On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

The Death Of The Media

Walter Brasch is a retired print media professional who posts a weekly column over at Pacific Views. This week he posted a The No-News No-Column Column.

The media is like the youngest kids who play “organized” football [OK, soccer]. They all cluster around the ball, rather than spreading out and playing their positions. If the ball escapes the cluster it will probably go out of bounds, because there is no one outside the clump to stop it.

The period Mr. Brasch discusses had only two “news” items, a vehicle accident involving a golfer, and a couple crashing a party. There were hundreds of reporters, hundreds of inches of print, and hundreds of minutes of time expended on two events that deserved an inch or so of copy in a weekly.

The protests in Iran are continuing. People are being blown up in large numbers in Pakistan and Iraq. A swath of the US is being buried in snow. Wildfires are burning in Australia. A cure for sickle cell may have been found. The US is sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. None of that can trump a guy having an accident in his driveway, and a couple attending a party they weren’t invited to.

December 10, 2009   2 Comments

Engage Brain Before Speaking

The Times Picayune has this up on one of the latest ideas being floated in the Senate: Medicare expansion proposed in Senate draws opposition from Louisiana doctors

Dr. Patrick Breaux, a New Orleans cardiologist and president-elect of the Louisiana Medical Association, said as a provider he would have a major objection to expanding Medicare — mainly because it covers only about 80 percent of costs.

As a result, he said, it’s likely that the kind of expansion being considered by the Senate would force providers and insurance companies to pass on the shortfalls in reimbursements to privately covered plans and patients, meaning bigger increases for people who already have coverage.

Paul Salles, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans, said an expansion of Medicare would cause a big financial hit for his 17-member hospitals because of the reimbursement rates.

You have to wonder if these people understand that getting 80% is better than getting 0%. The coverage, as near as anyone can tell, is for people who have no coverage at all. Making up a possible 20% shortfall is much easier than a 100% shortfall. Doctors and hospitals do charge patients for the difference, which is why people buy the highly regulated “Medi-Gap” insurance policies.

Doctors and hospitals are free to refuse Medicare clients for anything other than emergencies. It’s just another insurance program, not a government mandate. They are also free to lobby for improved rates, and 100% coverage of the costs, but that might help people other than doctors and hospitals, or the residents of their gated communities, or the people at the country club.

December 10, 2009   6 Comments