Friday, April 29, 2005

Two articles worth reading.

A Private Obsession
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: April 29, 2005

Our system is desperately in need of reform. Yet it will be very hard to get useful reform, for two reasons: vested interests and ideology.

The most striking inefficiency of our health system is our huge medical bureaucracy, which is mainly occupied in trying to get someone else to pay the bills. A good guess is that two million to three million Americans are employed by insurers and health care providers not to deliver health care, but to pass the buck to other people.


I am inclined to agree.


What, Me Worry?
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Published: April 29, 2005

Bill Gates minced no words. "American high schools are obsolete," he told the governors. "By obsolete, I don't just mean that our high schools are broken, flawed and underfunded. ... By obsolete, I mean that our high schools - even when they are working exactly as designed - cannot teach our kids what they need to know today.

"Training the work force of tomorrow with the high schools of today is like trying to teach kids about today's computers on a 50-year-old mainframe. ... Our high schools were designed 50 years ago to meet the needs of another age. Until we design them to meet the needs of the 21st century, we will keep limiting - even ruining - the lives of millions of Americans every year."

Let me translate Mr. Gates's words: "If we don't fix American education, I will not be able to hire your kids."

"For the first time in our history, we are going to face competition from low-wage, high-human-capital communities, embedded within India, China and Asia," President Lawrence Summers of Harvard told me. In order to thrive, "it will not be enough for us to just leave no child behind. We also have to make sure that many more young Americans can get as far ahead as their potential will take them. How we meet this challenge is what will define our nation's political economy for the next several decades."

6 Comments:

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

A comment on Mr. Gates ideas:

Duh, Bill is no idiot. If he can stir up a bunch of worriers to think that we're doomed if we don't fill schools with Microsoft laden PCs (thus filling his wallet) then we're all screwed. Give me a break.

 
At 5:58 PM, Blogger heath said...

After I read that Times article on Health Care, I had this to say:

I too agree with a Health Care Reform. I should not have to have a job to have inexpensive health care. I am currently in college after eight years out of high school. I had to find a job while in school so I can have health care. I would not be working right now, if there was an inexpensive health care system.

What can I do to help a reform? I do not have money, so I can not buy a voice in government nor business. The representatives and big business can ignore my calls and letters. However I can take part in civil disobedience. Every time someone dies because they did not have health insurance, or is about to die, I can rally in peaceful protest. I am not sure how many would follow me. Would you follow me? I would follow you in this cause.

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger Tyler said...

Sorry, heath, I can't follow.

If the government picked up the tab (i.e. "universal health care") how would it be better?

Try talking to an insurance agent about who really foots the bills. I have. About 1/3 of medical cases have health insurance. Another 1/3 use Medicare - which will only pay 60% of the bill. (I wish I could negotiate such a deal for myself.) And another 1/3 of the cases don't pay. So in other words - only 1/3 of the bills ever get paid in full.

Socialized health care sounds good until you look at how it's practiced - see Canada and the UK.

Where would the money for socialized medicine come from? The idea of letting the government dig even deeper into my pocket to handle my health care for me in the same way it handles Medicare, Social Security, defense contracting, and its own pocketbook leds me to think I'd rather try to perform surgery on myself.

Someone will have to pay for health care, and it won't be the super-rich we're all told to despise. They can afford the tax lawyers to get around it. No, it's you and me that will pay, one way or the other, in insurance premiums or taxes.

I will agree that something needs to change (the health care system is bureaucracy unhinged), and it's true that conservatives have a bias towards privatization. (I'm guilty as charged.) But liberals have an equal bias, towards socialization. And the evidence I have seen does not lead me to believe government can do health care better than the private sector.

Boy, that was long, wasn't it?

 
At 6:52 PM, Blogger heath said...

Tyler,

Yeah, that was long! I am sorry you could not follow my comment. I try to write as clear as possible. I never said the government should pick up the tab. I was trying to get across, I want health care reform and the only way I would know how to help is by protest.

 
At 8:44 PM, Blogger Tyler said...

Heath -

You've got to remember politics is a process, not an end. Do your homework, vote for the people you agree with most, and don't be afraid to write a letter here and there.

Yeah, by yourself you're only one person. But no one reads an unsent letter. And you're not alone.

 
At 12:20 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

After reading the article on Health Care, I respectfully disagree that it was "worth reading." It was thoughtless banter from a socialized medicine agenda. It was full of accusations and statistics without basis. Whenever someone pulls a number out of the air without citing a reference it cannot be given credibility, and is therefore worth about as much as the slime on my shoe.

The author also mindlessly exerts the facts of "low life expectancy, the high infant mortality." Last time I checked the survival rate of low birthweight babies continues to go up. Where does he get these so-called facts? The majority of the article is trash.

Here are some things to consider. We have cool stuff in America. There are drugs, vaccines, and treatments for many ailments considered untreatable only 20 years ago. New technology is expensive. New drugs cost billions to develop. Do you want cutting edge stuff? Then be prepared to pay the price. What about lawsuits? How many $millions are spent appeasing people? Who pays the settlement...everyone else. Guess what...medicine is NOT an exact science. Sometimes things go wrong for no apparent reason. Sometimes life sucks. But it's time to set some limits.

The first major (and attainable) healthcare reform is to limit malpractice lawsuits. End of Story. Let's start there and then work on the rest of it.

 

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