Saturday, February 27, 2010

Billy Kennedy Live-Blogging at Crooks & Liars

Billy Kennedy just finished a live-blog at Crooks & Liars. Worth reading through the whole thread. Lots of tough questions, and lots of substance in the answers ... along with flashes of wit.


Mike D. said...

"The insurance companies spend most of their waking hours trying to figure out how to avoid paying for people’s medical expenses so they can boost their profit margins." - from the link

According to Lamar Alexander, if you were to strip away every penny of annual profit from every health insurance company in America and apply it directly to paying for that care, it would pay for two days per year.  Who disputes this?

BikerBard said...

Talk  about being a shill.

"Physician, heal thyself." -Luke 4:23

Max said...

According to Lamar Alexander, if you were to strip away every penny of annual profit from every health insurance company in America and apply it directly to paying for that care, it would pay for two days per year.  Who disputes this* Mike D.

I do! You do understand that if you are hospitize for 2 days to treat a sickness. The average medical cost per day for that individual is 10,000 dollars per day! If you are using new age corporate Republican Math that translates out to 20,000 thousand of profit for those two days. Now to really screw up your Republican Corporate Alexander math, the average stay per individual in the hospital is 3.5 days, thus the evil Greedy corporate bastards is raking off 165% net profit on their investment........It pays big time to be sick dude!

Mike D. said...


So, do you dispute that number, or do you just wish to insult?

I shill for no one.  Either that statistic is correct or incorrect. 

If it is correct, then health insurance companies make an average 2 divided by 365 times 100, or 0.55% profit.

If it is incorrect, please challenge it.

bridle said...

Mike that is a meaningless statistic. Consider that the cost of health care in the US is much greater than the cost of health care in every other country on Earth. And that our system provides measurably worse value for that money than every other first world country on Earth. In a 2000 study,  the WHO rated France as the best country for health care, while the US was 37 on the list. The health care cost per person in 2007, was 7421 in the US vs 3300 in France. 
Lets set it up another way. Assume we have an efficient single payer system with tort reform, waste and fraud reform, and administrative costs  reduced to give us an annual cost of about 4200 dollars per person per year. In this case, the profit from just one company - for example Wellpoint in 2009, would cover the entire costs for over 1 million people for one year. (annual profit of 4.7 billion divided by 4200). 
The way I see it, health insurance is an outmoded industry. The scientific advances gained from the human genome project ( and other technology) will soon allow us to predict our risk for various conditions. Insurance companies will not be able to create a truly random pool in order to spread their risks. The only way to create a truly random large pool, and spread the risk, is to include everyone in the same pool.

Mike D. said...

I know you are just kidding around, but lest someone actually believe you, I must point out that a basic Macroeconomics course would teach that 'profit' and 'revenue' (or "cost", to you) are not at all the same thing.

I must also point out that, as difficult as it is for people who contribute to this forum to describe al'Qaeda as our enemy in any way, there sure is an abundance of quotes like your "<span>evil Greedy corporate bastards".  So it's not naming enemies that is so difficult.  It's just that Capitalism is much more evil than jihad, right?

Mike D. said...


After careful perusal of the WHO's study at your link, I am not so sure I agree with their ranking system.

There are certain statements in the WHO's constitution that I disagree with and could influence the manner in which they rank the health care systems in different countries, for instance:

"The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the
fundamental rights of every human being."

"Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples."

These by-laws would tend to suggest that the more government control over the health industry of a country, the higher the rank by the WHO.  This bias can be seen with perfect clarity by comparing #37 and #39 on the list.  The link to the breakdown by category does not indicate if the WHO weights certain categorical rankings more heavily than others, but a comparison of the USA and Cuba, and the dramatic differences in their categorical ranking break-downs makes it obvious that the numbers are indeed weighted, likely in the manner the WHO wishes them to turn out.

One more note.  The NPR article you linked about France, and why their system works so well, directly condemns the single-payer system you advocate.

bridle said...

What criteria would you use to rank the various systems? We are low on the list of other first world countries when it comes to life expectancy and infant mortality as can by seen by the rankings of the Commonwealth fund. 
Single payer must be run by efficient and honest administrators. Taiwan has a very efficient system it appears. The country that developed the Manhattan project, and the TVA, and put the first human beings on the moon can surely design and implement a health care system that will cover everyone cheaper and better than the other countries, if we have the will. The VA health care system has at times been awful or wonderful, depending on how much political importance was placed on it, and who was in charge.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that statistics like cancer survival rates and treatment wait times would be much better indicators of the quality of a nation's health care system.

While living about two miles from France, in Geneva, I noticed that people walked much more than they do in the USA.  Here, Super WalMarts offer scooters to lazy people who use them to gather large quantities of high-fructose corn syrup laden products, which they then take home and eat slobbily on the couch as they watch American Idol.  This greatly affects life expectancy, but it is not a measure of the quality of the health care system of the nation.

"<span>Single payer must be run by efficient and honest administrators.</span>"

Power corrupts.  Too much power corrupts really, really badly.

bridle said...

