Monday, September 7, 2009

Big Dan's Big News Sep 7, 2009

The waiting line for 47 million Americans who don't have health care:

click on above chart to see 50x rise in health care costs from 1950 to 1990

NO FREE MARKET IN HEALTH CARE RIGHT NOW, LIKE YOU ARE LED TO BELIEVE: 1/3 of our doctors are imported and Americans who want to be doctors frequently have to resort to joining the military in order to be trained? We should have a doctor on every corner, competing with each other."

In health care, not only is the number of sellers deliberately and artificially restricted (manipulated), but the number of buyers is uncontrolled and virtually infinite. Moreover, the ever-increasing number of buyers have no "freedom of exit" from health care, as everyone is forced to engage at some point in their lives: "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave", (Hotel California, The Eagles). These factors along with extreme asymmetry of information, the monopoly power of hospitals, and the inherently non-uniform (customized, personalized) nature of health care are clear violations of the "perfect competition" requirements of any "free market".

In a free market economy, price is supposedly established through daily interactions between buyers and sellers. That is, neither buyers nor sellers have absolute control of price. But the market forces of supply and demand fail to establish either price or quantity for health care because demand is price-inelastic. In other words, sellers control the price absolutely and buyers have little or no choice but to engage.

Thus, health care professionals draw greater incomes by forcing more and more consumers out of the market while charging higher prices to those who are able and willing to pay. This is what economists refer to as "market failure", because the market itself fails to establish price and quantity. Health care providers become price-makers, not price-takers, and health care consumers have little or no choice or voice in the matter.

Health Care and the Free Market

Let's start with the obvious: America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world. It's become a black leprosy eating away at the American experiment — a bureaucracy so insipid and mean and illogical that even our darkest criminal minds wouldn't be equal to dreaming it up on purpose.

The system doesn't work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it's a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they're sick with incurably expensive illnesses.

The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable — and that's the good news. The bad news is our failed health care system won't get fixed, because it exists entirely within the confines of yet another failed system: the political entity known as the United States of America.

Taibbi: Sick and Wrong. How Washington is screwing up health care reform – and why it may take a revolt to fix it

MSNBC: The Public Option is a moral necessity and economic requirement. Presently, with no reform, Health Care companies have rationed care, increased premiums, and denied coverage.

MSNBC: Flat rate health care???

Right Wing Mother Cries About Obama's Speech To Children

This president wasn't a "nigger", so rightwing parents let their school children listen to him:

NYTimes: Wall Street's next bubble ? After the mortgage business imploded last year, Wall Street investment banks began searching for another big idea to make money. They think they may have found one.

LATimes: Cash-strapped states revise laws to get inmates out. Mandatory sentencing laws are relaxed, parole is accelerated, and time off for good behavior is increased as states scramble to save money.

Taliban's Tank-Killing Bombs Came from U.S., Not Iran

Death of a Marine: A photographer's journal (warning: graphic!)

Astroturfing: A question of trust. The practice of astroturfing – faking support for a product or cause – is on the rise on and offline. But how can it be stamped out?

Fox News screaming head Glenn Beck now tells President Obama to fire White House employees, and Obama obeys. While Obama presumably believes obedience will cause Beck to like him and begin praising him, Beck is building a list of additional people whose heads he will demand and denouncing Obama as hiding vast secrets by having complied with the demand to fire Van Jones.

If you can't stand to watch Glenn Beck on television and want some idea of how he persuades a noisy minority of Americans of his sanity, one place to look is the #1 best-selling politics book in America: "Glenn Beck's Common Sense." My own book "Daybreak" briefly knocked Beck's out of the #1 spot on Amazon, but Beck is back there with his extremely short and fluffy book written "with Joseph Kerry" and "inspired by Thomas Paine."

At the Beck and Call of a Sunshine Patriot

Fox 'News' Thought Police Win: Van Jones Resigns

As Beck eyes more White House scalps, Olbermann declares war on FOX

David Sirota: Glenn Beck is a Right-wing Political Terrorist. David Frum brings up holocaust denial in defending the firing of Van Jones. This is how they make you shut up, if you question government fairy tale stories.

We're "Down In A Hole" with health care, Alice In Chains regular and then unplugged, "Down In A Hole", RIP Layne Staley, BLOCKBUSTER Man In The Box live:

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