Thursday, January 29, 2009

Monopoly

Medical costs have risen faster than in inflation in the US on average for the past thirty years. Oddly enough, the total number of medical school graduates in 1976 (table 1) were 13,634. The total number in 2008 were 16,130. The number of graduates in 1976 was 218,035,000. In 2008 it was 303,824,640. While the American population grew by 85,789,640 (39%) and, even more importantly aged. The total number of new graduates increased by only 2,496 (18%). And most of that growth was in the mid-seventies.

Want to lower the cost of medical care, increase your odds of speaking with a real doctor and allow more people to be able to have a doctor? Increase the number of doctors. It's just a matter of supply and demand. No need for socialized medicine (a/k/a medical rationing) at all.

The AMA has traditionally argued that increasing the supply of doctors would lower medical skill. However, the AMA is a guild and has, at heart, the members interests first and foremost in their priorities. Fewer doctors mean higher fees.

Perhaps we shouldn't be listening to the AMA on the subject of supply and demand. Seems more like a job for an economist.

{edited}

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

At Least One Thousand

words, that is.




{H/T Boots & Sabers}

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road

Ordain him a bishop. {H/T StandFirm}

A Quick Book Review

I just finished Daniel Suarez' new techno-thriller, Daemon. It did everything a techno-thriller ought to do, with decent character development, lots of twists and turns in the plot, a surprise ending, and alas a note signaling that there will be a sequel (I'm not a huge fan of series).

Only one thing challenged my suspension of disbelief. When I took a break from the book and actually did some work, I had a Windows related hiccup. Since the book is based upon several really cool ideas about interrelating bleeding edge technology and software, the thought crossed my mind that all the things that occur in the book, from the deployment of a complex series of daemons to the use of AI recruitment tools to the use of SUV's as killer vehicles (one of the villains is a Hummer) depend upon the reliable operation of untested software. Some of the code would necessarily be very complex and quite long.

If you read the book, and you ought to it's quite good, try not to think about buggy software.

Of Course The World Is A Newer Shinier Place Now

Sunday, January 25, 2009