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-   -   The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=3830)

bjkeefe 08-29-2009 07:54 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Scher (Post 127396)
The Senate health committee's version (aka Sen. Kennedy's version) is here:
http://help.senate.gov/Maj_press/2009_07_15_b.pdf

House Energy & Commerce Cmte version (Blue Dog compromise): http://energycommerce.house.gov/inde...ttee&Itemid=85

House Ways & Means version: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/MoreInfo.asp?section=52

Jacob Hacker's analysis of all pending versions: http://www.ourfuture.org/files/Hacke...ugust_2009.pdf

Thanks for the links, and thanks for checking in, Bill.

Whatfur 08-29-2009 08:01 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127360)
OK, we have that solved.

But wait! Do you think there is a reasonable free market way to bring down costs? I think Mackey's idea about shopping makes sense because as a person with a high deductible, that's what I do. I also forgo unnecessary doctor visits which people with more comprehensive care think nothing about making. poor me!!

You are utilizing one option, Mackey has some innovative ideas, and there are many others to be farmed. There needs to be a combination of a reduction in regulations in some areas and more in others. State mandates need to be eliminated. Insurance companies need to be flexible in what is offered and be able to offer it across state lines.
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127360)
And what about the fact that each doctor has to employ a slew of clerical people to work with insurance company claims? This seems so wasteful and most assuredly adds to the cost of our system. Can we somehow make it less advantageous for insurance companies to throw out legitimate claims?

I have actually not heard or seen where insurance companies are throwing out legitimate claims...do you have some info on this. I have utilized insurance pretty heavily while both purchasing it as a individual as well as employer based and while there has been some initial denials and some aggravation...they have always done right by me. By virtue of the word legitimate, the wronged party obviously has some recourse.

The clerical stuff is small potatoes, but possibly some sort of standardization might be researched.
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127360)
And what about malpractice? Is there a way to punish incompetence and yet reduce the cost to the doctors who do a good job?

The market already punishes incompetence. It could be made even more transparent and thus more punishing. Oh and if a Dr. is a hack, then his insurance can surely go up. There needs to be cap on lawsuits and if not a cap, the punitive stuff need not go to the filer and his lawyer, but used to reduce overall costs maybe...somehow??? As already mentioned its not just the high price of malpractice insurance that drives overall costs, but also as much as 25% of hospital charges represent unnecessary tests that Dr.s are not requesting because they make more money off them, but just to cover their asses for fear of lawsuits. Reduce the fear...reduce the unnecessary tests.

Whatfur 08-29-2009 08:11 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127361)
And just one more thing... Is there a free market way to regulate the profits insurance companies make?

I know that sounds sacrilegious, because the profit motive is key in creating the incentive to take risk. But can we somehow reduce the incentive to throw out claims in order to improve profitability?

I think a well run efficient company is entitled to profitability, but this should not include unethical withholding of treatments. And I wonder how widespread this problem is. You hear a lot of anectodal evidence that it is a huge problem....but one does wonder.

Insurance companies are highly regulated now.

Again with this throwing out claims???? You need to provide info on this. Not saying some of this does not happen but I believe you are worrying about molehills.

Profits are a good thing. They usually lead to companies hiring more people, investing in streamlining procedures, investment in research, and the maintaining of pricing structures. We keep being told how fast policy prices have gone up now.l..imagine if the companies were losing money.

badhatharry 08-29-2009 08:21 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 127392)
I dont like this idea. The problem with forcing insurance companies to accept PEC is it allows people to go without insurance until they get sick. Which raises the cost of covering the regular rate payers. More important to me is that it is wrong for government to force buyers and sellers to buy and sell products they don't want. If the contract is worded properly, a person who never drops their insurance will not be faced with having their insurance coverage denied. Those who do develop a condition when their insurance has lapsed should be able to get government provided insurance where care is rationed and has a minimal cost.

You are right about the dilemma of people not getting insurance until they need it. And that is why things are the way they are. But are we going to be able to stomach rationed care at a minimal cost? I can imagine the Oprah show with some person who needs a heart operation sobbing about how the rationed care won't provide it. The outrage would be deafening.

