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  1. #251
    Super Moderator Venerated Elder campy's Avatar
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    I've started reading A King's Ransom, another thriller by one of my favorite authors, James Grippando.

  2. #252
    Registered User Regular Member Molloy's Avatar
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    Currently, I'm reading four books.

    Three-quarters of the way through David Blight's Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.

    About half-way through James Loewen's Sundown Towns -- a book for those who assumed that racism was only a Southern tradition.

    Beginning the third and final section of Beckett's Nohow On. Each section is a mini-novel on its own. I've finished "Company" and "Ill Seen, Ill Said" and am now beginning "Worstward Ho." All three "novels" are very short and written in the simplest language. However, they are very poetic and extremely dense with meaning. You read them and let the words roll about on your tongue and slowly penetrate your consciousness. Five pages a day is a lot of progress.

    Finally, am just starting William Lee Miller's Arguing About Slavery which was recommended to me by MrDrP.

    Somewhere in there I am also editing the final chapter to one of my KP stories and working two jobs.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] Freedom involves being able truly to care about other people & to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. --David Foster Wallace

  3. #253
    Super Moderator Venerated Elder campy's Avatar
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    I'm reading Gary Braver's Skin Deep. A Boston homicide detective hunts down a killer who preys on attractive redheads.

  4. #254
    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by campy View Post
    I'm reading Gary Braver's Skin Deep. A Boston homicide detective hunts down a killer who preys on attractive redheads.
    That killer will be completely out of luck then if tries to hunt a certain redheaded cheerleader we know...
    "Say the Word"

  5. #255
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeriddian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by campy View Post
    I'm reading Gary Braver's Skin Deep. A Boston homicide detective hunts down a killer who preys on attractive redheads.
    That killer will be completely out of luck then if (he) tries to hunt a certain redheaded cheerleader we know...
    Yeah, she'll hand him his head on a platter before he even realizes what happened!

    As to what I'm reading now:
    My current book is titled "White House: Confidential - The Little Book of Weird Presidential History" by Gregg Stebben and Austin Hill. It's an irreverent collection of fascinating little tidbits and some of the "...foibles, follies, fibs and moral failures" of all our presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. It's a funny, yet instructive little tome that's taught me a few new facts from Presidential history that I didn't know before. I highly recommend it to all the history buffs out there.
    ($14.95 US; Cumberland House, Nashville, TN. ISBN: 1-58182-544-7; ISBN-13: 978-1-58182-544-2)

  6. #256
    Registered User Honored Elder Fireand'chutes77's Avatar
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    I'm currently reading a very interesting New Yorker article on health care - mainly, the reasons behind the record-high health-care costs of ,oft-cited McAllen, Texas and the cultural atmosphere that enables it.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...urrentPage=all

    I have a ponder about some of the stats:

    ...Yet in 2006 Medicare expenditures (our best approximation of over-all spending patterns) in El Paso were $7,504 per enrollee—half as much as in McAllen. An unhealthy population couldn’t possibly be the reason that McAllen’s health-care costs are so high. (Or the reason that America’s are. We may be more obese than any other industrialized nation, but we have among the lowest rates of smoking and alcoholism, and we are in the middle of the range for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.)
    Who has the highest smoking and alcoholism rates, and good god, if we're not #1 in fat-people diseases, who is?

    Final paragraph:
    As America struggles to extend health-care coverage while curbing health-care costs, we face a decision that is more important than whether we have a public-insurance option, more important than whether we will have a single-payer system in the long run or a mixture of public and private insurance, as we do now. The decision is whether we are going to reward the leaders who are trying to build a new generation of Mayos and Grand Junctions. If we don’t, McAllen won’t be an outlier. It will be our future.
    ===

    Also, the article that contained the hyperlink to the New Yorker Article (using the exponential increase in MRI machines as a starting point):

    Notably, while we pay more for health care than countries with national health insurance, the situation is really no different in countries with private insurance systems. The Netherlands also relies mainly on private health insurers, and its health care spending still comes in at 9.8 percent of national income. It's not how you pay for health care that matters most here: It's what you pay for.


