The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What Use Medical Research?

Mark makes an excellent point. If socialized medicine reduces the amount of medical research and medical breakthroughs, that is indeed a serious concern. A few thoughts:

1) What difference does advanced medical discovery make? Only if it has an effect on the population does it make any difference at all. If we were paying more for health care, and our health stats were the best in the world...I would have nothing to say. But you know where I'm going with this: infant mortality and life expectancy. Unless a system produces superior results in these two basic indicators of a population's health, what the hell good is it?

2) What percentage of the world's medical discoveries are produced in America? I would love these stats. I suspect we have more than our fair share.

3) The only segment of the medical population I would expect to decrease are those practitioners and researchers whose primary motivation is profit. Nothing wrong with this, but there are other human motivations. It would be useful to look at what motivates people in socialized systems as opposed to specifically for-profit systems.

ᅠ4) If the benefits aren't reaching the population in general, are they helping, say, the top 5%? It would be understandable, if a bit callous, to say "I can afford the best. And we won't have the best without the current system." It seems to me that you have to be honest that there is another implication as well: "and I don't care about the rest of you."

5) Again, I use those basic stats lots of different ways. I'm sure they don't always apply, but in conversations with conservatives who oppose socialized medicine, I have actually heard (repeatedly) that if you remove minorities and the poor from the equation, we're doing fine. I hope you can understand why such an argument fails to persuade me. But since I am concerned with long life and health for myself, my children, and my country...I really honestly want to know why I should ignore statistics that seem to indicate that our current system isn't working as well as systems currently in place all over the world. Please. Elucidate.

##

Christian, I have a question for you. You've bragged about the vast number of women you've had sex with. Unless you've had a vasectomy, how could you possibly know whether you've made any of them pregnant? Any children running around out there? Are you sure? And if there are, and you aren't fathering them, aren't you a part of the problem, rather than the solution? I've had many, many, feminist friends suggest that womanizers who can't form relationships are actually misogynists in disguise. I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, but I'm interested in how you would respond.

##

I've seen no lack of humorous digs at President Obama, and I think that initial concerns that he was "untouchable" somehow (often voiced from the Right) is just nonsense. Actually, I think the problem is that so many on that side think of him primarily in racial or ethnic terms, so much real fear about the way the world is shifting that it is a conscious fight not to make jokes specifically along that line. I wanted to mention some of the grounds for criticism and jokes that seem valid and appropriate, and those that seem to me off-grounds...and the reasons why.

I've seen great stuff on: smoking, voting record, lack of experience, Messianic tendencies, audience swooning, age, Chicago's crooked politics, Nerd-ness, overly academic tendencies, using a teleprompter (although people make themselves look dumb when they imply he can't speak without one. I was at the debate. No prompter), jock tendencies, informal dress, skinniness, and tendency to say "uh..."

Stuff I don't appreciate:

1)calling him by his middle name: clearly trying to associate him with a boogy-man, an American enemy (Saddam) who is so vilified that guilt by association has nothing to do with the actual man or his character.

2) Implying he is a Muslim. Again, appealing to the crazies who think he is, while maintaining plausible deniability. This isn't the same as mentioning someone's actual religion (which is also kinda odious.) But plenty of people consider him a "secret Muslim." At a time when anti-Muslim sentiments run high, clearly this is an attempt to tarnish him by non-association, appealing to the very worst in our population.

3) Bringing up his race in a derogatory fashion. Clearly, again, appealing to racist crazies.

4) Assassination jokes.

5) "Terrorist Fist-jab" type jokes. Again, playing on fear of "the other" at a time when concern about terrorism is sky-high

##

And speaking of that, what of the recent release of 1973 Nixon tapes, saying that he was generally against abortion, but was in favor in case of an interracial child? For God's sake, will people PLEASE grasp that attitudes like this were, and are, common, and when during that period you had a Senate 100% made of whites, the educational and social policy is set from the top, and MUST be racist. There is no other way to have 100% one race, in a diverse culture, other than by social pressure...unless, of course, one believes that the minority group is simply inferior. There are countless legacies of this era, this man and those who thought like him. While I'm not in favor of affirmative action, there is no other way things could ever be evened out. So...no, I don't expect things to be even, but I'll be damned if I'll let people snipe at those who were, and are, damaged by this poison.

