Yes, more linkos. I’m in one of my more bloggy phases today.
Monthly Archives: August 2009
Murder Most Foul
Dominick Dunne recently passed. On Sully’s blog, they linked up his very long article about the murder of his daughter — actress Dominique Dunne — and the travesty of trial that ensued. Read and get angry.
Dalmia Goes Non-Linear
I usually like Shikha Dalmia. But this article, castigating the AMA — which you will remember I am not a friend of — is stunningly ignorant.
(Note: part of this is based on e-mail exchanges with my dad, who is a surgeon).
First off, the AMA represents less than 1/6 of doctors, including academics. They are hardly a cartel although I will let on that they have too much influence.
Second, she claims:
According to a 2007 study by McKinsey&Company, physician compensation bumps up health care spending in America by $58 billion annually,on average, because U.S. doctors make twice as much as their OECD peers. And even the poorest in specializations like radiology and surgery routinely rake in around $400,000 annually.
This is not even supported by the article she cites:
Surveys by medical-practice management groups show that American doctors make an average of $200,000 to $300,000 a year. Primary care doctors and pediatricians make less, between $125,000 and $200,000, but in specialties like radiology, physicians can take home $400,000 or more.
In other words, the 400 grand she cites as what the poorest doctors make is, in fact, the high end of the range. Now that’s misquoting.
That article notes that our doctors make a lot more than doctors in other countries, which is a questionable point in and of itself. Even without any corrections for different economic systems, however, $100-300 grand does not seem to me an unreasonable salary for someone who saves lives, works seven days a week and is constantly on call for the hospital.
Someone also noted in the comments that she conveniently takes the cost of physician compensation from one source, then cherry-picks a figure for defensive medicine from another. That’s Michael Moore territory.
Dalmia’s article is poorly researched bashing of a political organization she doesn’t like that, not coincidentally, manages to slag all doctors in the process. This is something I expect from Daily Kos, not Reason and not Forbes.
Wednesday Morning Linkorama
For once, I’m on the same page as Julian Sanchez. The revelation that the US threatened to kill a detainees children and rape his mother if he didn’t give them information is appalling. I don’t know that it rises to the level of “torture” specifically. But, judged purely as a technique, I severely doubt its efficacy. The breakthroughs we have made in interrogation have been those that used traditional interrogation techniques.
I suspect the torture defenders will only quibble that we didn’t actually kill any detainees’ children or rape their mothers.
I think it’s also worth nothing something caught by Chris Bodenner. Dick Cheney is standing by the CIA in their actions, but refuses to stand by the Abu Ghraib soldiers who use the same techniques with his authorization. I guess it’s harder to supporter to support the troops when there’s photographs of the terror you unleashed in your delusional paranoia.
Someone claims to have figured out why time runs forward. If I understand it right, we only experience it forward, it could be running in any direction. I’ve often thought that our sense of time was an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.
You know, I think may have had that editor. Has he moved to ApJ
Jean That Wink at You
A Surgeon Speaks
Slowly, the docs begin to fight back. I share the frustration. What you hear from the media, the pundits and the politicians has nothing to do with how healthcare is actually practiced.
Now that malpractice reform is back in the air, the legal profession is doing what they always do, using hired guns to muddy the waters with lies, distortions and half-truths.
Sorry, bitches. It’s the Blog Era. The compliant media might buy your line of crap. But we don’t. The best thing about this era is that all the information locked up in the general public’s head is available. We’re no longer at the mercy of talking heads.
Um, Yeah, No
Look, I’m not going to say the US healthcare system doesn’t need fixing. But this makes one of the stupidest points I’ve ever read.
Americans spend around one in every six dollars on healthcare. But, in aggregate, they’re not getting much bang for their buck. People in the United States are as likely to die from diseases like lung cancer as citizens in all OECD countries – which, on average, spend less than half as much per capita.
Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers out there, with a five-year survival rate of about 15%. Patients typically have less than two years to go when its diagnosed, partially because it’s difficult to detect early. The US does have a better lung cancer survival rate in Europe, but the improvement is small, a few percentage points. But that’s because of the deadliness of the cancer, not an inadequacy of the system. You could have the best healthcare system in the world and the survival rate would still be minimal. Using lung cancer survival rates as proxy for healthcare quality is like using the survival rate for suicide by bazooka.
In the meantime, US heart attack, cancer and stroke survival rates — treatable conditions — lead the world by quite a bit.
Nice try, Foreign Policy. Go back to square one.
Update: Just to show I’m bipartisan in my bashing, the WSJ points out that our huge healthcare system employs a lot of people and generates a lot of income. That’s true; but it’s a Broken Window Fallacy. You could just as well argue that we should stimulate the economy by giving everyone cancer. The worth of the healthcare system is not how much money it spends but how much it improves peoples lives. A more efficient system would create just as much health improvement while freeing up resources to find alternative energy, develop better iPods or create a summer movie that doesn’t suck.
Update: More on healthcare from Paglia.
Ignore, for the moment, the abuse of city resources. What kind of idiot proposes to his girlfriend by staging a fake police raid? I mean. WTF?
Update: Link fixed. Not sure what happened there.
The Center Can Not Hold
The Internet continues to go downhill. Howstuffworks.com has degenerated into a completely useless site. It has jumped the shark the same way that jumptheshark.com did.