Friday, September 25, 2009

The Dog Ate My Global Warming Homework

"Imagine if there were no reliable records of global surface temperature. Raucous policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point be little more than a historical footnote, and President Obama would not be spending this U.N. session talking up a (likely unattainable) international climate deal in
Copenhagen in December."

It seems those reliable data are missing, if they ever existed.

Update: I added this in the comments, but as it's a bit clearer than the end of the sentence above, here is a restatement: Al Gore keeps trying to insist that “the science is settled and the time for debate is over.” It seems the science in not only far from settled, it may not exist at all.
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Unique Perspective on the Delivery of Medical Care

"In a private fee-for-service medical system, a dead patient is a revenue loss. In the National Health Service (UK), a dead patient was a cost savings." -Harry Bailey MD 1930-2003, Sheffield (England) University Medical School 1950-1956; Harvard Medical School 1958-1981, US Navy Medical Corps 1982-1991.

The above quote is from my late father. He had a very unique perspective on the practice of medicine, especially as it relates to the various delivery systems. He was born and brought up in England and entered medical school there in 1950, training under the National Health Service and graduating in 1956. He emigrated to the US in 1957 and went into private practice for 24 years, 8 years pre-Medicare and the period after until 1981, becoming a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical school and a US Citizen along the way. In 1982 he decided he wanted to give something back to his adopted country in gratitude for the wonderful opportunities it had given him, so he joined the US Navy at age 52 and served first as the head of the Radiology residency program (27 residents and the largest program in the military) and then Chairman of the Radiology Department at the Balboa Naval Regional Medical Center in San Diego until his retirement at the rank of captain in 1991.

That is at least three different systems my father practiced under, four if you count the pre and post Medicare private practice period as two. His views of each were formed from the perspective of someone on the inside who lived and worked within them every day, not some ivory-tower theorist.

We’ll leave the military system out of this discussion for now as it would only be a distraction from the question of whether the US private health care system or a socialized model like Britain’s NHS is better. The fundamental distinction Dad was making is how differently the two systems view the patient and the incentives that view creates in each. The private fee for service system has more incentives to keep its patient alive and help them get better. Under socialized systems, and Medicare/Medicaid is a socialized-lite system, the overriding incentive is to control costs because the funds are finite and the needs are not.

I don’t think I need to tell you which system Dad thought was better.

Of course he thought the private system vastly superior, even though he had his issues with that too. However, most of the issues he did have with it were created by government interference in the period after Medicare was enacted. Medicare doesn’t control costs, it controls prices. The costs just get shifted to someone else. The decisions on what to pay for exams were more or less completely arbitrary. Any time Medicare was looking for “cost” savings it simply dictated them by reducing reimbursement rates or, in other words, price fixing. The costs didn’t actually disappear though. They just had to be shifted to the private patients who ended up subsidizing the Medicare patients. It is in this way that healthcare has become so expensive in the private sector. We pay for our own healthcare, subsidize the Medicare/Medicaid patients and carry the full freight on the people with no insurance who show up in the ER and must, by law, be treated.

Rationing is what we will get if we go down the socialized healthcare delivery path, the dead patient as cost savings view is likely to become dominant because the government, as single payer, is going to be forced to ration. The funding available to pay for medical care will be finite yet demand for “free” services will be infinite. The government will tell us if and when we may see a doctor. It will tell us what care and what procedures we will receive. That is the only possible outcome of a complete nationalization of our medical care delivery system. True healthcare reform will only come about by reducing government involvement in delivery, not further encroachment or a complete takeover.
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If A Republican Has a Good Idea and Speaks Up About It, Can a Democrat Hear Him?

Not when he has his fingers stuffed in his ears as he shouts "la, la, la, la, I can't hear you" over and over again. When the President accused Republicans of just trying to kill healthcare reform without offering any alternatives, he was knowingly telling a lie. The Republicans have offered no less than 32 pieces of legislation addressing healthcare reform:
Oh, and by the way, Joe Wilson was right too. It seems to me like the apologies went the wrong way here.
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Scott Ott - Overcoming 'Remote-Control' Government

Scott Ott, perhaps best known for his satirical "press releases" at Scrappleface has a must read article posted at Pajamas Media. Scott is actually running for office as County Executive of Lehigh County, PA. The article talks about shell games played with our tax money and how this threatens our future.