Just vile. The fact that I love my country anyway amazes even me, sometime. How much Civil Rights legislation, pleas for equality and fair play, integration discussion went across his desk? Can anyone wonder why older black men like Reverend Wright might feel that there are whites who would infect blacks with AIDS, if they could? Why the Nation of Islam has no problem recruiting? This man was PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, for God's sake, and he let himself be recorded saying that. I refuse to believe that he didn't say much, much worse in private. Every time I hear someone say "oh, it happened hundreds of years ago, get over it..." I wonder how they manage to breathe without a working brain.

This is why I'm against Affirmative Action. Not because it wouldn't increase the net amount of fairness in the culture, but because men like Nixon have been entrusted with the common good, and behind closed doors consult with other members of the dominator group about how the dominated should be treated. How DARE people expect blacks who have lived under such a situation to operate without serious dysfunction. We'd have to be Supermen and Wonder Women. Oh, wait. They're white, too.

Human beings aren't inclined to give up unfair or unearned advantage without a fight. Whether you are talking race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, wealth, or power...Because they actually believe they are better than the groups they dominate, and go unconscious about the depths of their disturbance, and lie about their true intent, hiding behind honest and sincere Conservatives. I'd be much more concerned about my attitudes about women had I not been surrounded by them every day of my life. What if I hardly knew any? Devastating.

##

The new "Transformers" movie is getting bad press about a pair of illiterate jive-talking robots with gold teeth. The excuse of the film-makers? Well, one of the voice actors was black, and that's the way he ran with it. Excuse me...who hired him? Who directed him? That's just lame. Then people will say: "well, look in the inner city, and you'll see black men talking like that..." Sure. And also church people, business people, teachers and so forth. Because I see women selling their asses on the corner is no excuse if the only women I show in a film are prostitutes.

White people die every day, but I've never seen a film in which all white people die while brown people survive. We see what our filters allow us to see, we justify our actions by pointing out members of the Other who seem to "deserve" it. Worse, after we club our victim to the ground, rob him, piss on him and break his legs, we say that limping, stinking, and being broke-ass is his natural state.

##

I've been asked: "well, if not Affirmative Action, what then?" I don't claim to have the answer. The closest I can come is the concept of balance. Those who actually struggle to balance their physical fitness, relationships, and careers learn the limitations of their ego rather rapidly. They tend to be less fearful, more open, more understanding of human nature. In other words...they tend not to be self-centered bigots. Simultaneously, they are taking care of their families, their communities, their environments...because once you are balanced and centered, with less fear, your sense of love expands to embrace the world.

In other words, I concentrate on that which is generative, and heals us all. That's my answer. What's yours?

27 comments:

Marty S said...

My answer to what is the alternative to affirmative action is give people the benefits of affirmative action based upon socioeconomic factors rather than race or sex. If both a white person and a black person who came from the same school in a poor district were given the same step up, then those who need help would get it. The results of such a policy might be that a large proportion of those receiving the benefits were minorities, but it would be much less objectionable, and would help move toward one group society.

Mike Ralls said...

>Mark<

Mike.

>But you know where I'm going with this: infant mortality and life expectancy.<

Quick question on this, say America adopts a socialized health system; in that event, to what degree if any, do you think the following will be reduced;

% of Americans who smoke.
% of Americans who drink to excess
% of Americans who consume an excess of sugary foods or drinks, fried foods, fast foods, or too many processed foods.
% of Americans who eat large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetable
% of Americans who exercise 3 times a week, or more*

To me, I see many countries with healthier lifestyle habits than their American counterpoints, and even if we adopt a socialized system and if socialized systems are better at serving everybody, I do not see us as having Japanese infant mortality or Japanese life expectancy rates for the simple reason that we do not live lives as healthy as the Japanese.