We need change we can believe in. :-)

Whatfur 08-29-2009 08:22 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 127392)
I dont like this idea. The problem with forcing insurance companies to accept PEC is it allows people to go without insurance until they get sick...
.

Again, I think this can be dealt with via some sort of penalty at least for those who have gone without but could afford it. I also think this might be a molehill also. Say there are 20 million in this boat....what % are we talking about who get into huge medical issues. Probably less than 20%.

Bottom line is when you think about the trillions they are talking about spending to put this into play...Sheeeeit ...set aside 50 million for the current 47 million uninsured and be done with it.

This whole thing is so silly and is really not about covering the uninsured and is not about making things better, but is about having power over the citizenry and gathering power for one's political party.

badhatharry 08-29-2009 08:32 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Whatfur said:
"I have actually not heard or seen where insurance companies are throwing out legitimate claims...do you have some info on this."

Well, our very own commander in chief's very own mother while she was fighting to stay alive, had to read a bunch of paperwork and fight to get the care she needed.

As I said it's anecdotal. I myself have been satisfied with the reimbursements my insurance company has made. But I do hate to seem Pollyannish when it comes to the evil insurance companies, so I guess I've probably been receptive to some of the stories.

And they are out there. Just google 'evil insurance company denies claims'.

Whatfur 08-29-2009 09:20 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127403)
Whatfur said:
"I have actually not heard or seen where insurance companies are throwing out legitimate claims...do you have some info on this."

Well, our very own commander in chief's very own mother while she was fighting to stay alive, had to read a bunch of paperwork and fight to get the care she needed.

As I said it's anecdotal. I myself have been satisfied with the reimbursements my insurance company has made. But I do hate to seem Pollyannish when it comes to the evil insurance companies, so I guess I've probably been receptive to some of the stories.

And they are out there. Just google 'evil insurance company denies claims'.

Again though...how large a problem? My father was a CFO/Financial Director for a small hospital for 30 years...private insurance companies payment practices were not a problem. Medicare on the other hand was a different story.

That was the spiel Obama gave about his mother, but it was/is always laid out in a way where he really does not say whether she was eventually covered or not...its really just thrown out there as a complaint about her having to worry about it. Show me anything that says she was actually denied. I looked once and came up empty. I am willing to bet she WAS covered.

badhatharry 08-29-2009 10:27 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Thanks, Bill, for the links.

I read Hacker’s summary since I figured it would be the best consolidation of all the plans out there. He says this “three crucial goal that a competing public plan must accomplish—provide a backup option offering health and financial security to individuals without employer coverage, a cost and quality benchmark, and a cost-control backstop that drives payment and delivery system reform.”

So I have some hopefully not too naïve questions. He did say that the public option should start on day 1 So where does the money come from to pay claims? I know that people will be paying premiums, will those premiums cover claims from day 1?

He also said this: “These two problems—insurer and provider consolidation—are related. They have driven up premiums for employers and workers, and they have encouraged insurers to control costs by shifting expenses onto patients or weeding out high-cost patients, rather than bargaining for lower provider payments.”
So here he is saying that because providers and insurers are consolidated there is no incentive to bargain? I don’t see how that follows. It seems that bargaining would always be a factor.

He also said this: “In short, to counteract the enormous leverage of the dominant insurers and provider systems in most local markets, the public plan needs an adequate amount of bargaining power at the outset to achieve its core goals. Otherwise, private insurers will threaten its viability, and it will not have the ability to keep costs in check.”
So here he is saying that since insurers already have so much influence the public plan needs bargaining power. Earlier on he said that means it would need huge numbers of customers at the offset. So there would need to be some kind of coercion to get people to sign up in sufficient numbers in order for the plan to work properly?

Then he says: “Although we know very little about private plan payments due to their proprietary nature, we do know that many large private insurers do not “negotiate” in the sense of bargaining directly with providers. They provide a price list to providers who have the option of accepting it or not.
On the other hand, all plans, including Medicare, “negotiate” rates in the sense that providers are allowed to decide whether they wish to accept rates or not, and rates have to be adjusted up or down to encourage a critical mass of providers to participate. Medicare, for example, uses underlying cost data to establish rates and monitors provider participation carefully to ensure that it is not adversely affected by rate changes.”28


I don’t see the distinction here. On one hand he says insurers set rates and the providers take them or leave them. He doesn’t allow for the possibility that insurers do any negotiating. I bet they do.

