A description of my day today

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A description of my day today

Postby Ragorn » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:52 pm

This morning, I woke up to my alarm clock, which is powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I took a shower in clean water, supplied to me by the local municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration was predicting for the weather, based on information provided by satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US Department of Agriculture-inspected food. I took my medication, carefully regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, before leaving for work.

I had time to eat my breakfast thanks to the national labor standards regulated by the US Congress. I knew what time it was thanks to the accurate timekeeping of the US Naval Observatory. Anyway, I got into my automobile (approved and inspected by the National Traffic Safety Administration) and set out to work, using the roads built by my local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation. Along the way, I stopped to fill my car with fuel whose octane and safety ratings were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. On the way out the door, I deposited my rent check into a mailbox provided by the United States Postal Service before dropping my kids off at public school.

After work, I drove my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to the house which has not burned down in my absence because of state and local building codes, along with the fire marshall's inspection. Thankfully, my house had not been plundered of all its valuables, due in part to the local police department.

After a long day of work, I logged onto the TorilMUD BBS so I could bitch about how badly Obama is fucking up the country with Socialism and how the US Government can never do anything right.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Corth » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:13 pm

I had to work all day today. If I didn't have to pay for all of those benefits you enjoy I could have worked 3 hours less.

What is your point?
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth

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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Tasan » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:19 pm

I woke up at 9am, showered, shaved and checked my email. Went to the grocer to pickup food for the boat outing. Was in the boat and on the lake at 1:30pm. I love fridays.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Sarvis » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:22 pm

Corth wrote:I had to work all day today. If I didn't have to pay for all of those benefits you enjoy I could have worked 3 hours less.



That's pretty funny!
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Ragorn » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:07 am

Corth wrote:I had to work all day today. If I didn't have to pay for all of those benefits you enjoy I could have worked 3 hours less.

What is your point?

Soo... what. You don't like roads?
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Mitharx » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:38 am

Old school.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Corth » Sat Aug 15, 2009 6:26 am

Ragorn wrote:
Corth wrote:I had to work all day today. If I didn't have to pay for all of those benefits you enjoy I could have worked 3 hours less.

What is your point?

Soo... what. You don't like roads?


I like roads. On the other hand, I think I'm quite capable of choosing a safe car to drive on said roads without relying upon the NTSB. Consumer Reports anyone?

And I certainly do not need to be protected from obscenities by the FCC. In fact, thankfully, unregulated channels exist outside the scope of the FCC - i.e. - Cable TV and Satellite Radio.

Just as you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, I have a feeling we would somehow figure out a way to keep track of the time of day without government influence as well.

But really.. fiat money is a GOOD thing? In god we trust and all that. You know, you can work your whole life for that paper and one day it all goes away when the government decides to add an extra zero to the end. Zimbabwe loves its fiat legal tender money.

But hey, the government has some good ideas now and again. For instance, cash for clunkers. We can create wealth... by destroying it. Ante up!
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Sarvis » Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:32 pm

I still think it's funny you think the laws and regulations we have came out of nowhere, as opposed to resulting from injuries and accidents caused by the initial lack of those regulations.

Oh, and you wouldn't be working 3 hours less. If taxes never existed everyone's available resources would go up, and inflation would burn away your expected gain.

Not to mention you'd probably have a lot more work, with all the consumers getting hurt and wanting to sue!
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Corth » Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:50 pm

You are going to have to explain that inflation theory to me Sarvis. Thats a new one.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Sarvis » Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:59 pm

Corth wrote:You are going to have to explain that inflation theory to me Sarvis. Thats a new one.


Really?

Come on Corth, I know you know this one. It's basically the same thing you'd argue if we were talking about minimum wage.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:54 pm

Nice post Ragorn. The message is very nicely laid out. Simple.

I just want to point out how you used the word "regulated" so much when referring to what the government does with all the various Departments or agencies. The government regulating things is, in my book, part of what government "can" do. Ensuring our safety through roads, weather and the police. Regulating what chemicals companies can put into what we eat. That's great and essential to a "civilized" society.

