Toward Free Market Medicine

Newt: How to Improve Medicaid for Minorities,” by Newt Gingrich and James Frogue, Newt.com, 7 April 2005, http://www.newt.org/index.php?src=news&submenu=press&prid=1036&category=Opinion.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich goes almost all the way in diagnosing and fixing America’s health care problems

The current system hurts poor minorities the worst

Ethnic minorities in America, particularly African-Americans, are generally less healthy and suffer from reduced access to quality health care services relative to whites. This should be unacceptable in the richest and most advanced country on the planet. There are a range of socioeconomic and cultural reasons for these troubling findings, but one reason in particular escapes scrutiny – minorities’ disproportionate representation in the outdated and bureaucratic Medicaid program.

The current issue of the journal Health Affairs focuses on racial health disparities. It points out that, relative to whites, infant mortality rates are 2.5 times higher for blacks, life expectancy is 10 years less, and blacks have significantly higher mortality rates from heart disease, stroke and cancer.

The recent trends are not encouraging and yet they are uniquely focused in the health system. In one article, former Surgeon General David Satcher points out that the United States has made marked progress in closing the black/white gap in civil rights, housing, education and income since 1960. But health inequalities remain stubbornly persistent. Standardized mortality rates between blacks and whites have changed very little since 1960. Using 2002 data, there are 83,570 excess deaths annually in the black community as a result of the black/white mortality gap. The gap in deaths from cancer and heart disease has actually widened.

Socialized medicine isn’t the solution, because it is part of the problem

The answer lies in the fact that Medicaid, which serves the poor who are disproportionately African-American (the income gap needs forward-looking solutions as well), largely remains a 1960s era model that is no longer appropriate for 21st century health care financing and delivery.

It is an inflexible system of government-defined benefits and prices that would evoke howls of laughter if anyone suggested it be applied to the markets for food, housing, automobiles or software. Medicaid’s heavily bureaucratic structure is biased in favor of a rigid status quo and against the kind of innovation that can more quickly improve patient care. In short, Medicaid beneficiaries are segregated into second-tier health care, and that is a second tier with demonstrated costs in lives and in quality of life.

Gingrich sees the way forward (while tossing a bone to the federalists)

What is needed is an entirely new Medicaid system that is outcomes-oriented, not process-based. Those outcomes should include a clear and measurable commitment to eliminating the disparities in health outcomes between different groups of Americans. Confident, competent, forward-looking governors should be allowed to opt-in to a new Medicaid system that cuts them loose from federal hand-holding and stifling red tape. In exchange for this new freedom, willing governors would agree to a defined contribution of federal funds from Washington that increases every year at an amount below their recent growth trend. The federal government would save money.

It is important that Congress not compel states to accept the new program. Those governors content with the status quo and secure in their inability to improve the delivery of health care to their poorest and most vulnerable citizens should be allowed to stew in old Medicaid. Allowing a few trail-blazing governors – who are closer and more accountable to their constituents than faceless bureaucrats in Washington – to lead the way would move us closer to a model that best serves the poor. Moreover, instead of auditing the process by which they spend their federal Medicaid dollars, the federal government would audit states based on demonstrated improvements in health outcomes, childhood immunizations, or a closing of the gap in racial health disparities. Washington’s role would change from its current focus on oversight of process compliance to auditor of results.

I agree with the Speaker, but I will go one more step.

We allow companeis to offshore workers. Why not encourage patients to offshore doctors?

Medicare payments should extend to responsible hospitals in low-cost locations, such as India and Thailand. Physician Offshoring allows for substantial cost savings. Even including the costs of a more experienced doctor, first class seats, more attractive patient-centered nursing staff, and a hotel-like suite for a patients room, offshored medical care still is cheaper. Often almost ten times cheaper.

The winners of the current system are protected American doctors, protected American hospitals, and beaurocrats. Let’s put the patients first.

Pillars of Asian Security

Everybody Loves Israel,” by Gaijinbiker, Riding Sun, 13 April 2005, http://ridingsun.blogspot.com/2005/04/everybody-loves-israel.html.

After reporting on Israeli-Japanese and Israeli-Chinese security cooperation, Gaijinbiker opines:

Israel’s actually not that hard a country to get along with, provided you aren’t maniacally bent on its absolute destruction.

It’s more than that. Ever since France abandoned her, Israeli has been a stalking horse for American interests. Israeli-Chinese military cooperation goes back decades, when both nations (along with America) started cooperating against the Soviet threat.

Israel, Japan, and China are three pillars of a future stable Asia, along with Iran, India, and the United States Together these nation make a Deadly Viper Assassin Squad that can take down rogue leaders and guarantee peace and security to the most populous continent on Earth.