But then he goes on to say that Medicare operates differently by negotiating and describes the same process as with insurance companies. I’ve always wanted to say this. In my opinion, this is a distinction without a difference.

Again Hacker: In any event, the case for seeing Medicare rates as “too low” is weaker than believed. The overwhelming majority of providers accept Medicare rates, and people with Medicare coverage have better access to doctors than do the privately insured.

He doesn’t mention the gap coverage which most people have to have. And further, this is Hackers opinion and it may or may not be correct.

I know these statements are taken out of context so will be difficult to respond to. I think his analysis reflects a bias in favor of a public plan, but it is probably a great reference for someone to be able to peruse. And I did in fact ask for just this kind of information. Thanks again.

badhatharry 08-29-2009 10:36 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Whatfur askedHow large a problem??

One person is too many.

Just kidding, perspective is everything. And sometimes it's difficult to hold on to.

badhatharry 08-30-2009 12:10 AM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 127354)
Who cares if the playing field is level? Seriously. I don't know why people imagine that the health care market - which barely acknowledges the interests of consumers - is good for anybody except the profiteers in private industry.

So I get that you think that the idea of profits in such a sensitive area as human health care is, shall we say, unseemly.

But what do you think about the profiteers which go by the name of drug companies? The reason I ask is because last weekend I met someone who works for Genentech in San Diego. She runs trials and makes sure that all protocols are being followed. She told me about a drug they've developed, Avastin, which has just been approved by the FDA and has been found efficacious in curing six kinds of cancer. It's approach is tagging the genes.

This woman told me the research, development, trials and eventual approval have taken over fifteen years. And the cost is in tens of millions. And the drug works, but of course things might have not gone that well.

So do you think these profiteers in private industry should be able to try to recoup their costs and even add in some obscene profits? or should they just hand the thing over with a big smile?

How much money should they be able to make for all of their efforts? Remember....this is for the good of mankind.

badhatharry 08-30-2009 12:20 AM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127420)

And the cost is in tens of millions.

Make that hundreds of millions, but these days that doesn't sound like all that much does it?

bjkeefe 08-30-2009 12:31 AM

Compare and contrast
 
rcocean, pretty much channeling Greater Wingnuttia:

Quote:

... I've used stupid, drunk, philanderer and all-round #@@! to describe Ted. The latest Joke about Drunk Ted: [etc.]
Robert Grudin, as quoted by James Wolcott:

Quote:

The Ancients weighed the achievement of an individual by the sum and substance of his actions. Most of Plutarch's biographies--for example, of Themistocles, Alcibiades, Pompey, and Antony--are heroic assortments of virtues and vices, clear renderings of the psychological diversity and paradox which seem almost indispensable components of historic greatness. We moderns, on the other hand, influenced by our religion, qualify all our estimation with a surgical standard of moral purity. For the ancients, virtue was action, accomplishment, contribution; for us it is an essence so pure and fragile in nature that a beaker of goodness can be ruined by a dram of sin. Dante makes his beloved teacher, Brunetto Latini, a sufferer in hell, because all his memorable virtues were combined with a single serious vice. Francis Bacon is almost never mentioned as a historical figure without reference to the single act of malfeasance which, deftly exploited by an enemy, ended his political career. The grievous and numerous faults of Winston Churchill are expounded upon interminably by the beneficiaries of the free institutions he fought to save. And this stubborn altruism, often so extreme as to constitute a conspiracy against nature, extends beyond our histories into our daily lives. Shunning peccadillos, we suffer infamies. Anxious to avoid even appearing to do harm, we lose touch with the necessarily hazardous practice of goodness. We use rectitude to mask our envy of achievement.

AemJeff 08-30-2009 12:40 AM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127420)
So I get that you think that the idea of profits in such a sensitive area as human health care is, shall we say, unseemly.

