Facebook Advice of the Day

My sister and her family are taking a cruise to Alaska. My nephew’s Facebook page therefore states he is in Alaska. A comment added there by a friend has some good advice: “Don’t get Bristol Palin pregnant.”

Health Care Reform And Scary Examples

I’ve frequently condemned those who use the health care systems in Great Britain or Canada as scare tactics to argue against health care reform. They should either be ignored as being totally ignorant of the issues currently under consideration or condemned as liars who are distorting the issue. Systems such as those in Great Britain and Canada are not on the table, period. Besides, if opponents of health care reform want to use examples of events elsewhere to scare people away from health care reform they do not need to turn to foreign countries. We have an excellent example here, in Massachusetts.

The Washington Post describes how Massachusetts wants to turn to capitation–payment of a flat fee per year per patient. This has attracted attention among those concerned that rising health care costs will interfere with attempts to pass health care reform nationally. The idea was first promoted by Richard Nixon, and later adopted by many insurance companies to screw both patients and doctors while increasing their profits.

Advocates of capitation in Massachusetts claim they will not implement this in the manner done by many HMO’s which led to disaster, but this remains to be seen. It is theoretically conceivable that a plan truly developed around delivering health care as opposed to making more money for HMO’s might be more successful, but I am very skeptical about this.

Megan McArdle lists some of the problems with capitation and then makes a prediction:

I predict this lasts about half a news cycle before the public outrage overwhelms state legislators, who start screaming for the heads of the traitorous, heartless bastards who suggested it.

I am not as optimistic as Megan. After having read about such a plan for a while, I fear they might really embark on this path. I am glad that Massachusetts is going ahead of the rest of the country so we can see hat happens before this is advocated nationally. If Massachusetts turns to capitation there are two possible outcomes (and I believe the second is more likely):

1) They will have really learned from the mistakes of the insurance companies and find a way to get capitation to actually work, or

2) It will be a terrible disaster, demonstrating to other states that they should not repeat this error.

Fire and Steel

One of the claims of many 9/11 conspiracy theorists is that the heat generated from the initial crash could not have brought down the twin towers, leading some to claim that there were bombs planted. I thought of them as reading this report from The Detroit Free Press. The heat from a tanker explosion on I-75 led to the collapse of an overpass as the steel beams supporting it lost their strength.

This will not convince 9/11 conspiracy theorists and is not actual proof of anything, but it was interesting to see the effects of such heat on steel supports (as is also seen in this model of the collapse of the World Trade Center).

Posted in In The News. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Hilzoy’s Last Post