Recently in Politics Category
A surgeon explains how the Federal Government's requirement to use standard coding for Medicare reimbursement has led to the bureaucratization of the entire medical profession: "The coding system was supposed to improve the accuracy of adjudicating claims submitted by doctors and hospitals to Medicare, and later to non-Medicare insurance companies. Instead, it gave doctors and hospitals an incentive to find ways of describing procedures and services with the cluster of codes that would yield the biggest payment. Sometimes this required the assistance of consulting firms. A cottage industry of fee-maximizing advisors and seminars bloomed....
"As the third party payment system led health care costs to escalate, the people footing the bill have attempted to rein in costs with yet more command-and-control solutions....
"Twenty years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, protocols and regimentation were imposed on America's physicians through a centralized bureaucracy. Using so-called 'evidence-based medicine,' algorithms and protocols were based on statistically generalized, rather than individualized, outcomes in large population groups....
"What began as guidelines eventually grew into requirements. In order for hospitals to maintain their Medicare certification, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began to require their medical staff to follow these protocols or face financial retribution....
"These rules are being bred into the system. Young doctors and medical students are being trained to follow protocol. To them, command and control is normal. But to older physicians who have lived through the decline of medical culture, this only contributes to our angst."
Links to eulogies of the late controversialist and journalist, including one by his brother Peter Hitchens.
The Occupy movement is experiencing the lessons of history and the development of civilization the hard way. (Via Ace of Spades HQ.)
Ohio has state election results going back to 1940, plus turnout comparisons for presidential, gubernatorial, primary, and state question elections.
Henry Hazlitt's simple yet profound discussion of economic reality and common economic fallacies.
"Sowers was found guilty of voting in the names of Carrie Collins, Walter Howard, Sheena Shelton, Alberta Pickett, Draper Cotton and Eddie Davis. She was also convicted of voting in the names of four dead persons: James L. Young, Dora Price, Dorothy Harris, and David Ross. In the trial, forensic scientist Bo Scales testified that Sowers's DNA was found on the inner seals of five envelopes containing absentee ballots."
The junior senator from Oklahoma offers a rebuttal to his senior colleague's defense of earmarks.
Michael Barone praises Rostenkowski for his work removing tax preferences as part of the 1986 Tax Reform and Stevens for his role in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Worth reading for the contrast with other ways of addressing the needs of aboriginal Americans: "The corporate form gave incentives to the management of each corporation to pay attention to minority opinion (because minorities could elect a director) and at the same time tended to insure continuity of management. In contrast, some Indian reservations are governed by successive winners of 51 to 49 percent elections, with continued skirmishing and attendant corruption."
Examples of this phenomenon in the realm of pollution, how to fight against the "iron law," and the connection to the Founders' insistence on limited government:
"A necessary requirement is that most people recognize the nature of the universal law which favors injustice over justice -- even in peaceful democracies. Since this type of education so rarely comes "from the top," either grassroots activists will do it, or it will not occur. The ground for inventing good and effective strategies will be much more fertile when everyone is so aware of the axiom that it enters the folklore ... when just the two words, 'Concentrated Benefit,' can communicate the ages-old dilemma and the dynamics of it.
"Successful solutions to the dilemma are far more likely to come from the grassroots than from prominent intellectuals who so often depend today, directly and indirectly, on approval from one special interest or another. We note that the 'founding fathers' of the United States were less beholden to special interests than today's professional intellectuals. The founding fathers actually addressed the law of Concentrated Benefit.... In the text of the Constitution, its authors tried to limit the areas of government activity -- limits which (if they had been honored) would have greatly reduced opportunities for narrow interests to 'persuade' elected officials to operate on behalf of the narrow interests."