Tag Archives: medicaid

Net Neutrality: Taken For Fools

I, Pandora has had a mixed history on Network Neutrality.

Network what?

Network Neutrality is one response to fears that infrastructure and service companies, such as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, spell doom for the freedom of the internet as they inevitably begin controlling access to content, enhancing access to content they own, control, or partner with, and limiting access to content they deem contrary to their best interest.

The majority of Network Neutrality supporters want the FCC to step in and set rules requiring the infrastructure/service companies provide equal access to all content and forbidding them from interfering in any way with the freedom of the internet.

Sounds good, right?

As with any other debate, you have to get to the deeper issues. And this debate is rife with deeper issues.

When I first heard of Network Neutrality I was gung-ho for it. I did not understand the goals at the heart of this push.

“Don’t be hasty, master Hobbit!”

There was a reason liberal Democrat leaders were more for this program than Republicans and conservatives. Liberals dream of more regulation and control and private and free systems. The freer the system the stronger the urge to a liberal to regulate it.

My confusion over Network Neutrality did not continue long. I supported it in March of 2007, and by August of that year I wrote about the inherent conflict between government regulation and innovation.

Government regulation is the enemy of innovation.

In the arguments over Net Neutrality, I feel for the plebes. I don’t want my traffic throttled any more than it already is by the ISP. But is it the government’s responsibility to control this? And if we allow the government to say who can access the internet and at what speed, where is our moral authority when the government wants to say who can’t access the internet?

Perhaps I am more libertarian than I like to think myself to be.

Later I quoted Rep. John Sununu (R – New Hampshire) regarding the slippery slope of wishing for government interference:

If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that it’s pretty presumptuous to predict what the future will be. We should be very, very cautious about imposing regulations based on what we think competitors will do in the future and how we think consumers will respond based on what we think competitors will do.

Gee, that sounds familiar.

Oh, yea. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a 60 minutes spot on healthcare and specifically Medicare and Medicaid’s extremely high levels of fraud made perhaps the most blind statement regarding human nature I’ve ever heard from a lawman:

People didn’t think that something as well-intentioned as Medicare and Medicaid would necessarily attract um… fraudsters.

People not thinking. Not considering the implications of what they want.

Just because it’s well intentioned doesn’t mean it’s right and good and free of the failings that so plague us mortals.

Are Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast completely good in their actions so far regarding the internet? No.

Comcast has been slapped once for purposely throttling connections to certain types of content during peak times load times.

But is the government the solution?

In my article regarding regulation versus innovation I make it clear that while there is a place for regulation, that regulation is best applied to the government itself, limiting it’s ability to tamper with our system of free enterprise.

There is a question I’d ask of anybody regarding this issue. If Thomas Edison were alive today which entity would be the greatest enemy of his innovation: Government or Business?

Sonia Ericson, writing in TechNewsWorld today provides a meaningful and realistic and proven alternative to network neutrality: private control.

ICANN is currently the organization closest to being “in control” of the internet.

It’s a private organization which controls the distribution and changes to the domain names which make the internet navigable.

(A)sking the FCC to “protect” the Internet means inviting government oversight, which injects more politics — not less — into the operation of the Net.

Sonia then talks about someone I’ve met:

Ashwin Navin, cofounder of BitTorrent, also says he doesn’t support government regulation of the Net, even though his name appears on an OIC letter. He says he’d rather see Internet service providers come up with a self-regulatory plan based on a pledge to keep the Net open and the creation of a third body to arbitrate. Indeed, Navin says that his own company’s scuffle with Comcast was ultimately solved without formal rules after a netizen noticed that Comcast was degrading service and brought the matter to the public’s attention.

“The problem is disclosure,” Navin says. “Consumers need to know if the ISP, which is the most invisible layer in the stack, is responsible for an improved or degraded experience for any of the services they use.”

Geek Out Alert!

In my days working for Fry’s Electronics, Ashwin’s step-dad hired us to build and repair his wireless network. He introduced me to Horchata and I watched the Blue Angels practice over his backyard. Ashwin and his brother came by once while I was there and I basked in the presence of those gods of the internet, the business minds behind BitTorrent.

But Ashwin has a point. A good point. A point I may elaborate on further in the future.

Suffice to say that information is the grease for the wheels of the free market and capitalism. And the internet, above all else in the history of markets, has enabled the dissemination of information more efficiently and the finding and gauging of information more easily.

Why do we trust the government to act in our best interest when it comes to such a powerful information force as the internet? The government has no competitors to blow the whistle on it’s misdeeds. The government self-interest lies in a dearth of information.