The problem is when government tries "controlling" parts of our lives that we can control, instead of just regulating them. How good of a job have they done controlling Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid? Look at how the issue of Healthcare currently is bringing so many thousands out now. The government wants to control it, instead of just regulating something it should have done years ago. The entire problem around Healthcare is the current cost to many. Why is it so high? There are many reasons, many of which are "bad" reasons. But the crux of the matter is that the actual "cost" of everything has been blown out of proportion. The cost of an MRI varies between $2500-$8000. Does that make any actual sense? The problem now is that all these procedures are blown out of proportion so that the "technician" that presses the button gets paid more, the doctor, the nurse, the hospital for using the machine, and the insurance company. If the government were to regulate this, you can bet your ass the cost of Healthcare for the average family would drop substantially, thus allowing more people to purchase a plan, etc.

I went off on a tangent, sorry. Just trying to show the difference between regulation and total control.

My friend the other day showed me the hospital bill for when he was born. His parents paid it all, since there wasn't the "insurance" there is today. His parents paid $598 for the entire process around his birth. This was in 1975. If you adjust that a little for inflation or whatnot, how much would it be? Currently it's between $8000 to more than $10000 for a NORMAL birth, no complications, etc. That's around how much our insurance was billed for our 3 kids' births. Oh plus we had to pay a $500 "deductible" per child. That's basically what his parents paid for everything back then. So inflation aside, do you think those figures make sense? I sure don't. That's what needs regulating. Not total control.

Huge tangent, again, sorry.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Kifle » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:17 pm

I agree with most of that, Rags, but the FCC shit? Seriously? They do nothing but baby a society and remove choice and parental responsibility. The FDA regulations, although a bit corrupt, do provide a service that doesn't remove control -- they simply approve products which may contain hazardous ingredients. The other products can still be sold, they will just have to be advertised as non FDA approved. This is how the FCC should operate. There should be FCC "approved" stations, and then other stations should have a little box in the corner saying they are non FCC approved. Simple, easy, still gives people the ability to choose and create what they wish, but it also allows for personal choice.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Sarvis » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:35 pm

Kifle wrote:I agree with most of that, Rags, but the FCC shit? Seriously? They do nothing but baby a society and remove choice and parental responsibility. The FDA regulations, although a bit corrupt, do provide a service that doesn't remove control -- they simply approve products which may contain hazardous ingredients. The other products can still be sold, they will just have to be advertised as non FDA approved. This is how the FCC should operate. There should be FCC "approved" stations, and then other stations should have a little box in the corner saying they are non FCC approved. Simple, easy, still gives people the ability to choose and create what they wish, but it also allows for personal choice.



The FCC gets to control broadcast because they manage the frequencies everything is broadcast at. However they do NOT have any control over cable, so in effect we DO have FCC "approved" and "unapproved" stations.

I won't argue that the necessity for controlling the airwaves ALSO means they should control content, however they really are just being the voice of the people on this. You'll notice, for instance, that most cable stations keep pretty much the same guidelines as broadcast TV. There is tremendous pressure from certain groups to keep profanity and sex off the air. (Dismemberment is ok though! And the rules on profanity are relaxing over time) Cable stations which broke those rules would likely lose advertising as companies attempted to dissociate themselves from the depraved cable network.

Sad, really.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Tasan » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:20 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:The entire problem around Healthcare is the current cost to many. Why is it so high? There are many reasons, many of which are "bad" reasons. But the crux of the matter is that the actual "cost" of everything has been blown out of proportion. The cost of an MRI varies between $2500-$8000. Does that make any actual sense? The problem now is that all these procedures are blown out of proportion so that the "technician" that presses the button gets paid more, the doctor, the nurse, the hospital for using the machine, and the insurance company.


I think you are glossing over a huge factor here, which I just want to point out. Much of the over-inflated costs are due to medical malpractice suits brought against the insurers and hospitals. You end up paying for someone else to benefit from a mistake that was made.

The fact that our society has allowed billions to be paid out for irresponsible litigation is the single most important change that needs to be looked at. Your peers in court see you as a single entity vs. a corporation, not a group of similar people with jobs, making it easier to give you the millions you so rightfully deserve after you dump your own coffee in your lap.

Societal changes and moral shifts have caused more problems than anything government related, though the government doesn't help when it supports these shifts instead of denying them.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Corth » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:33 pm

Doug is absolutely right. One of the biggest reasons for the high cost of healthcare is ridiculous malpractice insurance premiums paid by the doctors. The democrats are against tort reform because they are firmly in the pockets of the trial lawyers.

This is where Sarvis makes a completely irrelevent reference to me being a lawyer and the conversation gets diverted even more off topic.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Sarvis » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:18 pm

Corth wrote:Doug is absolutely right. One of the biggest reasons for the high cost of healthcare is ridiculous malpractice insurance premiums paid by the doctors. The democrats are against tort reform because they are firmly in the pockets of the trial lawyers.

