Monthly Archives: January 2020

Grease, friction, and Amway markups in healthcare

UnityPoint Hospital

With a few exceptions, U.S. consumers spend at least twice as much per capita on healthcare than they do in a dozen other countries with true universal coverage and equal, if not better, outcomes. Bad, right? Here is the sticky part: most of that extra cash that you and your employer fork out pays the salaries of hundreds of thousands… Read more »

John Roberts and the myth of balls and strikes

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Little League

The details of the role Chief Justice John Roberts must play in the upcoming Senate trial of President Trump is a matter of some debate, even among Constitutional scholars. One commentator has said that he is to be a “potted plant,” in other words that his role is completely ceremonial. In this view, this proceeding is completely under the control… Read more »

Stupid stuff and the probability of tragedy

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Italian Hall

Drunk drivers will almost always get home safely each night. And if that happens enough successive times, the human brain “learns” a very bad thing, that it is okay to be driving drunk. Until tragedy strikes and it’s not. The Barack Obama foreign policy had been famously summarized as “Don’t do stupid s**t,” which is opposite of drunk driving, but… Read more »

Your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan bets

Pill bottle

Note: I have updated some of the numbers here for 2021. In recent posts, I have discussed viewing the selection of Medicare Part B Medigap and Part C Advantage plans as a set of probabilistic “bets” that you are making with your money against your health. This post extends that idea to Medicare Part D prescription coverage plans that were… Read more »

Worth a read: How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr

How to Hide an Empire

I like history books that surprise me with something important that I should have previously known. Daniel Immerwahr starts his recently-published How to Hide an Empire: a History of the Greater United States with a photocopy of a draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous December 7, 1941, “Day of Infamy” speech. Scratched out of the draft is a mention that… Read more »