Basically, do you think that a socialized medicine system will result in a significant % of Americans adopting healthier lifestyles? Because I don't. My reading of history suggests that government attempts to get people to eat right and exercise will not succeed and that in the long term getting some type of an "anti-fat" pill and similar technological fixes as _fast as possible_ is more likely to be a workable solution on the societal level.

[*] If _every_ American practiced a completely healthy lifestyle, our health care costs would be cut by around 75% IIRC. That's literally trillions of dollars that could be saved if people were willing to live healthy.

>Unless a system produces superior results in these two basic indicators of a population's health, what the hell good is it?<

If we assume that our non-socialized health care produces advances in medicine above that of the socialized systems, aren't those systems being subsidized by us? They get to use the advances that we discover after all.

>2) What percentage of the world's medical discoveries are produced in America? I would love these stats. I suspect we have more than our fair share.<

I've been looking for that statistic for years now, and have yet to find it. If anyone finds it, please let me know. Part of the problem is how do you quantify what counts as a % of total medical advances?

>The only segment of the medical population I would expect to decrease are those practitioners and researchers whose primary motivation is profit.<

It doesn't have to be "primary" it just has to be "significant." The % of Doctors who do not live upper-middle class or above lifestyles is rather small and the hospitals that are willing to pay the most tend to get the best medical practitioners. There is little reason more of them could not do more charity work if they wished, but the available evidence is that like most people, money plays some role in their decisions. If you can make more money doing a job in X that is just as satisfying and rewarding as doing the job getting played less in Y, why wouldn't one chose X, all else being equal?

>It would be useful to look at what motivates people in socialized systems as opposed to specifically for-profit systems.<

Please note that it is far more common for people in socialized systems to try to get permission to work in America than the reverse. This again suggests that money plays a significant role in drawing the best medical practitioners to our system.

>If the benefits aren't reaching the population in general, are they helping, say, the top 5%?<

Setting the bar, awfully high there, aren't we? Given that 89% of Americans are satisfied with their health care wouldn't it be more realistic to present the supposition that the benefits are reaching the top 89% and not reaching the bottom 11%?

Mike Ralls said...

>It would be understandable, if a bit callous, to say "I can afford the best. And we won't have the best without the current system." It seems to me that you have to be honest that there is another implication as well: "and I don't care about the rest of you."<

If it's 89% of the population saying that to the 11% remainder, it's a bit different than if it's 5% saying it to the other 95%. And more accurately the implication would be, "I don't care _enough_ about the rest of you that I am willing to risk my health" rather than "I don't care about you _at all_." Regardless of if that is callous or not it is very human. You can care about the rest to a quite high degree but still not be willing to make what could very well be a life or death sacrifice for them.

Look, if some bills are passed that retard the economy, that would suck but me and mine will go on living and living rather well by historical standards. But let's say that we end up with a sub-optimal health care system? Some of my family could die.

My Dad had cancer (treated, they hope it's gone, but it could honestly turn up anytime), my step-Mom had breast cancer (treated, but it will almost certainly come back within the next ten years), my step-sister had cancer (treated, and again will probably come back within ten years), and my sister has MS (under control, for the moment). Today they are all living happy healthy lives, as am I, and if some of them had received less good care they could very well be dead right now. And it's virtually guaranteed that some of us are going to need _really_ good medical care again in the near future.

I've done volunteer work, and I've given to charities to help the people at the bottom. On some level I do care about them. If socialized health care will result in worse health care for the top 89% but better for the bottom 11% then the real question then becomes, do I want to take what could possibly be life or death sacrifice for my family for the people at the bottom? Not, do I want to give up on taking a vacation this year, or fixing my floor because I have to pay higher taxes to help them, but do I want to put my members of my family's life at risk? And that's a different matter entirely.

Anonymous said...

To get a sense of how important medical research is, imagine what it would be like if you were to fall ill -- and then found yourself having to go to a hospital functioning with the technology and medical methods of 1957, rather than 2009. Really take the time to imagine that, and I think you'll find yourself agreeing with me that the last 50 years of medical research weren't chrome.

