American Elephants


ObamaCare Is Already A Flop, And It Hasn’t Even Begun. by The Elephant's Child

Hundreds of thousands of American physicians and thousands of hospitals that fail to buy and install costly health-care information technologies by the deadline in just two years, will face penalties through reduced Medicare and Medicaid payments. Prescription records and patient histories will be required to be entered.

This mandate was part of the 2009 Stimulus legislation, and a major goal of health-care IT lobbyists and their allies in Congress and the White House.  Getting it all computerized so anyone could access the records would make medical administration ever so much more efficient, and lower medical costs by up to $100 billion annually.  Doctors have been obediently computerizing, but you will not be surprised that a new study indicates that physician reluctance was justified. The savings are just another myth of ObamaCare.

Since 2009, almost a third of health providers have installed at least some health IT technology. For a major hospital, the full range can cost $150 million to $200 million. But the software is generally not friendly to the user, and inefficient. The claim of savings is mostly hype.

To conduct the study, faculty at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and its programs for assessment of technology in health—and other research centers, including in the U.S.—sifted through almost 36,000 studies of health IT. The studies included information about highly valued computerized alerts—when drugs are prescribed, for instance—to prevent drug interactions and dosage errors. From among those studies the researchers identified 31 that specifically examined the outcomes in light of the technology’s cost-savings claims.

With a few isolated exceptions, the preponderance of evidence shows that the systems had not improved health or saved money. For instance, various studies found the percentage of alerts overridden by doctors—because they knew that the alerted drug interactions were in fact harmless—ranging from 50% to 97%.

The problem seems to be “true believers” in information technology — certain of their goals and unwilling to hear the concerns of skeptics. It will work— because we believe, a philosophy that has made the design of ObamaCare such a mess. There is even a government agency: the Office of the National Coordinator of Healthcare Information Technology, (an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services). File under the Eternal Life of Government Agencies.

It is already common knowledge in the health-care industry that a central component of the proposed health IT system—the ability to share patients’ health records among doctors, hospitals and labs—has largely failed. The industry could not agree on data standards—for instance on how to record blood pressure or list patients’ problems.

Instead of demanding unified standards, the government has largely left it to the vendors, who declined to cooperate, thereby ensuring years of noncommunication and noncoordination. This likely means billions of dollars for unnecessarily repeated tests and procedures, double-dosing patients and avoidable suffering.

Other news among the true believers: The doctor shortage may swell to 130,000. The U.S. health care law’s process for providing insurance subsidies to middle-income families will produce an IRS quagmire. There is no chance the exchanges will get it right. Compliance with ObamaCare is estimated at 80 million man hours per year. It wasn’t intended to be a jobs program and another huge cost. The true believers who are so sure that they know how to arrange the health care for over 300,000,000 Americans need to face up to the facts. They’re not that smart and their ideas don’t work.



The Solution to Anthropogenic Global Warming: by The Elephant's Child
July 27, 2010, 3:32 pm
Filed under: Environment, Humor, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

Pat Sajak, who I have never quoted before, has the solution to Global Warming.  If Kevin Costner and his brother can come up with a method to separate oil and water in drilling rig disasters — and they apparently can— perhaps we should listen to Mr. Sajak.  He says:

Manmade global warming, like so many other social and economic issues, has become hopelessly politicized. Each side has dug in its heels and has accused the other of acting irresponsibly and dishonestly. For the believers, the other side has become the equivalent of Holocaust deniers; and for the doubters, the other side has become a cult intent on manipulating mankind to remake the world in some sort of natural Utopian image. (…)

Let’s assume that a third of the world’s population really believes mankind has the power to adjust the Earth’s thermostat through lifestyle decisions. The percentage may be higher or lower, but, for the sake of this exercise, let’s put it at one-third. Now it seems to me these people have a special obligation to change their lives dramatically because they truly believe catastrophe lies ahead if they don’t. The other two-thirds are merely ignorant, so they can hardly be blamed for their actions.

Now, if those True Believers would give up their cars and big homes and truly change the way they live, I can’t imagine that there wouldn’t be some measurable impact on the Earth in just a few short years. I’m not talking about recycling Evian bottles, but truly simplifying their lives. Even if you were, say, a former Vice President, you would give up extra homes and jets and limos. I see communes with organic farms and lives freed from polluting technology.

He does state the problem pretty clearly.  So we only have to wait and see how it all turns out.  Or wait to see how long it takes for the True Believers to give up?