But what do you think about the profiteers which go by the name of drug companies? The reason I ask is because last weekend I met someone who works for Genentech in San Diego. She runs trials and makes sure that all protocols are being followed. She told me about a drug they've developed, Avastin, which has just been approved by the FDA and has been found efficacious in curing six kinds of cancer. It's approach is tagging the genes.

This woman told me the research, development, trials and eventual approval have taken over fifteen years. And the cost is in tens of millions. And the drug works, but of course things might have not gone that well.

So do you think these profiteers in private industry should be able to try to recoup their costs and even add in some obscene profits? or should they just hand the thing over with a big smile?

How much money should they be able to make for all of their efforts? Remember....this is for the good of mankind.

I should stipulate that I'm dependent on pharma in a huge way.

One of the pills I take costs $1.30 per pill - I take 180 of those a month. That particular drug just came off patent in March, but so far, no generic equivalent. I'm covered, that's not out of pocket - but when I was unemployed and uninsured I had no access to that drug.

How likely do you think that a drug curing type 2 diabetes will ever be developed? Diabetes maintenance drugs represent billions in annual revenue. Who's going to kill the golden goose? Some cancer drugs cost more than $50,000 for a single dose.

An awful lot of drug development occurs in publicly funded institutions. Much private development involves attempting to duplicate the function of drugs already developed and proven to be profitable.

I'm not stupendously naive (or, at least, so I assert here - you can draw your own conclusions) and I understand the function of profit as a motive. I definitely don't assert that profit is an unseemly motive. What I do assert is that perfect market efficiency is not guaranteed to generate best outcomes for patients.

Your Genentech pal works for a company at the technological leading edge and her experience doesn't fully generalize. My sympathy for her argument only stretches so far. It wasn't that long ago that HIV drug makers had to forced to swallow the manufacture of patent breaking drug for the African market, because the impending deaths of millions of people on that continent were not sufficient justification for them to find a way to make their products available to forestall an enormous tragedy.

piscivorous 08-30-2009 03:31 AM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 127425)
... It wasn't that long ago that HIV drug makers had to forced to swallow the manufacture of patent breaking drug for the African market, because the impending deaths of millions of people on that continent were not sufficient justification for them to find a way to make their products available to forestall an enormous tragedy.

I believe that the manufactures cut deals to discount the drugs to some governments and NGOs in some cases by 90% as compared to the prices in the US. This was done by using the threat of contracting out the drugs to manufactures of generic drugs in violation of the pattens. I haven't yet seen where production in violation of the patents has begun, but I don't track the issue just run across tidbits here and there.

I am always leery of the word excessive, as it is so subjective, but having done considerable consulting to that industry I would say that their nest is feathered rather well. While I haven't seen current figures and my memory is sometimes faulty I believe that in the large pharma R&D expanses typically run around 15%. Not small potatoes but not enough to break the bank, in normal times, either. I think only Hollywood and Politicians can beat them in marketing and administration costs (~35%). Profits are variable but in general large phrama is usually up there with the big dogs when it comes to profit margin (~25%) ion normal years. All these figures are older, turn of the century, but I'm fairly sure that they haven't changed all that much.

A slight aside:
When I was working for TAP I could never figure out why there sales costs were so high. At the time they had the only effective drug, and it was their only drug, for treating certain prostrate problems. There were many years left on the patent, and as producing was still ramping up supplies were tight. Then I finished writing the application that management was going to use to evaluate their sales personnel and assign bonuses and I was no longer confused.

Whatfur 08-30-2009 08:19 AM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127415)
Whatfur askedHow large a problem??

One person is too many.

Just kidding, perspective is everything. And sometimes it's difficult to hold on to.

I was hoping you would come back with some of the elusive facts about Obama's mother. He has used her medical issues on numerous occasions to make some point or another, but because he never really lets on what happens with those bills it is left to the imagination...and like you did here, one is apt to paint pictures based on perceptions given and not reality.

badhatharry 08-30-2009 10:16 AM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 127432)
I was hoping you would come back with some of the elusive facts about Obama's mother. He has used her medical issues on numerous occasions to make some point or another, but because he never really lets on what happens with those bills it is left to the imagination...and like you did here, one is apt to paint pictures based on perceptions given and not reality.

