James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Posts Tagged ‘health care

1040 WHO’s Jan Mickelson loses his argument with me.

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Jan Mickelson

Jan Mickelson

It appears that my smack down of 1040 WHO’s Jan Mickelson on the issue of gay rights did some good.  On Friday, the Des Moines Register reported on the response of Clear Channel Communications, which owns WHO, to Mickelson’s ridiculous remarks.  Although some of his remarks preceded my call, it is clear from the related reporting and commentary that my interaction with him is what provoked the strong rebuke. One Iowa, the gay-equality organization, was aggressive in calling Mickelson on his errors during my call.

Here is the full transcript of 1040 WHO’s retraction of Mickelson’s comments:

Jan Mickelson, an acknowledged conservative commentator with strong political views, is entitled to his opinions on a wide range of current topics.  However, his comments on August 19th regarding HIV/AIDS and public awareness campaigns regarding this disease confused strong opinion with medical fact and contain factual errors regarding HIV/AIDS, its spread, and current efforts to inform the public about this disease.

Mr. Mickelson’s comments do not reflect the opinions of Clear Channel, nor do they reflect the ongoing support Clear Channel provides to public service campaigns, such as Greater Than AIDS that works to convey the message that, indeed, AIDS does not discriminate. We regret any confusion about HIV/AIDS that may have resulted from Mr. Mickelson’s remarks


Written by JamesEJ

Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Who will boycott this?

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FASEBAnti-Israel boycotts would be humorous if they were not a leading indicator of rising antisemitism in certain quarters.  The reason, of course, is that no one is seriously interested in boycotting the most productive and dynamic sectors of Israel’s economy.  Dead Sea products might be a visible symbol of Israel, but they represent very few jobs and a small export.

Israel’s major commerce is high tech – ranging from medical devices to pharmaceuticals to cell phone technologies to cutting edge software to …

Here is the latest:

Tel Aviv University researchers claim to have developed an experimental drug used in a polymer delivery system that may make it possible someday to prevent cancer or turn malignant tumors into a chronic disease with which one could live for years.

via TAU: cancer drug ‘breakthrough’ at JPost.

The reason Israel boycotts are doomed to fail is that no one wants to turn away from such incredible progress.  Who, after all, would refuse a cancer treatment because it was developed in Israel?

Read the nerdy stuff on this breakthrough at The FASEB Journal, ‘Applications of the human p53 knock-in (Hupki) mouse model for human carcinogen testing’.

Written by JamesEJ

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Posted in israel, other, tech

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We cannot understand complex systems.

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I work in hospital finance.  One of my duties is to adjust hospital prices.  Hospital pricing is part of an obscenely complex system.

The reason why I am skeptical of anyone who has answers on healthcare is that I don’t know the answers with any certainty.  Even someone in my position cannot completely understand the why and how of hospital finance and healthcare costs.  We make a lot of assumptions and proceed to do our jobs.  We don’t worry about getting things right – we worry about getting things close.  If we aren’t close enough, we nudge our decisions away from the error.

There are many far more complex systems in the world.  The system I deal with is entirely man-made.  Nature is far more complex.

That is why I was not surprised to read this:

An upper layer of Earth’s atmosphere recently collapsed in an unexpectedly large contraction, the sheer size of which has scientists scratching their heads, NASA announced Thursday.
The layer of gas – called the thermosphere – is now rebounding again. This type of collapse is not rare, but its magnitude shocked scientists.

via Earth’s upper atmosphere collapses. Nobody knows why. – Christian Science Monitor

The only thing that is terribly shocking is that we believe we can predict atmospheric change and weather any better than we could if we simply looked in the past and assumed it would be the same as before.  The atmosphere is a huge and complex thing.  There is a reason why long term weather forecasts revert to historical averages … the meteorologists do not know any better about a week from today than does The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Personally, I do think we need to do certain things to prepare for climate change.  However, whenever anyone asserts that they know the future of the climate, they are probably either lying or overconfident.  Carbon dioxide will warm the atmosphere by preventing heat losses to space.  However, there is a huge distance between such observations and the bizarrely specific statements about what will and will not happen as a result of man-made global warming.  We need to be prepared for potential future risks, but we should not pretend that we understand such complex systems well enough to predict the need for anything other than general readiness.

Written by JamesEJ

Friday, July 16, 2010 at 8:01 am

Posted in history

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Israeli medical genius.

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Implantable Telescope Technology

From VisionCare: "A telephoto ocular prosthesis. The central optical portion is a micro-lens system that renders a magnified image on the retina."

Although my blog rarely touches on it, my current career is in health care.  One thing you learn when you pay attention to health care and emerging technologies is that Israel is a dominant player.  Many new medical devices and techniques are developed in Israel (boycotters take note – stop using health care if you want to be consistent).

In recent days, one new technology has been getting a lot of press.  Age related macular degeneration (“AMD”) causes a person’s center vision to degrade – your peripheral vision works, but your area of focus does not.  An implantable telescopic device was just approved by the FDA that causes the center image to be shifted to the healthy part of a person’s retina.  It allows people with AMD to see much more normally again.

Many recent news reports talked about a California company named VisionCare that developed the technology.  To me, it just sounded too Israeli to have been developed in the US.  And, when I searched my feed reader, I saw that I had probably first heard of this technology five years ago … when it was first developed by an Israeli firm.  As the company matured, it adopted an American address.  But even today, much of the company’s operations and management remain in Petah Tikva, Israel.

This is just one of literally hundreds of amazing – almost magical – technologies developed in Israel every year.  Some of them are widely publicized as Israeli technologies.  Many, like this one, receive almost no publicity about its origins in Israel.

There is a good chance that every time you are a patient in a hospital, many Israeli products and innovations will be used in your care.  Consider that fact the next time you or a loved one needs treatment for a health condition.

Written by JamesEJ

Friday, July 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

Posted in israel, tech

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The Fuzzy Math of Medicare’s Low Overhead Costs

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I am always quick to note that a major reason why overhead costs at Medicare are low is that Medicare is better at foisting those costs on health care providers and other health care players who pass them on in the form of higher bills.  Of course, my complaint really only applies to legitimate healthcare providers.  From the Wall Street Journal, here is an exception to my argument that still shows they are  a sham:

One of the purported benefits of nationalized health care is that it will be more efficient than private insurers since it would lack the profit motive and have lower administrative expenses, like Medicare. But one reason entitlement programs are so easy to defraud is precisely because they don’t have those overhead costs — they automatically pay whatever bills roll in with valid claims numbers.

via Why It’s Easy to Steal From Medicare – WSJ.com.

Written by JamesEJ

Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 3:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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