Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Crime and punishment (addendum) 4:24 AM
- there has never been any form of government in human history competent enough to impartially administer a program of capital punishment, nor has any had enough nous to avoid the odd case of judicial murder
- I have a strong suspicion that given the appeals mechanism necessary in such systems and the opposition that such programs generate amongst your right for life types, the costs involved would far outweigh those of the alternative - long term incarceration.... and we pay enough tax as it is.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Australians are living longer than ever before. In 2004-05, the average life expectancy (at birth) of Australian men and women were 79 and 83 years. This makes Australian among the longest lived people in the world. The cost of health care is, for the moment, quite modest by international standards.
Yet there is quite a clear agreement that
But don’t just pick on the littlies. Why not the oldies? They’re too demented to know what’s good for them. Why, if only they exercised more and ate properly, they wouldn’t fall over and hurt themselves or clog up our hospitals with renal dialysis.
Then you’ve got the old (ho-hum) rugby scrum between the stern-looking guys in white coats and the witch-doctors promoting alternative therapies: ‘You can’t trust them holistic types, there’s no science in them’. And finally, there’s always that big bogey-man everyone loves to hate: big fat rich corporations (health insurance, pharmaceutical and, wait for it, oil companies) and professional associations (greedy doctors and dentists) all seeking for ways to rip you off.
There is one personality type that permeates the baying crowd: the one who knows the Truth. In his view all Australians should hike before breakfast, ride a bike to work, eat sushi for lunch, and have a cup of green tea after work. This one wants to ‘educate’ you, regulate you, provide you with all the infrastructure and incentives you would need, and then tax you to finance it all.
There is no doubt that
I believe the Private Health Fund system is inefficient as there are too many funds which leads to much duplication of services. At the least the government should reduce the number of funds offering private insurance. This could be done by only allowing them. a reduced premium increase and letting market factors take their course. Those collapsed fund's members should be able to move to another fund without losing their accumulated benefits.
Better to put the several billions spent on private health insurance annually into public hospitals.
One of the great myths of the health insurance debate is that there is merit in having a single health insurer — that competition somehow leads to duplication.
The obvious extension of this logic is that all the clothes shops in Chapel St should be closed down, except one, since there is duplication. And while we’re at it, let’s close down all the souvlaki shops because, you know, there is duplication.
Where duplication does exist in health insurance, say in the number of actuaries employed, competition makes up for it through the innovation of new insurance products. Moreover, it is competition, not government mandate, that will eventually lead to lower insurance premiums — although the extent that this will occur will depend on how health care costs are controlled.
So if we have a single health insurer, why not make it publicly owned? And if we have a single clothes shop why not make it publicly owned too? Hell, why not combine clothes shops and souvlaki shops into Fur and Meat Emporiums and have the waif-thin fashionistas (‘That looks great on you’) teeter on high heels slicing lamb off the gyro.
Real reform to private health insurance can only be achieved by getting the right balance between private and public health insurance, and then deregulating health insurance to permit real competition. But we don’t like competition in health insurance.
‘Would you like yoghurt or sauce on your insurance policy, sir?’
Back of the envelope
- Cost --- Many billions
- Expected impact on average earnings --- Soviet era style living standards
- Expected impact on economic growth --- Big cut in GDP from reduced competition
- Impact on incentives --- Crappy customer service, poor health outcomes
- Impact on government spending --- big increase
- Impact on taxation --- big increase
- Winners --- Party officials
- Losers --- Everyone
Dear reader, I have discovered on my hard drive a couple more health submissions from the book that never was. I will post them and the health over view over the forthcoming week. For those that are confused I suggest you reference the very earliest posts on this blogsite. Doc
Major medical problems in Australia due to obesity, smoking and alcohol need greater preventive campaigns and free behaviour change assistance for all people at risk.
This statement single handedly captures the ridiculousness of Australia’s Medicare system. What does ‘free behavioural change assistance’ really mean?
Medicare is compulsory national insurance: everyone contributes to it and is covered by it. However, contribution is based upon not the risk one poses to the national insurance pool, but by how much one can contribute. Thus a person’s lifestyle choice (how much they exercise, how much they eat, drink and smoke) has no bearing upon his or her financial contributions. Instead, he or she is covered, no matter what they do.
So unable to influence behaviour through the insurance system, governments instead focus on other ways to change behaviour. Government tend to lecture you (say, a multi-million dollar television campaign telling you that a glass of vino after work is the work of the devil). Governments can even get tough: ‘if we catch you drinking, or not exercising or smoking, then you are in really big trouble …’. But incentives are still important, so of course, there are many examples of governments turning to their own citizens to enforce is dictates.