Trust the government and be taken for a fool. I’ll not be joining you in your foolishness.

Today’s Interesting Stuff: 10/12/2009

Where’re the headlines?

Interesting
Interesting

Reason.org reports on a study published in October 2008 in the Journal of the American Medical Association which busts the balloon of “common knowledge” regarding who clogs emergency rooms and doesn’t pay.

Show of hands: who believes it is the uninsured who use a disproportionately high amount of medical care in US emergency rooms while paying a disproportionately low amount of their bills?

I did. In the face of a lack of public evidence to the contrary and because it sounds plausible. It passed the “stink” test.

Well, it’s deodorant is wearing out and the reek of the rotted corpse is becoming harder and harder to conceal.

(R)esearchers at the University of Michigan … concluded that “available data do not support assumptions that uninsured patients are a primary cause of overcrowding, present with less acute conditions than insured patients, or seek [emergency room] care primarily for convenience.”

(P)atients with public insurance, such as Medicaid and Medicare, are more likely to crowd into emergency rooms for minor complaints than are the uninsured. Only about 17 percent of E.R. visits in the United States in the last year studied were by uninsured patients, about the same as their share of the population.

Additionally:

A 2007 study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine looked at charges and payments for 43,128 emergency department visits between 1996 and 2004. “What surprised us was that uninsured patients actually pay a higher proportion of their emergency department charges than Medicaid does,” reported co-author Reneé Hsia, a specialist in emergency medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. “In fact, 35 percent of charges for uninsured visits were paid in 2004, compared with 33 percent for Medicaid visits.”

Read the whole story here.

In other words, it’s the people already on that paradigm of balanced care, the public option, that are the dead weight on the system. They are leeches. They suck eagerly at the public teat like so many thirty-year-old, basement dwelling, XBox playing nerds living off their own mother’s inability to to force their children to grow up.

In nature the parent birds push their own children out of their nest in a fly or fall choice.

We humans have compassion and a sign of a healthy society is more likely found in their care for their poor rather than the lack of the poor. But to forcibly take from the productive members of society and play the enabler to the myriad sponges found around every willing and leaky faucet is not to help but to kill.

“Where are the headlines?”  a friend asked.

With the wonder of the internet and the example of Big Government and the slaying of the beast ACORN in recent weeks, we must embrace this truth about a fundamental change in our society: we are the 4th estate.

Each and every one of us have the power, through viral spreading of messages through the networks of facebook and youtube and twitter, myspace and orkut, blogs and the wider web, to build a story, however under-reported in the mainstream media, into a tsunami which cannot be ignored by those we’ve sent to do our bidding in DC and statehouses across this nation.

Are you doing your part in this brave new world?

Government Is Big

Bringing home the glory in the Duh! category today, the Washington Post, reporting on Obama’s Executive Order mandating federal agencies monitor and decrease their greenhouse emissions and environmental footprint, noted the government is big.

Administration officials said they could not estimate the federal government’s carbon footprint, since it has never been measured before, but the government ranks as the nation’s largest energy consumer. It occupies nearly 500,000 buildings, operates more than 600,000 vehicles and employs more than 1.8 million civilian workers.

Read the whole story here.

Very big.

500,000 buildings?

Five Hundred-Thousand buildings?

What in heaven’s name have we allowed the government to do in order to meet our needs for an accountable system of government?

I feel like Frankenstein’s creator: “It’s ALIIIIVE!”.

And well I should. After all, as an involved member of this greatest nation on God’s green earth I’m one who votes and talks, exercising the rights guaranteed by a Constitution won with the blood of thousands and defended by the blood of millions. And therefore I’m responsible, maybe not for the problem directly, but for the solution certainly.

I’m not one to get into the whole green thing. The clerk at Bed, Bath & Beyond said she wanted to use the bamboo kitchen utensils I was checking out because she’d heard they were more environmentally friendly. I told her I used them because they work better than regular wood utensils, nothing green about it.

But here’s something real greens and conservatives and concerned citizens across the country can all get behind: cut back on the footprint of the government by cutting back on the government.

In a galaxy far, far away…

…where President Obama lives. He was joined recently by the members of the Nobel Prize Committee.  It’s probably more true to say they’ve been there all along, considering who they like to reward.

But breaking information regarding the nature of that world has come to light courtesy of a small, fuzzy friend”

The Real Winner

Ironic Surrealism has the lowdown on the real winner of the Nobel Peace Prize:

The real Peace Prize winner.
The real Peace Prize winner.