This is where Sarvis makes a completely irrelevent reference to me being a lawyer and the conversation gets diverted even more off topic.


Wow, someone can't take a joke...

But do you have any actual evidence that the Democrats are "in the pockets" of trial lawyers? Isn't it just a little bit possible that, oh, I don't know, they don't want people to suffer lifelong injuries or disfigurement because some doctor was a careless twit?

But don't worry, I'm absolutely sure you could cut another 3 hours off your workday if doctor's didn't have to be held responsible for being fuck-ups and killing people!
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Corth » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:25 pm

http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Trial-lawyers-seek-return-on-contributions-to-Senate-Democrats-53177542.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/30/AR2009073002816.html

Those were recent articles. Here is an older one:

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/23/us/trial-lawyers-pour-money-into-democrats-chests.html

I have nothing against people seeking compensation when a doctor acts negligently and they are injured as a result. I don't see a reason, though, for people to obtain ridiculous windfalls at the expense of everyone else. The balance is way out of whack. Democratic politicians who refuse to consider tort reform are simply demonstrating their interest in maintaining contributions from trial lawyers.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:56 pm

Tasan wrote:I think you are glossing over a huge factor here, which I just want to point out. Much of the over-inflated costs are due to medical malpractice suits brought against the insurers and hospitals. You end up paying for someone else to benefit from a mistake that was made.

The fact that our society has allowed billions to be paid out for irresponsible litigation is the single most important change that needs to be looked at. Your peers in court see you as a single entity vs. a corporation, not a group of similar people with jobs, making it easier to give you the millions you so rightfully deserve after you dump your own coffee in your lap.

Societal changes and moral shifts have caused more problems than anything government related, though the government doesn't help when it supports these shifts instead of denying them.


Totally agree as well.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby kiryan » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:54 pm

Humorous post Ragorn and it outlines the problem perfectly... our complete dependence on government for everything. No need for any personal responsibility.

Also, I'd like to point out that there is virtually no difference between your day and the day of someone who doesn't work other than they didn't have to go to work to have a similar experience.

That was a perfect response Corth.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Todrael » Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:31 am

Politics is the mindkiller.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Ragorn » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:34 pm

kiryan wrote:Humorous post Ragorn and it outlines the problem perfectly... our complete dependence on government for everything. No need for any personal responsibility.

Also, I'd like to point out that there is virtually no difference between your day and the day of someone who doesn't work other than they didn't have to go to work to have a similar experience.

That was a perfect response Corth.

I'm curious to understand your opinion of how personal responsibility relates to, say... I dunno, the regulation of medication. Do you think that if the FDA didn't exist that you'd simply be able to "responsible" your way into knowing which medications were safe?

Do you think you'd be able to "responsible" your way into maintaining upkept roads?

Do you think you'd be able to "responsible" your way into weather prediction or creation of your own currency?

No, of course not. You rely on government for these things because you're unable to do it yourself. I assume you're home-birthing your next child of course, rather than using the facilities provided by the government-subsidized local hospital... or are you attending some kind of hospital-for-profit?

Which private school do your kids attend, or do you homeschool? Just wondering :)
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby kiryan » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:53 pm

lol, I get no benefit from refusing my fair share of entitlements that the American people have deemed I have a right to. If I could pay less taxes, or not be subject to some of the laws I would seriously consider it. I've thought about moving to an Indian reservation... I'd move to another country if I could find one better, regardless its not as good and free as it could be.

You can't convince me that I'm somehow betraying my principles by exercising my rights despite disagreeing with the whole system. And pointing out my hipocrisy is an equally futile endeavor, I'm comfortable that my actions in these areas are in opposition to my views. There is what you think is right, and there is what is right given the reality of your specific situation.

BTW, my autistic daughter thanks you and all the other tax payers for giving her a 200k or 300k education a year and the social security checks she will start getting when she is 18. You'd think that I'd be advocating and voting for more benefits...

