Belated Links — Thursday Highlights

OK. I’m back in town for a bit.

  1. Ockham’s axe.
  2. The left figuring (slowly) out the big problem with Obamacare, the whole insertion of more politics into healthcare bodes well for nobody. But … I’m guess the moral to that story is lost on Mr Schraub.
  3. And to follow on the above, the problem with inserting more politics into schools.
  4. 5 (?!) figure debt? Not 6?
  5. A film list. So, what’s missing?
  6. A serious question for the liberal arts educated crowd. Why is that book important?
  7. Uhm, “flatter” can mean a lot of things, a smaller (or zero) second derivative is a common meaning for the term. It doesn’t necessarily mean the first derivative is zero.
  8. A “new” family of amphibians.
  9. Party, Mr Krugman, and welfare receipt.
  10. Medical (academic?) ethics.
  11. It seems to me austerity/non-austerity of government and its impact on economy is a symptom of mistake of letting the government get way to big.
  12. Good advice for Lent.
  13. Seasons.
  14. Book surgery.

19 Responses to Belated Links — Thursday Highlights

  1. 6.A serious question for the liberal arts educated crowd. Why is that book important?

    Sounds like the people in the comments got it. It is easy to get drawn into the story as told by the book’s narrator, but doing so illustrates the extent to which we go to justify our bad actions and deceive ourselves over their reality.

    It’s not unlike how the Sopranos wrapped up. After years of having Tony Soprano grow on you, at the end his psychologist realizes what his nature is. He is a psychopath who can only mimic human empathy and therapy is just making him wrose by teaching him how to become better at deceiving.

  2. 2.The left figuring (slowly) out the big problem with Obamacare, the whole insertion of more politics into healthcare bodes well for nobody.

    This sentence stands devoid of any meaning at all. “Insertion of politics into healthcare”? As if the status quo was one of complete seperation of politics and health care. You are the only person I know who manages to consume hundreds of artciles about health care policy over the course of months, even years, yet you seem to get less knowledgeable about it as time goes on. How do you do that? It’s almost like some type of super power.

  3. Boonton,
    I see, you have more of that superpower than I. You have read hundreds of articles, work in the industry, and still think that Obamacare reduced government impact on healthcare.

  4. Boonton,
    Are you suggesting the Sopranos was high art?

  5. I never commented on whether Obamacare reduced or increase gov’t ‘impact’ on healthcare. Not sure what the value of that metric would be or even how it would be properly measured.

    Sopranos was good art, not sure if its high or not but you asked why the book is highly regarded and I provided you with the answer.

  6. Nabakov was also one of the best prose stylists of all time. Never got into Lolita myself, but he was great with language.

  7. JA,
    Sounds like you would compare that with Baudlaire and his “Flowers of Evil.”

  8. Boonton,

    I never commented on whether Obamacare reduced or increase gov’t ‘impact’ on healthcare. Not sure what the value of that metric would be or even how it would be properly measured.

    Hmm. The question is why not. You remarked, ” “Insertion of politics into healthcare”?” was a meaningless sentence. Except that’s not the sentence from which you retyped (not cut/paste, because then you’ve have the salient adjective). The missing adjective “insertion of more …” was the salient point. Mr Schraub (and I guess you) find yourself in the unenviable position of supporting both more political entrenchment in healthcare and disparaging the effects of too much politics in healthcare.

    (added: I’m not entirely sure that was clear. You misquoted me when noting that my sentence didn’t make sense. I had said “the insertion of more politics” which you then copied as “the insertion of politics” as nonsense. The latter (your) sentence assumes I think that there is no politics surrounding healthcare. The former considers the possibility that less politics in healthcare might be a good thing and that politicizing it more not so good (as seen by the example noted by Mr Schraub).

  9. I do think you understand there’s a difference between health coverage and health care?

    I read Lolita a long time ago and I don’t think I paid attention to the book as much as I should have. One of these days I’m going to pick it up again if all goes well.

  10. Boonton,

    I do think you understand there’s a difference between health coverage and health care?

    Yes, one is a subset of the other. And do you think Obamacare affected only the subset or did it stretch to cover more?

  11. Actually no they are not.

  12. Boonton,
    Narrowly speaking you’re right. In this context you are not. Government policy regarding healthcare is large. Healthcare insurance policy is a subset of healthcare policy, other subsets might include drug regulation, doctor licensing, and so on. Just as automobile insurance is a subset of automotive/road policy in this country.

