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Profiteering and the singular ant problem

I found this video highly interesting. Why do we have to have such heavy blinders on about healthcare in this country? Regardless of the position you hold on the Affordable Care Act, everyone should understand the facts presented in this video:



As a summary:

  • We pay more per capita in taxes for healthcare than any other country, but only a few get the benefits of a single payer health system

  • We pay more as a percentage of GDP on healthcare than any other country

  • Our care is not better (as measured by outcomes) than any other country with socialized medicine

  • It's not one thing that causes high healthcare costs, but a variety of things, but the common causes dragged out for public vilification are not the most significant factors

  • One cannot negotiate for better prices for healthcare while receiving care, so prices will naturally increase to the level the market will bear, which is pretty high



I personally think it's unethical to profit by the treatment (or cause for that matter) of suffering. That doesn't mean the healthcare provider shouldn't be compensated for his or her time, equipment, and materials and that they shouldn't be allowed to expand their business or invest in research and development of new treatments, but the provider administrators shouldn't be beholden to stakeholders demanding higher profit margins, and administrators in turn demanding more high margin tests to be ordered by providers when deciding what care to give to a patient.

Government Social Programs vs. Private Charity

"Oh, if government didn't provide for the poor and needy, then charity would! Small local charities would be vastly more efficient than Government, and provide better services to boot!" This, first of all, ignores simple economies of scale; small local charities would have much more overhead/dollar and much less purchasing power than large national charities. Second, if natural charity worked with modern man, we'd still live in a Victorian era of asylums, orphanages, and debtors' prisons. It didn't. We don't, and we're better off today because we've recognized that fact. Could charity cover the gap if the Government closed down all it's social programs? My math says no. I wish I was wrong, but history has shown that the poor, diseased, or downdrodden are nearly universally ignored by society as a whole, so if we reduced taxes by the $1.3+ trillion spent every year on social programs, the $300 billion a year in charitable contributions wouldn't increase to cover the gap, even if we were able to get incredible efficiency gains. Charitable contributions nearly universally come from disposable income; we don't naturally sacrifice our own standard of living to raise another.

Not that Government run social programs are perfect: we waste tons of money by making Social Security payments mandatory, you receive them whether you really need them or not; by allowing welfare recipients to shop for themselves at retail (even at convenience store prices) vs. using the economies of scale to buy foodstuffs and other essentials at wholesale prices; using subsidies and tax credits instead of collective bargaining to make essential services (phone, water, power, housing) more affordable, etc; and paying most benefits out in CASH. There's even a measurable (sizeable even?) amount of graft and abuse. But despite their faults, and the levels of abuse, they provide some level of social safety net that didn't exist 30-80 years ago, and I think society is better for it.

An aside about the graft; Florida recently required all welfare recipients to take a drug test. They found that less than 2% of applicants failed the tests. From this we learned at least three things:
  1. that the 4th amendment doesn't allow the government to require invasive tests of worthiness for social programs.

  2. that contrary to popular belief, most welfare recipients are not drug addicts.

  3. that implementing bureaucracy to police graft may save some money, but not significant amounts.


So if you're going to propose to me that we "Abolish Social Security" or cut social services in some other way, you'd better be prepared to explain to me
  1. where those people will go for help when they need it.

  2. how those charities would receive the funding they would need to care for the large numbers of people who would need their services, and

  3. How that makes us a stronger society than the status quo.


Robin Hood Economics (or Hey Look Joseph's finally posting to his blog again!)

I find myself composing long replies to Facebook posts, but I feel Facebook is a poor medium for sharing such weighty ideas, so I'm going to start/resume posting here instead. Hopefully my friends and family recognize this as an opportunity to discuss civilly vs. as an attack on their deeply held political beliefs. I don't have all the answers, and I consider myself to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal, so none of the current political parties interest me much, and some of what's going on in Washington, D.C. and in Raliegh, N.C., really worries me.

Here's my rant for today:

Why is it that when we tax the poor to give to the rich it's called "social darwinism" or "lucrative government contracts" or "trickle down economics", and it's ok. But when we talk about taxing the rich to give to the poor it's "forced wealth redistribution", or "communism", (socialism doesn't mean what you think it means) and it's not ok? The former is really Prince John's feudalism, so wouldn't the latter be Robin Hood's economic policy? Which should we be cheering?