Or, to get a sense of how much medical research matters, think about any friend or acquaintance you might know who is gay, HIV-positive, and alive. Today he's alive, because the world's most advanced biotechnology allowed protease inhibitor drugs to be devised against the three-dimensional structure of proteins required by the HIV virus for its life cycle. Those are the drugs that in our lifetimes turned HIV from a lethal to a chronically manageable disease. 20 years ago, a gay man with HIV was just a dead man walking, period.

Yes, a highly disproportionate amount of academic biomedical research is done in U.S. labs and/or with U.S. funding -- and a truly disproportionate amount of biotechnology and pharmaceutical research is.

Wipe out the for-profit motive and you wipe out the entire pharmaceutical industry that makes the academic discoveries into usable drugs. Cold. It's already been wiped out in Europe by regulation and cost-controls of the sort the Democrats want. Yes we can! repeat that here, I'm afraid.

No, it is not true, despite what you will be told, that "all the real research is done by NIH scientists" anyway. I'm an NIH-funded scientist; I work all the time around them; our work is good and necessary, but on its own, it does not produce a single drug. You really do need those drug companies to do that.

Yes, it is true that some of us think we are not motivated by the profit motive. Wipe out the private sector (which already funds a good deal of our research) and you'll end up with the scientists for whom that's really true. They will be a mixed lot, and they will tend to not orient their research to those things (like inventing new drugs to ameliorate aging) with the highest potential for concrete benefit to human beings. Patton once said that "a man who won't [have sex] won't fight", and I think there's a similar dynamic in science: the ones who are truly devoid of worldly ambition are more likely than not to also lack the drive to make great discoveries, or push them from the lab bench to the medical clinic.

Meanwhile, the cost-comparisons between U.S. and Canadian health care aren't, in fact, the slam-dunk that we've been told.

Moreover, the Obamacare proposals a don't openly acknowledge, or directly deal with, what are arguably the real causes of rising medical costs.


--Erich Schwarz

Mike Ralls said...

>Stuff I don't appreciate: <

For what it's worth, I agree that those are not appropriate ways to make fun of the President.

>1973 Nixon tapes, saying that he was generally against abortion, but was in favor in case of an interracial child? For God's sake, will people PLEASE grasp that attitudes like this were, and are, common, <

I don't see why any historically literate person would not think that. If attitudes like that were not common than there was no way that the numerous laws that were passed against interracial marriage and were enforced right up until 1967 would have happened. Laws, in a democratic country, reflect the attitude of the time.

I do wonder though, what % of blacks also thought that interracial marriages (or sex) was just plain wrong? Obviously they didn't have the power to enforce their views one way or the other, but I do wonder if the view was greater or less than among whites, but I don't have any data on that. Does anyone?

>Human beings aren't inclined to give up unfair or unearned advantage without a fight<

It would be more accurate to say that human beings aren't inclined to give up _any_ advantage without a fight, fair or unfair

>In other words, I concentrate on that which is generative, and heals us all. That's my answer. What's yours?.<

Pretty similar, actually. Time. Things improving a couple % points a year can change the world to an unrecognizable degree in only a few generations.

Christian M. Howell said...

Christian, I have a question for you. You've bragged about the vast number of women you've had sex with. Unless you've had a vasectomy, how could you possibly know whether you've made any of them pregnant? Any children running around out there? Are you sure? And if there are, and you aren't fathering them, aren't you a part of the problem, rather than the solution? I've had many, many, feminist friends suggest that womanizers who can't form relationships are actually misogynists in disguise. I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, but I'm interested in how you would respond.





I'd tell em to kiss my ass. I think you know after like three months and though I hate them I do use rubbers.

I keep saying that having women and having sex with women isn't the same thing. I mean I usually have a wide range of choice, especially in the club - but I guess that goes to show that t-shirts and clubbing don't mix.

Women actually like it when a MAN wears NICE CLOTHES. I haven't even been to the club for awhile though cause the BUM FUCKERS that call themselves men make me sick.

