Been crazy busy the past several weeks, so I’m a bit behind on posts. Here’s some recent links worth checking out:
- Arnold Kling on Health Economics: Well Treated: The Road to McMedicine
I had wanted to do a more detailed post on this essay, but just haven’t had time. Arnold Kling’s a smart guy, and has a very solid, common-sense approach to economics. His tendency in medical economics is to treat it like any other retail or service industry: just find out what works, and implement those standards, using the lowest-cost provider possible. This won’t work for many reasons, a few of which are: a) the decisions you make about your health are not approached the same way as your decisions about buying a car — there is no transparency, so you cannot accurate judge the quality of the product as a consumer, and people are not coldly rational about things which affect their health and well-being (think: alternative medicine); b) the problem domain is extraordinarily complex, and not easily reducible to black and white “best practice” recommendations (think: is estrogen replacement therapy good or bad for women? We’ve been back and forth on this a dozen times, with huge studies, for thirty years, still no hard answers); and c) the lawyers: it may be entirely rational to omit a CT scan for a low-risk medical problem — but every physician knows if he ends up in court he will lose the lawsuit if he didn’t order it. This is one of the many elephants in the living room Kling never seems to consider.
- Booze, sex, and rock & roll: Two out of three, anyway: must-read essay on the role of alcohol, sexuality, and Christianity:
At the bottom of it all, I think human beings drink because we want to be known, and because we are afraid of being known. We drink because we want to know, and because we are afraid to know.
- Grow a brain: Gagdad Bob strikes again. Here a taste of his delectable madness:
To quote Arthur Koestler,
“[T]he evolution of the human brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, it is also the only example of evolution producing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use; a luxury organ, which will take its owner thousands of years to learn how to put to proper use — if he ever does.”
And luxury is an apt word, for it is a kind of extravagant light placed in the middle of nowhere, like a brain inside Paris Hilton. How did it get there? Why does she have it? She’ll never use it. It will just sit there idly, like a huge inwhoritance she’ll never touch. How could natural selection produce a bunch of nothings capable of knowing the Absolute but individuals capable of knowing absolutely nothing?
- It’s For The Children™: QandO gets down to details on SCHIP, the recently-vetoed Trojan horse of universal government health care coverage: SCHIP – The Numbers
- Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ribbon Writing: Van der Leun at his best — writing just doesn’t get much better than this. Grace in the Blue Ridge Mountains
That’s all for now. Take care, and God bless.