Busted glass, busted medical thinking

Just some random thinking going on today:

– We’re having window work done at the S-E’s palatial digs in the business depot. I saw a glass truck parked outside and decided it was time to get an answer to a question that has always bugged me.

So I asked the guy: “Why do they carry very delicate glass on the outside of glass trucks, when they put overstuffed furniture, anvils, and other unbreakables inside? Doesn’t the glass get broken when a rock flips up?”

“All the time,” was his response. “You’re driving along and it shatters.”

Looking inside the truck I could see the problem: It’s full of tools of his trade, which usually involves building window frames and lots of other stuff. And putting the glass on the outside makes it easy to get to. Man-handling a sheet of glass in and out of a truck is just asking for trouble — lifting it off the side is certainly easier, assuming it gets to where it’s going in one piece.

Bottom line: Don’t drive next to a glass truck. If that sheet of glass gets broken, you don’t want the shards landing on you, especially if you’re on a motorcycle. Ouch.

– This reminds me of another imponderable: Most of us, when we need a break from the world, take a walk out in nature to get away from it all. So where does a forest ranger go?

Same place, as it turns out. I asked the previous Ogden District Ranger, Ruth Monahan, and one of the fire management officers this same question and their answers were the same. The life of a modern forest ranger is so full of bureaucratic bumpf, they said, that they occasionally need to go out and kick the trees, check the mountains for air leaks and count the antlers on the deer, just to remind themselves that there really is a forest involved in their work.

– The Salt Lake papers are full of stories about Sen. Robert Bennett being challenged by Attorney General Mark Shurtluff. It promises to be an interesting campaign because Sen. Bennett — who regular readers know I’m not a huge fan of — is being accused of not being Republican enough.

The latest blow was the so-called Club for Growth’s attack on Bennett for daring to propose, and put his name to, a health care reform bill that includes government participation in some way.

Needless to say, all pure members of Bennett’s party believe in the free market completely. Any hint of government involvement in anything is nothing but socialism, if not Communism, and so Bennett is evil, or something.

Of course, the people saying this are the same folk who benefit from socialized highways, socialized police protection, socialized air traffic control, socialized health monitoring, disease prevention and education.

OK, maybe they didn’t benefit from the socialized education.  

As I said, not a huge fan of Sen. Bennett, but any bill that includes government involvement in medical care is a mere recognition of ongoing reality — the government is already involved in medical care. It has to be. Medicare was founded, people forget, because the private enterprise system was letting old people die broke and miserable, the costs for what medical care they were able to get by begging or whatever, foisted off on the rest of us through medical institution cost sharing.

Since we were paying anyway, the idea was to let them be old and sick with some dignity.

What’s at stake here is whether private industry will be allowed to continue to profit obscenely from the parts government is not involved in, while foisting the high risk patients onto government-funded plans, such as Medicaid, or the state-run designated insurance plan because the death panels run by private insurance companies reject people who are – horror of horrors – already sick.

– Speaking of which, I find it fascinating that the thrust of a lot of this med reform, D and R, is to find more ways to keep pushing money at insurance companies.

Besides acting as a way to socialize medical care by funneling our money to prividors of medical care, and taking 15 to 20 percent off the top in the process, what exactly do insurance companies do?

Seriously, has a medical insurance company ever removed a splinter from a child’s toe? Or has it just told the doctor he’d be paid for removing that splinter after he submitted three claims forms, waited 30 days, and then had the claim rejected because he coded the splinter wrong?

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5 Responses to Busted glass, busted medical thinking

  1. Pingback: Busted glass, busted medical thinking « Standard Examiner Blogs | Medical record online

  2. laytonian says:

    Charlie, go look at fivethirtyeight.com’s poll on health care, comparing the age of people, their insured status, and how that compares to them being *against* any health care reform.

  3. In the summer of 2008 I was breaking camp at the base of Middle Teton when, lo!, a ranger from Jenny Lake stopped by with a friend. They were up there to do some rock climbs and to check to see if the three Tetons were really there. He was maybe four miles (as the crow flies) and 3,000 vertical feet from his office.

  4. Luke Dalton says:

    Y’know what your trouble is Charlie? You’re almost always right! Thanks for writing some blogs that actually are right on target. That’s rare around here.

    What does it take to make a blind person — young and healthy — see what’s really going on out there in HealthInsuranceWorld? My employer had to bump me from our company insurance plan because, as an older employee, my premiums had climbed beyond what he could afford. So I went to Medicare. Excellent coverage and service. But I still needed prescription coverage and so enrolled in a Part D supplemental policy. Paid $89 a month for that and faced a big “doughnut hole” if I exceeded a paltry limit that was forced into the bill by the then Republican controlled Senate. Hatch was one of the primary movers behind that.

    After a couple of years of paying $89 a month, I discovered a Part D program offered by AARP through another insurer. They charged exactly ZERO dollars monthly premium. When we asked how that could be, the reply was, “The truth is the government is already paying your premium. The money you’ve been paying for this coverage to other companies is what’s called an ‘administrative fee.’ We’ve made our system efficient enough that we don’t need to charge a fee. And I guess you can translate that ‘administrative fee’ thing to really mean ‘pure profit.’”

    And I had a daughter who had some serious chronic illness brought on by her service as a police officer. When she had to take medical retirement, she was unable to find affordable health insurance because of her “pre-existing condition.” What she could find was so expensive she finally wound up losing her small business and declaring bankruptcy. Without health care, she’d be dead. So when those companies denied coverage to her, wasn’t that a Death Panel at work?

    How do you get the truth across to people who just don’t want to see it?

    Thanks for continuing to try, Charlie.

  5. Rosemary Hoffman says:

    Our current system of medical coverage is not only cruel, it’s inefficient.

    The uninsured wind up waiting until things are really bad (because they need their money for food and housing) and then their care costs all of us a lot more than if preventive care were available. It’s also been known since the middle of the last century that emergency rooms are used as primary care facilities by the poor and uninsured. Instead of a visit costing maybe $50, it’s hundreds of dollars in facility and personnel costs. We are paying for this already, it’s just not spelled out for the public to see.

    People need to start questioning the fear-mongering that’s going on and look for a positive solution to this devistating situation.

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