OK, try this:
http://sweetness-light.com/archive/a...-medical-bills

Apparently she was treated for her cancer. It was misdiagnosed in Indonesia as a stomach ailment and then she returned to Hawaii.

From what I know everyone is faced with bills in times like these. My mother's dining room table was filled with piles of Medicare documents when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was my sister and I who went through them and tried to make sense of doctors who either accepted assignment or did not.

So if the government is in charge, there will be no questions about elegibility? no paperwork? You just present yourself at the hospital and you are given the very best treatment in the world? Hmmm.....

There is this perfect world being presented (cue soothing music) where people won't have to worry about things any more and the government will take care of our needs and no one will be turned away or questioned. We are supposed to think that this is the way it should be....that the world is a wonderful place and that people are always fair and generous if just given the chance and if the right people are in charge.

Hmmmm....again.

badhatharry 08-30-2009 10:28 AM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
AemJeff said:
What I do assert is that perfect market efficiency is not guaranteed to generate best outcomes for patients.

This is a correct assertion because in this world nothing is perfect, but what a person who believes in the genius of the free market would say back is:

"More often than not the free market generates better outcomes for more patients than any other system."

Whatfur 08-30-2009 12:23 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127437)

Again, you alluded that treatment was denied her, what you point to here perpetuates MY claim that she was treated and bills covered...not to mention further solidifying Obama's exploitation of his own mothers story.
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127437)
...
Hmmmm....again.

Indeed.

badhatharry 08-30-2009 12:58 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 127446)
Again, you alluded that treatment was denied her, what you point to here perpetuates MY claim that she was treated and bills covered...not to mention further solidifying Obama's exploitation of his own mothers story.


Indeed.

Well yes, but I did correct my allusion. Sufficiently, I hope, by posting the link.

The problem here is half truths and, as you say , exploitation of the situation. I doubt that anyone who is breathing in and out is innocent of ever having distorted a narrative to their own ends. Humans just do that.

And because of that humans should always be skeptical.

For instance, has anyone asked him why, if his mother was so ill, he was not at her side, helping her negotiate the system?

Whatfur 08-30-2009 01:07 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 127449)
Well yes, but I did correct my allusion. Sufficiently, I hope, by posting the link.

The problem here is half truths and, as you say , exploitation of the situation. I doubt that anyone who is breathing in and out is innocent of ever having distorted a narrative to their own ends. Humans just do that.

And because of that humans should always be skeptical.

For instance, has anyone asked him why, if his mother was so ill, he was not at her side, helping her negotiate the system?

Ahhh...I guess as you presented it as an answer to my question and not an answer to yours had me perplexed.

Most humans, of course, do not have teams of speechwriters to help them "distort a narrative" nor an audience of millions to pawn it off on.

Yes, Obama not bothering to visit his dying mother WAS news to me much less the Harvard graduates inability to ease her worry about her bills.

rcocean 08-30-2009 04:18 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
You should have used this quote from Wolcott - its more typical of his hate-filled - logic free - rants:

Quote:

Checking in on the rightwing jovialists preemptively emptying their bladders on Ted Kennedy's grave--Jerk Store regulars such as Dan Riehl, Dan Collins (actual tweet: "Need some good Chappaquiddick jokes for today's program"), Andrew Breitbart, Confederate Yokel, and Robert "They Call Me Lacy" McCain (no direct links, not to these undeserving nodules, but those wishing to investigate further can follow the links at Roy Edroso's toxicology report--I'm struck by the immature, s******ing bravado of it all, as if they actually thought they were being naughty and standing athwart Political Correctness crying, "Eat me." These guys seem to think that if they keep waving around Mary Jo Kopechne's name like a rubber chicken it's a sign of the Swiftian saeva indignatio that justifies their stale brand of insult comedy, which is little more than the usual liberal baiting with an extra topping of ghoulish glee. (And not just guys. Note to Darleen Click, who's assumed the thankless task of filling in for the permanently vacationing Jeff Goldstein: You might want to consider developing a lighter touch, just to add a little variety to your dreary day.)

