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Supply And Demand Don’t Work

Via Nat Turner at the Agonist, an article in The Dallas Morning News, Dallas sees no relief in health care expenses as competition drives up costs

Medical care in Dallas is delivered in a broken market where doctors, hospitals and other providers shower patients with services of diminishing value but staggering cost.

The spending is rooted in the city’s proud entrepreneurial culture. Dallas is home to many competing hospital systems and physician practices. But this competition raises costs rather than lowering them, because it rewards those who do more procedures and tests and offers no incentive to spend less.

Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, by contrast, dominates medical delivery in Central Texas yet provides care for far less money. “Logically, the more competition, the lower the price. It doesn’t work that way in health care,” said Scott & White president and CEO Alfred Knight. “Competition increases the price.”

This is the great disconnect that you have to understand when you are looking at health care and its cost: the standard rules of supply and demand don’t work as people presume from other markets. A lot of health care professionals attempt to cover up the extra procedures they are performing by calling them “defensive medicine”, but the same thing happens in states, like Texas, that have tort reform on the books. The extra procedures are to generate revenue – it’s that simple.

Until people are willing to accept that doctors, as well as insurance companies, are motivated by profits, you can’t make reasoned decisions about the health care system.

September 24, 2009   4 Comments

Guiberson Fire [Ventura County] 9-24

FireThe fire has burned 17,400 acres of mostly grassland and is 65% contained. The windy, high temperature, low humidity weather conditions continue.  One outbuilding has been destroyed.

The nearest town, Moorpark, has been through this before.

Campus Canyon Elementary, Walnut Canyon Elementary and Moorpark College have reopened.

In additional to farms and ranches, the fire is threatening oil production fields, five 220-kilovolt power lines, and a 36-foot above-ground gas line.

The fire started at approximately 10:33 AM PDT on 22 September south of Guiberson Road in Ventura County. Probable cause is suspected to be the spontaneous combustion of manure mulch at a ranch.

There have been 9 reported injuries among firefighters.

Currently there are 266 engines, 63 hand crews, 32 bulldozers, 23 water tenders, 21 helicopters, 8 air tankers, and 2,750 personnel assigned to the fire. To date cost $5.0 million.

Links: Cal Fire Guiberson Fire page, the Enplan Wildfire Viewer, the LA Times Wildfires Page, and their Guiberson Fire Map.

[For more information go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]

September 24, 2009   6 Comments