Its amazing, I never realized that no one could go anywhere if government wasn't there to make roads.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Sarvis » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:04 pm

It's funny, Kiryan, that you say you can't find a better country to live in. I'm relatively sure there are many countries that do not provide some or most of these services. Why are they not better?
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Corth » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:28 pm

Hah - one day I'll have to argue Ragorn about the FDA. My preference is to rely upon responsibility when it comes to what I want to put into my body. Certainly seems obnoxious to me that the government tells me I can't use a particular narcotic (for recreational or medicinal purposes).
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Corth » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:00 am

Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Sarvis » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:24 am

Corth wrote:Hah - one day I'll have to argue Ragorn about the FDA. My preference is to rely upon responsibility when it comes to what I want to put into my body. Certainly seems obnoxious to me that the government tells me I can't use a particular narcotic (for recreational or medicinal purposes).


I sincerely hope you're willing to conduct a double blind trial on every single random combination of chemicals you might need to put into your body...
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Desirsar » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:36 am

I have always thought the failing in litigation in our country is the protection through law of individuals of their actions when working in a corporation or hospital or other collective. For medical malpractice, video tape or otherwise record all procedures so you can very easily assign blame if someone is negligent. If it was simply a mistake, the individual(s) at fault wholly share the cost of correction the mistake. If it was negligence, the cost is still paid by those at fault, but they lose their license to practice, permanently. "Pain and suffering"? Life is pain and suffering, and yours is worth about two cents, which is all you get. "Wrongful death" needs to have a fixed dollar value assigned to it ($100,000 seems high to me), plus refunding the cost of the care that led to death. (If you really insist on punitive damages, forcibly liquidate the assets of those guilty of negligence, no protection for home or anything else, give them 10%, give the "victim" 10%, and the government collects the rest to use for charitable organizations or maintaining government programs, such as covering for when an individual at fault of either type has insufficient assets to correct the mistake.)

When it's corporate, investigate to determine an individual at fault. I'm all for the judge laughing out of court someone who stupidly dumps their coffee in their own lap because they don't properly secure it. If the worker put the lid on poorly, the worker pays the entire medical cost. (Again, I scoff at "pain and suffering".) If you want to keep fast food wages (or any other labor that could have liability as such) from skyrocketing because of the risk versus the pay rate, nationalize a "worker safety insurance" to cover people when they're implicated in a case such as this and their negligence was not malicious. When it's actually because the liquid was too hot (which is probably going to require melting through the cup to be at fault in this case), you find the employee who set the machine to high, the manager who didn't keep their store's equipment in repair, or the executive committee somewhere that decided on the temperature at which the coffee should be served, or the manufacturer of the faulty cup (yes, everything is going to have to be this well scrutinized and documented), and no one in any corporate chain is afforded any protection. (In fact, I'd go so far as to implicate everyone up the chain from the person involved when it was a poor decision as opposed to a poor action. Cut into the CEO's bonus due to coffee spills and they'll pay for employee accident insurance before nationalizing it becomes an issue...)

Phew. That's way too much to think about, and, having written the bit below this quote before the bit above, I apply its logic and say that either system will reach approximately the same equilibrium point, whether the actual numbers attached after the dollar sign as the same - any particular labor will still have the same relative value. Legislate out "pain and suffering" or other punitive awards and we should be all set.

Corth wrote:I had to work all day today. If I didn't have to pay for all of those benefits you enjoy I could have worked 3 hours less.


You forget to imagine the 10 more hours you'll need to work that day to cover the cost of hiring private security for your house, building or buying your own methods of generating electricity, clean water... the list could go on to cover the entire original post. Eventually, you band together with other people to divide these costs (since the whole dollar cost comes down as the benefits are shared), and you eventually grow into a state, the general group of people in charge of maintaining these benefits becomes your government, and the people specific to each benefit a regulatory agency.

Barring a few petty moral issues (which are generally based on particular belief systems about imaginary beings, and in what way and how often you talk to them, for which some other regulatory agency should be taking you away in their clean white coats), political parties in such systems seem only to divide on how much to tax, how much to spend, where to spend, and specifically who pays for which portion of the tax. These political divisions are all short-sighted, however. Rich complain that they pay too much on a percentage system, poor complain too much about the dollar amount they pay. You can adjust the system to benefit either side, but over the long term, wages and consumer prices and eventual tax dollar numbers all reach an equilibrium point, and everyone is just as much richer or poorer than everyone else as they would have been in the other system (barring a punitive percentage tax, like 75% or even 100%) unless they effect upon themselves (and not upon everyone else in the society) mobility between those extremes.

Short version : Even in the most "free market" and "capitalism" intended structures of government, eventually people will voluntarily implement many forms of the textbook definition of socialism, because it makes fiscal sense to do so.

