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OpenMarket: Health and Safety

  • Springsteen clashes with Obama advisor on Wal-Mart

    February 2, 2009
    In between playing at the Lincoln Memorial for Barack Obama's inaugural concert and performing the half-time show last night at the Super Bowl, Bruce Springsteen got caught in a policy controversy over a promotional deal he made. Springsteen had inked an agreement for Wal-Mart to exclusively sell and promote his new album, "Working on a Dream." This made good business sense, given that a similar arrangement last year with Wal-Mart and hard rock bank AC/DC led to a surprise chart-topping album. But the very mention of the name of Wal-Mart still raises the hackles of some activists, particularly those affiliated with Big Labor. They called on Springsteen to renounce the deal, and he caved, telling the...
  • Len Nichols of NAF on Incentives in Health Care

    February 1, 2009
    12:52pm Len Nichols of the New America Foundation is driving down the same "Middle Road" that the last panel plotted out.  So far, he's applauded John McCain for realizing that price transparency has been a problem in the health care industry and he's applauded Barack Obama for realizing that markets are a good idea and by advocating that a national health care policy focus on working with private insurers. According to Len, these are the biggest problems with the existing system:
    • Incentives in the current system are perverse
    • Current players profit from the flaws in the system, so there are interests who want the system to stay the same
    • Individual choices affect health and health costs, bit time
    • There are tremendous barriers to change...
  • Heart Docs & Health Reform: What about Regulation?

    February 1, 2009
    I'm listening now to a panel discussion at the America College or Cardiology Health System Reform Summit. The panel's topic: "Health Care Reform: State Models for Improving Access to Care."  The panelists: Secretary Kimberly Belshe or California's HHS, John Holahan of the Urban Institute, and Paul Wingle of Massachusettss Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector. So far, I've heard a lot about Massachusetts-style reform programs, which basically break down to mandating that everyone carry some form of insurance and then figuring out a way to help them pay for it—usually this means businesses and governments kicking in a good share of coin. Given the realities of the health care industry, namely that professional and ethical standards result in nearly no one being turned away when they're in dire need of care, insurance mandates seem like a sensible policy. In other words, because...
  • Massive in Massachusetts

    January 8, 2009
    The people of Massachusetts, who until now have been entirely clueless about the fat content of any food, will finally be set free from their ignorance thanks to the wisdom of Governor Deval Patrick and the other wise and caring officials of the Bay State.
  • Nationalized Health Care: Growing the Nanny State

    January 7, 2009
    Advocates of the Nanny State have long been with us.  What was Prohibition but an early manifestation of government treating everyone as children to protect them? But as Paul Hsieh points out in the Christian Science Monitor, other countries use universal health care as an excuse to further regulate the lives of their citizens.  America already has started down the same road.  Nationalizing the medical system would ensure even more government meddling and violations of individual liberty. Writes Hsieh:
    Although American healthcare is only under partial government control in the form of programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, American nanny state regulations have exploded in recent years. Many American cities ban restaurants from selling foods with trans fats. Los Angeles has imposed a moratorium on...
  • Remember, the Government Wants to Manage Your Health Care!

    January 2, 2009
    Just think how wonderful it would be if government guaranteed everyone health care.  Just like in Great Britain! Just ask Lynne Neilson what she thinks of the National Health Service.  Reports the Daily Mail:
    An expectant mother gave birth on a hospital assessment room floor because busy staff failed to put her in a maternity unit bed. Lynne Neilson had been waiting for two-and-a-half hours when she went into labour standing up, clutching the side of a trolley. A midwife who arrived just as her daughter Orla's head appeared put down a disposable mat, caught the baby and unwound the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Even then, Mrs Neilson had to wait a further hour before being transferred to the labour ward....
  • Killing Without the Smile

    December 19, 2008
    The National Health Service loves to save money.  Too bad that means denying essential medical care and killing patients.  But what's a bureaucracy for? The United Kingdom has become renowned for scrimping on life-saving drugs.  After all, got to keep those budgets down!  In the latest case a woman with two months to live has been told that the government will get back to her within 25 days.  Can't be rushed, now can we!?  Reports the Daily Mail:
    A cancer patient given less than two months to live has been refused a life-prolonging drug until an NHS trust finishes a month-long investigation. Margaret Jones hopes to be treated with Revlimid for myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow. Her consultant says the drug, which costs around...
  • Protecting Pets Before People

    December 12, 2008
    Why do advocates of socialized medicine prefer pets over people?  It's hard not to conclude that's the way they think.  After all, in Canada you can get a CT scan or MRI sooner for your "companion animal" than for your child.  And health insurance is a thriving business in Great Britain, which only recently decided to allow people to spend extra to get better drugs than those offered by the National Health System. Reported Reuters earlier this year:
    Forget worming pills and a flea collar -- a trip to the vet in Britain these days could be about heart surgery, joint replacement, chemotherapy or a host of other cutting-edge procedures. Britain is one of the few countries in Europe to offer many of these complex treatments: devoted British pet-owners have fuelled a fast-growing insurance...
  • Effective Health Care Cost Containment

    December 10, 2008
    With the Obama administration preparing to address the problem of health care, they should remember that the most effective form of cost containment is to encourage patients to treat themselves.  Britain's National System has perfected this technique.  As the Guardian reported last year:
    Large numbers of people are going without dental treatment and some even report extracting their own teeth because they cannot find an NHS dentist in their area, a survey reveals today. The Dentistry Watch survey of more than 5,000 people, from the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, found widespread unhappiness among both patients and dentists despite government reforms to increase the availability of NHS dentistry. More than three-quarters of those who have a private dentist...
  • Abarackadabra! A 21st Century "New Steal"

    December 7, 2008
    JOBS, ROADS, BRIDGES, SCHOOLS, BROADBAND, ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS, ENERGY...blares the Drudge Report. It's President-elect Obama's weekend plan---not to produce, but to transfer yet more of the nation's dwindling wealth to those with political pull. On Sunday's Meet the Press interview he stressed “shovel ready” projects — shoveling from right-hand to left remains the extent of it. Look at...

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