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Articles by Donald E. L. Johnson

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Today is Sunday, April 20, 2014

Quality


Economist article casts doubts on scientific research on global warming, fracking, drugs, GMF

Those of us who've been very skeptical about the "science" behind Al Gore's global warming alarmism and warnings about fracking and genetically modified foods are vindicated in the Oct. 19 Economist article, Trouble at the lab. This is a must read.

Basically, the same 40% to 70% of high school kids who have told pollsters that they cheated on tests to get in to top schools also cheated in college and grad school and continue to cheat and cover up errors in their scientific research.

I've always believed too much in science and scientific research. But decades ago a scientist with a strong background in statistics and medical research abused me of my confidence in scientists' intellectual integritiy. Since then, a number of articles in the scientific literature and elsewhere by scientists have made me even more skeptical. 

This article in the Economist only increases my frustration with the smart scientists who do dumb things and undermine our confidence in their work. 

I've tweeted the following: Unreliable : Trouble at the lab. Must read. trials  and I've posted a link to the article on Facebook.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 10/25/13 at 12:47 PM
ColoradoEnergyEnvironmentClimate ChangeGlobal WarmingEthicsTrustQualitySciencePermalink

Why don’t Verizon, AT&T take care of “roaming” customers?

While I understand that market conditions and regulations keep Verizon and AT &T, the two biggest carriers, from covering every RV Park and city in America, I don't understand how they can leave their millions of customers in the dark when they are out of those companies' service areas. Don't they understand that free roaming is critical to keeping the millions of their customers who travel happy when they're away from home?

Verizon phones and its MIFI card don't connect in Colter Bay, WY, or West Yellowstone, MT. And the very nice West Yellowstone KOA isn't able to provide Internet connections via TengoInternet, a service used by many RV Parks. Even a dumpy little Cooke City, MT, motel we had to check into after a pass was closed due to snow had an unworkable internet as well as no Verizon. 

 

In the Fairmont RV Park at Anaconda, MT, just west of Butte, we finally got a weak Verizon MIFI signal that we both could use. 

 

All of this has been very frustrating for a political news junky like me who also is trying to keep up with the NBA playoffs and the stock, money and commodities markets.

 

When you have to do a hard shut down of your iPhones and Mi-Fi in Wyoming and Montana, you know that Verizon doesn't take care of rural America. RV park neighbors seem to be online with AT&T, and they say their phones get three bars. While three bars doesn't mean much, being able to make phone calls and get on the Internet does.

 

DW says, get used to it. You're in the boondocks and you're headed to Canada and Alaska where Internet connections will be just as bad. She's probably right.

 

Meanwhile, we're reading books and writing our journals. It's beautiful and peaceful here, and we'll enjoy it while we can.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 06/05/13 at 02:28 PM
e-commerceQualityTechnologyPhonesVacationsPermalink

Why political journalists are liberal Obama Democrats

Why the media are Obama Democrats and encourage Divider-in-Chief/Liar-in-Chief Obama:

1. Journalism offers some of the lowest entry-level salaries. This engenders Wealth Envy from day one. Been there. Done that.
 
2. Few journalists are math or numbers people. 
 
3. Few journalists have run anything, especially a business other than a free-lance writing gig.
 
4. Most journalists are groupies. They dream of interviewing mindless actors, power greedy poiticians and illiterate jocks.
 
5. Most political journalists are lifers. They know nothing but politicians and politics. They're like cops. They deal with dishonest politicians who lie to them every day, and they think everyone lies and should lie to win power and wealth. 
 
6. A lot of political journalists are lazy. They do little if any library research. They seldom read bills or testimony. They talk to Nancy Pelosi and write their stories, after consulting with the AP reporter on the beat who gives them the lead that everyone will use that day.
 
7. Journalists hate editors who try to make them write smart, factual and unbiased stories. They're all bloggers at heart.
Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 12/06/12 at 01:29 PM
EthicsTrustMediaMagazinesNewspapersQualityPermalink

13 ways to cut Medicare costs

Over the last 35 years, there have been a lot of attempts to slow the growth in Medicare expenditures, which have continued to soar unabated because of poor policy making by both parties. 

Although the Budget Control Act of 2011 (S. 365) says the Joint Budget Committee that will try to agree on the next round of budget cuts won't be allowed to change Medicare's benefits, I think it should.

Here are some ideas for changing Medicare that would give consumers and providers strong financial incentives to increase access to care and higher quality care at lower costs per patient and per enrollee:


Even libertarians should support more regulation of food suppliers; fraud widespread

If you order snapper at your favorite restaurant, there’s a 77% chance that what you’re served is something else. If you try to buy foods without corn syrup because you’re allergic to it or are trying to control your weight, “pure” maple syrup and honey may be adulterated with it despite what the label says. Lindsey Layton reports that large food processors and sellers of accurately labeled foodstuffs are trying to get the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on fraudulent food importers and sellers. But they are talking to the wrong people. Only Congress can give the FDA the funding needed to support a stronger FDA enforcement drive. But Congress is more interested in wasting money on health care deform, green energy and climate change than in protecting our food supplies. Even libertarians recognize that consumers need to be protected from food fraudsters.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 03/30/10 at 07:11 AM
ColoradoPPCEthicsQualityPermalink

What does defensive medicine cost? It depends on your agenda

Democrats who depend on malpractice lawyers for huge campaign contributions do everything they can to down play the cost of defensive medicine. Republicans who don’t get money from trial lawyers do everything they can to show that the threats of malpractice suits cause physicians to increase the cost of health care by 30% to 50% by practicing defensive medicine. When physicians practice defensive medicine, they order more tests and procedures and drugs than they should in an effort to reduce their risks of being sued. Trial lawyers win. Medical supply companies and medical device companies win. Physicians and hospitals win. Patients and taxpayers lose.