Hurrah for Israeli-Sino-Japanese Military Connectivity!

Leftist Anti-Science

I’m John Kerry,” by Rx, Dick is a Killer, track 9, http://www.thepartyparty.com/.

Geographic Society Is Seeking a Genealogy of Humankind,” by Nicholas Wade, New York Times, 13 April 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/13/national/13gene.html?pagewanted=print&position= (from Free Republic).

Americans have always reached for the impossible
looked to the next horizon
and asked, “What if?”
And now, it’s our time to ask
“What if?”
“What if we find a breakthrough for Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and AIDS?
What if we have a President…
What if we have a President who believes in Science?

Because National Geographic is run by left-of-center social geographers, and because my brother will be interning there this Fall, this article is caught my eye

The set-up is a partially cool, partially boring effort to use DNA to discover ancient migrations

A five-year project to reconstruct a genealogy of the world’s populations and the migration paths of early humans from their ancestral homeland in Africa will be started today by the National Geographic Society and I.B.M., the society said in a statement.

The goal of the program is to collect 100,000 blood samples from indigenous populations around the world and analyze them genetically. Researchers at 10 local centers and at the National Geographic Society in Washington will then assign the people who give blood to lineages that trace the routes traveled by their early ancestors.

The hitch? It’s politically correct, it’s Leftist, and it uses the term “vampire.” You can just predict the joyous intellectualism of the reasonable opposition

The program is an effort to accomplish the goals of the Human Genome Diversity Project, an initiative that was proposed by population geneticists in 1991.

That project ran into a political furor that prevented it from receiving substantial government support. It was denounced by some cultural anthropologists, who said that looking for genetic differences among populations was tantamount to racism. And advocates for indigenous peoples portrayed it as a “vampire project” for extracting valuable medical information from the blood of endangered tribes while giving nothing in return.

Because scientific knowledge is not valuable.

And let’s not forget the triumph of reality over myth

Many indigenous peoples believe their ancestors have always lived in their home territory, a credo that will not be supported by genetic analysis of their blood samples. Dr. Wells said that he would “tell people up front” that some of the results may contradict what they believe. “The idea that we have all come on a journey from a common origin is intriguing to people,” he said.

Idaho: Napoleon Dynamite Officially Cool

House Concurrent Resolution No. 29,” Legislature of the State of Idaho, First Regular Session – 2005, http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/HCR029.html (from MyDD).

When I was in Nacogdoches visited Rob, he saw a Napoleon Dynamite poster in Wal-Mart and despaired: “If these people think it is cool, how can I think it is cool?” Well, now Rob has more company: the Legislature of the State of Idaho

Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:

WHEREAS, the State of Idaho recognizes the vision, talent and creativity of Jared and Jerusha Hess in the writing and production of “Napoleon Dynamite”; and

WHEREAS, the Preston High School administration and staff, particularly the cafeteria staff, have enjoyed notoriety and worldwide attention; and
WHEREAS, tater tots figure prominently in this film thus promoting Idaho’s most famous export; and
WHEREAS, the friendship between Napoleon and Pedro has furthered multiethnic relationships; and
WHEREAS, Uncle Rico’s football skills are a testament to Idaho athletics;
and
WHEREAS, Napoleon’s bicycle and Kip’s skateboard promote better air quality and carpooling as alternatives to fuel-dependent methods of transportation; and

WHEREAS, Kip’s relationship with LaFawnduh is a tribute to e-commerce and Idaho’s technology-driven industry; and
WHEREAS, Kip and LaFawnduh’s wedding shows Idaho’s commitment to healthy marriages; and
WHEREAS, the prevalence of cooked steak as a primary food group pays tribute to Idaho’s beef industry; and
WHEREAS, Napoleon’s tetherball dexterity emphasizes the importance of physical education in Idaho public schools; and

WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote “Nay” on this concurrent resolution are “FREAKIN’ IDIOTS!” and run the risk of having the “Worst Day of Their Lives!”

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we, the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the State of Idaho, advocate always following your heart, and thus we eagerly await the next cinematic undertaking of Idaho’s Hess family.

Holy Rebated Consumption Tax

Rerun Novarum,” by Leo XIII, Holy See, 15 May 1891, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum_en.html.

Bill would dump IRS for sales tax,” by Rob Strom, World Net Daily 13 April 2005, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43764 (from Free Republic).

A Congressman is proposing that most taxes be replaced by a national sales tax

A federal bill that would do away with federal income tax and replace it with a national sales tax has been introduced again in the House of Representative after the same bill failed to get committee consideration in the last Congress.

The bill, H.R. 25, is sponsored by Rep. John Linder, R-Ga. Dubbed the “FairTax” proposal, the bill “will repeal all corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes – and replace it with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax,” according to the congressman’s website.