It's not my fault that I joined BP, went on 4 dates and had sex three times. It's a curse. I used to go to Cheetah in NYC after JayZ made it popular and I was on the verge of fulfilling my only fantasy - to actually give a woman head in the club - maybe a friend or two also, and the haters came out.

If you lived in NYC or listened to Wendy Williams, she would talk about Cheetah - not me though.

And back then I wore nice sweat suits and black sneakers. When I finally went back - Cheetah got shut down and changed its name after getting rid of the hottest thing to hit since white women with ass - I went back to GQ mode and had every chick in line with a smile.

That was Mars 2112 though and it had this tiny dance floor - so I played the side. I had Buffie the Body staring at my ummm, dancing.

I wanted to try her but I was in a bad mood cause of BUM ASS DJs and guys that can't dance bent over getting their asses grinded on by women - hmmmm, makes you wonder.

I guess maybe the BUM ASS thing is a recurring theme, huhn?

That's why I'm moving out of NYC. Seeing un- and under-employed BUMS is getting on my nerves.


Anyway, do you understand now that I have safe sex(read:only vaginal - the chances of a woman passing anything not visible are nearly nil) and actually have a scientific method for avoiding pregnancy even without rubbers - but wait I told you before I'm abstinent right now.

Nothing's fallen off and I haven't gotten any calls about knocking anyone up - so I guess maybe I can get really back in shape and casually fuck 20-somethings in LA.

I even make close to $100K so....you'll probably really think I'm a slut next year - unless I like drop dead or something.

Christian M. Howell said...

To me, I see many countries with healthier lifestyle habits than their American counterpoints, and even if we adopt a socialized system and if socialized systems are better at serving everybody, I do not see us as having Japanese infant mortality or Japanese life expectancy rates for the simple reason that we do not live lives as healthy as the Japanese.

Basically, do you think that a socialized medicine system will result in a significant % of Americans adopting healthier lifestyles? Because I don't. My reading of history suggests that government attempts to get people to eat right and exercise will not succeed and that in the long term getting some type of an "anti-fat" pill and similar technological fixes as _fast as possible_ is more likely to be a workable solution on the societal level.





The effort has to be more than the government. Unhealthy foods actually cost less in America so the struggling middle class trying to make ends meet will be more likely to buy the cheaper food.

The government could do more to regulate prices and whether fast food places offer more fruits and vegetables at comparable prices - a serving is a serving.

Of course the 20,00 different kinds of candy waiting at checkout and so many holidays where you're EXPECTED to over eat, it's obvious that we need to reevaluate our priorities.

But I know we won't. So I'll do what I can to maintain and try not to care if people think I'm "crazy."

Pagan Topologist said...

"That's my answer. What's yours?"

I have come more and more to believe that a significant part of the process needs to be contact on a personal level between members of different groups. I have seen this in transformation in my own life, and I am going to venture to generalize.

I grew up in a totally white environment. The only time I ever met a black person were a few black Boy Scouts at a multi-troop camping event. (I think it was called a Camporee.) But, the black troops camped in a different area, and the contact was minimal. When I took ballet classes, all the students and the teacher were white, but the pianist for the ballet school was black; I got to know her a little. My undergrad college had exactly one black student for one term while I was there.

My only "information" about black people was that my mother said that they were no different from white people except in the color of their skin, and my father said that black people were much better musicians than white people could ever be, so I should never think I was superior to a black person. (They both said 'Negroes' which was the standard term at the time.)

Over the years, being xenophilic by nature, I have gradually broadened my circle of acquaintances and friends. As a fast and dirty (and who knows of what relevance) statistic, I just counted up that I have 78 female Facebook friends, of whom 13 are black (one in six) and 54 male Facebook friends, 6 of whom are black (one in nine.) Most all of these are people I know in person; only a few are people I have met only online. I am also married to a black woman. You [Steve] are aware of another point of contact that I will not bring up here for privacy reasons.

