60 rants (2)
Hospitals overcharging uninsured people
The bulk of the story in not really that hospitals make uninsured people pay more, it is that they make insurers pay less. It looks like it is common practice in US hospitals to charge their patients for work and materials with 300-500% profit margin. Only most of the country does not know it because they have either health insurance or Medicare and those insurers and government programs negotiate for themselves discounts in range of 75-90%. Also noone can find out the prices of specific procedures in different hospitals making going to a hospital look like blind shopping.
In my mind two thing must be done legislatively about this: demand that all price lists of all publicly accessible hospitals also be freely accessible by the public, ban any kind of discounts or bulk prices that hospitals could give to insurers or government programs. That will ignite a price war and bring the prices down considerably. And in the mean while make a court case that any uninsured person receiving medical attention can demand to be charged as much as Medicare would be charged for the same procedure.
Willie Brand and torture in Afghan prisons
There is just incredible amount of lies buzzing around the current US administration especially with relation to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know that just from shreds of evidence that leaks out despite military discipline. Now top generals claim that prisoners have never been tortured or hanged from ceilings in Afghan prisons run by US army forces, while guards at those prisons claim that the same generals saw the procedures and did not disprove of them in any way. Now the generals blame everything on the guards themselves and even their direct captain claims that he did not see anything. Bullshit!
It is long time that NATO and ANO should step in and report USA to the Security council and impose sanctions on USA for breaking the Geneva convention. Because, if USA can do that and go unpunished, why should other countries uphold human rights of their prisoners?
The Prince of Pot
A Canadian is being charged with drug trafficking by USA for selling marijuana seeds in his shop in Canada. It is formally illegal there, but even if charged, he would only have to pay a fine. However if he is extradited to USA, he would face up to a life sentence. The man is a leader of marijuana legalization movement in Canada.
It may come as a surprise, but I agree with him. Marijuana no more harmful then alcohol or tobacco. Some even argue that marijuana is less harmful to the body and mind then alcohol or tobacco in same doses. If those two substances are allowed, then marijuana should be allowed too, in the same regulated manner as those two. If marijuana is banned then alcohol and tobacco must be banned too - be consequent. By pushing marijuana into the black market governments only make the black economy stronger. Also marijuana acts as a gateway drug just because government says it is as bad as heroin, so people after trying marijuana start thinking "Well marijuana is not that bad, maybe government is lying about heroin too". And after a few months a new unalive junkie is formed out of what could have been a contributing member of society.
Andy rants about outsourcing this week. Fear not Andy - it is easy to outsource labor intensive jobs, but outsourcing creative jobs is much harder - no asian guy can replace you (well maybe except for George Takei :)).