defining rationing for ideological convenience, trains and things change, cyanobacteria could serve as drug template

We Ration. We Ration. We Ration. We Ration.

“Look at Canada,” says Charles Krauthammer. “Look at Britain. They got hooked; now they ration. So will we.”

So do we. This is not an arguable proposition. It is not a difference of opinion, or a conversation about semantics. We ration. We ration without discussion, remorse or concern. We ration health care the way we ration other goods: We make it too expensive for everyone to afford.

…I’ve used these numbers before, but let’s repeat them. A 2001 survey by the policy journal Health Affairs found that 38 percent of Britons and 27 percent of Canadians reported waiting four months or more for elective surgery. Among Americans, that number was only 5 percent. This, Americans will tell you, is the true measure of our system’s performance. We have our problems. But at least we don’t sit in some European purgatory languishing without our treatments. That’s rationing.

There is, however, a flip side to that. The very same survey also looked at cost problems among residents of different countries: 24 percent of Americans reported that they did not get medical care because of cost. Twenty-six percent said they didn’t fill a prescription. And 22 percent said they didn’t get a test or treatment. In Britain and Canada, only about 6 percent of respondents reported that costs had limited their access to care.

The numbers are almost mirror images of each other.

By ‘we’ Klein means that segment of the health-care market in the U.S. that is driven by profit, not necessarily the best outcome for the patient. Its kinda important to make the distinction between the corporate health-care portion of medical care dispensing versus public care such as federal and state employees (a combination of private/public), Medicare ( government run) and military health-care ( government run) and smaller programs public programs like SCHIPP for children. A libertarian says that Ezra is confused,

Like most left-leaning folks, Klein clearly doesn’t know the definition of rationing. Take this one from Britannica:

Government allocation of scarce resources and consumer goods, usually adopted during wars, famines, or other national emergencies.

Klein evidently thinks that market outcomes that he dislikes mean that government should step in and impose outcomes that he does like. All right, let’s admit it; the health insurance market and the rest of health care are royally screwed up as a result of decades of government interventions and mandates.

What would worshipers of the great god Freemarketisalwaysrightus do without using a semantic crack to drive their Hummer through. When the god Freemarketisalwaysrightus rations health-care that is not rationing that is the always cuddly and wise judgment of a higher power whose mysteries only the chosen shall understand. When non-profit (or in the case of Canada, negotiated profits) entitites ask that someone wait a month for elective surgery, now that is rationing.

Its also to the shame of this nation that we have regulated the medical profession and hospitals – all those certifications, testing, inspections and diplomas. Everyone stop leaning on the door to paradise, behind which they keep their unregulated Perfection, health-care would be cheap and everyone would have it. The monks of libertarians are woefully shy about providing historical models/ data/ history for that system, but like many religious cults, one guesses their secret knowledge is not to be gazed upon by heretics.

things and trains change

Earlier this year Dick Cheney claimed secret documents at the CIA would prove that he and George had no choice but to break long established law and torture people. Said documents are released and prove that asking prisoners questions gets answers, but fails to support Cheney’s torture fetish. The broadcast media in particular has provided yet another round of breath taking insight. Cheney’s torture claims debunked; will the media say so? by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).

CBS Evening News (8/25/09), reporter Bob Orr said: “The once-secret documents do support the claims of former Vice President Dick Cheney that harsh interrogations at times did work. Interviews with prisoners helped the U.S. capture other terror suspects and thwart potential attacks, including Al-Qaeda plots to attack the U.S. consulate in Karachi and fly an airplane into California’s tallest building.” The problem is, whatever one makes of the CIA’s argument that their interrogations yielded valuable intelligence, there’s nothing in the documents newly available to the public–and to CBS–that actually argues this intelligence was produced by the torture techniques like waterboarding that Cheney so publicly defended.

good riff

Marine biomedicine researchers decode structure of promising sea compound

Scripps scientists collected cyanobacteria, tiny photosynthetic sea organisms, in Hoia Bay off Papua New Guinea in 2002 and recently discovered that the bacteria produce a compound with a structure previously unseen in biomedicine.

The compound, which the researchers have dubbed hoiamide A, offers a novel template for drug development.

“We have seen some of hoiamide A’s features in other molecules, but separately,” said Alban Pereira, a postdoctoral researcher in Scripps’ CMBB and a paper coauthor. “We believe this new template may be important because it’s showing different mechanisms of action different ways to interact with neurons, possibly with a good therapeutic effect for such diseases as epilepsy, hypoxia-ischemia and several neurodegenerative disorders.”

In pharmacological tests conducted at Creighton University, Hoiamide A was shown to interact with the same important therapeutic target as analgesic, antiarrhythmic, antiepileptic and neuroprotective drugs.

This is basic government funded research. Regardless of one’s income, race, religion or politics you might benefit some day. Hoiamide A looks as though it can make adjustments to nerve cells at the macromolecule level which could be good news for those suffering from impaired mental cognition or difficult to control pain.