I think that the trend of broadening my circle of acquaintances and friends has made a significant difference in my willingness to "see people as people" without pretending that racial differences don't exist. And, no doubt someone can say that since only one in 9 of my male friends is black, whereas one on 6 of my female friends is, that I still have a bias. Fair enough. [Amusing that both divisions come out evenly.]

It is not an all powerful panacea, as recent world events have shown, but bridging divides between people one person at a time is a powerful force. I am always disturbed when people tell me they want to be with their own kind. I have heard this in many different contexts, from many different people, and it always disturbs me.

So, that is my answer to your question, Steve. But your answer is at least as important, I think.

Anonymous said...

"Stuff I don't appreciate"

IMHO, "jokes" about presidential assassination are TREASON and their issuers should be rigorously investigated, and, where possible, PROSECUTED. Hopefully the Secret Service is zealously instilling some genuine fear into the most grievous such offenders. There are times when The State's security apparatus does well to sow wholesome terror.

Concerning America's endemic health problems, particularly it's rampant obesity: I maintain the biggest problem's our overall diet. I exercise regularly, don't eat excessively, and consume junk rarely, yet find losing weight challenging. However, when I visited Thailand for 3 weeks, I let the exercise go, feasted and drank like a worm in tequila, yet lost substantial weight! I chalk it up to the relatively lean Thai diet, which uses an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and goes sparingly on the fats and processed sugar.

Ethiopian_Infidel

suzanne said...

I do not see us as having Japanese infant mortality or Japanese life expectancy rates for the simple reason that we do not live lives as healthy as the Japanese.

the low low infant mortality rate in Japan has come about
because they put their money in prenatal care and not in intensive care neonatal units
so extremely premature infants are not given the enormously expensive tech driven care to all ow them to live
that money is put into prenatal care which lowers the infant mortality rate so much better than the way we do things

Marty S said...

Ethiopian_Infidel's comment about what happened to his weight when he visited Thailand is very interesting because it parallels what my son has observed. He has spent about a third of the last twelve years in Europe. Every time he goes there he loses weight although his diet and exercise don't change significantly. He has also observed visiting European professors tendency to gain weight when they come to North America and lose it again when they go back to Europe. My son thinks it may be something in the food, chemicals or steroids.
With respect to medicine and the profit motive My other son is a physician. Becoming a physician meant forgoing a number of years of income while undergoing schooling and training. He also incurred a very large debt from loans to pay for his medical school and living expenses during this period. He is being very well financially rewarded now for that investment, but how many people would make the early sacrifices if the future rewards were not there.

P.S.
He does see people gratis who can't afford treatment.

Dan Moran said...

Mike Ralls wrote:

89%

and then he wrote

89%

and then he wrote

89%

and then a fourth time he wrote

89%.

All without referencing the much more complex poll it came from.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/112813/americans-rate-national-personal-healthcare-differently.aspx

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Research is a hard call. At least some of the results of medical research will pay off big time, and it's hard to know in advance which ones they'll be.

If I were running the medical research budget, I'd be supporting research into longevity as well as work on curing problems.

And pain management, because quality of life matters.

*****

It would be hard to get a good count on medical discoveries since they aren't of equal size or value.

*****

http://www.miller-mccune.com/health/racisms-hidden-toll-1268?article_page=1

Substantial article about causes of the health disparities between black and whites

*****

Comedian riffing about Obama Extremely funny and not racist.

*****

It's at least as plausible that Nixon forgot he was being taped. I gather that people generally do. What's on record is more than bad enough, but it may well be a fair sample of what he thought.

Mike Ralls said...

>ll without referencing the much more complex poll it came from.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/112813/americans-rate-national-personal-healthcare-differently.aspx<

Actually, I didn't get it from that poll. I got it from here;

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/80618/

A throw away comment without much extra data to it, but it sounded close to previous figures I've read from polls so I didn't bother to research it further. Good enough for an internet argument, in other words. I try to be accurate but this is a displacement activity for me after all, not a thesis. People are as always encouraged to do further research if they wish and if anything I've said it untrue they are doing me a favor by pointing it out.