Anyway, if this is how these footlings conduct themselves after Ted Kennedy's death, ear plugs may have to be issued to muffle the orgy of braying derision that'll echo through the fever swamp after news of Jimmy Carter's demise hits the jungle drums. Him they hate even more than they do the last Kennedy brother, and making a holiday of their hate is what makes them happy
Wolcott as usual gets it wrong - (not surprising since he's a superficial goofy literary type).

Many conservatives despise Jimmy Carter - but few dislike him, let alone hate him. (I'm excluding the absurd Neo-Cons, like Frum or Bennett). Carter is a decent, patriotic man, who is simply wrong on many issues. A man of modest means dedicated to public service, who actually reads and thinks about public issues instead of getting drunk, assaulting women and reading whatever his staff writes for him. He is in fact the anti-Kennedy.

AemJeff 08-30-2009 04:31 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rcocean (Post 127488)
You should have used this quote from Wolcott - its more typical of his hate-filled - logic free - rants:



Wolcott as usual gets it wrong - (not surprising since he's a superficial goofy literary type).

Many conservatives despise Jimmy Carter - but few dislike him, let alone hate him. (I'm excluding the absurd Neo-Cons, like Frum or Bennett). Carter is a decent, patriotic man, who is simply wrong on many issues. A man of modest means dedicated to public service, who actually reads and thinks about public issues instead of getting drunk, assaulting women and reading whatever his staff writes for him. He is in fact the anti-Kennedy.

Wolcott is seriously funny; articulately nasty in a way that few contemporary writers seem to be able to sustain. And he has a way of getting under the skin of his adversaries that almost always finds them making themselves look bad when they choose to engage. (Wolcott torturing Pammycakes was a particular delight.) And I haven't often noticed him being wrong. Your assessment of Carter, seems a bit incoherent, I have to say.

AemJeff 08-30-2009 04:42 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: The Return of the Conn (Bill Scher & Conn Carroll)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by piscivorous (Post 127428)
I believe that the manufactures cut deals to discount the drugs to some governments and NGOs in some cases by 90% as compared to the prices in the US. This was done by using the threat of contracting out the drugs to manufactures of generic drugs in violation of the pattens. I haven't yet seen where production in violation of the patents has begun, but I don't track the issue just run across tidbits here and there.

I am always leery of the word excessive, as it is so subjective, but having done considerable consulting to that industry I would say that their nest is feathered rather well. While I haven't seen current figures and my memory is sometimes faulty I believe that in the large pharma R&D expanses typically run around 15%. Not small potatoes but not enough to break the bank, in normal times, either. I think only Hollywood and Politicians can beat them in marketing and administration costs (~35%). Profits are variable but in general large phrama is usually up there with the big dogs when it comes to profit margin (~25%) ion normal years. All these figures are older, turn of the century, but I'm fairly sure that they haven't changed all that much.

A slight aside:
When I was working for TAP I could never figure out why there sales costs were so high. At the time they had the only effective drug, and it was their only drug, for treating certain prostrate problems. There were many years left on the patent, and as producing was still ramping up supplies were tight. Then I finished writing the application that management was going to use to evaluate their sales personnel and assign bonuses and I was no longer confused.

Thanks for the clarification, Pisc. I didn't remember the details, obviously.

rcocean 08-30-2009 09:30 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 127490)
Wolcott is seriously funny; articulately nasty in a way that few contemporary writers seem to be able to sustain. And he has a way of getting under the skin of his adversaries that almost always finds them making themselves look bad when they choose to engage. (Wolcott torturing Pammycakes was a particular delight.) And I haven't often noticed him being wrong. Your assessment of Carter, seems a bit incoherent, I have to say.

No idea who "Pammycakes" is. As for Wolcott being "seriously funny" - quite an exaggeration - based on what I've read. But I'm sure he has Charlie Rose in stitches. Does Larry King like him?

bjkeefe 08-30-2009 09:41 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rcocean (Post 127488)
You should have used this quote from Wolcott ...

A nice passage. Thanks for quoting it. The boy can write, can't he? One of my favorite wordsmiths and a brilliant wit.

