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Thursday, June 18, 2009

More global warming

I know Obamie's minions won't read this, but since we have an extended winter this year I thought this might be of interest to intelligent people.

The assumption in all these stories that report on the Wilkins Ice Shelf, and other melting ice around the Antarctic Peninsula, is that global warming is the cause, and that they are representative of a general melt occurring throughout Antarctica. And if this were true, this would be alarming, since 90% of the world’s land based ice is in Antarctica. So is the ocean warming around Antarctica, and is Antarctica’s overall total mass decreasing?

The answer to both of these questions is almost certainly no. As this recent imagery from NOAA indicates, the southern ocean is actually colder than average. Except for a few areas directly south of the Indian Ocean, and in the area south of Patagonia and surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula, the rest of the ocean surrounding Antarctica - virtually all of the South Pacific and South Atlantic - is cooler than average. This data indicates no reason to believe ocean temperatures are causing overall loss of ice mass in the Antarctic; with the exception of the insignificant quantity of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula, they suggest the opposite.


Link

Universal Health Care - The why of it

JeremyR takes exception to something I wrote in another post.

“There is only one way to reduce cost. And that is to reduce care. If that is what you want, then you should be happy.”


Jeremy notes.

“So wrong. There is another simpler way to cut health care costs, yet it is the one way that congress has rejected time and again. That is to limit litigation. Make all the malpractice suits loser pays and require that the liar err lawyer fork over the cash immediately if his client filed a false claim.”


I agree. And I agree that this is especially true in some areas. And I agree that that we should stop them, as I noted, if for no other reason than to no longer create more John Edwards. But I don’t think the cost reduction would be enough to make a real difference.

I also don’t think we can save enough on “administrative costs” to make a difference. It will cost government just as much to process a claim as it does the private companies. Indeed, given that the fact that the government worker will be paid more and unionized I expect that cost to increase by a sizeable amount. Say 15%.....

The problem is that we have no real facts. Everyone has their own numbers and they are always presented as “it will cost……” I read somewhere that it will cost a trillion dollars to add 16 million people who are not now covered. I later heard that was over ten years. Now, would that be 100 billion a year, or would it be 50 billion in year one and 75 billion in year two??

The truth is that when it comes to insurance of any kind, the cost to the company depends upon the people insured. Run out and insure a bunch of teenagers auto insurance and costs will explode. Sell life insurance to a bunch of 80 year olds and get ready to go out of business, or go to Congress… Those are simple facts but we seem to forget simple facts when it comes to politics.

The use of health insurance, it has been often noted, is a U shaped curve for the vast majority of Americans. It starts off relatively high, drops as adulthood approaches, remains flat for around 40 years and then climbs back when the person goes past 60. I read somewhere that a huge percentage of Medicare cost is expended in the last weeks of a person’s life.

This leads some to opine that what we need is insure that, like car insurance, takes care of the wrecks but not the flat tire. That seems to make sense, but I have seen absolutely no figures to back it up. What would the price be for such a policy? And would we do this for everyone, or just those between say 20 and 65?? Remember. The principle of insurance is that the cost of damages to the individual is shared by a large number of other people. If the number goes down, or if the high risk group’s numbers go up, the insurance company must increase rates or go out of business.

Or, in the case of government, increase taxes or reduce services or both. That is what Canada and Europe has done. Abortions of unborn babies known to have a treatable but high risk/low outcome and high cost treatment are encouraged and in some cases treatment is denied. Pulling the plug on older patients is definitely encouraged. When you’re 30 such actions are abstract. When you’re 70 plus you have a target on your back.

The issue then becomes one of the social contract. If you believe that everyone has a right to health care, then it must follow that everyone is everyone. That includes the babies and the elderly. The wasted life of a shot up gang member who has multiple 9mm holes in him is just as valuable as the Pope.

If you believe that people do not have that right, but rather the right to purchase health care based on what they have accomplished then that is a different matter.

This raises several issues. Advocates of the former, whether they admit it or not, favor cost reduction through rationing, or better put, selection based on political criteria.

Advocates of the latter are mostly unwilling to recognize that many are wealthy through the luck of birth. Others because they are smarter quicker faster and work harder longer. And have a job where the employer purchases health insurance for them as part of their compensation package.

Employer paid health care started back in the 40’s as a way to attract employees. It was a benefit that has become a right. Part of the problem is that technology kicked in and started creating high price machines and drugs that disabled the thinning of the herd at what was historically expected ages and reasons.

If you had (effectively) untreatable high blood pressure 30 years ago, they now have drugs, expensive drugs that will keep strokes and heart attacks at bay so that cancer can kill you, but only after two or so operations followed by a stay in a “skilled nursing facility.”

So now we have to decide what it is we want to do. Since I don’t trust any Leftie’s judgment and since I damn sure don’t trust Obamie about anything I am convinced that the plan being blessed by the Lame Stream Media, people who for the most part probably can’t keep their check books balanced and have almost zero education in science, engineering and logic will fail as sure as those plans are failing now.

Yet I look at the fact that what we have now doesn’t provide fair and equal treatment to everyone and find that unacceptable. And yes, while the Left says let the old person die to reduce cost the Right too often ignores the fact that an unemployed person’s life is destroyed if their child winds up with a high cost disease or accident. And don’t be misled. While the hospital will treat they will also sue, destroying credit ratings and harming the person’s ability to get a job that would let them pay the bill.

The system, dear Righties, has become too complex and interconnected. We are our brother’s keeper or we lose the right to claim ourselves civilized or Christian and the hope of heaven disappears.

So to me we need National Health Care. The question becomes how to do it and what it will cost.

And that is a subject for later thought.