incumbent Republican with a war chest of funds. Winning those races won’t be easy. Can the Democrats really go 24-3 in those races, while also holding on to every currently held Democrat seat?

Check out the whole piece, but the terrain is pretty tough sledding for the Democrats. A lot can happen in the next 15-and-a-half months, and it would be ridiculous to say that the Democrats have a zero percent chance of winning the House. However, setting their chances at 47 percent, as the PredictIt market currently suggests, is equally ridiculous.

The Democrats would be fortunate to win 15 of the 27 races in districts currently held by Republicans that are more Democrat-friendly than Georgia’s 6th district. Then they would have to win a bunch of seats in districts more Republican, and — on top of all of that — defend all of their currently held seats. That’s tough to do — I certainly don’t envy House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s position.

Right now, I’d give the Democrats a 20 percent chance to win the House, but given the current inflated price, betting against that is a clear VALUE PLAY.


Jon Schweppe is the Director of Government Affairs for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe

Archive: Jon Schweppe