I understand why you're so quick to bad-mouth him. When he bothers to look in on the wingnutosphere, he never fails to skewer perfectly.

You might be right that there are some individuals who will lower themselves less when Carter dies compared to how they're acting now about Kennedy. But I'm sure there will be no shortage of equally poor taste jokes and a general panting effort to besmirch the man's name before his body is even planted. I predict hysteria over the Iran hostage situation and foaming at the mouth about how he hates Israel and Jews.

Speaking of said foaming, re: your response to Jeff: Pammycakes is Pam "Atlas Shrugs" Geller.

AemJeff 08-30-2009 09:46 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rcocean (Post 127530)
No idea who "Pammycakes" is. As for Wolcott being "seriously funny" - quite an exaggeration - based on what I've read. But I'm sure he has Charlie Rose in stitches. Does Larry King like him?

"Pammycakes" is a nom du ridicule for Pamela Gellar, aka "Atlas Shrugs," whom Wolcott dragged over coals for while until she completely lost her sense of humor. (Not a particularly long journey.)

TwinSwords 08-30-2009 09:53 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 127490)
(Wolcott torturing Pammycakes was a particular delight.)

When did this happen? (Sounds hilarious.) I love Wolcott but have not followed him regularly for a long time. Did he get Pam to respond to him?

AemJeff 08-30-2009 10:14 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 127533)
When did this happen? (Sounds hilarious.) I love Wolcott but have not followed him regularly for a long time. Did he get Pam to respond to him?

This goes back to '07 and his previous URL, so I'm not sure his posts are available any more (though they might be, I'll look later.)

Yeah, she responded. She had attended some rightblogger fete, and sidled up to various luminaries (e.g. Instaglen) and was photographed with a jubilant thumbs-up in each case. Wolcott noted that come of the hand gestures were a little, err... ambiguous and highlighted a few of the photos with suitable commentary. Pammy reacted with predictable outrage, and it was a pretty good feud for a little while. But, her wit is apparently not an inexhaustible resource, and as her side of the argument deteriorated Wolcott stopped linking back or even responding.

bjkeefe 08-30-2009 10:15 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 127531)
A nice passage. Thanks for quoting it. The boy can write, can't he? One of my favorite wordsmiths and a brilliant wit.

I understand why you're so quick to bad-mouth him. When he bothers to look in on the wingnutosphere, he never fails to skewer perfectly.

Here's a classic Wolcott post, on the occasion of Pajamas Media bringing their wingnut welfare gravy train to a halt. Here's an earlier piece, when the news first broke.

Here's an outstanding piece on his plan to disrupt the teabaggers.

And covering other areas ...

Here he is winning a coveted LotD award from yours truly. And another. And another.

Here's a righteous scolding of Arnold Kling.

From fall of last year, here he is, taking Jay Nordlinger down.

Here's a feature-length reflection on the 2008 elections: "The Good, the Bad, and Joe Lieberman."

Enjoy.

TwinSwords 08-30-2009 10:25 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 127534)
This goes back to '07 and his previous URL, so I'm not sure his posts are available any more (though they might be, I'll look later.)

Yeah, she responded. She had attended some rightblogger fete, and sidled up to various luminaries (e.g. Instaglen) and was photographed with a jubilant thumbs-up in each case. Wolcott noted that come of the hand gestures were a little, err... ambiguous and highlighted a few of the photos with suitable commentary. Pammy reacted with predictable outrage, and it was a pretty good feud for a little while. But, her wit is apparently not an inexhaustible resource, and as her side of the argument deteriorated Wolcott stopped linking back or even responding.

Thanks for the summary. I can think of few things as intrinsically interestesting as Wolcott bashing Pammycakes. I'm going to have to go look for that. :-D

TwinSwords 08-30-2009 10:26 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 127535)
Here's a classic Wolcott post, on the occasion of Pajamas Media bringing their wingnut welfare gravy train to a halt. Here's an earlier piece, when the news first broke.

Here's an outstanding piece on his plan to disrupt the teabaggers.

And covering other areas ...

Here he is winning a coveted LotD award from yours truly. And another. And another.

Here's a righteous scolding of Arnold Kling.

