The Guardian: Yemen conflict: air strikes on rebel arms depot kill 19 as US warship approaches.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Saturday, February 28, 2015
The basic reason we have a cost problem, as far as I can see, is insurance companies, which are financial companies whose whole business is maximizing profit, make a profit from providing care. There are therefore enormous incentives to overtreat and treat in the most expensive ways. This spreads through the whole system. All the health care providers: the doctors, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies, come to expect high returns from their work, and expensive practices drive out frugal.
I am haunted by this article: Why I Had to Close My Preventive Healthcare Clinic. There was a lot that went wrong for Dr. Charlap, but this concluding remark stands out: "It takes a very long time to get a thorough history and do a good exam and almost no time to prescribe a medication for a presumed illness. I chose the former. Insurance pays for the latter." And makes more money from it. Keeping people healthy does not pay as much as keeping them chronically ill.
All the cost control efforts I am aware of focus on getting doctors to accept less for treatment, and do nothing to resolve the perverse incentives in the rest of the system and, especially, the conflict between insurance company profits and cost-effective health care.
- Massive tax evasion by its rich.
- Government spending without regard to debt.
- Losing control of its currency.
- Punitive economic policies by the coalition of the European Committee, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund—the infamous troika.
So there's the story: the right wing of the Republican Party wants to turn the USA, or at least as many states it can control, into Greece.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
“It is better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, for while there is life there is hope.” And so there is still hope here. The big news here, I think, is that both sides seem want to reach some sort of not-disastrous deal.
Personalities and realpolitik, I think, are the questions here. I don’t believe that the IMF has suddenly turned wholeheartedly Keynesian, personally; my impression is that it’s more a matter of it being easier to vote for things one knows is not going to pass. It is also hard for me to believe that someone as authoritarian as Schäuble has in fact turned over a new leaf. Still, with luck, the members of the troika will end up pointing at each other, providing the plausible deniability for an easing of austerity.
(Originally posted in comments at Crooked Timber.)
Monday, February 16, 2015
Thursday, February 5, 2015