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Comment fist pumping? US system? (Score 1) 326

Dude I hardly said anything about the US system, much less pumped my fist. I just provided the numbers for the Canadian system, which was being presented as "free" and some kind of paradise.

The US spends a LOT on healthcare, and changes are needed. When you're making major changes to a system that important and that complex, it's wise to CAREFULLY consider different options. Almost any change that helps solve some problems will also create new problems. Anything that has an effect also has a side effect.

In general, cheaper = lower quality, but we need to cut costs. That means we need to be careful. One way to reduce costs without reducing quality is to allow Texas consumers to ditch a crappy Texas insurance company and get a much better company from Arkansas. Right now, that's illegal. You can only buy insurance from a few companies in your home state. What do you think would happen if Maryland residents were only allowed to buy TVs made in Maryland, if it were illegal to buy from Samsung, Sony, LG, or any other major manufacturer? The reason Samsung keeps making their TBs better and cheaper is to compete with LG. Why not let insurance companies compete, have them try to EARN your business?

Comment 70/30 is Canada, three hospitals here advertise wa (Score 1) 326

70% / 30% is the Canada number. In the US, government pays about 46%. Of course that's about to change.

Can't choose faster service? In my city of 160,000 people, there are three hospitals and at least one of them has a billboard advertising their average ER wait time for the month. At clinic I go to I can normally get in the same day. If I can't, I can choose to go to the walk in clinic near where I work.

As I said, the US system certainly isn't perfect. Compared to waiting weeks for an appointment in Canada, the US system certainly has some advantages. Some Canadians I know come to the US to get better care. Some Americans go to Canada to but cheaper prescriptions. Each has strengths and weaknesses. The wise thing to do is to try to combine the best of both. For example, if Canadian clinics could compete for patients by either being "zero cost" by charging the government rate or trying to offer better, speedier care to attract patients willing to pay an extra $25, that might work well. As is, Canadian clinics have no incentive to do the best they can. They get paid the same whether their doctors are awesome or if they're drunk.

Comment 90 days waiting room, costs $1,000 - $1,300 /month (Score 3, Insightful) 326

In Canada:

A married couple with no children pay, on average, $11,381 in government healthcare premiums.
Those premiums cover 70% of healthcare costs.
The other 30% of costs are paid out of pocket.

89% of the time, the time for an appointment is less than 90 days.
11%of the time, you have to wait more than 3 months.

For any doctor other than a GP, the average wait time is longer than 30 days.

Patients are not permitted to pay for faster service.
Patients are not permitted to pay for higher quality care.
Patients may pay for services not covered by the government program.

In the US, costs are similar, but slightly higher. Wait times are measured in hours, not weeks. If you're not satisfied with one doctor, you can get a second opinion from another doctor.

The US system is of course not perfect. It does have (had?) a lot of advantages over the Canadian system.

Comment Carlin - half of them are dumber (Score 3, Insightful) 252

It DOES reflect the majority of voters. The majority voted for Feinstein and all the rest. I've spoken to several people who think the NSA thing isn't a problem. They grow more concerned when I provide them some information about what the NSA has been doing.

It's not that the majority wants to be spied on, it's that the majority is watching Dancing With the Stars. In some surveys, most people didn't know who the vice president was. Of those who DID know the vice president's name, around 40% say they get their news from Comedy Central.

So about 15% of Americans read or watch news programs (South Park and Daily Show aren't news).

The majority doesn't know what NSA stands for, and the nature of that majority is reflected in the government's actions.


Comment teach reasoning, curiosity, specificity in preshoo (Score 4, Insightful) 299

Preschoolers can start learning 90% of programming - thinking clearly, being specific about what you mean, looking at HOW things work. I was actually coding BASIC around third grade I guess, but code is a small part of programming.

Pre-setting a macro in a toy truck is programming, and develops the skills - breaking down a desired outcome into specific steps, trying it and then making refinements, etc.

Comment agreed only because that's the snakeoil today (Score 1) 117

That could work. I could see some reasonably tough restrictions on patent suits for the next 5-10 years , long enough for the crooks to get out of that business.

I laugh at the "ban patents" or "ban patents that can involve software" people because by their logic, they would have banned medicine in the 1880s because there were snake oil salesman.

Comment ps food stamp cost DOUBLED since Obama (Score 1) 277

Also worth noting, the cost of the food stamp program has doubled since Obama took office.

In 2001, it cost us $15 billion. This year, $75 billion.
So yeah, it's getting out of control and it's time to go back to common sense ideas that worked when Clinton agreed with the Republicans that unlimited taxpayer money for able bodied adults is silly.

Comment "Hope and change" was a slogan. Millions not inter (Score 1) 126

> I voted for change in 2008. So did millions of other Americans

Millions of Americans voted for "hope and change". My mother-in-law was one of those millions. The problem is, "hope and change" was a _slogan_. She voted for a slogan. That's entirely understandable, most people are not political scientists, and they have several other things in their life that they care more about than economics, foreign affairs, etc. They aren't researching the candidates voting records because they are busy making dinner for their kids, changing a tire, or enjoying some hobby.

When I ask my mother-in-law opinion on any issue, she's most often against the position Senator Obama voted for. She actually disagrees with him on most things. She doesn't know that because she works 50 hours a week and has a life, so she doesn't spend time studying the issues. Instead, she votes a slogan. Completely understandable.

While it's completely understandable, it creates big problems. Ideally, everyone would spend 100 hours every four years studying the candidates, after spending 100 hours in each of the off years studying economics, foreign policy, etc. That's not going to happen. Most people are to busy / not interested enough to make a truly informed choice. If you're willing to study from impartial sources, great. If not, please do waste your vote on a third party, or stay home. Uninformed votes based on slogans are not helpful.

  If you don't know what the capital of Iran is AND you don't know what the two major branches of economics are AND you don't know how many trillion the national debt is, you don't know who to vote for. That's okay. If you know two of the three, great, go vote.

Comment California has highest taxes (Score 1) 126

Even before prop 30, California had the fourth highest tax burden of the 50 states. The average _state_ tax burden was
$4,934 per person. Their tax _revenue_ dropped like stone because businesses and other money moved to Nevada (second lowest taxes) and Texas (6th lowest taxes).

So, I'll FTFY:

A person may not be stupid, but people are. They'll vote higher taxes and more social services, then you end up with California.

Comment rare, I believe (Score 2) 117

I believe it's pretty rare. I'm not a lawyer, I just play one in court. I believe it's just when there's a decent chance you'll be ordered to pay the defendant's costs, and due to using a shell company or some other reason the costs may not be paid as ordered.

Consider this if a bond were required for all suits.
If a bond costs 10% of the face amount, and General Motors can claim they spent $10 million defending a lawsuit related to faulty brakes, that would be an extra $1 million cost before you're allowed to sue if your brakes fail and you're horribly injured. I wouldn't want the victims to have to pay an extra million before they can sue. In every case, the plaintiff is claiming they're a victim of something the plaintiff did, and most often it's true.

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