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Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 1) 375

First of all, universal health insurance is a scam. Insurance is a shared risk pool so putting people with preexisting conditions into that pool to be covered just hurts everyone else. If you want the government to treat people with preexisting conditions go ahead and do so, but don't bring in an additional layer of bureaucracy for no good reason.

Coverage of pre-existing conditions without universal coverage certainly can't work, because that isn't insurance. People have the incentive to not sign up until they're sick, and then drop coverage once they're healthy again, which bankrupts the insurance system.

However, with universal coverage there is no such thing as a "pre-existing condition" other than during a transition period. If somebody is insured from the moment they are conceived, then no condition can pre-exist conception.

Of course, universal coverage isn't really "insurance" as much as a socialized benefit. And I'll certainly agree that the ACA as it currently stands doesn't achieve universal coverage.

Furthermore, people seem to not understand healthcare is a scarce resource. That means not everyone can be treated for everything. The resources need to be divided amongst the population. Socialized medicine puts control of this decision into the hands of politicians.

No argument with any of that. However, EVERY insurance system puts control over coverage in the hands of somebody. For most in the US it basically resides with your employer, without a great deal of visibility into how decisions get made. One of the advantages of a government-run plan is that the decision logic can be subject to the democratic process. As you point out, that can also be a disadvantage. I have no illusions that the well-connected will get the same care as the average person under any system.

I don't have an objection to people with money paying for their own services. However, the way the US system really doesn't make this a real option for all but the most wealthy for any problem of any significance. From hospital bills I've seen the list prices for serious procedures often work out to upwards of $100k, with insurance companies paying 8-9% of that, and individuals paying 1-2% of that, and the hospital discounting the other 90%. If you pay cash they'll offer you a "nice" deal of maybe 50-70% off and then bankrupt you, and most people think they were getting a good deal when this happens.

Comment: Look at the whole picture (Score 1) 146

by Rich0 (#47965005) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

There is no "right" or "wrong" answer here. Typically employers pay these costs, but not all do at all times. My own employer has paid for me to attend conferences, but has also had dry times where it has been very difficult for anybody to travel to anything that isn't local.

You have to look the whole package. If you're skilled you could probably find another employer who would pay for you to attend the conference. On the other hand, maybe there is some other benefit that you currently receive which you would not in another job, or maybe you would have to relocate to an area you might not prefer to live in.

I think employers should pay for development if they want to succeed, but there are lots of short-sighted companies out there.

You need to look at the big picture and decide what makes sense for you. If another employer will pay $2k for you to travel to a conference but will pay you $10k less per year, etc, you have to decide if that tradeoff makes sense vs just paying your own $2k and pocketing the other $8k, and then getting to pick any conference you want. And so on...

Comment: Re:They deserve praise (Score 1) 111

by Rich0 (#47963719) Attached to: The Raid-Proof Hosting Technology Behind 'The Pirate Bay'

Movies and pharmaceuticals are similar in that regard - they have huge up-front costs (sure, those costs are often debated, but nobody disputes that what gets spend is huge no matter whose estimates you use), and low marginal production costs.

Music does have higher up-front than marginal costs, but the main "cost" is the creative serendipity that led to the work in the first place. You don't necessary need a lot of infrastructure for that to happen, even if it is something that should be rewarded in some way. Otherwise, producing a song does cost money, but not a very great deal of it (a few band members for a few days, a few engineers/etc for a few days, etc). The costs are real, but the fact is that a garage band could produce their own song that is competitive with a major label song if they had the talent, while a garage movie production simply couldn't compete with a first-line movie production on talent alone.

Now, one element of music that also involves large up-front costs is the concept of taking any song that appears half-decent, signing the artist, and then trying to market an album after the fact. I imagine most of the artists that get money up-front turn out to be bad investments. So, when an album sells, it is in part supporting unsuccessful artists as well as successful ones. Of course, it is supporting a lot of middle-managers and executives as well.

Comment: Re:Why do they take the risk? (Score 3, Insightful) 111

by Rich0 (#47963649) Attached to: The Raid-Proof Hosting Technology Behind 'The Pirate Bay'

Yup. I recently bought a game on a steam sale. For as little as I paid for it, the hassle of pirating it would not have been worth it.

On the other hand, apparently many parts of the game aren't actually working now due to a bad update. Of course, the advantage of Steam is that I'll probably get that update automatically within a few days. On the other hand, if I had obtained it from TPB I probably would be playing it now instead of waiting, since the pirated version would be an older known-good one (though obviously missing whatever was in that update).

