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Archive for November, 2005

Tuesday, November 22nd 2005

Mandatory Health Insurance

The AMA recently looked at backing proposals for all to carry at least catastrophic health insurance. The idea is to broaden quality of care and perhaps more importantly relieve some of the burden of public health funding. The finances of most community hospitals, I imagine, are not in the happiest of shape and government spending on healthcare is certainly rising.

First, let me make it clear, to anyone who it isn’t obvious to that this is based in a far different philosophical model than required auto collision insurance. It is more in line with say, personal seat belt laws, which are completely out of line with the idea of individual responsibility and liberty.

There are two points to be made.

First, the move is unenforceable.

One need look no further than the example of auto insurance to see some of the pitfalls that can accompany individual mandates, said Donald Franklin, MD, a nephrologist and Tennessee delegate.

“We believe the intent [of the resolution] is satisfactory, but requiring a form of health insurance coverage probably sets a bad precedent,” he said. “Even though automobile insurance and driver coverage may be mandated in many states, we all know friends, family, acquaintances who have had the instance of an automobile accident where the opposing driver is not covered by insurance.”

Check out statistics on uninsured motorists. In the past 10 years some states have suffered uninsured rates, despite the requirement for auto insurance, in the one-third range.

Second is a slippery slope argument in which this sort of law is another step in government interference in healthcare.

[S]aid psychiatrist Richard Warner, MD, a delegate from Kansas. “A federal government that is going to mandate health insurance is also going to regulate that health insurance,” he said.

Attempts at upping health insurance coverage are all based in noble sentiments but that sentimentality is their fault as well.

Sunday, November 20th 2005

The Myth of Precedents

Slate has some really fallacious and just down right malicious columnists, at least it seems there intent can’t be anything but sometimes, but in this piece they shed light on the growing “dance,” as they call it, that is a Supreme Court nomination hearing.

[S]enators pretend, maybe even to themselves, that they really care about precedents and privacy in the abstract.

This is a well written, thoughtful piece going over the political realities of abortion and the court system.

Sunday, November 20th 2005

Week 5 of the BCS


Georgia Tech (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: ??) over Miami (AP: 3 Coach: 3 Computer: 5)

  • I think Georgia Tech may have a top 25 computer average but because it isn’t in the top 25 of the BCS, it is difficult to figure out what GT’s computer average actually is

Auburn (AP: 11 Coach: 12 Computer: 17) over Alabama (AP: 8 Coach: 8 Computer: 9)

Clemson (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over South Carolina (AP: 19 Coach: 21 Computer: 25)

UAB (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over UTEP (AP: 24 Coach: 25 Computer: NR)

Current Standings

AP: 145 + (27 + 3 + 11 + 6) = 192
Coach: 152 + (27 + 4 + 9 + 5) = 197
Computer: 152 + (25* + 8 + 5 + 0) = 190

The computers regain the lead.

Friday, November 18th 2005

HIV Rates Drop

Some progress. In one of the highest risk groups – African Americans – a new study of the statistics shows the new infection rate has dropped about 5% a year over the past four years.

Even outside of the United States the AIDS epidemic update has at least some good news associated with it involving steady or decreased prevalence by percentage. Of course, as these third world regions of the world grow it means more people infected, even if the percentage of the population carrying it decreases.

On the other end, the percentage of HIV infections that are women is increasing. This is tragic but shouldn’t be a surprise seeing as just by the nature of heterosexual intercourse women are at a much higher risk of having HIV transmitted to them from a partner than they are of transmitting it to a heterosexual male. As well, a lack of female autonomy in many third world countries puts women at increased risk.

Monday, November 14th 2005

External Heart

Pretty incredible story coming out of India concerning a girl born with her heart and part of her great vessels outside her chest wall.

Sunday, November 13th 2005

BCS Week 4


LSU (AP: 5 Coach: 5 Computer: 13) over Alabama (AP: 3 Coach: 3 Computer: 4)

Auburn (AP: 15 Coach: 17 Computer: NR) over Georgia (AP: 9 Coach: 9 Computer: 12)

South Carolina (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over Florida (AP: 12 Coach: 12 Computer: 17)

Clemson (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over Florida St. (AP: 17 Coach: 16 Computer: 24)

Iowa (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over Wisconsin (AP: 19 Coach: 19 Computer: 9)

Virginia (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over Georgia Tech (AP: 24 Coach: 24 Computer: 22)

Current Upset Standings

AP: 88 + (2 + 6 + 18 + 13 + 11 + 6) = 145
Coach: 93 + (2 + 8 + 18 + 14 + 11 + 6) = 152
Computer: 77 + (9 + 18 + 13 + 6 + 21 + 8) = 152

Well, for the first time a human poll is better than the computers. Crushing underestimations of LSU and Auburn, and a misplaced love for Wisconsin hurt the BCS computers significantly. Through the season so far the computers are no better than the human polls at predicting upsets and indeed the media writers are the best of all.

Tuesday, November 8th 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster

I believe in intelligent design. It’s not dressed up creationism, it is the acceptance of what science has shown but a belief in God as a creator. However, the idea it should be taught in schools is even beyond me.

All that to lead into this, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is pretty funny.

Tuesday, November 8th 2005

Here We Go Defense, Here We Go!

Are arguments to limit the “right” of suit hypocritical and out of line of my general Libertarian views?

Here’s the deal, the person who brought this up, I imagine…I really am just putting words in her mouth, is probably for universal healthcare. So, she removes her opposition to physicians setting their own prices (that means busting up price fixing insurance rings and a HUGE increase in the cost of healthcare)…and I’ll argue for the freedom to sue anyone whenever they want.

But really, she raises a good point against me. The best solution, that may allow me to keep some dignity, may be health courts. Get the innumerous frivolous cases out quickly, and thus lower physician and insurance defense fees, and still allow the maintenance of a patient’s right to suit. The “right” to a jury trial is really just one the Constitutions’ attempts at protection of a more universal right, one to impartiality and justice. I think that can certainly be maintained in sort of bureaucratic health courts manned by knowledgeable judges.

Sunday, November 6th 2005

Alito and HIV

Ah, finally Alito’s nomination comes into contact with a healthcare issue. Attacks on Alito seem to be particularly dragging up writing and opinions concerning private discrimination. I’ve heard complaints about opinions on affirmative action, mandated maternity lead, and now an opinion he wrote while serving in the DOJ during Reagan’s term, which claimed that people with HIV were not protected by the American’s With Disabilities Act from firing.

Private discrimination may be morally appalling but where’s the right to work? Where’s the right to sit at the counter? There’s a far better argument for the rights of a business owner in his leeway to act. Get out of Dodge; liberals want to argue against conservatives mandating “morality” by, and just an example, denying gay marriages. However, limiting private discrimination is the same dance.


Sunday, November 6th 2005

Week 3 of the BCS


North Carolina (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over Boston College (AP: 19 Coach: 19 Computer: 20)

NC State (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over Florida St. (AP: 9 Coach: 8 Computer: 14)

Arizona (AP: NR Coach: NR Computer: NR) over UCLA (AP: 7 Coach: 7 Computer: 6)

Miami (AP: 5 Coach: 5 Computer: 10) over Virginia Tech (AP: 3 Coach: 3 Computer: 2)

Current Upset Standings

AP: 31 + (11+ 21 + 23 + 2) = 88
Coach: 35 + (11 + 22 + 23 + 2) = 93
Computer: 19 + (10 + 16 + 24 + 8) = 77