So if you, Tim, plan to head off to the race track tomorrow to place a few bets, tug on a few ciggies, you better watch out. Somewhere there is a little boy scout ready to dob you into the re-education
Back of the envelope
- Cost --- Multi millions
- Expected impact on average earnings --- Unchanged average weekly earnings except for public servants enforcing the law
- Expected impact on economic growth --- Big decrease in GDP as everyone lives in fear of little boy scouts
- Impact on incentives --- Don't do anything remotely fun, in case your neighbour thinks you're behaving suspiciously
- Impact on government spending --- big increase
- Impact on taxation --- big increase
- Winners --- re education camp managers, stasi officials and scouts
- Losers --- TAB Tim at the races
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Five minutes on a friday. 8:53 PM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
wowser, wowser, wowser (Roy Rodgers) 12:25 AM
1. Food and beverages classification
2. Junk food if self-regulation fails
3. Raise price of tobacco
4. Tobacco promotion ban
5. Tobacco out of sight in retail outlets
6. Plain packaging on cigarette packages
7. Ban smoking in public places "where children are likely to be exposed"
8. Ban smoking in cars
9. Second-hand smoke in workplaces, incl. outdoors
10. Second-hand smoke outside, "where people gather or move in close proximity"
11. Increase size of pack warnings
12. Tobacco brand names
13. further protections against sales to minors
14. Second-hand smoke outside, "where people gather or move in close proximity"
15. Ban vending machines sales, the internet, and at hospitality & other social venues
16. Nationally consistent liquor outlet opening times and density
17. Nationally consistent accreditation requirements for liquor licences
18. Nationally consistent late night outlet laws
19. Nationally consistent alcohol serving and training
20. Alcohol promotion regulation if voluntary regulation inadequate
21. Alcohol advertising during live sport broadcasts
22. Alcohol advertising during high adolescent/child viewing
23. Alcohol sponsorship of sport and cultural events
24. Alcohol promotion regulation
25. Alcohol availability restrictions, indigenous communities
26. Liquor licence hours restrictions in indigenous communities
New Programs and Frameworks
27. National Framework for Active Living
28. National Food and Nutrition Framework
29. National program to support Health and Physical Education in National Curriculum
30. Expand after-school health programs
31. Healthy and Active Families initiative
32. National Healthy Community Leadership and Education Program
33. Social Marketing Strategy
34. Multi-component community-based obesity programs in low SES communities
35. Multi-component community-based obesity programs in indigenous communities
36. National workplace health leadership program, and best practice guidelines
37. National accord for workplace programs and risk assessment
38. National program to alert pregnant and pre-pregnant women of dangers of excessive weight
39. National strategy to combat illicit tobacco trade
40. Multi-component community-based tobacco control projects
41. Develop further Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
42. Alcohol Diversion Programs, indigenous communities
43. Network of Alcohol-related programs
44. National Strategic Framework for preventative health research
45. Prime Ministers Council for Active Living
46. Healthy Food Compact
47. Regulatory body for required disclosure to government, communication to consumers and emissions
48. National Tobacco Strategy Steering Committee
49. National Prevention Agency
50. Preventative health strategic research fund
51. National preventative health research register
52. Research Program to inform National active living framework on economic issues
53. Commission review of economic policies and tax systems towards encouraging healthier food consumption
54. Work with industry towards food labelling
55. Voluntary industry scorecard
56. Nationally agreed accreditation standards for food labelling
57. Research: program to strengthen evidence of effective workplace health promotion
58. Research: legislative changes to encourage workplace health programs
59. Research: feasibility of grants and tax incentives for employees to encourage achievement of benchmarks
60. Health and PE in National Curriculum
61. Establish system to monitor policy of minimum 2 hours physical activity per week from K-10.
62. Research: How teachers promote health
63. Community Intervention Trials
64. Local Government Partnerships to encourage local councils to adopt health guidelines
65. Research: into effectiveness of the self-regulation of junk food
66. Expand allied health workforce
67. Clinical guidelines for allied health workforce
68. Carry out National Risk Factor Survey in 2010
69. National Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey in 2012
70. Research: national research agenda for obesity
71. Research: ongoing research into obesity into indigenous communities
72. International agreements to combat illicit tobacco trade
73. Social marketing campaigns against tobacco use
74. Research into warning label effectiveness
75. Tobacco retailers licensing regime
76. Research: possibility of legal action by government and others against tobacco companies
77. All health services smoke-free, incl. Grounds
78. Patients quizzed about smoking status routinely
79. More money for: extra Quitline resources
80. Nicotine replacement therapy more affordable
