Monday, November 9, 2015

The Difficulties of Discussing Mathematics

Truthfully, I stopped following Utah politics. While watching national news, I discovered that Utah's Health Coop was one of the dozen of health coops which have failed. Apparently, the coop officially failed on October 27th and the Utah insurance industry is ripping at the dead carcass of this beast as I write.

I was really upset when the Utah political machine shoved the Utah health coop down our throat with very little debate. Had Utahans engaged in a conversation about insurance, I am sure the state could have pieced together a much better deal.

I read several of the reports on the failure of the coop and wondered if the failure of this entity might lead to an open discussion about alternative approaches to health care reform.

I feel like a broken record here. For the last seven years, I've contended that if a group of people got together to discuss the mathematics of free market health care reform, that group could create an alternative to group health insurance that would get our nation out of the mess created by the insurance companies.

The discussion involves mathematics (Junior High level mathematics) but math is still math and people are scared of math.

As you see, a discussion about health care simply must start by creating a mathematical model that describes individual income and individual health care expenses.

There is no way to discuss health care reform that does not involve discussing the mathematics of health care.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to talk about mathematics of health care online because people browsing the internet simply lack the attention span to discuss mathematics.

Let's take a very simple equation A = B, where A is a complex express and B is a complex expression.

To discuss "A = B," I might start by creating a post about "A."

The post is likely to lead into a huge flame war about "A."

After the flame war settles a bit, I will try to talk about "B" and another flame war will ensue with trolls accusing me of hypocrisy because B is different from A.

The way people behave on the Internet, I will never get to the sentence that "A = B."

The battle is lost from the get go.

One does not find a large number of web sites discussing mathematics on the internet, because people on the Internet lack the attention span to discuss complex ideas in depth.

The "Medical Savings and Loan" is a conversation about health care that starts by creating a mathematical model of income and health care expenses. The model has several components: Every member of the plan has a health savings account. Members buy into a loan reserve. The system includes a generously funded grant program. The plan is administered by independent agents call Health Care Advocates.

These components work together to create a mathematical model of health care.

I put together a presentation in which I talk about each of the components of this plan. I talk for almost 15 minutes about each component. This is about an hour.

After creating this model, I create a mathematical model of group health insurance. (Employer health insurance and socialism are essentially the same thing. Socialism is group insurance at the state level. Employer based care is socialism at a corporate level). From a mathematically point of view there is little difference between group insurance and socialism. The only real difference is political.

An hour and twenty minutes into my presentation, I get to the point where I can compare the Medical Savings and Loan to Group Care.

At this point in the presentation, I start to compare the models of group care to individual care. I contend that if people started having this conversation, they would not only opt for individual health care, they would use the mathematics I discussed to create viable alternatives to Obamacare.

I live in Utah. Utah is a closed and intolerant society.

Anyway, I see that exchanges have failed in Arizona and Nevada. It is possible that people in neighboring states might be interested in discussing health care reform.

I am still convinced that if people studied the mathematics of funding health care and discussed free market health care reform, that the group could have a positive impact.

Of course, a person who is locked out of society can't do much ... which is why I had stopped blogging.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dehumanized Care

The "Center for Medical Progress" is making a stir by showing videos of people from Planned Parenthood negotiating the sale of body parts from aborted babies.

Pro-life groups are using these shocking tapes to target the abortion industry. The sad truth is that this type of behavior is likely to become common throughout our entire health care system.

Planned Parent receives a substantial amount of federal and state funding. It is the model of the highly regulated medical industry envisioned by the progressive movement.

The path that the health care industry is following is dehumanizing. Socialism is dehumanizing. Socialism sees the community as having greater value than the individual humans in the community. And when the system stops seeing people as living inviolate beings, the system is likely to start seeing the harvest of body parts as a legitimate form of income.

In a true free market system, health care is a service provided by doctors directly to patients. This direct contract forces the system as a whole to align with the needs of individuals.

In socialized care, insurance is a form of socialized care, throws a third party into the mix.

As the system aligns to the desires of the third party, the system become dehumanized.

Planned Parenthood is the poster child of this industrialized form of health care. According to CNSNews Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions in fiscal 2011.

Reports say that the Holocaust took six million lives. So, every 18 years, Planned Parenthood commits a Holocaust.

Our industrial style approach to health care reduces people to statistics. When the "health care system" simply sees people as parts processed through a machine, the harvesting of body parts in the system is soon to follow.

