Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Random Tuesday Morning Stuff Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2008

— Welcome to the inaugural edition of What John Cole Said. “Straight Talker” John McCain uses his wife’s jet and other assets to skirt the very campaign finance regs he talks up.

Pay Toilets Went Away For A Reason, indeed. And the idea that medical innovation doesn’t happen in socialized medicine is a myth that has been debunked for a while now. As I stated in the comments section:

Look at uterine artery embolization, for example: It’s been done in France for over two decades, yet didn’t make it to America until nearly the year 2000, and didn’t get widely used until the middle of this decade. Why? Because hospitals, seeking an easy way to recoup costs, chose to charge more for this relatively simple and non-invasive procedure than for a hysterectomy ($10,000 versus $6,000 in 2002, when I sought to have UAE). The insurance companies weren’t going to shell out for that, so they chose not to cover it, using the excuse that the procedure was “experimental” when it’d already been safely done on tens of thousands of French women!

Drug companies spend more on advertising than they do on research — and even then, they try to get by on the cheap, exploiting grad students at colleges for a fraction of what they’d have to pay salaried and degreed scientists. Furthermore, much if not most of the research is done not to create genuinely new or genuinely improved drugs or ways to treat illnesses, but to figure out ways to rework old ones just enough so they can be patented and sold as “new” treatments (commonly called “me-too drugs”) that aren’t any better than the old drugs that are no longer covered under patents.

— Speaking of medicine: Graham explains how working in Guatemala, a free-market “paradise”, has made him appreciate the need for regulation and single-payer health care.

— Ooooh, so the Scary Minnesota GOP is running TV ads attacking the local Democrats for overriding Smilin’ Tim’s gas-tax veto. No mention is made of the fact that a goodly number of Republicans voted for the override as they too are sick and tired of seeing our once-excellent streets turning to axle-eating pothole farms. Meanwhile, the gas tax increase is already paying off in the form of work on turning the pothole farms back into safe roads.

— Speaking of silly Republicans: I find their lack of brains… disturbing.

6 Responses to “Random Tuesday Morning Stuff Roundup”

  1. Michael said

    We did only start to do UAE, but we’ve done uterine ablations since the late eighties. There are always anecdotal exceptions. I ought to know, since I listened to NPR for nearly thirty years. The general trend, however, I have observed, and studies have generally shown, is toward more rapid innovation in freer market economies. Also, comparing our health care to Guatemala’s is not serious. They are a third-world country, which means that even their markets are not all that free, being tied up in bribery, corruption, local bureaucracy. Investment is not safe, so there is very little of it, and commensurately little economic growth.

  2. Charles said

    Michael, bribery and corruption are features of laissez faire capitalism. The reason PW uses Guatemala as an example is because there is no advanced nation that has a laissez faire system.

  3. What Charles Said. But I went back and put the Quotation Marks Of Irony around the word “paradise”, so people understood that I was being snarky.

  4. Stormcrow said

    Michael, in the strict sense of the term, “laissez faire” economies stopped working when the countries that hosted them made the transition from empirical to scientific engineering in military arms production.

    This was not a development that Adam Smith could possibly foresee when Wealth of Nations was first published, in 1776.

    See William MCNeil’s The Pursuit of Power for an in-depth study of exactly how this happened and why.

  5. MEC said

    UAE is no longer “experimental”, but as of 2003 (when I had the procedure) it was still more expensive than more invasive procedures to treat fibroids. I’m surprised, however, that employers aren’t putting pressure on medical corporations and insurance companies to make UAE more common, because the recovery time is 2 weeks vs. 6 weeks for hysterectomy. Four weeks of medical leave is a significant financial difference.

  6. Exactly. The whole thing is that the French first used it as a means to limit bleeding during fibroid-related hysterectomies; the procedure would typically be done about a month before the hysterectomy. What happened is that women were noticing that within even that short a time, their fibroids were shrinking, often to the point that a hysterectomy was no longer needed. French surgeons decided to see how it would be as a standalone treatment, and the rest is history.

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