    One of the main reasons we now have a crisis in health insurance is that we have a crisis in health care costs that has been (as the Times' Rampell beautifully charts) 30-plus years in the making. The proliferation of MRI scanners is an easy-to-quantify and telling example of the bigger trend. Doctors and hospitals turn ever more readily to the latest equipment and technology, performing more procedures at greater cost without a corresponding improvement in care. Patients come to expect to be subjected to a growing battery of tests and operations. And instead of welcoming ideas about how to reverse this cycle, Americans worry about rationing.
    From a different hyperlink in the the MRI article comes an eye-opening series of graphs:








    I have to wonder - how did we do health care back in the 60's, 70's, and 80's? Last summer I readi "The Mysteries Within," by Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D, which discussed humanity's evolving perceptions of medicine and anecdotes from his practice in the 60's and 70's.... It didn't seem too bad, though his requirement to stay near a phone (no cells) was odd. (BTW, I highly recommend that book and another he wrote, "How We Die." Very good writer.)
    Carpe Navi: Because you never know when you'll get to go boating at government expense again.

  7. #257
    Super Moderator Venerated Elder campy's Avatar
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    I'm reading yet another James Grippando novel, When Darkness Falls. Attorney Jack Swyteck wonders why his homeless client has a safe deposit box stuffed with greenbacks in the Bahamas.

  8. #258
    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    I'm currently reading a very interesting New Yorker article on health care - mainly, the reasons behind the record-high health-care costs of ,oft-cited McAllen, Texas and the cultural atmosphere that enables it.
    First thing you need to realize is that McAllen is an aberration. It's numbers are always going to be skewed heavily against it for one big reason.....malpractice suits. McAllen has the distinction of having the most heavily sued physician population in the country. More than 60% of the doctors in that county have been sued successfully for heavy awards. Why? Because of one fanatical anti-physician judge who singlehandedly broke the entire system, judging against plantiffs, in every case in his court, no matter the merit of the case, and handing out incredibly huge awards to defendants. That one badly biased judge was the entire reason why Tort Reform was successful in Texas. He was the poster child for the Texas Medical Association when they made their case to the legislature and successfully passed Tort Reform, putting a total cap on damages from any plaintiff, and which put a stop to the nonsense that judge was inflicting. It also unfortunately pretty much eliminated the possibility of any real medical malpractice from being properly prosecuted because of the way the law was written. How do I know this? Because I know one of the lawyers involved in the whole mess.

    In McAllen, what it meant was that every single doctor who stayed (and not that many did), was ordering every single test and procedure he or she could think of to cover themselves no matter how inappropriate or unneeded it was. The costs skyrocketed as a result and are reflected in the Medicare statictics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post

    I have a ponder about some of the stats:

    ...Yet in 2006 Medicare expenditures (our best approximation of over-all spending patterns) in El Paso were $7,504 per enrollee—half as much as in McAllen. An unhealthy population couldn’t possibly be the reason that McAllen’s health-care costs are so high.
    See Previous (as Shego would say it).

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    Final paragraph:
    As America struggles to extend health-care coverage while curbing health-care costs, we face a decision that is more important than whether we have a public-insurance option, more important than whether we will have a single-payer system in the long run or a mixture of public and private insurance, as we do now. The decision is whether we are going to reward the leaders who are trying to build a new generation of Mayos and Grand Junctions. If we don’t, McAllen won’t be an outlier. It will be our future.
    ===

    Also, the article that contained the hyperlink to the New Yorker Article (using the exponential increase in MRI machines as a starting point):

    Notably, while we pay more for health care than countries with national health insurance, the situation is really no different in countries with private insurance systems. The Netherlands also relies mainly on private health insurers, and its health care spending still comes in at 9.8 percent of national income. It's not how you pay for health care that matters most here: It's what you pay for.

    One of the main reasons we now have a crisis in health insurance is that we have a crisis in health care costs that has been (as the Times' Rampell beautifully charts) 30-plus years in the making. The proliferation of MRI scanners is an easy-to-quantify and telling example of the bigger trend. Doctors and hospitals turn ever more readily to the latest equipment and technology, performing more procedures at greater cost without a corresponding improvement in care. Patients come to expect to be subjected to a growing battery of tests and operations. And instead of welcoming ideas about how to reverse this cycle, Americans worry about rationing.
    This is the ultimate problem. Americans are rather spoiled on their health care. The Europeans have been 'rationed' since the end of WWII and are used to it. We are not. Americans in general EXPECT to receive top quality, cadillac care, and they expect not to have to pay in full for it, because they believe they have a right to it. I am not saying this is right or wrong. I am saying this is the general feeling Americans tend to have when they look at health care.