I guess my real point is: it's hard to have meaningful discussions about hot topics when the terms of the debate are set up to be so emotionally charged.

Just don't feel like bloggin'

So it isn't that we are totally boring and nothing exciting happens. Quite the opposite with 4 kiddos. It just as I've gotten older, I've gotten wiser. I've finally realized that try as I might, I just can't write. My humor can't seem to translate to writings, so I'm thinking it is more slap stick style. And things that I found well written, not so. So it has left me not wanting to blog, but wishing I could. So maybe I'll try again some time.

Changes

So the biggest change with having four, it that life never ends. Though that could be due to always having to either take kids to school or pick them up, so every three hours (or at least it feels like that) I'm back in the van picking up a kid. The house is always in a state of chaos, and there are random wet spots on the carpet. Callan is STILL a big spit- upper and he leaves his mark everywhere, I smell like yo baby yogurt right now. And I must admit banana yogurt doesn't make a very nice perfume.

Joseph is still super busy with work, so busy I don't know how he can survive on average 4 hours a sleep a day, and that is if he is lucky. I'm kept busy with the kids and my huge list of crafts to do before Christmas, hopefully everyone's present will be on time. Alex is doing very well in school, though his fine motor skills are challenging and frustrating him. Hopefully we will be able to get him some help from Occupational Therapy. Teagan has overdosed on button pushing pills and annoyance pills, so there are days that I'm ready to leave him somewhere. I think it is cause he is so darn cute, he thinks he can get away with it. And he usually sneaks by, and I've not left him anywhere, preschool doesn't count. Teagan is slowly learning how to read, he just can't sit still very long.

Abby Sue loves to sing and "dance." Though her dancing is more running or walking in circles. She has turned into an assistant chef, and I have to be extra careful about knives and even spoons. If she sees a spoon near by she will try and stir whatever it is I'm cooking. She is also too "loving" to Callan. Though I'm sure Callan thinks she is annoying not loving. Callan crawls everywhere! He does have a "croc" type of crawl, his arms are out and squared instead of under and straight. Fortunately, it slows him down. He is presently crawls over small things and climbs up things. He uses the climbing up things to sit, he is still figuring all the different ways to get into a sitting position. It is hard for him with a sister smothering him with "love" all the time.

We are very excited about this time a year. October was full of fun adventures! My sister and her hubby were able to visit with us for a week! We had loads of fun at the State Fair with aunt and great aunt too! And Abby Sue would NOT be left out of any ride, no matter what. And she loved them all, except the bumper cars which I'm sure she'll love next year when she is a bit bigger. And then Halloween and costumes and candy! November will be busy with helping Great Grandma settling into this chapter of her life, a few birthdays and an anniversary (9 years) and the biggest cooking holiday! So it might be a while before I'm back to report about life and load a few pictures too.

Labor Day

For Labor Day we went to the lake and went fishing and swimming, or at least that was the goal. While Joseph and the threesome did these things, Callan and I wrestled trying to get him to take his naps. Those four did have a lot of exhausting fun, and fortunately it wasn't super hot so I survived holding Callan the whole time. Here is our catch for the day. She even took it off the hook by herself.

Goodbye Newborn

I'm so excited and sad. Callan is showing signs of growing out of the newborn stage. This is very exciting because he is becoming social, smiling, laughing and playing with toys. It also mean sleep will be an event I'll be able to attend more often. But at the same time it means I looking whatever little bit of newborn I had. Yes I know, he was nearly 12 and half pounds so there was very little there to start with, but I had a little. (PS milk issue is no more!)

In other news, Abby Sue and Teagan are love to fight each other. Which usually ends with screams and corner time. I hope they learn to get along soon cause it will be a long 3 months till preschool starts.

Dulcinea ran away yesterday, but Joseph was able to find her at 3am this morning. Now we worry about the babies. Did she have then? Are they alive? Was she even pregnant? So when Joseph wakes up we are going to dig up the borrow to see.

Swimming is full on, which highs around 98 help. So the kids have been loving swimming, though we have had to throw Teagan in the water a few times to get him in. But we are having to drag him out when it is time to go.

Lessons taught by a 12 pounder

I must admit Callan is teaching me lots.

Lesson 1.) A 12 pound baby needs LOTS of milk from their first breath or their bodies start shutting down and then barely gain weight. Oh and they are very cranky. Unfortunately we had to learn this the hard way for three weeks before we figured it out. Now to bring in more milk...