Lifestyle has a huge effect but we also have children in this country who die from infected teeth because their mother couldn't afford to take the kid to a dentist. How would you count that in terms of treatment wait time? And one problem with cancer survival time is that many diagnoses of cancer are made that would not have progressed anyway. Cancers that are over-diagnosed will give misleading survival statistics. 
As for power that corrupts,  You are right. That's why we need vital national functions administered by people who are answerable to the electorate, and who have public service as their primary mission. Corporations are answerable only to the profit margin and are protected from liability and accountability. They operate in the dark without public oversight. The private sector can be every bit as corrupt and inefficient as government. 

Mike D. said...


I appreciate your efforts to enhance your site, but this new "Echo" comment service is awful.  First, it is remarkably easy to not sign my name to a post (I am "Guest", above).  Second, there is no way to review a comment before I submit them.  Third, I cannot paste a quote that I have clipped from another post at the end of my post unless I add a couple of extra spacebar strokes at the end, then go back somewhere in the middle of them to paste; otherwise, it ends up selecting the whole post and overwriting it with the pasted entry. Fourth, and possibly worst of all, the text entry box only expands horizontally, so if I try to get around the lack of a review option by expanding the comment box to read what I write before I post it, all I can see is the same 8 lines of type, but reeeeally long lines.

Haloscan may not have had as many bells and whistles, but it had basic functionality.  Echo does not.

BikerBard said...

Thought for Mike:
Greedy capitalists are certainly more plentiful!

"Think on't." - W.S.

craig dudley said...

dicker knows that capitalists have his best interests a heart. he is an aspiring rich dude.
he also bought the story and is lining up to be a capitalist too. he knows that corporations are people deserving of equal protection under the law, that they have purchased.
those poor underserved insurance companies, with their legal protection from antitrust laws, and blind insurance adjusters in their windowless rooms denying coverage so they can make their profit estimates.
how could you be so cruel to keep them from their just desserts, biker?

Mike D. said...


Since I turned 18 years old, I have never bought any products made by Anheuser-Bush.  I won't go into my reason for it other than to say that I am a bit of an idealist, although perhaps not the Orwellian sanitized version of an idealist that meets with your approval.  In any case, the Capitalist system gives me the freedom to make decisions and statements with my dollars.  I know freedom that is not a gift of the state is freedom that you do not think I should have, but as I have said before, if I were running things, your freedom to spew your sociopathic babble would be safe and protected, but if you were running things, I guarantee Mike D. would be rotting in a concentration camp.  "Freedom", as a concept, means little to you unless you can use it as a weapon in an argument.

As for my being "an aspiring rich dude", I hope you are speaking only to the segment of the WataugaWatch audience who has never met me, casting dispersions that are intended to resonate with individuals who have no prior contact with me.  Anyone else would automatically recognize your statement as horses#*t.

One more thing.  I believe the word you were looking for was "deserts", not "desserts", unless you were planning to whip up some creme brulee for your insurance company.

craig dudley said...

<span>"freedom that is not a gift of the state is freedom that you do not think I should have"</span>
anyone who knows me, as you say, would know you are quite wrong there, aspiring rich boy.

Mike D. said...


Of all my statements, I notice that "Craig sends Mike D. to the Gulag for daring to speak freely" is not the one that you choose to refute.

Pick a small portion to refute, but we all know that the general statement is absolutely true.  Given power, you would be the very worst, the most oppressive, the most violent of dictators.  You know it every bit as well as we know it.  Why try to hide it, Craig?

 But if I were in charge, you would enjoy every freedom you own today, and likely many more.

That is why I say that to you, Craig Dudley, the concept of freedom only holds value if you can wield it as a weapon.  Otherwise, to you, freedom is meaningless.  You tear down freedom in defense of huge government while parading a farcical facade of individualism.

You know it.  I know it.  Everybody knows it.  No one says anything because you are a useful tool.  Your verbal energy helps fight their fight, so they don't give you a hard time.  But we all know.

If you ever want to escape the vortex of propaganda which locks your soul in place, if you ever wish to advance the ideals you pretend to promote, come introduce yourself and shake my hand instead of lurking at my job, asking about me.  Don't share my full name in an otherwise anonymous forum, trying to silence me through public identification and intimidation, while complaining of McCarthyism in others.  Numerous contributors have condemned your attempted intimidation by public "outing" of my full identity, yet you persist.

Be what you pretend to stand for and don't be what you pretend to fight against.  Otherwise, everyone will know you as the intellectually impotent laughing stock you continue to display to the community, a dictator with no robes... how pathetically sad.

craig dudley said...

you are such a funny boy,. you only see black or white and cannot imagine, or at least speak of more categories.
i fit into none of the categories you speak of. you will never know more because you tell people and don't ask.
as for lurking, i have only been to the hojos on the hill three times.
many years ago for company meals and in recent times to watch a movie.
evidently you are so egotistic you can only think in terms of someone being there for you.
what fun.

Mike D. said...

Any thoughts on the Billy Kennedy event? 

He seemed like a likeable enough guy.  I would have liked to hear him say a bit more than he did, but I guess he is a bit new to this, and we will hear more soon.

Opinionated said...

Enjoyed the BK event tremendously - food, people, Billy's remarks...  Nice to see Bard there, too!

bridle said...

I am so sorry to have missed the event. I was all dressed up and ready to go when all the brake lights and tire pressure lights came on in my car. I was too scared to try and drive it.

BikerBard said...

What Opinionated said! (And good to see you, too!)

BikerBard said...

Sorry to have missed you, too,