Category: Etcetera

Broken system acting broken? No way!

Who would have thunk it? Demanding that the laws of economics & reality bend to the will of unicorn fart smellers and their do-good ideas has not worked as intended!

It wasn’t supposed to work this way, but since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January, Norton Hospital has seen its packed emergency room become even more crowded, with about 100 more patients a month.

That 12 percent spike in the number of patients — many of whom aren’t actually facing true emergencies — is spurring the hospital to convert a waiting room into more exam rooms.

“We’re seeing patients who probably should be seen at our (immediate-care centers),” said Lewis Perkins, the hospital’s vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer. “And we’re seeing this across the system.”

That’s just the opposite of what many people expected under Obamacare, particularly because one of the goals of health reform was to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by expanding Medicaid and giving poor people better access to primary care.

Instead, many hospitals in Kentucky and across the nation are seeing a surge of those newly insured Medicaid patients walking into emergency rooms.

Nationally, nearly half of ER doctors responding to a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians said they’ve seen more visits since Jan. 1, and nearly nine in 10 expect those visits to rise in the next three years. Mike Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, said members statewide describe the same trend.

Experts cite many reasons: A longstanding shortage of primary-care doctors leaves too few to handle all the newly insured patients. Some doctors won’t accept Medicaid. And poor people often can’t take time from work when most primary care offices are open, while ERs operate round-the-clock and by law must at least stabilize patients.

Yeah, I am sure many these people are “forced” to attend the ER instead of doing otherwise, because of doctor shortages and the decline in Medicaid accepting doctors, but the real fact IMO is that these people can’t be bothered. We can pretend it is because they can’t go to a doctor during regular hours, but I am willing to bet they are hitting the emergency rooms during those regular hours. I doubt most of these newcomers are employed to begin with. When you get shit you feel is free you aren’t inclined to worry much about how much it costs the people paying for it or how badly it is inconveniencing a system you now feel owes you shit.

Setting up a primary physician, making an appointment, then keeping said appointment is likely way too much work for people that feel all that crap is just an obstacle to their whims. These “I want free healthcare” types just want a system where they show up and are taken care of. Like they want government to pay for everything and anything, no questions asked, because they were born.

Seriously, this was not the way to get healthcare out to the masses. For people that love to tell us how to do things, the leftists sure dropped the ball on this issue. Then again, regulating ER access would not serve their plan to overload the system and bring it crashing down. After all, the end goal remains that single payer system they want.

Time-Less Junk

In between encomiums Of Hillary, Time Magazine (soon to follow Newsweek) tries to cast a wider net and write stuff with a more general appeal. This week they came up with a little “ideology” quiz, a test where answering non political personality questions can reveal political leanings. Take the test first before you read further.

All done? Good, now we can all laugh at their gross generalities and biases.

My score was 80% conservative. I’m betting it was low because I generally do not answer any questions with a “Strongly” anything, either agree or disagree. My only “strongly” was on border enforcement. Even the question about being proud of my country only garnered a “moderately agree” because I think we have made some mistakes, but they pale in relation to the US being a force for good in the world.

The rest of the questions were just stupid. Libs are not hip, cutting edge, impetuous, or open minded, so any conclusions based on those answers means nothing. I use Chrome, would rather go to the Met,and have no problem with my partner watching porn, although being an old married guy I would prefer she not so I can avoid her pestering me that night. My desk is neat, big deal. The authority question was interesting. Nowadays, although I still have respect, it is more measured, and goes hand in hand with a leeriness and a distrust, a sign of the times we live in.

So what was your score? Any of these questions have any relevance to anything?

Vanilla Weather Report

You East Coasters, you have my sympathies, although, who told you guys to live where the weather is shitty?

No cracks about white guys can’t dance.

We, on the west coast, another sunny day, although a little bit colder from our usual 70’s {yawn}.

Um, maybe Sunblock UV 50 today.

A Sad Day For The Criminal Justice System

A little over 2 years ago I wrote this post concerning the brutal murder of a homeless kid, perpetrated by 6 thugs that should know better. The wheels of justice turn slowly, witnesses have to be contacted and the initial investigation has to be prepared so that it is trial ready. Additionally the defense always tries to prolong the actual trial, out of sight out of mind so that the incident ( as well as the outrage) has a chance to dissipate. But through out the wait, I felt strongly that the evidence would speak for itself, that justice would be done, and that these thugs would end up behind bars…………oops.

The father of Kelly Thomas told reporters Tuesday that he viewed a jury’s decision to acquit two Fullerton police officers in the beating death of his son as one setback in a “prize fight” in which there are still “several rounds to go.”
Two former Fullerton police officers were found not guilty Monday in the beating death that was captured on film, and charges against a third officer will be dropped.
Ron Thomas, Kelly’s father and a former sheriff’s deputy, said at a news conference that the verdict was in no way the last word.
“I look at this like a prize fight,” he said. “It’s not over, we still have several rounds to go.”

