Friday, May 15, 2009

Really Expensive Mistakes

I think the widespread lack of understanding of basic math is coming back to bite our country in the *ss. You listen to the news and the supporters of rampant government spending, and they never seem to grasp that all that money has to come from somewhere. Sure, you can print up more, but then it becomes worthless, just like the promises of our current administration in DC.

Let's take a looksee at the "dire predictions" of what would happen without the stimulus bill (from American Issues Report:

In early January, a joint paper [PDF file] by Dr. Christine Romer, then the nominee to chair the Presidential Council of Economic Advisers, and Jared Bernstein from Joe Biden's advisory team painted a bleak view of a world without the off-budget stimulus plan. This paper drove the administration's agenda on the stimulus bill and helped formulate the calculus that gave a much higher priority to public-works projects as opposed to tax cuts and business incentives. Failure to act, Romer and Bernstein warned, could have dire consequences (page 5):

The U.S. economy has already lost nearly 2.6 million jobs since the business cycle peak in December 2007. In the absence of stimulus, the economy could lose another 3 to 4 million more. Thus, we are working to counter a potential total job loss of at least 5 million. As Figure 1 shows, even with the large prototypical package, the unemployment rate in 2010Q4 is predicted to be approximately 7.0 percent, which is well below the approximately 8.8 percent that would result in the absence of a plan.

Yet, here we are, after burdening ourselves, our children and grandchildren with crushing debt, and what have we got to show for it?

Unemployment is actually worse than they predicted without the stimulus package. And we haven't even gotten started on government healthcare. Government control of healthcare will lead to rationing and the death of innovation. I'm not okay with that.

Check out this article from Health Informatics:

EMRs May Do Away With the Docs that Use Them
Posted on: 5.5.2009 8:37:39 AM Posted by Sam Bierstock, MD, BSEE

The President has announced his goal to digitalize our nation's medical record system. If achieved, this wonderful and lofty notion would certainly reduce medical errors, increase the quality of care delivered, bring consistency of care to our citizens, reduce costs associated with delivering health care, and quite possibly drive the physicians who are supposed to use them out of business.

The buzzards are already beginning to circle.

Physicians and nurses are the most pressured of all professionals, with expectations of their performance and its unimaginable responsibilities beyond the comprehension of people who have never made life and death decisions hundreds of times a day. With every decision and action comes the risk of being held liable and losing both their profession and their assets. The very mechanics of using electronic medical records in their current state of development has complicated the lives of many clinicians who use them and have been slow in being adopted for that reason. With luck, that will change.

What few people realize is that using a computer to document every decision, every action, and the assessment of every piece of information that streams to clinicians in real time represents a major change in the way clinicians have to think and work, and an audit trail that has begun the salivation process of every malpractice attorney who has finally realized what is about to be imposed on the medical profession. An electronic medical record system can track how long a doctor looked at a document, if he or she scrolled down to read the entire thing, how long it took a doctor or nurse to respond to an alert or notification of an abnormal result, how long it took for them to answer their email, and the accuracy of their every assessment, thought and action. It can track whether their decisions and actions meet the most recent guidelines or research results in a world where thousands and thousands of new papers and research are published every week.

This may sound wonderful for those receiving care, but how many people reading this article would want to use such a system in their work knowing that their every thought and action could be audited and evaluated by others who make their living suing you for everything you own?

What happens when it's you or your loved ones who are denied care because you don't meet the government criteria? What happens when China stops buying our debt? This house of cards is going to come tumbling down with a mighty roar. The Founding Fathers must be turning over in their graves as the Constitution is trampled into the dust.

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