None of the figures listed in the poll you cite really surprise me though. With a minor exception for the answer to "Overall, how would you rate the quality of healthcare you receive - as excellent, good, only fair, or poor?" According to the survey out of all Americans (which would be the insured and the not) only 3% say it's poor and an additional 1% say it's not applicable (presumably those who don't get any treatment?). If one considers "fair" to be "Moderately good; acceptable or satisfactory" as one of the definition here lists it http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fair, then that means 96% of Americans think _they_ receive satisfactory health care, which is higher than I would have expected.

And I do love how that poll uses "only fair" instead of "fair." The "only" implies a value judgment on "fair", which is loading the question. A poll no-no (in theory). And I also love how it lumps fair in with poor to make in the question "Overall, how would you rate the healthcare coverage in this country - as excellent, good, only fair, or poor?" rather then giving the figures for each. Tsk tsk.

Short version: The overwhelming majority of Americans are satisfied with the health care _they_ receive, but think things are bad for the country as a whole.

Should we then scrap the largely socialized primary education system we have and replace it with one that is completely free market because the situation is not that dissimilar in the field of education

http://www.gallup.com/poll/109945/US-Education-System-Garners-Split-Reviews.aspx

in that most are satisfied with how their own children education is going but most are also dissatisfied with that of the country as a whole?

I say no. I say that if most are satisfied personally that is a more powerful figure than how people _think_ things are for other people. Because people can know how they think things are for them far more easily than they can judge how things are going for others.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

People could be pleased with the health care they've gotten, and still be horrified at dealing with insurance companies and/or worried about what might happen to them if they can't get good insurance.

Steven Barnes said...

Mike--
with all my heart, I hope your family is cancer free now. My mother died of cancer, and left a horrid pile of bills after a lifetime of hard work--so both of us have a dog in this fight...even if we're looking at different ends of the dog.

Dan Moran said...

Well, spank me and call me Shirley. The conservative noise machine almost put another one over.

I finally read the damn poll myself, all the way to the end.

89% of people DO NOT SAY that they are satisfied with their insurance coverage.

89% of people say that they HAVE INSURANCE or some sort.

83% say that their healthcare is excellent or good. 67% describe their COVERAGE (the insurance itself) as excellent or good. 58% say they are satisfied with the cost of their insurance ... and I'd love to see that number broken out for people on private insurance versus free Medicare: I'd guess people on Medicare are happier with their insurance than people on private insurance.

What you can accurately say is that roughly 2/3rds of the country is basically satisfied with their own health insurance (and I think that's skewed by the Medicare satisfaction rate), leaving a third of the country dissatisfied.

Even among the satisfied, a fairly large percentage think that the system is broken and needs repair. This would certainly be my case.

Mike Ralls said...

>I finally read the damn poll myself, all the way to the end.

89% of people DO NOT SAY that they are satisfied with their insurance coverage.

89% of people say that they HAVE INSURANCE or some sort.<

Hang on a second. Tracing back the quote to it's source;

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-10-15-health-poll1.htm

I see;

7. Do you have some form of health insurance or health care coverage, or not?
Yes No No opinion
2006 Sept. 87 13 0

And then this;

13. (Of those who have health care coverage) How would you rate your overall health insurance coverage - excellent, good, not so good or poor?

Positive

Negative

NET Excellent Good NET Not so good Poor No opinion
2006 Sept. ALL COV 88 33 55 12 9 3 *

But then question # 14 says;

14. For each specific item I name, please tell me whether you are very satisfied with it, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Satisfied

Dissatisfied

NET Very Somewhat NET Somewhat Very No opinion
The quality of health care you receive All 89 52 37 10 5 5 1
All Covered 93 56 37 6 4 3 *
--
Question #14 seems to me to indicate that ALL (those covered AND those not covered) are 89% satisfied, while ALL COVERED (those with insurance of some kind) are 93% satisfied. So to me my quote that 89% of Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive seems to stand. What am I missing?

Now if you'll excuse me, my wife is calling me to bed;
http://xkcd.com/386/

Christian M. Howell said...