When I heard about the verdict this evening, it was like a kick to the stomach, what on earth were those jurors thinking? As a strong advocate of the criminal justice system (and my ramblings about the Zimmermann verdict come readily to mind) I just can not wrap my brain around this unexpected verdict. Without going into the shear weight of the evidence, the dozens of witness statements, the several actual video tapes, the recorded statements of the cops showing true intent to do harm to Kelly, and the photos of him lying in the hospital, I don’t get it.

Much as been made about the lack of training cops have wrt to subduing mentally ill suspects, horseshit. They have at their disposal a variety of weapons to chose from, and a clear understanding the law that mandates “reasonable force” only. Factor in that the reason they call for back up is that “reasonable force” is available, not batonning him, not Tazing him, and not shooting him but actually using shear body weight of the officers to subdue him, this is how they are trained. They threw all that training out the window, went outside of policy, and literately beat the snot out of Kelly,a 140lb mentally ill homeless guy, who in his last dying throws was calling out desperately for his dad to save him, it makes me cry just thinking about that.

God bless Ron Thomas, he is a fighter who is not giving up. The feds now get to look at these guys, maybe civil rights charges are in the wind and the bad guys could go to jail over those. A civil suit is also in the works. I hope the city of Fullerton gets hit big, they are the ones that hired these clowns, they did a rotten job of it and need to pay. But mostly I hope these two ex-officers (it should have been 6) need to be hounded for the rest of their miserable lives, they need to pay monetarily for their actions. Hopefully any honest buck they ever make in the future will have a judgement attached to it. But mostly society needs to shun them, they are bad evil men who do not deserve to live among civilized folks. We cannot take their lives like they took Kelly’s, the next best thing is to make them a pariah.

The Emergency Canard

In the runup to Obamacare, we were told that universal healthcare would actually cut costs. One of the big reasons was that it would cut down on expensive visits to the Emergency Room. Newly insured people, we were told, would go to the doctor to get problems addressed early rather than waiting until they exploded into $10,000 write-offs.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

Just like the “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” promise, the promise that Obamacare would make health care less expensive by expanding coverage was always a crock. Nationally, it’s estimated that we spend about $50 billion a year on uncompensated care for the uninsured. But Obamacare spends $250 billion a year of taxpayer money on covering the uninsured. Only in Washington is spending $250 billion to address a $50 billion problem considered “savings.”

Finkelstein and Baicker, in their new Science article, looked at emergency-room records for 24,646 residents of the Portland, Oregon area, spanning 12 regional hospitals, who had participated in the Medicaid experiment. The study was co-authored by Sarah Taubman of the National Bureau of Economic Research; Heidi Allen of the Columbia School of Social Work; and Bill Wright of Oregon’s Portland Medical Center. The authors found, as they had previously, that the subgroup that had gained coverage under Medicaid showed no improvement in the management of their chronic medical problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

They also found that those on Medicaid used the emergency room 40 percent more than the uninsured did—1.43 ER visits per Medicaid enrollee, as against 1.02 for the uninsured. More to the point, a majority of the emergency room visits were unnecessary, because they involved conditions that could easily have been managed outside of the ER.

This is the second study Finkelstein has lead on the Oregon experiment. The first showed no improvement in health among Medicaid enrollees. The most it showed was some improvement in mental health because they weren’t as worried about medical bills.

This was always completely predictable. When you give people something for free or at a steep discount, they use more of it. This is Econ 101. At least half of the Medicaid patients didn’t need to go to the ER. They either had problems that could wait for a primary care doctor or problems that could have been prevented by an earlier visit (oddly enough, giving irresponsible people insurance does not magically make them responsible people).

The Left is responding to this inconvenient truth by touting Oregon’s recent attempts to bring down ER costs. So far, Oregon has brought them down a bit but this involves capping overall spending and far more active involvement in individual healthcare. ER spending has fallen … relative to its exploded peak. It is still way above 2008 levels. This is the Obamacare equivalent of “the deficit is falling faster than at any time since WW2″.

The Obamacare defenders are also pointing out that the study shows a lot less stress among the previously uninsured now that they are insured. While that’s great for them, Reihan Salam points out the obvious:

Imagine if the debate over the Affordable Care Act had unfolded as follows — the president stated that in the interests of improving the mental health of low-income uninsured Americans, but not necessarily improving their health along other dimensions, he hoped to pass a large and expensive Medicaid expansion; to address the needs of the medically uninsurable population, he intended to implement a series of new insurance regulations that would, among other things, prompt the cancelation of large numbers of insurance policies serving the individual and small group insurance markets, with the net result being a reduction in the number of Americans with private insurance coverage, despite new subsidies aimed at low- to moderate-income households; and to finance these new initiatives, he’d restrict the growth of Medicare expenditures and he would raise various new taxes. It’s not obvious to me that this bundle would have struck many voters, including Democratic voters, as attractive.