From fall of last year, here he is, taking Jay Nordlinger down.

Here's a feature-length reflection on the 2008 elections: "The Good, the Bad, and Joe Lieberman."

Enjoy.

Oh boy, a whole post full of Wolcotty goodness.

Nom nom nom...

http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/6227/1r3mh1.jpg

AemJeff 08-30-2009 10:31 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Pammy, happily enough supplied a link, to her side at any rate. The embedded links to Wolcott's posts are broken.

bjkeefe 08-30-2009 10:46 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 127538)
Pammy, happily enough supplied a link, to her side at any rate. The embedded links to Wolcott's posts are broken.

Some are still on the Wayback Machine. (e.g.) "Home page" here.

AemJeff 08-30-2009 10:55 PM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 127539)
Some are still on the Wayback Machine. (e.g.) "Home page" here.

Cool! Thanks for finding that.

badhatharry 08-31-2009 10:20 AM

Re: Compare and contrast
 
rcoceansaid: Many conservatives despise Jimmy Carter - but few dislike him, let alone hate him. (I'm excluding the absurd Neo-Cons, like Frum or Bennett). Carter is a decent, patriotic man, who is simply wrong on many issues. A man of modest means dedicated to public service, who actually reads and thinks about public issues instead of getting drunk, assaulting women and reading whatever his staff writes for him. He is in fact the anti-Kennedy.

I absolutely agree. Carter is a man of principle. He does what he believes in. He has the courage to say unpopular things. He was the last authentic person in the White House. He has a conscience and if he had behaved as Kennedy or Clinton had he would have gotten himself to a nunnery.
Hell, I even voted for him! I didn't know Bennet disliked him. It's gotta be a foreign policy thing.

Whatfur 08-31-2009 03:50 PM

And so it goes...
 
"What a difference a D makes!!"

Whatfur 08-31-2009 03:58 PM

Sleeping with the enemy
 
Pinhead or Pinhead?

piscivorous 08-31-2009 08:54 PM

Re: And so it goes...
 
And you actually expect the left here to go read a hotair post? Not likely; so f you expect it to get viewed you might want to quote he most salient part(s).

bjkeefe 08-31-2009 09:21 PM

Re: Call it the Mary Jo Kopechne Health care bill
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rcocean (Post 127289)
No I've used stupid, drunk, philanderer and all-round #@@! to describe Ted.

You are not alone, but now your brethren have moved on. Slightly.

Here's how Roy Edroso introduces his latest column:

Quote:

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightbloggers' attempt to pull a Wellstone on Kennedy. They didn't get much, but some of them are still reacting ("Use of Kennedy's Death for Political Advantage Sinks to New Lows") as if liberals had invaded their memorial service, as the schtick demands.

Even the dimmer bulbs among them seem to realize it isn't going over, and have moved on to more exotic Kennedy slurs than the ones they emitted at Kennedy's death. Patterico parses a casual comment Kennedy made to Jose Maria Aznar, Cortes E. DeRussy attacks Kennedy's letter to the Pope for not being as awe-inspiringly humble as the one DeRussy would have written, etc.

Once upon a time, pretending to care so greatly about a dead liberal that they would endeavor to protect his reputation from his own family and friends -- while simultaneously spreading every loathsome story about the deceased that they could dig up -- seemed like breathtaking nerve. But they've spent the past seven years topping themselves.
Read the whole column.

Whatfur 09-01-2009 01:28 AM

Re: And so it goes...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by piscivorous (Post 127695)
And you actually expect the left here to go read a hotair post? Not likely; so f you expect it to get viewed you might want to quote he most salient part(s).

You're right.

Bottom line... 2004...Bush was derided by the MSM for "jobless recovery" when in fact the unemployment rate was going down 5.5% to 5.4%. Fast forward to today as the MSM spins honey....

"Economists are expecting the unemployment rate to rise to 9.5 percent, from 9.4 percent, and for employers to have cut 228,000 net jobs in August, compared with the 247,000 jobs lost in March. That job loss number — or even better, a figure that starts with a “1,” would be strong evidence that improvement in the economy is finally filtering through to the job market in a serious way."

And so it goes...


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