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Comment: Re:Sounds completely reasonable (Score 1) 237

by causality (#49632653) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

Who DOESN'T want minimal government? Even communists and fascists think the policies they support are necessary, and mainstream Republicrats think their policies prevent market failures. I have never met anyone who identified as an "excessarchist", only folks who believe everyone else is being excessive.

Specifically, I am referring to a return to federalism, with the vast majority of citizens' government coming from the state and local levels. You know, the way this system was intended to work.

Comment: Re: Not forced... (Score 1) 237

by causality (#49632541) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

These people randomly speed up and slow down because of changing slope of the road. No one is really paying attention to their speed, and they don't realize that you have to push the pedal a little harder uphill and less downhill to maintain speed.

Most of the time that's correct, but I see it with surprising frequency on level terrain. I think most of them are simply not paying full attention to the road; perhaps they're fiddling with a cell phone.

It's the same reason people sometimes fail to notice that the light has turned green. I mean, why should they pay attention, it's not like they're *driving* or anything...

Comment: Re: Not forced... (Score 1) 237

by causality (#49632445) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

At least in my mind, there's a huge difference between "this person has an infection, or cancer, or heart disease" versus "this person was hurt because a drunk driver ran straight through a stop sign and crashed into them". Does your law make such a distinction?

There is, but we don't consider it when deciding whether to provide medical treatment or not. We punish illegal activity in court not in hospital.

Apparently this is confusing some of you. So I'll explain how it works in the USA.

Hypothetically, let's say you cause a car accident, as in this imaginary accident is 100% your fault. As a result of this accident, another person is injured and requires medical care. Your own car insurance policy has a line item called Bodily Injury Coverage. That coverage would pay for the injured person's medical expenses.

The injured person would not file a claim with their health insurance company (assuming they have one) because you, as the person who caused the accident, are held responsible for any expenses you caused to the injured person.

I was simply asking if car insurance works that way overseas. Instead of a private insurance company that you may or may not have, you have NHS. While the NHS is provided as a public service, the care they provide does have a cost. I wanted to know if NHS bears that cost even when there is an at-fault party who caused the problem, or whether in those specific cases, the at-fault party (via their car insurance liability policy) was expected to cover it.

Comment: Re: Not forced... (Score 1) 237

by causality (#49632393) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

At least in my mind, there's a huge difference between "this person has an infection, or cancer, or heart disease" versus "this person was hurt because a drunk driver ran straight through a stop sign and crashed into them". Does your law make such a distinction?

What coverage differences do you want? Are you suggesting the person hit by a drunk driver should not be covered by insurance in the off-chance they can successfully sue the drunk driver to cover the bill?

You could ask me that, yes. Or you could put just a slight bit of thought into it and consider that there is a more reasonable alternative, which is that the drunk driver's insurance would cover this as part of liability coverage. Perhaps NHS could kick in if that's unavailable?

There's loads of ways this could be done, and since I am not knowledgable about the nuances of laws governing nations across the Atlantic, I ask questions instead of making assumptions. That's all.

Comment: not just police, also local govt (Score 1) 216

I think the police must and can change. The bullying can be kept to a minimum, through screening and training. The training also needs to change.

One problem is higher up. It's not just the police, it's local governments. For example, a few weeks ago, I got a letter about my grass being too high. In a neighboring city, the bureaucrats actually escalated an unmown lawn into jail time! They had kept a dossier of lawn care violations dating back nearly 20 years! Wow, welcome to East Germany. I had mowed 2 weeks before, but it had rained a lot recently and the city's own medians were not in compliance. But none of that mattered. The tone of the letter is what I find most troubling. It was insulting, threatening, demeaning, and belittling all in one. There was no due process, the property was simply declared in violation. I had no idea what the height limit was until the letter informed me that it was 12 inches, and only a vague notion that there probably was a city ordinance about it. The letter informed me that the city could fine me up to $2000 per day that the property was in violation, If I don't pay, they can file a lien and may sue me. Also, it seems I'm on probation for a year, as the letter also said I would not receive another warning for 12 months, they'd just start the punishment the next time the property was found in violation. Pretty heavy handed for a little grass. I doubt whether they can really do all the terrible things they say, and it may be in part a scare tactic. They also stated in the letter that the purpose is "that the property be maintained in an attractive and pleasant manner free of all nuisances. Premises that become unattractive because of of high vegetation or other nuisance invite deterioration, vandalism and infestation and undermine the integrity of the neighborhoods and commercial areas where they exist." That's damned insulting, lecturing me about that. I have done much to clean the property up. It had a lot of trash scattered around before I moved in, and I have disposed of it all. Nor do I agree with their premise that high vegetation is a nuisance, or that over 12 inches is "high". So, according to that, my grandparents, who were farmers and good people, are public nuisances because they never mowed their yard? They had 4 foot high grass, and a vegetable garden. As a citizen with a clean record, I deserve better treatment than that.

Finally, the letter concluded with a list of lawn mowing services I could employ, with a disclaimer that they do not endorse any of them. Yeah, right! That list struck me as highly improper. So, the city is being run as a racket for lawn care profiteering? With a city being run like that, is it any wonder that their cops aren't totally fair either? What I would like to see is the people rise up against such petty racketeering. Citizens who want to keep our hard won rights should descend upon the city of Grand Prairie Texas for jailing a man for not mowing enough, and set them straight. No escalation of civil violations into criminal ones. No de facto debtor prisons. Sadly, I have not heard that anything further is being done in this case. Looks like the episode is going to be forgotten, and Mr. Yoes will not receive any apology or compensation. Maybe the media attention they got is enough to scare the bureaucrats from pulling that one again.

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 3, Insightful) 434

by PopeRatzo (#49631319) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

I am not impressed by the media narrative.