I also saw a "# activations remaining" message when registering my CD key with the game, which wasn't terribly comforting. I suspect that Valve would take care of any actual issues down the road, but who knows, maybe in 10 years I'll end up stopping by TPB to get a crack for the game that I just bought.

Stuff like this is why there is piracy.

Comment: Re:Now all they need to do... (Score 1) 115

by Rich0 (#47962827) Attached to: New MRI Studies Show SSRIs Bring Rapid Changes to Brain Function

I have to agree with you in general.

Something else I've wondered about is why do we have so many people on antidepressants. If anything I suspect that depression might actually be underdiagnosed, but we really have no idea what it actually is.

When you have substantial percentages of the population requiring a medical treatment you have to start asking why. Have so many people always been depressed, or is this something new? If it is new, what is the cause?

Sometimes I wonder if the brain has a natural feedback loop that leads to depression. I tend to find myself feeling down when I should probably feel the most comfortable. If something bad happens or something good happens I tend to snap out of it. However, if everything is going just fine and I'm in some kind of routine, I start to feel less and less satisfied with it. Perhaps there is some survival instinct that just makes us feel continuously uncomfortable if we aren't improving our living conditions/etc.

Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 115

by Rich0 (#47961605) Attached to: New MRI Studies Show SSRIs Bring Rapid Changes to Brain Function

But can you yourself be the judge -- pass the judgment, that "things seemed clearer"??

Obviously that is anecdotal. That is why double-blind clinical trials are how things like this are typically studied. It is of course especially difficult to test psychological conditions since even measuring the presence of the condition is so difficult.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 1) 375

People complain because it failed to meet any of it's goals

That is certainly false. One of its goals was to require coverage for pre-existing conditions. That goal was met.

Another goal was to provide an affordable insurance option to everybody, and I'd say that was met even if many didn't sign up. The reason for that was that the penalty for not signing up was lower than the cost of signing up, which is one of the reasons I think the law will have to be amended before nobody wants to participate in the exchanges any longer. You can't require coverage for pre-existing conditions without providing coverage to everybody - it just isn't sustainable. If they charged a penalty of $5k/yr for anybody without insurance then that problem would go away, since it is cheaper than that to just buy insurance. Of course, it would be far less regressive to just give everybody insurance for free, and then recover the costs in income taxes.

Comment: Re:Only $11 million per person! (Actually $20 mill (Score 1) 375

Yes, but the affordable care act affects far more than 12 million people, or it certainly is intended to do so. It really is just a stopgap measure - I never thought it would work in the long-term. However, I think people needed to be convinced that the current mess of the status quo just wasn't tenable before they'd be willing to move onto something more sane, like a single-payer system.

Comment: Re:better than a "legal notices " ad in the paper (Score 1) 182

by Rich0 (#47958863) Attached to: NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

Those classified adds are in legal organs.
Facebook is not a legal organ.

Uh, what makes a newspaper a legal organ? It is just a commercial means of broadcast that is as old as dirt. People don't use them, so publishing in them isn't helpful. People do use Facebook, though I do not.

Nobody is suggesting that Facebook should be the preferred way of serving legal notices.

The simplest solution would be to have a standardized government identification system, to which an address could be attached. Then the court could just notify the parties when they're involved in a conflict. But, people seem to not like the idea of having a government-issued ID, so instead we have about 47 different competing identification systems which results in far less privacy and reliability. The need for anybody doing commerce to know who they're doing commerce with doesn't magically go away.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 1) 375

The forces that move the nation are far bigger than the president.

So, let's make them even bigger and more powerful so that they are even less responsive to the will of the people?

Uh, the will of the people is half the problem here. I was in no way intending to imply that the will of the people wasn't one of the forces that moves the nation.

Comment: Re:better than a "legal notices " ad in the paper (Score 1) 182

by Rich0 (#47958399) Attached to: NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

Sure, but compared to posting it in a classified ad, I think that any of those services are probably superior since there is a greater chance that the affected person will be reached.

The court doesn't need your blessing to take action against you. If you go out of your way to be hard to reach, then they will make a show of reaching out to you and then screw you over without any representation. What is the alternative - barring people from taking their grievances to the courts if their opponent acts evasively, thus leaving vigilante justice the only open avenue?

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann