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September 11, 2003
It's 9/11 (2003)

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm glad the world is ever so much safer than it was two years ago. Afghanistan is pacified and Iraq is under control and no one's recycling Iraq-era lies to get us into a new war. We're popular everywhere these days.

We're economically more secure too, aren't we?

Is sure is good to live in the USofA, land of the free and the home of the brave.

By the way, do you know what your government is up to?

Forget a link between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, maybe someone should be explaining to the public about how 9/11 might not originally have been the brainchild of the Taliban at all? One presumes that our gov'mint is still investigating 9/11 but the whole shroud of secrecy around what they are (or aren't) doing blocks our right to know exactly what progress is (or is not) being made.

The lawsuits against Colorado's highly partisan redistricting move go on. The battle in Texas could be almost over since one Democrat broke ranks and returned to Austin, thus providing the legislature with the necessary quorum. Hooray for democracy.

People in employer-sponsored health plans in the United States are paying 48 percent more out of their own pockets for care than they did three years ago, according to an authoritative new study, and the cost will be even higher next year. And this, I'd like to point out, is happening in a year when a lot of managed care plans are posting record profits. Hooray for the free market.

And then there's Malpractice: A new diagnosis. (registration required)

On the heels of medical malpractice reforms adopted by Florida, the U.S. General Accounting Office has come out with a report that casts doubt on the severity of the malpractice crisis.

"Medical Malpractice: Implications of Rising Premiums on Access to Health Care" examines the issue in nine states.
Of those, Florida is one of five in which higher-than-average rising liability insurance premiums are believed to have driven physicians to move out of state, retire early or severely curtail the services they provide.

The conclusion: Rising malpractice premiums have not created an exodus of physicians, or serious curtailment of medical services in this state.

After some quibbling, and pointing out that premium increases and malpractice problems don't always coincide in one state, they get to the kickers:

But the GAO also determined that jury awards were rare, and big jury awards -- those in excess of $1 million -- were rarer still. Most claims, though, never got to a jury: Only four out of every 100 claims actually went to court.

For those thinking that filing a lawsuit is an easy path to riches, I recommend thinking again.

And then there's the real news, buried toward the end of the article:

GAO also found that the rising costs of premiums could be traced to insurance companies' investment losses as well as extremely competitive pricing for insurance premiums in the 1990s.

Got that? Insurance pricing...skyrocketing. Significant cause....risky investment strategies that didn't pay off. It's like a government agency, isn't it? We gave them money, they threw it away, now they want more.

I was already boycotting diamonds, even before I knew how the trade makes the children suffer. I'm going to have to boycott chocolate. (Not that significant a move, since I'm on a diet at the moment, but it's at least symbolic.) The sad thing about some of these situations is that, bad as they are, many of the people involved honestly think they're doing something good.

Many of them do. Not all of them, of course. Some people just need more cannon fodder or find the emotional instability of the teenager ripe for exploitation. (Warning: Extremely unsettling photograph.)

Posted by AnneZook at 02:37 PM