The new "Transformers" movie is getting bad press about a pair of illiterate jive-talking robots with gold teeth. The excuse of the film-makers? Well, one of the voice actors was black, and that's the way he ran with it. Excuse me...who hired him? Who directed him? That's just lame. Then people will say: "well, look in the inner city, and you'll see black men talking like that..." Sure. And also church people, business people, teachers and so forth. Because I see women selling their asses on the corner is no excuse if the only women I show in a film are prostitutes.






I think I've been telling you that. It's true. A stereotype is when a small group is said to be the norm, but the group of saggersd and thugs IS NOT A SMALL GROUP. It's 95% of 13-40 year old males in NYC.

That would mean that the "Sambots" are an accurate representation of the current state of the the black boy - notice I didn't say man - in America.

I watched the HBO special about "No Child Left Behind" and even in Little Rock, they were saying "Fuck School."

I hate to say it but they're all disowned and I stand behind the depiction. I am moving up the chain very quickly in software even with "individual racists" everywhere.

Barack made it to the highest office in the land.


NO MORE EXCUSES!!!!!

PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!!

Dan Moran said...

Mike,

You've jumped the rails here -- we've been arguing the recent Gallup poll. Your link goes to a years-old USA Today poll.

:-) I do like the XKCD comic. Hadn't seen that one, and thanks for linking it. I'll probably use it myself in the future.

Mike Ralls said...

Nope. You said I got the 89% figure from the gallup poll. I said I didn't and listed the link where I got the 89% figure.

-->ll without referencing the much more complex poll it came from.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/112813/americans-rate-national-personal-healthcare-differently.aspx<

Actually, I didn't get it from that poll. I got it from here;

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/80618/

__

Mike Ralls said...

And, if you'll read what I've been saying, it's the quality of health care that I've been pointing out, not the quality of insurance. They are two different things. And on the quality of health care received, according to the Gallup poll that you are listing, only 4% of Americans do not feel that they receive satisfactory (fair or above) health care. So 96% of Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive. Again, that's different from insurance. That's health care. The what they do to fix you when you break part, not the paying for it when it's all done part.

Dan Moran said...

OK, so Instapundit really did link a 2006 poll and call it "recent?" I thought the Gallup poll was a little old, and it's only half a year ago.

I have no idea where you're coming up with that 96% number in the Gallup poll. There's no such number in it.

Mike Ralls said...

>I have no idea where you're coming up with that 96% number in the Gallup poll. There's no such number in it.<

The math is rather simple. 8th one down. It says, "And among all Americans, 83% say the quality of healthcare they receive is either "excellent" or "good." Only 16% say it's either "only fair" or "poor.""

It then clearly shows that 13% say that the quality of heatchare they receive is "only fair." Fair can be defined in a number of ways, and as I said before in this thread,

>If one considers "fair" to be "Moderately good; acceptable or satisfactory" as one of the definition here lists it http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fair, then that means 96% of Americans think _they_ receive satisfactory health care, which is higher than I would have expected.<

Nancy Lebovitz said...

I'm bewildered at the high proportion of Americans who say they receive satisfactory health care.

The number of people I read on livejournal isn't huge, and I don't select for medical problems, but what I see is a fair number of people who spend years getting a reasonably accurate diagnosis, followed by a long time finding out what might help.

Now, it makes sense that people who have this sort of problem will write a lot about it, while people who get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment won't write as much (and I do see a fair amount of people who get satisfactory care), but there are still a lot who are getting semi-competent care.

Some of this is that there are problems where not very much is known about treatment, but some of it is that it's hard to find doctors who listen.

Sarah said...

At any rate, I liked some of the researcher cartoons on VADLO search engine!

Tom Perkins said...

"Unless a system produces superior results in these two basic indicators of a population's health, what the hell good is it?"

Are you subtracting thug/drug culture driven homicides when calculating life expectancy? Are you looking at how infant mortality statistics are compiled differently between nations?

Why do you postulate you are comparing apples to apples?