81. Social marketing campaigns for indigenous smokers
82. Training in smoking cessation advice for indigenous health workers
83. Tobacco Control Workers in indigenous communities
84. Promotion to health professionals for Quitline
85. Poster advertising in disadvantaged communities
86. Increase efforts for anti-smoking for people with mental illness
87. Prisons and state-funded human services agencies smoke-free
88. Target parents to convey message to children to not smoke
89. Make smoking classifiable in movies
90. Constant alerts to public about dangers, and about new research findings
91. Tobacco surveillance system to assess whether anti-smoking targets are being met
92. Increase resources to develop and implement best practice for laws and regulations related to alcohol
93. Develop business case for COAG nation partnership on policing and enforcement
94. More money for: Drink-driving monitoring
95. More money for: Licence enforcement
96. More money for: Annual review of licences
97. Demerit points for licences
98. More money for: monitoring liquor laws
99. Social marketing strategy
100. Campaign to "build a national consensus on healthy alcohol consumption"
101. Campaign for awareness of alcohol guidelines
102. Campaign to de-normalise intoxication
103. Campaign to raise awareness of consequences of alcohol
104. Research: effectiveness of voluntary approach to alcohol promotion regulation
105. Research: alcohol modelling
106. Advocate: alcohol floor price
107. More money for: alcohol campaigns
108. More money for: healthcare providers, indigenous communities
109. More money for: staff training, indigenous communities
110. More money for: treatment programs, indigenous communities
111. More money for: coordinated case management, indigenous communities
112. More money for: responsible serving of alcohol provision
113. Community groups of indigenous to promote alcohol responsibility
114. Research: alcohol consumption, indigenous communities
115. More money for: health care for alcohol problems
116. More money for: health care for alcohol problems, disadvantaged groups
117. Nationally consistent principles regarding alcohol to minors without parental consent
118. Promotion of early drinking age discussion
119. Community support for parents and alcohol
120. Research: Alcohol use in families and with children
121. Research: nationally consistent collection and management of alcohol wholesale sales data
122. Research: National indicators on alcohol consumption
The good oil 12:19 AM
The following pod cast gives a couple of alternative views about the lessons to be learnt from the great depression as they apply to our current global crisis. Worth a listen.
The New Financial Deal: What Do the 1930s Teach About Reforming Today's Financial Markets?
|Speakers:||John H. Cochrane, Myron S. Scholes Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business|
|Thomas F. Cooley, Dean, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University|
|Charles Geisst, Professor of Finance, Manhattan College; Author of Wall Street: A History|
|Ingo Walter, Seymour Milstein Professor of Finance, Corporate Governance, and Ethics, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University|
Sunday, September 20, 2009
- extending someones life isn't isn't all good.... old age is in and of itself a major driver of health related costs.
- all these studies universally ignore the benefits associated with consuming these goods
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Telstra (Roy Rodgers) 6:48 PM
Friday, September 18, 2009
The good oil 6:00 AM
Twelve months after the failure of Lehman Brothers, introduction of TARP, a freeze-up of interbank lending, and the beginning of a stock market roller coaster ride, what do we know about what really happened? What really caused the housing bubble and how did that lead to the crisis? If the crisis was the result of many mistakes, how should we go about thinking about what kinds of mistakes were made and who is really at fault?
Russ Roberts, PhD and Arnold Kling, PhD present the findings of their in-depth investigations of the causes and nature of this unique economic event.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The tragedy from my perspective is that there is no such movement here. Let me quote from the 1909 Australia year book with regards to the Australian character:
The Australian at present is little other than a transplanted Briton, with the
essential characteristics of his British forbears, the desire for freedom from
restraint, however, being perhaps more strongly accentuated.
The key point is not the the Australian was thought to be like the Briton, but rather the emphasis on his (or her) dislike to restraint, of control. What happened in the intervening 100 years? From a freedom loving, independent people who were ashamed to take hand outs (ask your grandparents), we have become a nation of welfare dependent hand-out junkies, who seem to think that the "rich" should pay for our health care, schools, roads and everyhting else that Government does and probably should not. Where are the lovers of freedom? What happened to the independent Australian who supported himself and his family? What happened to the suspicion of big government? Where is our Washington? Where is our Ayn Rand?
This is how free people become enslaved.
Who would have thought (Roy Rodgers) 12:10 AM
Monday, September 14, 2009
Obama the joker? 6:38 AM
This is a little bit creepy ... heres the obama joker image thats become so popular in the states. ... One gets the feeling obama's honeymoon is over.