"There’s a shell game in government that makes it nearly impossible for you and I to stop the runaway spending. Worse, it’s designed to get you to focus on a seemingly insoluble problem far away, while the real solution lies just down the street, practically in your own backyard."

He has a solution to the problem too.

Read the whole thing.
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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Lincoln Davis' $20 Challenge....

......which he apparently doesn't have the backbone to accept.

Davis is a Democrat "representing" Tennessee's 4th Congressional District.

Well played, Miss, well played!

(Via Dan Cleary, Political Insomniac.)

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Is It Stimulus Yet?

The August unemployment numbers wouldn't seem to indicate that:

Posted at Innocent Bystanders. Go take a look.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson Reflects on World War II and Historical Revisionists

Victor Davis Hanson on World War II and historical revisionism.

"Western elites — the beneficiaries of 60 years of peace and prosperity achieved by the sacrifices to defeat fascism and Communism — are unhappy in their late middle age, and show little gratitude for, or any idea about, what gave them such latitude. If they cannot find perfection in history, they see no good at all. ......

.....Instead, the beneficiaries of those who sacrificed now ankle-bite their dead betters. Even more strangely, they have somehow convinced us that in their politically-correct hindsight, they could have done much better in World War II.

Yet from every indication of their own behavior over the last 30 years, we suspect that the generation who came of age in the 1960s would have not just have done far worse but failed entirely."

Read the whole thing. He gets it dead right, as usual
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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Leaked Advance Copy of President Obama's Speech to The ChildrenTM

The Vodkapundit, Stephen Green happened across this leaked advance copy of President Obama's upcoming speech to The ChildrenTM of America. The short version: Republicans hate children.

"I remember being a young, confused school boy, wishing that President Nixon or President Ford would give me some guidance as to what I should think or do during the school year. But they never did. Why? The answer, as any good teacher will tell you, is simple.

Republicans hate children."

Read the whole speech.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Congressman Mike Rogers (R) Michigan on Healthcare Reform

Thanks, Bob!

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Rationalizing the Death of Mary Jo Kopechne - Matt Welch Takes Two Liberal Feminist Writers to Task

Matt Welch takes Joyce Carol Oates and Melissa Laffsky to task for suggesting that the life of Mary Jo Kopechne was a worthwhile sacrifice because as Oates writes: "Yet, ironically, following this nadir in his life/ career, Ted Kennedy seemed to have genuinely refashioned himself as a serious, idealistic, tirelessly energetic liberal Democrat in the mold of 1960s/1970s American liberalism, arguably the greatest Democratic senator of the 20th century." One who liked to tell and hear Chappaquiddick jokes.

Welch puts it in proper perspective:

"......the sentiment is a timely reminder of the seductive awfulness of political ideologies everywhere and always. The ends are always worth a few strangled means, especially to those wielding or sympathizing with power. If you're openly musing whether the unwilling, unjust sacrifice of an innocent is worth a broad set of alleged legislative improvements, you're not asking a morally challenging question, you're answering it."

You're not answering it in a way that reflects well on you either. In fact you're revealing yourself to be morally bankrupt.
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A Counter Argument to the Contention That Free Markets Are Just Another Form of Rationing

Writing over at Pajamas Media, Denver physician Paul Hsieh corrects the notion, frequently argued by the proponents of the Democrat health care "reform" proposal, that the free market is just another form of rationing. It is not.

"Supporters of the free market should not allow opponents to characterize the marketplace as a form of rationing, let alone an unjust one. Instead, supporters should defend the free market as morally just because it respects individual rights.

To do so, one must properly define “rationing.” As the writer Ayn Rand noted:

“Rationing” has a specific meaning of its own. It means: to distribute in a certain particular manner — by the decision of an absolute authority, with the recipients having no choice whatever about what they receive; it also means that all the recipients involved have an equal claim to that which is being rationed, and are entitled to an equal share." "

Another point worth calling out:

"Health care does not magically grow on trees. Instead, it is a service that must be created by hard work and rational thought. The producers thus have the moral right to sell it to willing consumers on any mutually acceptable terms. There is no “just” distribution of medical services apart from the voluntary exchanges between producers and consumers in a free market."

Read the whole thing.
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