Category Archives: Socialism

Reimporting Drugs

Why is drug re-importation a bad idea?

There’s no question that Congress is responding here to popular will. But the long-term implications are palpable. If companies are forced by the U.S. government to continue supplying cheap drugs to countries from which they are then reimported to the U.S. — crowding out the higher-priced domestic supply of drugs — it’s only a matter of time until profits are insufficient to support the enormous costs of R&D for future drugs. No one wants to kill that golden goose, but there it is.

Let me sum this up for you. In order for senior citizens to get cheap Viagra, we, our children and our children’s children have to surrender new antibiotics for drug-restistant disease, new treatments of evolving Herpes and AIDS viruses, possible cures for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. We would be the first generation in two millenia to have worse health than our parents. And the Congress wants to give this to them.

I swear. AARP and the other special interests need to adopt an accurate symbol for their movement. I propose the image of an old man violating a baby. That would perfectly reflect what they are doing to future generations.

Haley the Baby-Killer?

Sully links to this diatribe about how Haley Barbour’s budget cuts to Medicaid are killing babies. It’s possible they are on to something. But it sounds fishy to me.

  • The biggest reason I doubt this analysis is that correlation is not causation, especially when the correlation is two data points. We have one (1) year’s worth of data pointing to a rise in infant mortality. The article sights numerous reasons infant mortality rates have jumped in a number of states. And is there a reason infant deaths might have jumped in 2005 for Mississippi other than Medicaid budget cuts? Perhaps. A massive natural disaster and influx of poor homeless people from one of the worst cities in America might, just might, bump up mortality rates. Let’s see what happens when Louisiana comes out with their 2005 numbers. And what happened in 2006.
  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Insurance does not equal healthcare. Just because someone doesn’t have Medicaid does not mean they are not getting health care. Their babies are not being born in back alleys and crack houses. If they go to a hospital, they will be admitted, they will get adequate care. Moreover, all poor mothers and babies are eligble for WIC, last time I checked.
  • I’m sorry, but this could be a fluke, despite the 95% confidence interval. It still could be. We’ll have to see when the 2006 numbers come in. But the number of infant deaths is thankfully so small (481) than a big jump might not mean anything (the broader jump throughout the South is more alarming).
  • I think it’s interesting that the authors rant and rave about Medicaid cuts. Yet what do they site as a tremendous success story? The Cary Christian Center . . . a private interest. In fact, precisely the sort of private interest that might arise in a healthier tax environment. Precisely the sort of private interest that might be more common if Medicaid weren’t expanding so rapidly.
  • What these poor people need is not more government handouts. What they need is jobs. Cutting taxes might help create jobs, especially in a state that is 51st in unemployment.
  • That all having been said, I do agree that Medicaid should provide coverage of poor babies — coverage that can be, and often is, granted retroactively. But Barbour’s idea was right, even it the execution, no pun intended, was bad. Medicaid is growing out of control and as it grows, more and more Americans are being booted out of good insurance plans into the Medicaid Gulag. I worked in medicine for 13 years. Medicaid is an utter disaster. We would be far better off just telling doctors to give out their care for free than put poor people and overworked physicians through the rigmarole that pays a pittance for their services.
  • All that having been said, I must admit that it is the politics that makes by BS meter twitter. The NYT specifically, and most lefties generally, have been predicting a massive disaster from welfare cuts for years. Of course, I’m not sure how any disaster can be worse than the destruction visited on the African-American family by the Great Society welfare state. But this is the Left’s first chance, after a decade of welfare reform to say, “See! See! We told you welfare cuts would kill babies!”.

    As I said, maybe they’re right. Maybe Barbour’s budget cuts are killing babies. But I think we need more than one year of data — and a disastrous year at that — before we start pronouncing someone a black baby killer. No?


    Well, he is a Republican I guess.