Lesson 2.) He might think he has too many siblings, he startles very easily.

Lesson 3.) It is harder for him to figure out the night and day thing.

Lesson 4.) He is trying to monopolize my time and arms which makes life a challenge with three kids.

Lesson 5.) Naps are more fun when you cuddle. I did learn this one a while ago, but it is one you always need a refresher course on. Especially after being pregnant, it was so hard to cuddle with that huge bump in the way.

Lesson 6.) There is always something new to learn even if it is your 4th kid.

Lesson 7.) Despite it all, he is still sweet angel that I am truly blessed to have in my life.

By Popular Request...

the gory details of Callan's birth, or at least what I remember. But I wasn't a witness to all the gory stuff, I was a little busy.

We arrived at the hospital at 9am hopeful of a good induction. I already had some regular type of contractions, which has never happened before. But when the midwife came in to check me to get the pit going, she couldn't find Callan's head. Panic ensued, at least I was growing panicky. In a few minutes an OB resident came in with an ultrasound machine and the game of where's the head began. After a while they found the head, he is laying across my belly. So now they had to juggle the obs schedule a little bit and get her in to move the baby. One OB holding up the baby's bum while another dragged her hands in a downward motion. OUCH! Fortunately, he moved pretty quick and was happy to stay there. Though I don't think he could have moved, they had me in a surgical binding and splinted with towels. Yep, another OUCH! After a little while to make sure Callan was ok, it was time to start the pit. Now it is just a waiting game, though a painful one with the added pressure of the binding cutting into my back. And change was slow (since Callan head is so big, 16 inches around, the water got stuck and kept his head up highish.) So my midwife was scared to break my water due to the risk of the umbilical cord coming down instead of the head. Now it turns into a begging game, please break my water followed by many reasons not to by the nurse or midwife.

I give up, and later that evening I get an epidural. It was the most wonderful thing! Pain is gone! Life is good. Though I felt like I had elephant feet that were sort of asleep, but not really. Though my patience is running thin. It was been about 12 hours since the pit started and I'm only halfway to having a baby. I guess Callan is tired to because a miracle happened, my water broke! Though it felt more like an eruption than anything else. And about two hours later it was time to start pushing. I've no clue of time, so it could have been 5 minutes of pushing or 45 minutes. You'll have to ask Joseph. A baby began to crown and kept on coming out. All I can remember is the nurse freaking out that he was still coming. Apparently she didn't take us seriously when I said I've big babies. But this one tore me up very well. My midwife actually got an ob in there to stitch me up because of the extent. Here again the epidural was a life saver. I knew I was torn up, but I felt no pain. So, I was able to keep remotely calm and spent the first few minutes calling and texting family about the new arrival to take my mind off the fact that Callan was getting cleaned up and to ignore the pokes and pulls from the stitches and doctors. We finally finished! Though the nurse made sure I took plenty of time to get my legs back under me. I finally got to my room at 5:30am, starving. I hadn't eaten hardly anything all day Monday, I was too excited and ready to have a baby. So Joseph and I inhale a turkey sandwich each and decide that sleep would be a good idea. Joseph tracked off home to enjoy an undisturbed sleep in his bed, while I'm stuck at the hospital in an funky airbed that make a bunch of noise inflating or deflating every two minutes and nurses and nurse aids coming in every hour to get my vitals. That being said, I'm sure you guessed I didn't get much sleep at all on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. But I did have some awesome nurses and nurse aids.

I've decided that 8am is way to early for doctors and nurses starting their poking and prodding rounds. Though Wednesday, the lab nurses got started at 6am, which I just got Callan to sleep at 4:30am and then myself to sleep. And we did get stuck with the newest lab nurse, and Callan has tough skin, or maybe hiding blood vessels, so it took two of them 45+ minutes to get the blood for the newborn tests. But we left the hospital later that morning! And I finally got a nap. Though I am still catching up on sleep.

Sweet Thought...

Alex said the sweetest thing to me tonight and I just have to share. Alex has noticed that I've been more tired that usual lately. It really shows at breakfast when I get everything mixed up. Alex informed me tonight that they will be quiet in the morning to let me sleep in. And they wouldn't bug me for breakfast. How sweet. I wish I could take them up on this offer, but with the list of things to do tomorrow there is no way. Joseph has a basketball game at 9am, and then we have to get the garden in order and planted.