thinking again

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

i saw the new hhs find-some-health-insurance website

And I was appalled. It’s here:  Not that it doesn’t work well or isn’t well on it’s way to completion (in October, apparently, we’ll be able to see the prices). Nope. I was appalled that we even need it.

But William Blum says it better:

Another thing Americans have to be thankful for on July 4

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a new feature on their website called “Find Insurance Options.” You just provide certain information about your family size, your age, your employment situation, your financial situation, whether you have certain disabilities or diseases, whether you now have Medicare or some other health insurance, or how long you have not had health insurance, whether you have been denied insurance, whether you are someone’s dependent, a veteran? an American Indian? an Alaskan Native? etc., etc., etc. ...  and the site gives you suggestions as to where and how you might find health insurance that might suit your particular needs. The head of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, tells us “This is an incredibly impressive consumer tool,” adding that the site is capable of providing tailored responses to about 3 billion [sic] individual scenarios. “This information can give folks choices that they just didn’t have any idea they had available to them.” *

Isn’t that remarkable? Where else but in America could one have such choice? Certainly not in Communist Cuba. There it’s only one scenario, one size fits all — you’re sick, you go to a doctor or to a hospital, and you get taken care of to the best of their abilities; no charge; doesn’t matter what your medical problem is, doesn’t matter what your financial situation is, doesn’t matter what your employment situation is, there’s no charge. No one has health insurance. No one needs health insurance. Isn’t that boring? Communist regimentation!
* Washington Post, July 1, 2010

Our rate from Oxford Health Care Small Business went from $890 per month for a couple to $1,129. And that’s for a shitty plan that doesn’t even pay for anything until we’ve kicked in three grand. Aren’t we lucky.

posted by lee on 07/06/10 at 07:23 PM

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Friday, June 25, 2010

modern superstition

Michael Specter was on Colbert tonight, and he managed to get some thoughts out that interested me. Specter is a journalist who recently released his book Denialism, which is about how irrational thinking harms us.

He asks questions like, “Why are we afraid of genetically modified food? Why do we take vitamins, most of which do nothing more than produce expensive, dark-colored piss? Why would a government leader let his people starve rather than allow in genetically modified wheat?  ... ” He talks about our mistrust in institutions such as government and the medical establishment, and how even intelligent people succumb to belief in anecdotes over facts and can’t grasp that correlation is not the same as causation. How most of our irrational thinking is driven by fear.

At any rate, he gave a TED presentation, so I watched it:

He is right—it is hideously difficult to ignore anecdotal “evidence.” There is, for me, always an undercurrent of “Well, what if ‘They’ are wrong? What if future studies prove acupuncture works, or visualization is the key to wealth, that taking this or that vitamin every day really will stave off this or that particular disease ... or my knees started feeling worse when I stopped taking that supplement, so that supplement must work—for me?” I guess it’s only natural to hedge, but at what point does hedging become no better than appeasing the angry gods so the crops will grow again? I am a skeptic by nature, but it’s so hard to ignore the anecdotes, especially when they’re either my own or those of someone I know well and believe is intelligent. I bet even the most rock-solid, scientific method or nothing scientists have a superstition or two that he or she clings to in the face of evidence to the contrary.

I do plan on reading the book—even sent the sample to my Kindle (I absolutely love my Kindle—but that’s another post some day ... ) and if the sample intrigues me as much as his appearances and articles from the New Yorker, I might even fork out the $14.99 to buy it (that’s an outrageous price for an e-book ... but I digress yet again.) He’s certainly gotten me thinking about stuff, though.

posted by lee on 06/25/10 at 04:56 AM

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