    Random Thoughts

    I’m with the Republicans on this one. Government doesn’t “negotiate” prices. Government sets prices. And when it does, we all suffer. Do we really want the profitability of a drug company to hinge on how well they play the political game in Washington? Do we really want what drugs we get determined by a government hack? The libertarians warned you that when we expanded Medicare, we’d lose our freedom. But no one listened.

    Recently, AARP, who support this bill, has had ads with kids castigating our political figures for not planning for the future. This commerical enrages me. There is no organization in America that has done more to fuck the future of everyone under 60 than AARP. They have supported massive expansions in social spending and zero reform. Their entire philosophy is “to hell with the future, I’m getting mine!” A more accurate commercial would cut to an AARP rep smashing open the kids’ piggy banks.

    Just in case you ever forget the enemy we face, the Iranian Supreme Court has decreed that it’s OK to murder an engaged couple if they walk together. This isn’t religion. This is barbarism wearing a religious mask.

    Stephen Dubner reminds us how amazingly safe airline travel is. This will, nevertheless, not be on my mind the next time I board a flight and am convinced I’m going to die. Remind me never to fly in Russia.

    Color me unsurprised that the things replacing the evil trans fats may not be any healthier. Remember, we got into the whole trans fat business because the Health Nazis demanded we stop using saturated fats. When are going to start ignoring these twerps?

    Thursday Linkorama

  • The State Department decides to improve foreign relations by lecturing foreign governments on money laundering. Our stupid War on Drugs will be the death of us all.
  • The NCAA shows its usual aplomb by putting favorite teams in better hotels than Cinderellas — although it’s hilarious to hear a modern hotel with 19-inch TV’s described as a “log cabin”. The NCAA also set up the bracket to ensure that teams from minor conferences faced each other early. Because we don’t want a Boise State or somebody ruining what’s supposed to be a big conference showcase.
  • An analysis of the uninsured. Tell me again why we should be ponying up for these cheapskates?
  • It’s a good thing government is saving us from unprofessional decorating. Seriously, who thinks of this crap? And what nincompoop votes it into law?
  • Just Remember

    As you watch the VA hospital scandal unfold, remember that we can all expect to get such wonderful care once we get socialized medicine.

    And allow me to head off the “it’s Bush” response at the pass. This problem has been known for some time. In recent years, when, say, Hillary Clinton, would lionize the VA system, people in the know would have their jaws hit the floor. The friendly people who work there masked a system that was corrupt.

    Bush had made it far worse by starting a war and not providing for the tens of thousands of veterans now flooding the system. But the rotten core was always there. They just don’t have the money to paper over it any more.


    Mitchell fisks Novak. Novak is trying to argue that Bush is a conservative. This is apparently some definition of conservative I am not familiar with. Actually it is one I’m quite familiar with. It’s defined thusly:

    Whatever the GOP wants to do, by definition, is conservative.


    I’ll add my own reasons of why the Douchebag is full of crap:
    Continue reading Conserva-what?

    Brief Thoughts on Walter Reed

    I must admit, I haven’t been keeping too close track on the Walter Reed business. But what I have read leads me to a few thoughts:

  • Jon Stewart is right. Is this Administration ever responsible for anything?!. They weren’t to blame for intelligence failures, too few troops, Katrina, 9/11, North Korea, pork spending, the Abramoff scandal, the deficit, Abu Graib, any negative results of rendering and now Walter Reed. When Clinton did this, Rush Limbaugh joked that he should adapt the motto: “The Buck Never Got Here!”. Where is he on this Administration? “What buck? There’s no buck. This is just a political ploy by liberals/Democrats/drive-by media/Andrew Sullivan to wound this Administration and encourage the terrorists. Besides, someone else was responsible for that buck.”
  • The good news about Walter Reed is that soon, we will be able to achieve this level of care once socialized medicine is here.
  • Oh, Mike, you say. Oh, no. Check this out.

    To see this we need only look at the Department of Veterans Affairs. I happened to have lunch with Sen. Hillary Clinton recently. When I went into one of my usual libertarian rants about free markets, Ms. Clinton cited the VA as an example of government success. Indeed, under her husband’s administration, the Veterans Health Administration came to provide the “best care anywhere,” according to The Washington Monthly. Great.