Edit -
Sarvis wrote:
Corth wrote:Hah - one day I'll have to argue Ragorn about the FDA. My preference is to rely upon responsibility when it comes to what I want to put into my body. Certainly seems obnoxious to me that the government tells me I can't use a particular narcotic (for recreational or medicinal purposes).


I sincerely hope you're willing to conduct a double blind trial on every single random combination of chemicals you might need to put into your body...


The FDA protects consumers from being sold bottles of olive oil and told it cures arthritis, herpes, and near-sightedness all with a single drop. Considering the availability of information regarding drugs anymore (darn internet), we don't really need that protection anymore. If someone takes a lethal overdose or combination, let them twitch on the ground, foaming at the mouth, until they die. The ones smart enough not to self-diagnose and treat, well... insert Darwin quote or joke here.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Kifle » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:52 am

Desirsar wrote:The ones smart enough not to self-diagnose and treat, well... insert Darwin quote or joke here.


I love how you end this right here... There we go relying on experts again. The FDA does much more than avert snake oil frauds.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Kifle » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:53 am

Corth wrote:Certainly seems obnoxious to me that the government tells me I can't use a particular narcotic (for recreational or medicinal purposes).


Blame Reagan for that one.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Sarvis » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:51 pm

Desirsar wrote:
The FDA protects consumers from being sold bottles of olive oil and told it cures arthritis, herpes, and near-sightedness all with a single drop. Considering the availability of information regarding drugs anymore (darn internet), we don't really need that protection anymore. If someone takes a lethal overdose or combination, let them twitch on the ground, foaming at the mouth, until they die. The ones smart enough not to self-diagnose and treat, well... insert Darwin quote or joke here.



They don't even necessarily stop the sales of "snake oil." Smilin' Bob, anyone?

What they DO take care of is making sure real drugs are safe. This is a tough one, because the best examples of the FDA keeping us safe from bad drugs are the ones where they failed to do so. What was it, phen-phen? The diet drug that caused heart attacks? The corporation certainly didn't care to test enough, and while the FDA messed that one up I still think we're safer having that extra layer of testing.

At the very least, it's a nice case of BOTH free market forces AND the government failing. :P
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Ragorn » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:59 pm

kiryan wrote:You can't convince me that I'm somehow betraying my principles by exercising my rights despite disagreeing with the whole system. And pointing out my hipocrisy is an equally futile endeavor, I'm comfortable that my actions in these areas are in opposition to my views. There is what you think is right, and there is what is right given the reality of your specific situation.

Just because you aren't ashamed to be a hypocrite doesn't mean you aren't one.

BTW, my autistic daughter thanks you and all the other tax payers for giving her a 200k or 300k education a year and the social security checks she will start getting when she is 18. You'd think that I'd be advocating and voting for more benefits..

Tell her she's welcome. It's great that she'll be able to get an education that you otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby kiryan » Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:19 am

i am a hippocrite. so what?

Truth is truth regardless of whether the person spouting it is a hippocrite.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Ragorn » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:15 pm

kiryan wrote:i am a hippocrite. so what?

Truth is truth regardless of whether the person spouting it is a hippocrite.

This is the point at which I usually stop arguing with Christians and Republicans. When you recognize that your views are inconsistent with your actions, yet you don't recognize why that costs you credibility, there isn't much further I can take the discussion.

This is the same sort of response as "yes I realize the facts are on your side, I don't care. I have FAITH."

Well... ok. Argument over. GG.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:22 pm

Ragorn wrote:This is the same sort of response as "yes I realize the facts are on your side, I don't care. I have FAITH."


Isn't that why people voted for Obama? *duck*
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Vigis » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:37 pm

Tasan wrote:
Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:The entire problem around Healthcare is the current cost to many. Why is it so high? There are many reasons, many of which are "bad" reasons. But the crux of the matter is that the actual "cost" of everything has been blown out of proportion. The cost of an MRI varies between $2500-$8000. Does that make any actual sense? The problem now is that all these procedures are blown out of proportion so that the "technician" that presses the button gets paid more, the doctor, the nurse, the hospital for using the machine, and the insurance company.


I think you are glossing over a huge factor here, which I just want to point out. Much of the over-inflated costs are due to medical malpractice suits brought against the insurers and hospitals. You end up paying for someone else to benefit from a mistake that was made.

