Sunday, March 25, 2007

Universal Health Care

I recently had an interesting discussion regarding universal health care. This discussion was 100% based on economics - although it's very sad when people don't get the care they need, the money that pays for that care has to come out of the pockets of hard-working citizens, and they have troubles of their own. People will get sick and die naturally, and although nature is my bitter enemy, I don't think the government should be involved unless it would result in a profit for the arithmetic mean citizen.

I once thought that the free market would handle medical care in the most efficient manner - people who contribute the most to society would be kept healthier for longer, while people who had nothing significant to contribute would not consume valuable medical resources. However, that is an idealistic and short-term way of analyzing the situation; it does not take into account the "investment" society could be making in potentially productive people, or the market failure caused by insurance companies who will charge people unfair rates.

I'm not advocating socialized health care. A government monopsony is no more desirable than a private monopoly, and in addition to its theoretical likelihood of paying a non-equilibrium price, would realistically result in government bureaucracy and inefficiency. If you think the wait at the doctor's office is bad now, wait until no one has to worry about paying. Without a market mechanism, the inability of the health insurance industry to support the poor would only be replaced by the inability of the government to support anyone.

So here's what I'm thinking, split into two parts:
  • Eliminating the right of any insurance company to charge differing rates based on factors outside of a client's control. This will only redistribute the cost towards people without such factors, but keep in mind that there is no point in providing an incentive to do something impossible.
    • Currently, factors such as hereditary illness or gender are fair game for price discrimination.
    • Ideally, only choices such as smoking or vegetarianism would factor into one's insurance pricing.
    • I think this policy should be applied to all forms of insurance that are government mandated (like vehicle insurance) or sponsored, but that's off topic.
  • Government funding towards an insurance plan of the recipient's choice, of equal value for all citizens.
    • If the government simply paid doctors and pharmacists for a citizen directly, then one of two problems will arise:
      • The government determines what gets funding and what doesn't. As impressive as the government's decision-making ability has been thusfar, I don't think they'd do a very good job.
      • The government just pays for what anyone can get a prescription for. Wait, why am I arguing against this? THIS IS A GREAT IDEA!
    • Private insurance has market pressures to reduce overhead, accurately assess the needs of patients (or risk losing business), and advertise to the right groups.
    • As opposed to completely socialized health care, we could gradually transition towards this system, allowing individuals with enough money to buy more expensive coverage if they so desire.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Google Reader

Since I frequently just post links to other blogs that I read, I've added a Google Reader sidebar to the right. I'm going to see if I can better integrate this with Firefox.

UPDATE: Ok, I'm taking it off. I can't make it not display my real name when you click the "read more", and I can't add commentary.

UPDATE AGAIN: Bah, fuck Google Reader. I'll stick with my RSS ticker.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

I just found this out

Those Tennessee BASTARDS! I'll show them by being even MORE irreverent while I'm there! Drugs! Booze! Sex! Rock & Roll! YEAH!

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Saturday, March 10, 2007


Monday, March 05, 2007


Ok, I've finally upgraded to Blogger 2.0. In keeping with the upgrade spirit, I'll shamelessly copy Jeff and start posting more often.

In case anyone actually cares about what I've been up to, here's the whole story:
  • Work: You know how in Dilbert, the boss promises the moon and the burden falls on his employees? That actually happens. I'm due for a raise soon, and if it's not enough, I'm going to start looking around. I'm getting kinda sick of Hartford anyways.
  • School: HORRIBLY FAILING MISERABLY. Perhaps I should have said to myself, "hey, maybe computer and systems engineering master's degrees are intended for people who know anything whatsoever about computers or electronics." If/when I flunk out of grad school, I'll look into distance learning elsewhere, which may better suit my addled mind.
  • Physical: I'm still as fat as ever, and am only going to the gym twice a week or so. I've been eating low-fat/calorie food, but in high volumes it doesn't help as much. I think the problem is that I spend so much time sitting in front of the computer and not running around. Since I'm unwilling to part with the internet, I'm thinking about:
    • Switching to a gym that has treadmills and Wi-Fi. Might be tough, since not many people are both nerds AND care about fitness.
    • Stealing my parents' treadmill that they have in their basement and collects dust.
      • If I ever use this, my laptop, and my bluetooth headset at once, my apartment will look pretty much like this.
  • Chicks: Tara and I broke up a while ago, but we're still getting along very well, and we're still going to Bonnaroo in about 100 days.
    • I'm really looking forward to this: my vacation last year in Colorado was the bomb, so I'm hoping Tennessee kicks ass as well. We've got elite VIP tickets, which allow us to shower and generally act like we're better than the other hippies.
      • Tool is playing. Anti-drug laws are practically unenforced. Enough said.
        • No, not enough said. DRRUUUUUUUGGGGGSSSSS!!!!!
    • Now that I'm single again, I'm playing the field as ineptly as always.
  • Pet Projects: Lots of almost started projects, little actually done. Just like I like it.
    • I'm working on a script to automatically record internet radio with streamripper and then load it onto my iPod with GNUpod every night, providing me with a constant supply of new music.
    • I still lie awake at night dreaming about how awesome the Codex project could be if I did it well. Doing so will take a lot more time and effort than I originally thought.
    • Oh yeah, About that. I... um.... I'm waiting for Ubuntu 7.04 to come out before I mess with my server. Yeah... that's it.
    • I've been using the ZCorp Spectrum 510 3D printer extensively at work, and am trying to think of a better method for solid freeform fabrication with common metals.

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