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Adam Milner
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It also works for social issues! Abolition/Women's Sufferage/Jazz/Gay Marriage

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Really, really want
Hot Wheels Mars Rover Curiosity

every young scientist or old geek would appreciate this gift #nasa

The healthcare debate in America is extremely bitter because it touches on at least three sensitive subjects: ethics, economics and political tribalism.  I’d like to talk a bit about the intersection of ethics and economics and then maybe do a bit of political analysis at the end.

The ethical question that I find most helps with exploring the issue is: “Someone shows up at your ER.  Do you treat them?”  And then the economic question that goes along with it is: “How is it paid for?”

Some options:
1) You could say that your ER will only treat people who can prove that they can pay for it.  If you assume that people are only worth their net worth this is a reasonable proposition.  Of course, you will have to deal with the bodies piling up outside and there is the question of what do you do with people who show up unconscious without ID?  Maybe they could pay for it, maybe they are very rich and reward you well, but then again maybe they can’t.  What do you do?  Be a monster and watch them die?

2) You could say that your ER will only treat people who can prove that they will pay, plus some other class of people, such as children.  This has the same issues as option one, even if your class of people is easy to identify.

3) You could say that your ER will only treat people who can prove that they can pay, plus whoever needs extremely urgent care.  At this point you suddenly have several economic and logistic problems.  How do you pay for the people who can’t?  Charge those who can more?  You will have people who can’t afford a regular doctor showing up in hopes that they will be treated.  What do you do with them?  An ER is an extremely expensive way to provide medical care.  Do you turn them away until they are bad enough to be “extremely urgent”?  It will just cost more when they come back.  How urgent is urgent enough, anyway?  In the long term, this just leads to extremely expensive insurance for those that can afford it, due to shouldering the burden of those who can’t and the very high costs of providing medical care through the ER.  This is what happened in the US before Obamacare.

4)  Fine, you treat everybody, and in order to ease the burden on the ER you make sure everyone has basic access to a doctor by requiring everybody to have insurance.  This is the core of Obamacare, as developed by Republican think tanks in the 90’s, praised by Republican legislators and columnists during the early 00’s, implemented on a state level by a Republican governor in 2006, and promptly decried as both socialism and a handout to insurance companies when championed by a Democratic president.

5) Ok then, you treat everybody, and in order to ease the burden on the ER you make sure everyone has basic access to a doctor by providing basic insurance to everyone.  You can take several different paths with this, but it is socialised medicine.  And no country that has ever implemented socialised medicine has ever gone back from it or had a great internal outcry against it.

So, someone shows up at your ER.  Do you treat them?

On to political tribalism.  Looking back at the debate leading up to the passage of the ACA, I think Mr. Obama was surprised by the reaction against it.  I mean, it seemed like a pretty good strategy for ensuring bipartisan cooperation.  Take the other side’s big new ideas on an issue you care about, decide that they are livable, and then figure out how to implement them.  Great idea, right?  And it is, if the other side is intellectually honest and not stuck deeply in a tribal mindset.  The Tea Party branch of the Republican party, however, is deeply based around tribal identity politics and reflexively attacks anyone who seems like an outsider.  For Mr. Obama to have actually gained Republican support for the ACA he should have, from the very beginning, explained the source of the individual mandate, publicly thanked Mr. Romney for showing how it could be done, and quoted heavily from the Republicans who support it before he was elected.

The test fixture for my next bit of code involves a specialty chemical fire extinguisher.  O.o

It appears that I have lost my mead making book.  Luckily for me I still have a few recipes scribbled down and the process in my head.

So I decided to start exploring the local bike trails today. I found, with a little help from a friendly local, Stevens Creek Trail which took me through the trees to the Bay, passing NASA/Ames and Moffett Field. Down along the Bay Trail I watched ducks, pelicans, people, and some sea birds I didn't recognize. Returning home I picked a fresh orange from the tree in the yard.

In a couple weeks, after a few more rides to rediscover my legs, I'm going to try crossing the Dunbarton bridge and exploring the Coyote HIlls park.

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So, this is the UC Davis police violence video. It starts off as a typical example of the violent repression of non-violent protesters that we have seen across the world this year. But keep watch, because something very interesting happens around 2:00, and then something amazing happens around 6:15.

Life checklist: Be served wine and cheese by a robot: Done!

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