  13. Health coverage, your mother has Medicare. She goes to any doctor she wants that takes Medicare and gives the office person her Medicare number. What the doctor says to her, what tests he does and doesn’t order, his ‘style’ of medicine is between him and her. She is perfectly free to find another doctor. He, likewise, can opt not to accept Medicare and work only with cash paying patients or private insurance. That’s gov’t in healthcare coverage.

    Your mother tests positive for TB. The doctor informs her that since its a communicable disease, he must make a report to the public health department. That’s gov’t in healthcare.

  14. Boonton,
    You missed something there. In your little litany: “She goes to any doctor she wants that takes Medicare and gives the office person her Medicare number. What the doctor says to her, what tests he does and doesn’t order, his ‘style’ of medicine is between him and her. ” Where’s the “what Medicare covers”, “What Medicare doesn’t cover”, and the cost of the various treatment choices are affected by the cover/not-cover choices all are government in healthcare.

    Oops.

  15. So stuff Medicare doesn’t cover she would have to cover herself. What do you think she would do if there was no Medicare? She’d have to cover everything herself. That, though, is not healthcare. If the doc gives her a script for a brand name drug and she asks for a generic because she doesn’t want to pay for it, that’s not the doctor being told what to prescribe, which would be ‘govt in healthcare’. You again confuse ‘government in health care’ with ‘government in health coverage’.

  16. Boonton,

    So stuff Medicare doesn’t cover she would have to cover herself. What do you think she would do if there was no Medicare?

    You know, you like to chide me for my naivete on healthcare … yet here you are using naivete as a rhetorical strategy. Do you think cost of particular services are independent of whether Medicare covers it or not? Do you think that patients choosing to have different procedures done or not is independent of cost? Your naive stance that coverage has zero impact on healthcare as a rhetorical position that “coverage” is not a subset of healtcare is not tenable. Give it up.

  17. Well let me give you a real life example I witnessed. Doctor suggested a certain anti-depressant for someone I know. Her insurance told her since it was a premium drug their policy was they do not pay for it unless she first tried the cheaper generic drug first and only then go to the original drug if she had a bad side effect or it didn’t work.

    Now the doc, of course, went along with this. But he very well could have said he didn’t believe in the generic and wouldn’t write a script for it, in which case she’d be stuck. Or she could have decided to pay for the original drug herself out of her pocket. While cost will, of course, impact how both patients and doctors behave, the doctor cannot honestly be said to be being ordered to use generic drugs nor can the patient be said to being forced to use the other drug. If either thought the premium drug was really worth the extra cost they would have stuck too it.

    Now contrast this with methadone. By law the drug can only be administered by certain doctors and then only for certain conditions due to it being highly addictive, highly easy to overdose on for non-addicts and the high black market value it has. That’s regulation of health care, directing doctors and patients in how medicine may be performed.

    To see the difference even more clearly, imagine not having any type of insurance at all. In that world the doctor still wants to first write a script for the brand name drug. The patient either must pay for it or ask the doctor to consider writing a script for a less expensive drug, which the doctor may or may not consider as good as his first choice if cost was not a factor at all. Call that state of affairs Universe A.

    Now consider in Universe B the patient has some type of HMO provided by the gov’t via Medicare. In that world the HMO says they will pay for the brand name drug only if the generic is tried first and found to be a failure. Does the patient have more or less choice in B than A? Clearly B. If the generic drug fails, she can use the brand name drug at reduced or no cost to her. In A if the cheap generic fails she must either pay for the full cost of the premium drug or suffer without any medication.

    Clear thinking my brother, don’t leave home without it.

  18. Boonton
    “Clear thinking, eh?” Too bad your primary example (anti-depressants and generics) hinges on healthcare insurance and oddly enough the impact of government. What do you think generics are? Why do they exist? Hmmm. Oh, that’s government rules on how patents and how extend patents with small variations. It’s an interaction of government regulation and healthcare. Just one more way in which government regulations influence costs in healthcare. Thanks for that. Here I was just thinking of the obvious “Medicare covers X” therefore the price of X is higher and less innovation will be seen in X than would otherwise be the case. But you’ve managed to find even more ways in which healthcare is impacted by the state and how healthcare insurance is a subset of healthcare.

  19. What do you think generics are? Why do they exist?

    Because intellectual property rights exist. The generic company can’t sell the premium brand drug for the same reason ABC/NBC/CBS can’t suddenly start broadcasting bootlegged Hollywood studio movies currently in theaters they buy off the street in China. But now you’re just fighting the hypothetical rather than trying to think clearly. If you insist, we could imagine the same hypothetical case happening between two competiting generic drugs, one more expensive than the other.

    As for whether or not intellectual property rights spurs or inhibits innovation in drugs, you just haven’t been paying attention for the last 15 years or so.

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