You will have to do better than that.

That's why I specifically picked media outlets from the "free market" Right. So how about the Wold Health Organization?

How about the Kaiser Foundation? They know a little about health care.

Have you ever wondered why you don't see people from Denmark or Germany or Sweden or Singapore flying over to the US for the superior health care? In fact, you know those stories about all the tens of thousands of Canadians running to the US for health care? It turned out to not be true.

For that matter, have you ever wondered why you don't see those populations fighting to flee their Socialist hellholes and coming to the US as political refugees?

Comment: Re:Coding (Score 1) 434

by bzipitidoo (#49630981) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

Codes are not as simple as they may seem. The issue is complexity. Both insurance and medical use and abuse complexity to confuse people and hide the real costs. It may seem that doctors are as much victims as patients, both struggling with byzantine insurance rules, but actually doctors are to blame for much of it by charging outrageous fantasy prices. Time Magazine's "Bitter Pill" story fingered the "chargemaster" as the main culprit behind the crazy pricing.

For example, last year, I had a kidney stone, and went to emergency 3 times. The first visit, I was given a CT scan. The hospital would not trouble me with any confusing and boring details until I demanded that they send me a bill that included all the items, with codes. Instead, they at first presented me with an enormous bill with no details, and when I didn't pay up immediately, started getting nasty, threatening to turn me over to debt collectors, ruin my credit, etc. They were testing me, seeing if I'd let them walk all over me. They and the insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield in this case) could have done their jobs, but they find it easier to bully patients. I should sign a blank check? I think not!

With a more detailed bill in hand, I learned that the "CT scan - body" was code 74176, and the hospital charges $9107.20 for it. That's an absolutely ridiculous price of course. Insurance cut them down to $193.85. But that's not the whole story. I also got a bill from a lab on that same code 74176, for $660, reduced by insurance to $56.15. What's the deal? Was I being double billed? The explanation I was given, and which I don't know whether to believe, is that it was legit, and that labs which analyze CT scans use the same code as facilities which actually operate the CT machinery. If true, this practice of doubling up codes like that can only lead to confusion. To further confuse matters, the hospital has their own internal code for the CT scan: 162889. When I check the Medicare price for a particular code, how am I to know which of several possible items or procedures they're talking about? They should have different codes, maybe 74176a and 74176b.

I spotted a lot of discrepancies in the bill. Yeah, I can believe 90% of medical bills contain errors. The example that sticks out the most for my own case is the 1 liter of saline solution, code J7030. A bag of salt water, which ought to cost about the same as a 2 liter bottle of a soft drink. I received 3 of these, and the hospital charged $306.78 for each one. Why? Then, the real puzzler: insurance reduced these 3 identical items to 3 different prices, $151.74, $63.62, and $26.84 respectively. Why? I was given several excuses, like that these are sterile solutions, and that's costly. No, it's not. Boil it, and done. Or, irradiate it. Another excuse was that it wasn't a simple bag of salt water, it contained drugs. Well, no, that, if you'll pardon the pun, doesn't hold water, and the insurance company support person backtracked pretty quickly on that idea. There were no drugs added to the saline solutions Yet another excuse is that the price is not for the item alone, it includes having a medical tech jab the needle into my arm and hitting a vein, which requires some skill. Finally, they admitted I had a point and started investigating. They reduced my cost to the lowest of the 3 for all 3 saline solutions. $26.84 is still outrageous for an item that ought to cost $2, but it's a lot better than $306.

At this point the hospital tried to cut a deal. If I paid right away, they'd generously knock 20% off my original bill. I told them to hold that thought. Looked like I could do better by continuing to question the details of my bill. And yes, I could. The insurance has adjusted a lot of costs downward, more than the 20% I would have saved by agreeing to the hospital's deal.

But, I think insurance still doesn't have it correct. The cost to me for that CT scan was changed from $193.85 plus $56.15 to $56.15 x 2. They had 2 entries for code 74176, and simply forced both to the lower of the 2 prices, although they might actually be different items. That's the kind of confusion caused by reusing codes. I really do not know what is right. For the CT scan, should I pay $193.85 + 56.15 = $250 , or $56.15 x 2 = $112.30, or even just $56.15? The whole thing seems to be in limbo right now. I have still not heard from Blue Cross Blue Shield what my final bill should be.

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 4, Informative) 434

by PopeRatzo (#49630937) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

What I hear from Canadian patients inspires no envy what so ever.

You should update what you hear. Canada's health care system is ranked 7 spots higher than that of the United States, even before the ACA was implemented.

Even Forbes magazine, no socialist propaganda sheet, ranks Canada's health care system higher. And Bloomberg ranks it twenty-three spots higher in terms of efficiency.

Comment: Re:Sounds completely reasonable (Score 2) 237

by causality (#49628731) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

I don't like replying to my own post, but I thought of something that was worth adding. What is happening now to the word "libertarian" is just like what happened to the word "hacker".

If you say "that guy's a hacker" the average person will imagine something nefarious, probably criminal, perhaps something involving identity theft. They aren't likely to picture a hobbyist and technology enthusiast who, by means of skill, manages to get devices (that they legitimately own) to perform creative and useful functions (which harm no one) that were never envisioned by their original makers.

The difference is, "hackers" have gotten so much negative attention in the mass media that the original term is gone and it isn't coming back. The only rational response is to accept this and move on. I don't believe "libertarian" is at that point yet, though it's heading there fast. Is reclaiming a word so important to me? In and of itself, no, not really. What's important to me is for people like you to wake up and realize how easy it is to manipulate you, to prevent you from ever entertaining entire categories of thought and philosophy and thereby to steer your thinking, merely by toying with words. I think that deserves some importance.

If God had a beard, he'd be a UNIX programmer.