Saturday, November 04, 2017


Yesterday I cut transoms to shape and size to fit the Bevins skiffs and began shaping jewelry chests of maple. The sides are now ready for drawer guides to be routed, which is a complex measurement and set-up problem that I make easy for myself through the use of spacers. I may try to take a photo that will explain it.

Yesterday I also met with a small group of the local Democratic Party to help in deciding what things will be important in the next election. Some things are staggering and demand attention and explanation.

The United States, among other nations, ranks 31st in life expectancy, even though we maintain the delusion that we have the best health care in the world. We certainly do have the most expensive. Among states, Arkansas ranks 46th out of 51 and while among Arkansas counties, we rank 7th, (OK, right?) we are 3 years off the mark when it comes to reaching the statewide average.

In other words, there's something going on here (or not going on here) that costs the average Carroll County Arkansas resident 3 years of our lives. There is something going in (or not going on) in Arkansas that costs each of our residents an additional 6 years of our lives if compared with such nations as the top five. Each of the top five has something we do not have. A national health care plan. And so, are we stupid or what? We keep electing those who would rather we die 5 to seven years early than to take care of our children and families as a national priority.

All politics, they say, is local, and how much more local can it get than to die years before your time.

The big argument against national health care is the fear of socialized medicine and that the government will mess things up. The situation now is that hospitals are forced to take patients on an emergency basis who cannot afford the care. When those poor patients are released, they are advised to file for bankruptcy as their only recourse. The costs for the care those persons received are shifted within hospital accounting, and added to the bills of those who have insurance or who can afford care. So, like it or not, under the system we have, those who can pay are paying for the extreme care of those who cannot.

In the meantime, health insurance companies have large staffs to allocate expenses and deny care. This following explains how health insurance put hospitals at risk:
Hospitals across the country lose approximately $262 billion per year on denied claims from insurers, sparking huge cash-flow issues and recovery costs, according to new data.

Payers initially deny about 9% of hospital claims, putting about $5 million in payments per hospital at risk, said Jason Williams, vice president of analytics for Change Healthcare, which collected the data.

Although hospitals ultimately will secure payment for 63% of initially denied claims, it costs $118 per claim on average to recoup the money, not to mention the cost to hospitals of foregoing the payments while they claw back the funds, Williams said.— (
So the system we have now costs at both ends, as insurers have a huge staff to deny coverage, and hospitals maintain a staff to insist upon payment. It's no wonder they tell poor folks to file for bankruptcy immediately upon release and it is no wonder that medical expenses are the primary reason people file for bankruptcy in the US.

But bankruptcy aside for the moment, the system we have now is costing lives. Yes we need to exercise more. Yes we need to improve our diets. But yes, we also need access to better health services and a single payer national plan to make certain quality care is available to each of us.

Make, fix, and create...

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