Saturday, December 12, 2009

Health Care :: How to Proceed in A Rational World

From www.wikipedia.en

From http://www.wikipedia.en.
Universal health care is implemented in all industrialized countries, with the exception of the United States.[1] It is also provided in many developing countries. So American exceptionalism means that most of the "civilized world" has health care and we went our Separate way. This could be for got reason: American health care statistics could be better than the entire world, (the same site documents this is not so). The natural way to proceed if the problem, poor American health care, would be a three pronged approach. First we would find out what the characteristics of the health care systems in the rest of the world, second we would study cost considerations, third we would provide a program for action based on what we learned in the first approach. Instead we encourage random and unadulterated expression of freedom with the viewpoint that any opinion is equally valid and in the cacophony choice gets made on the basis of political power and the clout and noise level of the participants, not on any inquiry. The truth is that humans have been evolved for difficult circumstances and the rati0nality of inquriy has a limited extent influenced the debate. International healthcare data is available at the world health organization and economic data elsewhere so its very surprising that international data has not been carefully studied. Here is the most complete table I could find this morning at Wikipedia. We spend twice as much money per-capita as our nearest industrialized competitor and get poorer results. Since the data is available but a careful discussion is really not, this will be provided from the Web data on this site. However, the US resembles an Elderly patient with total systems colapse se we need to briefly deal with the other major issues before we proceed to discuss health care in detail.
Country ↑ Life expectancy ↓ Infant mortality rate ↓ Physicians per 1000 people ↓ Nurses per 1000 people ↓ Per capita expenditure on health (USD) ↓ Healthcare costs as a percent of GDP ↓ % of government revenue spent on health ↓ % of health costs paid by government ↓
Australia 81.4 4.2 2.8 9.7 3,137 8.7 17.7 67.7
Canada 80.7 5.0 2.2 9.0 3,895 10.1 16.7 69.8
France 81.0 4.0 3.4 7.7 3,601 11.0 14.2 79.0
Germany 79.8 3.8 3.5 9.9 3,588 10.4 17.6 76.9
Japan 82.6 2.6 2.1 9.4 2,581 8.1 16.8 81.3
Norway 80.0 3.0 3.8 16.2 5,910 9.0 17.9 83.6
Sweden 81.0 2.5 3.6 10.8 3,323 9.1 13.6 81.7
UK 79.1 4.8 2.5 10.0 2,992 8.4 15.8 81.7
US 78.1 6.7 2.4 10.6 7,290 16.0 18.5 45.4

Discussions of Issues : Afganistan

Political discussions seem to get framed in I'm for or against. In Health Care its do nothing vs. Various full blown systems. In defense its stop a war vs a send more soldiers. Most issues demand a more nuanced discussion. I will post a number in succession.

Todays post is about Afghanistan. The usual rationale for sending troops is a mixture of vengeance, incoherence and misleading moral discussions. The facts are is that Al Quaeda has moved on, is in many countries not mainly Afghanistan and 911 was caused not by people plotting against the United States but by nonexistent internal security which the terrorists took advantage of. All of the reasons given about Afghanistan seem incoherent.

Here is a coherent reason for being in Afghanistan. 93% of the Worlds heroin is estimated to come from Afghanistan. Mostly all of it is grown by farmers who are quite poor and sell the best cash crop they have. The US could easily buy up the entire crop, fashion a price support system for crops to wean the growers away from heroin and sequester the entire crop. The net effect is to cause a drastic rise of prices on the street. Similar efforts could be made elsewhere. The cost to us would be much less than our favored method of politics sending troops and this would have a positive immediately relevant effect. What is interesting indeed inexplicable i9s the3 lack of discussion of the drug problem along avenues that might cure it. One suspects that while there is considerable desire for political theater on the subject there is no real interest in halting the drug trade which is a tremendous source of profits for politicians.

While not directly relevant Gary Webb documented the use of Crack Cocaine sold in LA by the CIA connection to fund the Iran Contras. For this revelation he ultimately paid with his life. While there seems to be substantial interest in inflicting needly suffering in Afghanistan, there is little in solving substantial problems for which there is evidence that the the problem needs solution.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Unconventional Wisdom

I have been posting information and discussion to Paul Krugmans Blog Conscience of a conservative. My position is the radical one in the current climate that good and bad do not flow from particular policies but they all have to be analyzed. Markets when properly set up may be a good tool for some things but dreadful for others. My starting point for discussion is the the United States is a backward country with a great deal of Wealth AND A STRONG ARMY, sort of Kenya or Afganistan with a lot of money AND TROUPS. It has been stated with some truth that government's in the US do economic jobs poorly, but it is not stated that business often does jobs terribly, not merely at the high of mediocrity. It is also my position that class and social analysis is key to understanding why rational ideas rarely see the light of day in political discussion and trenchant commentary is rarely followed through. We all know much less than we think and the level of ignorance we see in a sea of information is nothing short of breathtaking