Many people, including Roy and Salam, tried to warn us that this would happen. They were ignored. Or they were called liars. Or they were told they didn’t “care”. Or they were called tools of the insurance industry.

Oh, about that last bit.

Our favorite film-maker has emerged from his blue-collar mansion to opine on Obamacare. As is usually the case with Captain Deceptive Edit, we get a good point surrounded by bullshit:

I believe Obamacare’s rocky start — clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could — is a result of one fatal flaw: The Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go. When right-wing critics “expose” the fact that President Obama endorsed a single-payer system before 2004, they’re actually telling the truth.

Ah, Mr. Moore. There’s some comfort in knowing that you will always correctly identify the problem and always come to the exact wrong conclusion about it. He says something very true: that this legislation was designed and crafted by the insurance industry to essentially milk a $100 billion a year subsidy out of the government. But he immediately goes to single payer because that’s how his knee jerks.

This is the new Liberal Pravda. The first pravda was that Obamacare was going to work great and we would demand single payer because it was so awesome. Now it’s that Obamacare sucks because it’s not single payer. Once Obamacare starts to “work” — in the sense that my grad student buddy’s care “worked” — I suspect they will go back to the first pravda. Because to people like Michael Moore, every fact points to the need for single payer. When the sun rises in the East, it proves we need single payer. Because single payer — with the socialism, wealth redistribution, centralized control and conformity it entails — is their goal. As we can see from the Oregon ER debacle, whether it actually improves healthcare or saves money is incidental.

Everything about Obamacare was a lie. It isn’t saving money, it isn’t saving lives, it isn’t working properly and it’s wrecking the individual insurance market. I suppose I should take some grim satisfaction in watching everything we said and were pilloried for come to pass. But I don’t. These are people’s lives. This is our money. This didn’t have to be.

Another Year

Another year older (wiser……..ehhh)

For those, like myself, that don’t make it anymore to midnight, or don’t go out partying like when you were younger (Damn, the NY’s parties we used to have, a misplaced baby/lose tiger, missing tooth, all child’s play) here’s a bit of festivities you will enjoy;

The Chinese had the gold standard for fireworks displays during the Beijing Olympics, but this does that one better. Oil money sure does buy a lot of explosions.

Happy New Year to all.

Hey Mr DJ: Big Damn Holiday Edition

With Christmas behind us, we must pause to remember 2013. And while you do that, I’ll be preparing for my New Year’s Eve tradition of getting wasted and passing out on the couch before midnight. I didn’t say it was a good tradition or anything to be proud of. It just kind of happened back in 2008 and I’ve been doing it ever since just to see if I can. Oh, shut up.

Anyhow, 2013 was a good year for me. The Thrill family is happy and in good health. Work is going great. No complaints. I sincerely hope that you’re all doing so well or at least have a lot to look forward to. If not, feel free to follow me on Twitter on New Year’s Eve as I live-tweet my loss of consciousness*. It won’t make things any better for you in concrete terms, but I might make you laugh or even improve your own sense of self-worth through comparison.

2013 in review! That’s the theme.

1. Best music that came out or that you first heard in 2013.

2. Music as it relates to the big news stories of the year. Obamacare, Syria, mass shootings, Miley, the Boston Marathon Bombing…lots of options.

3. Mood music. Those songs that speak to your sense of how you or the world is doing. As sunny as my personal outlook is, I felt like this year was pure chaos for the US in particular and the world in general. Not to drag down your celebrations, but I have a horrible feeling about 2014.

4. Holiday music. Carols, seasonal hits, laziness.

5. Yep.

InsipiD: You introduced me to this group, as I recall. Beautifully apt title. Lovin’ it.

Santino: A track from the finest album of 2013: Dirty Boys by Bowie.

WVR: Something I just discovered this past month. Out of the Black by Royal Blood

Biggie G: Another band you guys turned me onto this year. Santa Stole My Lady by Fitz and the Tantrums

CM: I love this song and I think I found it after you played another one of theirs from this album this year. It was the first time I was even aware that it had been released. Barriers by The London Suede. A perfect song for memories of what is long gone, in my opinion.

pfluffy!: This came out last year, but I didn’t discover it until a few months ago. I’d love to go to a classy New Year’s Eve Party with this album playing and everyone wearing fancy clothes. But I don’t get invited to those parties, for obvious reasons. Everyone’s Rooting for You by Sondre Lerche

*I’ll probably forget I wrote this later so don’t hold me to it.