The Meaning of ClimateGate, Exposed. by The Elephant's Child
December 4, 2009, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Environment, Junk Science, Politics | Tags: , , ,


Here’s an excellent summary on the meaning of ClimateGate from the CBC’s Rex Murphy.

(h/t: Planet Gore)



Rural People Just Have More Sense. by The Elephant's Child
November 11, 2009, 3:05 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

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Regular visitors would not be surprised to hear that I am indeed a skeptic about the “crisis” of climate change.  Most people who grew up rural are skeptical.  Dr. Ian Plimer, Australia’s best-known and most highly honored geologist, has also noticed that rural people don’t fall for much of the nonsense.

I grew up in the western foothills of the Rockies, surrounded by National Forest and BLM land.  I have been snowed in, experienced flood, fire and earthquake, -20° weather, killed rattlesnakes, had lightening strike too close for comfort and spent hours staring at the Milky Way undimmed by any lights at all.

When one has experienced weather from 20° below to 112°, you don’t get excited over 1° of warming over a hundred years.  At 20° below, you put on a lot more warm clothes, and when it is really hot, you take them off, get a cold drink and sit in the shade, or go stick your feet in the river.  We adapt. The climate has always warmed and cooled.  We adapt, and the polar bears adapt too.

That said, it is fascinating how angry urban true-believers become when you do not agree that if we do not end the terrible pollution of increasing CO2 we are doomed.

Brendan O’Neill had a marvelous piece in Planet Gore at NRO today.

If a climate-change skeptic suggests that the Sun, rather than man, is responsible for climatic variations he is denounced as evil, a heretic, someone whose words are so foul and twisted that they will be “partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead.” In other words, question the environmentalist consensus, and you are endangering life itself — your words are literally poisonous.

Yet when a climate-change activist openly calls for calamitous events and the deaths of thousands of people as a way of focusing our leaders’ minds on the problem of climate change, no one bats an eye. You can fantasize about the outbreak of disease as a means of “reducing the population” or dream about natural disasters (which should be as “traumatic as possible” in order to wake people from their consumerist-induced stupor), and your fellow activists will nod along in agreement. So warped is environmentalist morality that those who raise legitimate questions about politics and science are accused of killing people with their words, while those who actually talk about the need for people to die are patted on the back.

Do read the whole thing. There is an odd kind of hubris involved. We people who are living right now are responsible for everything wrong with the planet, and if only we live in the way of our most remote ancestors, lightly upon the earth, never really touching anything can we redeem ourselves.

You would think that they would be delighted to hear that the earth is not in danger, that CO2 is what we exhale, and that the “greenhouse effect” simply does not exist. But they have deep faith that the world is suffering from the blight of humans upon it, and they and their comrades’ life work is to save it.  Or something like that.  Lighten up, people.



A little coal for your stocking. by The Elephant's Child

Well, we now have indications about the new administration’s policy on “global warming”.  Obama has nominated Harvard physicist John Holder to be his director of the White House Office of Science and Technology. Holder is a true believer.  A year ago in a speech at Harvard, he said:

Global warming is a misnomer, it implies something gradual, something uniform, something quite possibly benign, and what we’re experiencing is none of those.  There is already widespread harm…occurring from climate change.  This is not just a problem for our children and grandchildren.

He seems not to have noticed that the earth is cooling, and has been for the last decade, that solar activity has declined.  In that same speech, he presented a list of the top ten options.  Number one was “limiting population”.  Number two was reducing per-capita GDP.  His goal is equal per-capita carbon emission rights across the world — so the U.S. could emit just twenty times as much as Ecuador, although we produce 144 times the goods and services. He’s opposed to nuclear power too.  So much for our economy.

For the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) he has nominated Jane Lubchenco, another true believer. She is concerned that even when the world shifts away from fossil fuels, the oceans will continue to soak up carbon dioxide and become more acidic.

She wants to reduce overfishing, cut back on nutrient runoff and create marine reserves to protect marine life.  It doesn’t seem to occur to her that there has been much higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, and marine life has survived just fine.

What fish seem to like are  the artificial reefs created by offshore oil platforms.  Fishing tours head right for the platforms for that is where the fish are to be found.  The nutrient runoff probably comes from increased planting of crops intended for biofuels like ethanol.

This is very bad news.  Time for advice and considerable dissent.




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