Because the 23 percent consumption tax is paid only by the end user, business-to-business purchases for the production of goods and services would not be taxed. An organization pushing Linder’s plan, Americans for Fair Taxation, estimates consumer prices would drop by an estimated 20-30 percent as a result of the change.

It doesn’t have a chance this Congress, but this is a great idea. It makes no sense to punish income or investment. It makes a lot of sense to discourage overconsumption.

The best part? It proves that my idea of a pre-rebated consumption tax is catching on

Also included in the bill is a rebate payment that would go to every American household to replace the sales tax paid on necessities. Those in poverty, the bill’s proponents say, would effectively not pay any tax under the new system.

“Under the FairTax, no American will pay taxes on necessities,” says Americans for Fair Taxation. “The rebate will be equivalent to the tax paid on essential goods and services. The rebate will be mailed before the tax is actually paid [and] will be paid in equal installments at the beginning of the month. The size of the monthly rebate will be determined by the federal poverty level for a particular household size.”

Another idea would be to expand the rebate to cover necessities themselves. This should be achievable with a slight increase in the consumption tax that would be mostly paid by the richest. While some may say this open the door to a national minimum income, it solves two dilemmas earlier seen by Pope Leo XIII — how free bargaining can be guaranteed to lead to frugal comfort, and how to get even the poorest to save

There is another and deeper consideration which must not be lost sight of. As regards the State, the interests of all, whether high or low, are equal. The members of the working classes are citizens by nature and by the same right as the rich; they are real parts, living the life which makes up, through the family, the body of the commonwealth; and it need hardly be said that they are in every city very largely in the majority. It would be irrational to neglect one portion of the citizens and favor another, and therefore the public administration must duly and solicitously provide for the welfare and the comfort of the working classes; otherwise, that law of justice will be violated which ordains that each man shall have his due. To cite the wise words of St. Thomas Aquinas: “As the part and the whole are in a certain sense identical, so that which belongs to the whole in a sense belongs to the part.” Among the many and grave duties of rulers who would do their best for the people, the first and chief is to act with strict justice – with that justice which is called distributive – toward each and every class alike.

Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice. In these and similar questions, however-such as, for example, the hours of labor in different trades, the sanitary precautions to be observed in factories and workshops, etc. – in order to supersede undue interference on the part of the State, especially as circumstances, times, and localities differ so widely, it is advisable that recourse be had to societies or boards such as We shall mention presently, or to some other mode of safeguarding the interests of the wage-earners; the State being appealed to, should circumstances require, for its sanction and protection.

If a workman’s wages be sufficient to enable him comfortably to support himself, his wife, and his children, he will find it easy, if he be a sensible man, to practice thrift, and he will not fail, by cutting down expenses, to put by some little savings and thus secure a modest source of income. Nature itself would urge him to this. We have seen that this great labor question cannot be solved save by assuming as a principle that private ownership must be held sacred and inviolable. The law, therefore, should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners.

Here here for the Catholic rebated Consumption Tax!

Fake Computer Science Paper Accepted

Randomly Generated Paper Accepted to Conference,” by mldjq, Slashdot, 13 April 2005, http://science.slashdot.org/science/05/04/13/1723206.shtml?tid=133&tid=146&tid=14.

It makes no sense
I don’t think that makes sense
I don’t think it’s right
It’s ludicrous

Who’s the Nigga?, as sung by George W. Bush
by RX, thepartyparty

Back in the day, physicist Alan Sokal wrote a meaningless article and got it published in Modern Text. It made no sense — it was important-sounding words from physics and philosophy that were thrown together. For years that a prominent postmodernist journal could be taken in by such nonsense was used to belittle postmodernist.

Well, the following was accepted for the 9th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics

ABSTRACT
Many physicists would agree that, had it not been for congestion control, the evaluation of web browsers might never have occurred. In fact, few hackers worldwide would disagree with the essential unification of voice-over-IP and publicprivate key pair. In order to solve this riddle, we confirm that SMPs can be made stochastic, cacheable, and interposable.

Our research is principled. Consider the early methodology by Martin and Smith; our model is similar, but will actually overcome this grand challenge. Despite the fact that such a claim at first glance seems unexpected, it is buffetted by previous work in the field. Any significant development of secure theory will clearly require that the acclaimed realtime algorithm for the refinement of write-ahead logging by Edward Feigenbaum et al. [15] is impossible; our application is no different. This may or may not actually hold in reality. We consider an application consisting of n access points. Next, the model for our heuristic consists of four independent components: simulated annealing, active networks, flexible modalities, and the study of reinforcement learning. We consider an algorithm consisting of n semaphores.

