Sunday, May 31, 2009

Medical Redlining - Another way Medical Insurance Companies can defraud everyone

As Congress gets to non debating a National Health care initiative that will not be change anyone can believe in, a new scam is percolating in the back of the Internet that will certainly become front and center if the current Baucus plan becomes "The Plan".

Unfortunately, as the last eight years have made really obvious, any corner not defined and held accountable by somebody will be cut by any company willing to do so and thus hold advantage over any company not willing to cut those corners. As well, the lower costs achieved by cutting those corners will not go to lower prices but to higher profits, not even for the shareholders but for the CEO.

In a case where the Insurance Company cannot cherry pick outright, they will cherry pick anyway that they can and this new scam is particularly pernicious. As their Ideology dictates, it will be profit and not need that sets policy and poor people with great need are less profitable. If price alone will not send them away, the new scam is to not offer services where they live.

By buying up and closing Hospitals that offer less profitable care you can force those not able to travel easily to travel farther to fancier hospitals, or stay away from any health care at all. Of course if the Insurance company refuses to make arrangements with doctors in redlined areas, then the Doctors will find that the preponderance of their business will be those "dumped" paitients on what will probably be the Government plan, and once again Taxpayers will be subsidizing Insurance Company profits, amid howls of protest that the Government plan is costing too much, and needs cutting.

Institutions that actually do something, like doctors or even hospitals, might indeed find ways to change practices in a way that has a chance of actually make more money and improve service (and even that not witout oversight) But an Insurance company can only be the middle man, it cannot add value to the equation, but only take its half out of the middle. It will have no purpose to be except that which it can gerrymander itself into false necessity.

Some examples

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A question of Agency & Accountability

When Obama was elected I had high hopes. I knew that if he advocated the progressive agenda outright that there would be a barrage of calls that he was implementing the kind of leftist agenda that indeed most folks who voted for him hoped he would and that there would need to be sustained activity to back that agenda.

When he put together his team in December I was dismayed that of all the names that would spring to mind from Krugman to Dean as having been at the forefront of the fight to get where we were, were either not brought in or tossed under the bus. We were told that this was a stealth move by Obama, that Bush needed to actually leave office, and we could trust that Obama would be setting the rules and pushing all those folk who were against the Left agenda to move further left than their prior actions would indicate.

Then we were told there was a secret framing agenda, that measures that looked like the normal Bush policies actually were different in the details that fully reversed what Bush was up to. But there was no prosecutions of crimes that are now prima facia, or even investigations of them. We are still in Iraq and it looks like for a long time, and Afghanistan is getting worse with mostly the same tactics that dis not work before.

To hear the screeching and lamentations from the Right one would think that all the correct things were being done, but when their blather is sifted out the only thing they actually oppose is the name of the party with supposedly the levers of power. There have been a few things happen at the margins, but no great strides and nothing that could not be quickly swept aside has happened on almost every front.

Even the abandonment of Habeas Corpus that ruled all English and American law for a thousand years that should have been restored instantly with prosecution of those who denied it (before even getting into the Torture "Debate") is not the focus. Only that it was illegal and should be abandoned by passing a law legally abandoning this bedrock of Western Values.

This is a final class battle that is technically not even the very rich against the rest of us, but a whole range of gatekeepers who are supposedly the agents of a whole range of folk, mostly feeding the very rich even when they are supposed to be overseeing them, but even more feeding and supporting themselves to the expense of everyone, rich and poor alike.

As agents they do not actually accomplish any goal but assign pathways and tasks to those who actually accomplish the goals, and then assign benifits among those achievers. It is a position with great, but supposedly borrowed power, responsible often to many interests that at one time was able to hold them accountable, but breaking free they have perverted the system beyond stupid.

Banks, Insurance companies, other financial "innovators" come easily to mind, but every Large Corporation has become equally divorced from the "owners" that are buried in layers of Pension Fund, or "Mutual" Fund that itself is only marginally aware of it's agency position.