    Maybe Hillary will shut her yap about the VA being such a wonderful model for the rest of the nation.

  • So watch that footage of rats and buildings falling apart and sleep well knowing that soon we will all be able to enjoy “the best care anywhere”.

    NYT Poll BS

    The NYT has a poll on health care which reminds me of Sally ordering from a restaurant. It’s all over the place with a thousand different points to make. Polls are BS to begin with. In this case, the NYT is pushing a socialized medicine agenda and arguing that since half of Americans are confused enough by the poll to say something vaguely postive, that means it’s time.


  • Americans showed a striking willingness in the poll to make tradeoffs for a better health care system, including paying as much as $500 more in taxes a year and forgoing future tax cuts. This is utter crap. $500 per household (I’m assuming this is not per capita) means $50 billion for healthcare. That’s not even enough to cover one year’s Medicare shortfall. We would need at least twenty times more money to fund the current system. That, my friends, means a $10,000 tax hike. The NYT somehow forgets this point.
  • Beside of which, they won’t be paying. Our tax system s heavily canted toward the rich. Socialized medicine (I refuse to use the “universal healthcare” euphemism), contrary to the claims of its supporters, is not about you paying for your health care and getting some magical efficiency from the government. It’s about someone else paying for your health care.
  • And, for the politicians, health care reform is about command and control. When they blither about how much money is spent in the last year of life – gee, I hope most of the money is spent when I’m in real danger – what they really mean is they want to decide when someone is allowed to die.
  • Americans remain divided, largely along party lines, over whether the government should require everyone to participate in a national health care plan, and over whether the government would do a better job than the private insurance industry in providing coverage. This demonstrates how ignorant Americans are. Anyone who had dealt with Medicaid or Medicare knows they are a nightmare.
  • Former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, the Democratic presidential candidate, recently unveiled his own attempt at a consensus plan — requiring everyone to have insurance and requiring employers to provide it or pay into a fund that would do so. Nearly 4 in 10 said that was a good idea; nearly half said they were unsure. Apparently, there was no option on the poll to say it was a bad idea, which it is.
  • “I think everybody should have some kind of health care available to them,” said Diane Manning, 66, of Vancouver, Wash., who described herself as an independent. Once again, we see the ignorance of the voter and the inability of the media to correct it. I’ve said this a million times. No one listens. No one is denied health care in this country because they don’t have insurance. This is an utter lie. I worked in medicine for 13 years and never saw a patient turned away. In many states, including Texas, it is illegal to turn people away. Anyone who doesn’t know this, any media outlet that doesn’t note it, should keep it’s fucking mouth shut. They may not get to stay in the luxury hospitals. But, in the words of Bill Bryson, they get about the quality of care that the average Brit does – albeit without as much gentleness.
  • Most Americans in the poll said they were satisfied with the quality of their health care, but there was widespread concern about costs. These are contradictory statements. If you want to cut costs, you’re going to lose quality. You can’t rewrite the laws of economics. Our healthcare system is the most expensive in the world and some idiots come out with “we would spend $500 billion less if we spent the same amount as other countries” arguments. But other countries don’t have the rash of drug addicts, gunshot victims, fast food and lawsuits we do. Other countries don’t detect cancer and heart disease and stroke dangers as early as we do. Other countries have waiting lists and queues. Other countries are less prepared to deal with complications and unusual circumstances. Other countries spend less because they get less health care. We also spend more than other countries on cars, food, computers and silly pet toys. Do we need automotive reform?
  • The whole health care debate is another example of how spoiled rotten Americans have gotten and what little perspective they have. Americans spend more on their cars every year than they do on healthcare. A yearly physical costs less than the yearly maintenance on a car. Half-decent insurance is about equal to what you’d pay for a car loan. Surgery can cost as much as a car or three. How much is your life worth to you? Apparently, less than your wheels.