A new Gallup poll of physician finds that 25% of procedures ordered by physicians are unnecessary. Jackson Healthcare uses that number to estimate that $650 billion of the $2.5 trillion spent on health services is spent on unnecessary tests and treatments. Click on the hed of this story to see links to several relevant articles.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 02/28/10 at 01:23 PM
ColoradoPPCHealthcare ProvidersHospitalsPhysiciansQualityRead More

WSJ: Why medical malpractice reform increases health insurance premiums up to $200 billion a year

For those concerned about fixing medical malpractice, or tort reform, this Wall Street Journal op-ed is a good read.

Impact graphs:

 


Life expectancy: U.S. health care does very well compared with other countries

A blogger on Reuters writes that the U.S. health care system is really good compared with other countries.

He links to a University of Pennsylvania paper, Low Life Expectancy in the United
States: Is the Health Care System at
Fault?, by Samuel H. Preston and Jessica Y. Ho.

The abstract follows:

 


Bernanke’s health care term paper shows how little he knows about health care economics, uninsured

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke’s freshman-level term paper on health care economics shows how little he knows about it.

Here’s the evidence:

He talks about the health care system in America as if there is one. There are thousands of health care systems in this country. They include the military and Veterans Administration health care systems, the investor-owned and not-for-profit health care systems and systems owned and run by states, counties and municipalities. Typical systems include hospitals, specialty hospitals, long-term care facilities and services and primary care, diagnostic, emergency care and surgical clinics. Every state and municipality that has a hospital, doctor’s office, nursing home or other health care provider is a health care and health insurance market. In addition, we have dozens of medical devices, medical supplies and pharmaceutical markets. While they are interdependent, they are not in a “system.”

He cites a Institute of Medicine report on medical errors, which has been discredited in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. and other peer-reviewed journals. I’ve also written about its flaws in Health Care Strategic Management. Here is one of the 32 posts I’ve written about medical errors, and it puts the number of deaths due to errors at 32,000, not the more than 100,000 projected and estimated by the IOM in its 1999 report.

Bernanke talks about the 47 million uninsured when there are, at most 10 million American citizens who cannot afford health insurance and are “uninsured.” I’ve explained the math here. On this blog, I’ve written about the uninsured more than 177 times over the last five years.

The Fed’s chairman repeats a couple of important points.

First, no single reform will fix the health care markets.

Second. We have excellent health care services and medical products producers in the U.S., and policy makers must be careful not to damage what we have, which is what they’re bound to do.


Lasik surgery on eyes requires stronger warnings, FDA says

The other day I asked a friend who is an internist what he thinks of Lasik surgery, and he replied, “I still wear glasses.” Me too. And I’m glad that I’ve never had the procedure done. Ultra light specs work for me. When it comes to my eyes, I’m risk averse.

Stock pickers ask: Who makes contacts, solutions for contacs, glasses and relevant components? Who sells glasses? Maybe it’s not the weakening economy that has cut Lasik eye surgeries by about 17%?

The Food and Drug Administration’s Ophthalmic Devices Panel last week heard horror stories from and about people who had Lasik surgery go wrong, and the Panel urged stronger warnings about the surgery, the Washington Post and about every paper in the country reported. Impact graphs:


Institute of Medicine sounds alarm about lack of staff trained in geriatric care; boomers beware

Baby boomers won’t have enough trained health care workers to take care of them, and an expansion of geriatric care training is need for physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, families, friends and even patients, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine. CQPolitics.com’s impact graphs:

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 04/14/08 at 09:04 PM
Health insuranceMedicareQualityQuality Patient CareRead More

Budget Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 hurting GE, PHG and other makers of imaging equipment

The Budget Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (PL 109-171, or DRA) continues to be blamed for slowing sales of x-ray, CT and MRI equipment sales by GE, PHG, SI and other makers of that equipment. The exact language of that act related to imaging is shown below. Click on this story’s headline.

What the act does is reduce the profitability of owning imaging equipment for radiologists and owners of outpatient clinics, making investments in the equipment much less attractive. The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill is here. It’s section on Medicare is on page 26 of the report. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMM) announces the rules that will implement Section 5102 of PL 109-171 here. To better understand the reasons for the DRA, read this statement by Herb Kuhn, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMM) to a congressional committee.


Walgreens’ (WAG) move into worksite clinics looks smart

Walgreens (WAG) recently acquired two firms that operate work site clinics, and Brian Klepper
explains why work site clinics might make it big for WAG and other companies. His article is must reading for investors trying to understand WAG’s latest acquisitions.

Work site clinics can work for small businesses as well as large employers, and

 


67% of patients rate their hospitals highly; hospitals under staffed, under paid, mismanaged

Most patients feel they got good care while they were hospitalized, but a sizeable minority were discharged unhappy with their care, and comments posted in response to Robert Pear’s report on a government survey of patient satisfaction shows how years of cost containment errors by politicians and employers have undermined the quality of care in America’s hospitals.

The key findings were:

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