The fact that our society has allowed billions to be paid out for irresponsible litigation is the single most important change that needs to be looked at. Your peers in court see you as a single entity vs. a corporation, not a group of similar people with jobs, making it easier to give you the millions you so rightfully deserve after you dump your own coffee in your lap.

Societal changes and moral shifts have caused more problems than anything government related, though the government doesn't help when it supports these shifts instead of denying them.


Hi guys! Been awhile.

I thought I would jump onto this point (even though I haven't read all the way through the topic) because the outrageous awards that juries are willing to award when a large company or hospital is being sued affect a heck of a lot more than your health care costs.

Many of you know I am in the transportation industry. Take a look around your house today and everything inside it or used to construct it was hauled to you by a transportation company. When companies have to pay out huge sums of money, they have to find a way to mitigate that loss. We charge our customer a penny more per mile, maybe more. My company alone drives the equivalent of 30 times around the equator every day; we are going to have accidents and sometimes we are at fault but many times we are not. I'll give you an example:

A drunken driver rear-ended one of our tractor trailers killing both the driver and the passenger. A state trooper witnessed the accident first-hand. The drunk driver's family sued our company and their lawyer offered a settlement of something on the order of $5 million. With the eye witness account of a state patrolman and the fact that our driver was obeying all traffic laws and was rear-ended, our general counsel felt sure enough of success that we went to trial. The jury awarded the plaintiff $18 million.... We are appealing the verdict, not because of the amount (the law in that particular state does not allow appeal on awards); we are appealing on a technicality and hoping like hell the higher court will reverse the decision.

In the meantime, you are going to pay an extra 15 cents for your soda pop, or an extra dime for your gallon of milk. The stupid thing is that it is the general public, a trial of your peers who reward stupidity and avarice, and it is the general public who sees their cost of living increase because of it. In my opinion, a drunken and speeding motorist was very unlikely to make $18 million over their entire lifetime - not saying it couldn't happen....just not very likely.

Okay, back to my cave! See you all in a few months.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Desirsar » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:35 am

How did the jury find for the plaintiff if it was as simple as a drunk driver running into a truck driving legally? They would award nothing if they didn't find the truck at fault somehow...

Edit - Cheated and looked at your profile, Vigis, to see if you list where you're from to Google the case. Only 47 miles from here... at least you have all the good arcades in the state.

Also edit - So I found in my search an archive of articles about "personal responsibility", mostly detailing silly lawsuit awards. I have finally figured out how to stop them forever - the judges and juries must be allowed to and required to set conditions on the acceptance of the award. Sue McDonald's for making you fat somehow? Fine, have your million dollars. If you're ever caught entering a McDonald's again or eating their food, you have to return the award. Sue a bar or bartender for serving you drinks when you later are injured or someone is killed in a crash? Have your punitive damages, but if anyone in the immediate family of anyone receiving the award ever is convicted of DUI, the award must be returned. The one that gave me the thought was a woman who sued Tuscon, Arizona for breaking her ankle in a gopher hole in a park. "Here's your $450,000. If you ever set foot in a public park in the state of Arizona again, you have to return the award."

Further edit :
Vigis wrote:In my opinion, a drunken and speeding motorist was very unlikely to make $18 million over their entire lifetime - not saying it couldn't happen....just not very likely.

That's like... every Hollywood actor ever, most pro athletes, and other celebrities like singers, or Paris Hilton, or the Bush daughters...
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Corth » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:33 am

No offense to Vigis but I would be surprised if that is the full story. There have been some very weird results in litigation.. but the circumstances as described would really be beyond anything I've seen.

That being said - I completely agree with his main point. There needs to be some sort of reform to limit the damages that people can sue for. It creates a windfall for a few people, and everyone else pays highers costs for it. There is no real justification for it except to keep the trial lawyers happy.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Todrael » Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:48 pm

What's the goal? A happy life? Material wealth? Progress?

I haven't seen many goals stated here other than 'get my way'. So much arguing, and yet I bet if people started sitting down and talking about what their true goal was, both sides would start agreeing on some points. Should people be happier in aggregate? That sounds like a good goal. Should the arts and sciences continue to grow and flourish? Bingo, that's spot on. Should we all be able to afford the luxuries that we've become accustomed to? Well, that would certainly be nice...

Implementation is where the differences creep in, I think. And that's based on the ability to predict what actions will produce what results. "If we implement health care reform, the country will go into so much debt that hyperinflation and lack of credit will destroy us." "If we reduce government regulation, the corporations will run roughshod over the people." These are predictive statements, not facts. They are not facts because they are statements about the future, and nobody here knows the future with 100 percent certainty.

