It is not the sunniest way to begin an investor presentation. on monday, the silicon valley investor chamath palihapitiya announced his latest blank cheque reverse merger. his vehicle, social capital hedosophia iii,is taking clover health, an insurance start-up, public at a $3.7bn enterprise valuation. the slides shared to describe the transaction showed all the ways that the american healthcare system is broken. for example, life expectancy is lower in the us compared with other oecd countries despite much higher expenditures.

Clover health is now boarding that gravy train, albeit with the stated intention of bending the cost curve and improving patient outcomes. mr palihapitiya has been desperate to show that wall street can rethink how it does business. now he wants to innovate in another system rife with rent-seeking.

Clovers specific focus is medicare advantage, a submarket of the government healthcare plan for seniors that is distributed by private insurers. america is greying 10,000 people join medicare every day says the company. and with its tele-health and machine learning technology, clover thinks it can be cheaper for physicians and offer a better service for members.

What clover is not offering yet is profits. in 2021, it projects having 73,000 members and $880m in revenue, valuing it at a juicy but not wild four times revenue. however, it is noteven projected to be ebitda break-even until 2023, even on an adjusted basis. while the company is only present in a few states now, clover says that it has an opportunity to eventually hit $25bn in revenue.

Mr palihapitiyas first special purpose acquisition company deal was with virgin galactic, a civilian space travel company. its prospects are much more speculative, though its current enterprise value is nearly $5bn.

Healthcare insurance may be americas most dysfunctional economic market. yet that has only helped the gatekeepers. another slide showed that the stock market appreciation of three of them (united healthcare, centene and humana) had vastly outperformed google, facebook and the broader market. it was unclear if that was a red flag or an investment highlight.

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