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Medicine

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Is Wall Street Preventing Reform?

Slot_machine It's the American way: invest your money to secure your future.  Put money into your IRA, 401-K, 529; invest online and maybe you can strike it big. Publicly held companies are increasingly under pressure to produce in the short-term to keep their investors happy.  The bottom line is to achieve as high of profits as possible.  Long-term plans are often given up to maximize

So what happens when these companies are inserted into a dysfunctional healthcare system?  Insurers, pharmaceuticals, and device manufacturers are among the publicly-held companies through which a huge amount of cash is flowing.  Is it any wonder why reform is slow to happen?

Think about it.  What are things in the system that bother you the most?

What is the reason for these things?  I don't think there is an evil conspiracy behind it.  I see companies doing what they need to do to make a profit.  This isn't wrong.  These companies are morally obligated to maximize the financial returns for their investors. and they give best return when they take the most money out of the system.  This is not evil, it is what they are supposed to do.

So should we really believe that a system can be reformed where some of the biggest players in the industry are doing everything they can to take as much money as possible?  We can't expect them to act any other way - not because they are greedy and evil, but because of the high pressure to produce on the short-term.  All of those with these companies in their portfolio expect it.

I am aware of the fact that some of the insurance companies are non-profits: specifically Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  Why this has not caused them to have a bigger view of things is difficult to say.  In my experience, they behave exactly the same as the for-profit companies; they delay payment, deny procedures, and require paperwork just like the publicly traded companies.

To me, this is one of the best arguments for more government involvement in this area.  To say "it should be a free market" sounds nice to some, but there isn't anything to suggest that less regulation would cause cost to come down - it would simply make profits go up.  The goal of healthcare should not be to provide a good investment opportunity for people.  One of the biggest challenges ahead of anyone who is going to try to reform healthcare will be to plug the holes where money is spilling out of the system.

Even if it hurts my portfolio.

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Ode to a lost companion

I recently replaced my beeper with a cell phone. It is the first time I have been without a beeper for over twenty years. In honor of this fact, I felt that I owed my long-time companion a farewell

O BEEPER! my Beeper! our fearful trip is done; Technology has passed you by, the cellular has won; My call I fear, the bells I hear, the nurses all keep calling, While follow ears the constant calls, the frequency appalling;

But O heart! heart! heart! O my tired eyes of red, Now in the drawer my Beeper lies, Fallen cold and dead.

O BEEPER! my Beeper! rise up and hear the tones; Rise up—for you the phone has rung—for you the ring-tone drones; For all the nights you've wrecked my sleep—your piercing sound still burning; For all-night call, the worried moms, their anxious voices yearning;

Here Beeper! Outmoded! Now thrown beneath my bed; It is some dream that finally, You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Beeper does not vibrate, his transistors are still; My pager has no batteries, he has no pulse nor will; The phone is clipped on safe and sound, text messages received; With cool ring-tones, Verizon phones, will be all that I need;

Exult, I-Phone, and ring, Ma-bell! With two-year contracts wed, For in the trash my Beeper lies, Fallen cold and dead.

My apologies to Walt Whitman.

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