In my real life arguments, I've taken to assigning percentage values to predictive statements, and betting real money against people who are against my position. The percentages show how sure I am of a particular outcome or thought, and the betting allows me to put that surety into practice. I won $5 recently by pointing out to a friend that the IRS doesn't take thousands of extra dollars of your money just because you're $1 into the next tax bracket. Only the extra $1 is taxed at the higher bracket (actually it's in $50 increments, but still). I was incredibly sure, and this was the first time he was sure enough he was willing to take me up on one of the bets. Most of the time he's fairly unsure, and after hitting up primary sources, we get to see who was right.

Nobody here is really citing primary sources, or arguing over things that could be factual. They're all arguments about the future and what they predict without any priors stated, without any probabilities, without any sort of backing to show they actually mean it. It's all internet tough guy ranting. Do some reading on Bayesian probability (warning: thinking involved. heresy, i know) and maybe you'll learn how to say something that makes sense. This whole forum tends to read like foaming at the mouth gibberish to me.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Desirsar » Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:39 pm

The amusing part to me is that anyone who wins an obviously frivolous case for some huge money award had better not do it at the expense of their employer, as this person will never get a job that pays well enough that they run background checks again in their life. Then they'll be forced to live off of the management of their winnings, which they will probably waste rather than invest, and end up poor for a long time as a result.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Tasan » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:33 pm

A 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that claims without evidence of error "are not uncommon, but most [72%] are denied compensation. The vast majority of expenditures [54%] go toward litigation over errors and payment of them. The overhead costs of malpractice litigation are exorbitant." Physicians examined the records of 1452 closed malpractice claims. Ninety-seven percent were associated with injury; of them, 73% got compensation. Three percent of the claims were not associated with injuries; of them, 16% got compensation. 63% were associated with errors; of them, 73% got compensation (average $521,560). Thirty-seven percent were not associated with errors; of them, 28% got compensation (average $313,205). Claims not associated with errors accounted for 13 to 16% percent of the total costs. For every dollar spent on compensation, 54 cents went to administrative expenses (including lawyers, experts, and courts). Claims involving errors accounted for 78 percent of administrative costs.


Volume 354:2024-2033 May 11, 2006 Number 19 - NEJM

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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Kifle » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:35 pm

Tasan wrote:
A 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that claims without evidence of error "are not uncommon, but most [72%] are denied compensation. The vast majority of expenditures [54%] go toward litigation over errors and payment of them. The overhead costs of malpractice litigation are exorbitant." Physicians examined the records of 1452 closed malpractice claims. Ninety-seven percent were associated with injury; of them, 73% got compensation. Three percent of the claims were not associated with injuries; of them, 16% got compensation. 63% were associated with errors; of them, 73% got compensation (average $521,560). Thirty-seven percent were not associated with errors; of them, 28% got compensation (average $313,205). Claims not associated with errors accounted for 13 to 16% percent of the total costs. For every dollar spent on compensation, 54 cents went to administrative expenses (including lawyers, experts, and courts). Claims involving errors accounted for 78 percent of administrative costs.


Volume 354:2024-2033 May 11, 2006 Number 19 - NEJM

Happy Tod?


What I'm getting from this is lower lawyer fees and you lower health insurance...
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Todrael » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:41 pm

No, because it's a bunch of statistics that basically says 'if you get sued, you'll be spending a lot of money on lawyers and experts.' No duh. It doesn't say anything about the health care industry as a whole, or how medical malpractice affects it.

This study says that malpractice suits account for $12 per capita (about $3.6 billion total) annual spending, which is a little more than 0.15% of our $2.3 trillion total health spending. If you eliminate malpractice suits entirely, you save yourself $12 a year. Congratulations.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Tasan » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:54 pm

And this is why I don't argue with people on the internet anymore.

Your article doesn't even include the cost of litigation, it merely focuses on actual payout dollars.

Congratulations for missing the point.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby teflor the ranger » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:58 pm

Ragorn wrote:After a long day of work, I logged onto the TorilMUD BBS so I could bitch about how badly Obama is fucking up the country with Socialism and how the US Government can never do anything right.


Obama projects two trillion dollars more deficit than previous anticipated.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Todrael » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:24 pm

Tasan wrote:Your article doesn't even include the cost of litigation, it merely focuses on actual payout dollars.