Please note, I don't see this problem as unique to government funded care. The Health Insurance industry is as bad as government. The insurance industry attempts to fund care by putting us in groups and providing care to people on a group basis. The actuaries and underwriters who determine the scope and quality of our care see us as statistics. This dehumanized approach to health care has no moral compunction against harvesting body parts from the people who flow through the system.

I am delighted that prolifers are outraged at Planned Parenthood. I only wish that people on the right realized that their precious little insurance companies, the fertility industry, as other aspects or our industrial approach to health care (including insurance companies) are as dehumanizing as Planned Parenthood.

The abortion machine in the Planned Parenthood corporation is just one of the more flagrant examples of an entire health care system which is off track.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Best of Care and the Worst of Care

My father is 87 and is finally at the part of his life where he has huge health expenses and has spent the last several months trapped in the American health system. In the last two years he has had a heart attack, two major strokes (many minor strokes) along two broken hips. The health experiences involved three stays in rehabilitation.

My family members are active and aware of nutrition; so we have had very few health issues until now. The last prolonged illness we experienced was that of my Grandmother who moved in with my parents for three years back in the early 1980s while I was away in college.

My father's experience seems to be the same as many Americans. Our experience with doctors, nurses and physical therapists have been wonderful. Our experience with the health care bureaucracy has been horrible. Our experience with insurance, social workers and fuzzy left wing type therapy has been negative.

While the real medical care has been top notch, the political side health care system kept forcing us into making costly decisions that did not enhance the care.

I should say that it forced bad decisions with one major exception. The insurance forced my father into rehab. If he was paying for his own care he would have insisted on coming directly home after each operation which would have turned my mother's life into a living hell.

The hip surgery involved pinning a fracture in the femur that was just below the hip. The problem with this surgery is that the patient's hip needs to immobile for six weeks after the surgery. But if a person is inactive for six weeks, he will pretty much turn static and die. Hip patients need a trained physical therapist who knows how to keep a patient with an immobile hip active.

Because of insurance, the doctors were able to pull the trick of requiring the physical therapy. Refusal of physical therapy would be against doctor's orders, in which case the insurance company would deny the claim for the surgery. The insurance put my father in a bind that forced him to do what was best and follow doctor's orders.

There is a strong temptation to say that the health care system must be structured in ways that doctors can force patients into making the decisions that are best for the patient.

This was my first direct experience with hip surgery. The orthopedic surgeon, of course, had experience with hundreds of operations and access to literature based on millions of operations.

So while my family were neophytes in the hip surgery arena, the professionals know the choice intimately. One must keep the hip immobile and patient active. Without a trained therapist in the mix, the patient either becomes sedentary and dies or moves in a way that causes extreme pain and requires another expensive surgery.

There are options to pinning a fractured femur. For example a costly complete hip replacement could be done on more of an outpatient basis, or the surgeon could have amputated the entire leg which can be done on an outpatient basis. Although I am applauding the insurance for forcing a good decision, I can see other ways to force the right decision of attending physical therapy after a surgery.

For example, the doctor knew before the surgery that the procedure he was undergoing would require physical therapy. He could have informed us of options before the surgery. In the way it happened, the doctor did the surgery then gave us the ultimatum of attending therapy or paying the full cost of the surgery out of pocket. If my father had the choice between a hip surgery and six weeks of rehab or an amputation; I am pretty sure he would have chosen the surgery with rehab.

Although I am glad that the bind placed on my father by the insurance company forced him into physical therapy, I cannot say that such binds are the best course of action.

Anyway, I thought about blogging about this decision a few months ago. But I have been stuck on a problem. I realized that conservatives are as much a part of the problem as progressives, and I have to come up with an approach to discussing health care to show that the Conservative approach to the subject is as bad as the progressive approach.

The real science based medical care delivered by doctors is part of the classical liberal tradition. Both conservatives and progressives are guilty of piling political garbage on the health care industry. No matter how one goes about it, the politics involved in care generally diminishes the care.

Anyway, I held off on writing any blog posts until I found a good way of showing that both Conservatism and Progressivism hurt care.

The primary problem in American health care is politics. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are as bad for our collective health as Barrack Obama and Harry Reid. I fear that my blogging about health issues is feeding the false narrative that conservatives have solutions to health care when conservatism and progressivism are both parasites feeding off the system.