And other large bureaucracies that act as a class of themselves are a step further removed from that agency position that their very existance as an industry perverts hao a Society operates are one more step into the Morass. Universities, Military, and their further parasites of Manufacturers, and now Mercenaries, and similar satrapies of insurance companies, hospital complexes, and pharmaceutical firms or the sphere of Agrabusiness, chemical companies and "food" delivery, or the mass that is essentially WalMart.

In every situation this gatekeeper agent class gets special rules, while the folk who do the work get less and less, and even the Investors are shortchanged, but worse the bureaucracy works to make itself ever more necessary and monopolistic so wars are started just so Mercs can fight them, or education is defined by the ever growing need of the proper degree, and not the learning that used to define it, or medicine is defined by pills like people were so much bags of soup, or "food" defined by packaging and corner cutting rather than taste or value.

Unless these Parasite Satrapies are broken or removed from power completely there will not be a society anyone now alive would wish to live in. Health Care is at the moment front and center in the fights (having lost the fight with the banks).and our best hope of eliminating any of the Parasites. If they are left in place in any form that fight will also be lost, and that is about the easiest fight that we face.



One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

from an old tale.

The Golden Rule
“That which is hateful to you do not do to another ... the rest (of the Torah) is all commentary, now go study.”

- Rabbi Hillel



The self made man just isn't admitting how or where he came by all those parts

---FreeDem---- Aug 2005


If a man tells you that the Government cannot accomplish anything of value, then voting for him would be like hiring an Amish Auto Mechanic.
If they don't believe in the concept, they are more than likely to do a very poor job of it.

---Bob Danforth Sept. 2009


Republicans never meant to cut government waste, fraud and graft, from the get-go their plan was to organize, monopolize and privatize waste, fraud and graft.

They see the civil service as meddling “middleman,” who interfered with the free flow of cash from taxpayers into corporate coffers. Their intent was to eliminate the “middleman” as an obstruction to corruption.

---Unknown rabblerowser Feb 2007


No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Edward R. Murrow

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot

Mark Twain


You see, we often get noncreative leaders, people most interested in preserving their own positions. They flock around centers of power. Such centers attract people who can be corrupted. That is a more descriptive observation than to say simply that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If you are corruptible and your imagination is confined to worries about loss of power, you exist in a self-destructive system. Eventually, as all life does, you must encounter something you did not anticipate, and if you have not strengthened your creative resources, you will have no new ways for adapting to change. Adapt or die, that's the first rule of survival.

The limited vision of noncreative people is not difficult to understand. Creativity frightens the unimaginative. They don't know what's happening. Things new and unexpected arise from creativity. This threatens "things as they are." And (terrible thought) it undermines illusions of omnipotence.


Herbert 1984 (the year not the book)


"News is what powerful people want to keep hidden; everything else is just publicity."

....Bill Moyer


Just as having only a hammer makes every problem either look like a nail, or as something irrelevant, our very technological skills have had us look there for explanations and ignore reality it cannot deal with. With our powerful hammer, we seek only nails, and dump the rest as dross. Not all questions involve hammers, not all answers are nails.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

My issue with Atheists is not that they have no God, there are many religions that have no God, but that they have no religion.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

__Note: by this I mean that there are many things religions do besides the discredited "science" and self serving promises (give me your money and God will hold and pay the note), many like charity or fellowship, even social accountability can be very good things not requiring a God.


Many have been very disappointed that their "God-critter" was not to be found as a technology swimming about in the shallower pools of knowledge. So in the obsession basic to our culture, we search ever deeper and more difficult pools, and always the "God-critter" seems to wink at us from the pool just beyond.

In the process we have found technologies beyond the wildest dreams of our most sophisticated ancestors. The great joke is that the "critter" never existed except as the pools themselves.

----Freedem --- Oct 2006

Indeed I do think that many folk, believe all kinds of stuff from the actually true, to the utterly illogical, with no personal discernment one from the others. But that would hardly make any of them a scholar to rely on, any more that one should get their theology studies from a door to door salesman, offering "get out of hell free" cards, on special because the creator of galaxies in greater numbers than beach sand, nonetheless has an ego so weak He cannot exist without shamelessly excessive psychophancy from a major portion of the inhabitants of this particular dust speck.

----Freedem ---June-2007

More to come