You're absolutely right, Tasan, and I realized it shortly after posting, but decided not to put it in, since you had already provided that data. It adds, according to the study you cited, 54% of the cost of the payout, meaning $6.50 per capita, raising the total cost savings from the elimination of medical malpractice to $18.50 per person per year. We can raise that even further by removing the 45 million uninsured, bumping it up to $21.75 for those of us who are obviously intelligent and hardworking enough to deserve health care. Olive Garden, here I come!
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Todrael » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:38 pm

Tasan wrote:And this is why I don't argue with people on the internet anymore.

[....]

Congratulations for missing the point.

At least we're actually talking about facts now, however accurate they might be. Not nearly as much fun as hyperbolic ranting, I agree, but it provides a much better map of reality.

Are the facts as I've presented them true and complete? I have a 50 to 70 percent confidence level in them. If they don't show the whole picture, I would certainly like to see more facts, so I could achieve an even better understanding.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby kiryan » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:43 pm

What about the cost of "defensive medicine"?

My wife had a headache, we called the on call physician, had a 15 word conversation, he said go to the ER. We went to the ER, I can't remember what they did, but it wasn't much. Then from there we went to see our doctor, who ordered an MRI. The MRI came back "light" (which might indicate cysts), so they ordered another more thorough one.

That was probably around $10,000 when take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning would've sufficed 25 years ago. I'm sure the doctor / hospital didn't want to get their ass sued off if she ended up having an aneurysm. The real cost of malpractice is the extra tests and procedures ordered to prevent a finding of negligence.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Todrael » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:51 pm

From my cursory search on the costs of MRIs, it could have been as low as $400 (average closer to $2000), and you seem to admit you have no idea how much it actually cost. If you have any facts regarding defensive medicine (a single, imprecise anecdote doesn't provide enough data for me to update appropriately), I'd love to hear them, Kiryan.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby amena wolfsnarl » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:29 pm

kiryan wrote:What about the cost of "defensive medicine"?

My wife had a headache, we called the on call physician, had a 15 word conversation, he said go to the ER. We went to the ER, I can't remember what they did, but it wasn't much. Then from there we went to see our doctor, who ordered an MRI. The MRI came back "light" (which might indicate cysts), so they ordered another more thorough one.

That was probably around $10,000 when take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning would've sufficed 25 years ago. I'm sure the doctor / hospital didn't want to get their ass sued off if she ended up having an aneurysm. The real cost of malpractice is the extra tests and procedures ordered to prevent a finding of negligence.


And what if it was a cyst? would you have still perfered for the doctors to send your wife home and say take 2 aspirin? heres a crazy concept doctors are there TO SAVE LIVES! they do everything that they seem neccessary to ensure that a person is healthy and to diagnose people with problems. maybe the problems isnt with the health care system, maybe its more to do with the hypocondriacs and the media that force every new disease or illness down peoples throats so they are scared of the possiblity of having them.
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Re: A description of my day today

Postby Tasan » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:35 pm

Todrael wrote:
Tasan wrote:Your article doesn't even include the cost of litigation, it merely focuses on actual payout dollars.

You're absolutely right, Tasan, and I realized it shortly after posting, but decided not to put it in, since you had already provided that data. It adds, according to the study you cited, 54% of the cost of the payout, meaning $6.50 per capita, raising the total cost savings from the elimination of medical malpractice to $18.50 per person per year. We can raise that even further by removing the 45 million uninsured, bumping it up to $21.75 for those of us who are obviously intelligent and hardworking enough to deserve health care. Olive Garden, here I come!


I was using the study as a generality to bolster my point. We are wasting money on malpractice insurance. Insurance rates have continued to climb steadily in the past few years as the actual number and severity of cases brought against doctors has been steadily falling. Again, insurance companies are cash cows who are very good at hiding the fact that their premiums aren't well regulated and more or less don't coincide with actual costs.

I realize that wasn't clearly stated anywhere before. Yes, I agree 20 dollars doesn't seem like a lot per capita, but numbers spread out like that never look good. You may want to consider politics with a mindset like that.

Also, I don't get the "hard working, intelligent" people jab. I made no effort to "take sides" in any debate. I pointed out something that I didn't want people to forget about.

And yes, you proved your point. The study doesn't make a great foundation for an argument. I wasn't about to devote hours to finding information I know most people here won't give a crap about anyhow.
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