    Unfortunately, it simply doesn't jive with the reality. It's much easier to just lay back and not think while they do all these procedures to a person, trying to find out why he or she has premature diabetes, early heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease, and the such, and try and solve it just with a magic pill or shot, when it would have been a lot better to get that 400 pound guy on a diet and educate him as to his health choices. But that's just too hard to do, it seems, and people have the right to destroy themselves in this country, while at the same time forcing the rest of us to pay for their medical care.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    I have to wonder - how did we do health care back in the 60's, 70's, and 80's? Last summer I readi "The Mysteries Within," by Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D, which discussed humanity's evolving perceptions of medicine and anecdotes from his practice in the 60's and 70's.... It didn't seem too bad, though his requirement to stay near a phone (no cells) was odd. (BTW, I highly recommend that book and another he wrote, "How We Die." Very good writer.)
    Health Care in that time was a lot simpler, at least in terms of paying for it. The technology was not as advanced, so there didn't have to be as much expenditure like there is today. I remember my father's office ran very simply. He had one secretary who had several duties, including doing the insurance. She pretty much filled out all the insurance forms, usually just one page. She sent them in, and the insurance companies sent in a check paying for the services in a week or two. Most of the time, that's how it went.

    It's not like today where it's like pulling teeth; filling multiple forms, being rejected 50% to 75%, resubmitting with explanations why we should be paid, appealing to higher authority panels within the insurance company, waiting three to six months just to get paid, and the the insurance company arbitraily telling us that they will only pay a certain amount no matter what our charges are, which of course are a fraction of the original charge. It now takes two or three different people all day long to process the insurance for a medical office in some places. There is almost always at least one full time employee devoted solely to that purpose, usually at least two --- Just to call insurance companies and fight with with them (Medicare, too, by the way) about charges that were summarily disallowed, having to send in more documentation, getting through the crap excuses being given for refusal of payment (usually that they 'never' received the paperwork despite the fact we sent it certified mail), and of course, waiting for months on average just to get a payment which is a fraction of the actual charge, which sometimes will not even cover the cost of providing the service in the first place.

    As to what I've been reading.........I read the precursor chapter to the next installment of the Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi series I've been following. I think sparks are going to fly for Luke's son and the young Sith Girl.
    "Say the Word"

  9. #259
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    I'm reading X-15 Diary: The Story of America's First Space Ship by Richard Tregaskis. Mr. Tregaskis spent some time in the late 50's and early 60's covering the test flights of this pioneering air/space craft, which contributed much to our knowledge of high-speed flight, as well as helped pave the way for America's Space Shuttle program.

  10. #260
    Registered User Exalted Member lunchmeat's Avatar
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    McAllen (pronounced Mac Allen, if you're interested) is a rather peculiar place from a number of angles (I ended up working there one summer in college, the company that employed me had a contract in the place, next summer I started crop dusting and haven't been back to McAllen since). It's essentially an agricultural town which also provides shopping to Mexico, across the river.

    I'll reiterate my thesis that insurance has driven up the cost of medicine by giving people the impression that treatment is free , as well as TV medical shows that reinforce unrealistic expectations of what medicine can actually do (it's come a long way in the last 40 years, but it's not as magical as TV shows make it appear). A friend of mine's wife is a case in point, she goes to the doctor at the drop of a hat (probably enjoys the attention), if she was actually having to shell out the full cost, she'd probably stay home and take and aspirin. This sort of approach drives up costs simply though administrative overhead, if nothing else, costing everyone more in premiums.

    Advertising probably makes it worse (pester your doctor to put you on Brand X, pitchmen always know better what your needs are than your physician).

    I'm also extremely dubious of having to act on something that won't take effect until 2013 (after the next presidential election) right now. It comes across as a bit too much like high pressure salesmanship rather than a reasoned analysis and debate of an issue.
    Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”

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