..

medium_rooster_diagram_tight.jpg

Fig. 1. The relationship between our system and public-private key pair

It’s meaningless gibbering generated by a computer program.

If this garbage can be published then why I am delaying getting A Computer Model of National Behavior published?

Oh, yeah. Blogging.

Buchanan Right on Federalism

Fighting and Winning the Judges War,” by Patrick Buchanan, World Net Daily, 13 April 2005, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43772 (from Free Republic).

Buchanan’s clique may be economist leftists with fascist tendencies, but on rolling back the actvist courts he is right — and the Republican leadership is mostly wrong

He correctly analyzes the problem

Is America a democratic republic, where the laws are made by elected legislators? Are we a federal republic, where social questions are decided by the states?

Or has America become a judicial dictatorship, where Supreme Court justices render final judgment on all social and moral issues – from the death penalty to abortion to homosexual rights to religious displays to the Pledge of Allegiance. This question of power lies behind the “Judges War” that has broken out in this capital.

He correctly notes the willingness of socialist Leftists to fight

Tom DeLay, R-Texas, ignited the fuse. When Terri Schiavo died after a Florida judge starved her for two weeks, the enraged House majority leader roared, “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.” Declared Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, judicial seizures of power could lead people to “engage in violence.” At a conference on “Remedies to Judicial Tyranny,” Phyllis Schlafly, first lady of American conservatism, declared, “Tom DeLay and Sen. Cornyn need to be backed up.”

These are “scary times for the judiciary,” warned the Washington Post. Things could “turn ugly.”

He correctly notes that the “solutions” won’t do anything

Among the remedies proposed on Friday was the impeachment of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the five-to-four decision to outlaw the death penalty for under-18 killers like John Lee Malvo, the Beltway Sniper. Kennedy thus personally reprieved 70 murderers on death row. Another idea, backed by President Bush, is for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

Both proposals have one thing in common: Neither is going anywhere. The Senate is not going to impeach Kennedy for voting with four other justices, nor is a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage going to get the necessary two-thirds of the Senate.

Buchanan’s solution? Preventing the inferior courts from considering cultural cases — starting with the pledge of allegiance and abortion

Is the cause of reining in a renegade court hopeless? Are we fated to live under a judicial dictatorship? No. And the remedy is right there in the GOP platform and the Constitution. Under Article III, Section 2, Congress, with President Bush’s signature, can almost wholly restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

In 2004, the House voted 233 to 192 to take gay marriage off the Supreme Court docket and by 247 to 173 to remove the Pledge of Allegiance. If the Senate will go forth and do likewise, the Supreme Court’s right of review of laws in both areas would be ended.

On Jan. 1, Chief Justice Rehnquist in his State of the Judiciary Address noted with alarm that Congress had begun to use its power under Article III. He did not deny that Congress had that power.

Buchanan is refering to this

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Supreme Court still has inalienable judicial power

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

But the move still is substantial. It prevents sealth judging, where the Supreme Court lets stand lower-level social Leftist decisions. It means opposition to cultural judicial tyranny would have one focus — the Supreme Court itself — rather than the diffuse anger at the entire third branch. It also shows a willingness on the part of Congress to fight.

Three cheers for Buchanan’s proposal!

A Catastrophic Failure

The attacks of September 11th,” by Dan, tdaxp, 24 March 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/02/15/may_allah_protect_the_syrians_-_or_-_the_wolfowitz_plan.html.

US ‘will risk’ Middle East reforms,” Aljazeera, 13 April 2005, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/31ADB105-68FC-4BE8-BC40-90107F2678EF.htm (from Liberals Against Terrorism).

Me, last month:

The attacks of September 11th showed that the United States is very “close” to the Middle East — in some ways closer than Europe. As far as America is concerned the middle east has “blown up” — we experienced a catastrophic failure of our Greater Middle East foreign policy. (The U.S. pre-9/11 policy was heavily influenced by Atlanticism and European-style Realism, but I disgress.)

American Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Doha, J Scott Carpenter, yesterday:

He said the US policy was not to interfere in every detail of the democratic process, but only help the pro-reform forces in the region. Referring to the Arab Human Development Report, he spoke about three possible scenarios – the worst being maintaining the status quo and the best being people reforming themselves.

Now if only we encourage the Muslim Brothers to run

“At the task force meetings of this forum, many raised the question whether America is prepared to accept the consequences of democracy in the region.

“The answer is yes,” he said, indicating the possibility of Islamist forces coming to power in Arab countries through democratic elections.

“We didn’t interfere in the election results in Iraq. The person who has now been elected president is an Islamist,” Scott said in reply to a query from the audience about the US stance towards groups such as Hamas and Hizb Allah.

Woot. Apparently tdaxp is conducting a shadow foreign policy. This blog is going great!