aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Health Insurance in America: Dying for Coverage
Facing South reports on a recently released report from Families USA, Dying for Coverage, finding that in all 50 states the number of uninsured and the estimated number of deaths is directly related to lack of health insurance:
A study by the Institute of Medicine, tha basis for the Family USA report, found that uninsured adults are 25 percent more likely to die prematurely than adults with private health insurance. Another academic study found that lack of health insurance is the third leading cause of death, following heart disease and cancer, for uninsured adults between the ages of 55 and 64.
While the percentage of uninsured, working age (25-64) people in the South reported by Families USA in 2006 (20.5%) is similar to overall U.S. percentage of uninsured in the same age group reported by the U.S. Census (19.9%), several Southern states have a significantly higher percentage of uninsured.
For example, the Families USA report found that Louisiana had the highest rate of uninsured among working people at 26.2%. Florida (25.3%), Arkansas (23.2%), and Mississippi (22.1%) also exceeded the regional and national rates. Virginia (15.1%) and West Virginia (16.5%) are well below the regional and national rates.
Other state reports from around the South on the percentage of uninsured working age people include Alabama (20.1%), Georgia (19.7%), Kentucky (19.0%), North Carolina (21.1%), South Carolina (19.7%), and Tennessee (18.3%).
The U.S. Census report shows that the South has the highest percentage of uninsured overall, 19.0%, as compared to 11.4% in the Midwest, 12.3% in the Northeast, and 17.9% in the West.
When you add it all up, there are nearly 8.5 million working age people in the South without health insurance. Even more disturbing, the Families USA report attributes nearly 52,000 premature deaths to lack of health insurance in these states between 2000 and 2006.
Meanwhile, in my ongoing war with SHPS, Ms. Quigley wrote me back summarizing my calls but said nothing about my $179 in reimbursement (not did she answer my question about making those calls available to me—like I expected she would???). It’s now 14 business days after providing the required documentation and I have not been reimbursed.
I’ll spare you the snippy email I sent in response. Flexible Spending Accounts are another Republican corporate welfare program masquerading as a healthcare tax benefit. SHPS is making money—my money! I’ve not gotten the benefit. It’s a scam!
Nudge: A Q&A with the authors
Steven Levitt has his doubts about behavioral economics, and cringed when Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein told him a year ago they were going to write an economics book about what they called “libertarian paternalism.”
Today on the Freakonomics Blog theirs a Q&A with Sunstein and Thaler:
Q: You use the term “libertarian paternalism” to describe “nudges” that agents of change (or choice architects) can use (without using force or removing options) to influence people to make better choices while still preserving their freedom to choose.
What’s the most ingenious nudge you’ve found yourself influenced by? Are you as influenced by nudges as others are? What factors can make us more immune to nudges?
CASS: My most ingenious nudge is: automatic payment of bills. I used to pay late, a lot of the time, through sheer inertia. Now I do a lot better on that count. And sure, I am influenced by nudges, especially in the form of visible chocolate things in cafeteria lines and at airports.
The best inoculation against bad nudges is to stay away from them - to find some way to tie yourself to the mast. Ulysses was a good, early behavioral economist.
RICHARD: I spent a few months visiting the new business school at the University of California in San Diego this winter. When you approach the building from the parking lot, the first thing you reach is a staircase. The elevator is another 50 feet away. I used that nudge to encourage me to walk up the stairs to my fourth floor office. I am proud to say that I never once took the elevator, even if my backpack was heavy.
Jim Marshall: uncommitted superdelegate
Five of Georgia’s six superdelegates have committed to Obama. They are Sanford Bishop, District 2; Hank Johnson, District 4; John Lewis, District 5; John Barrow, District 12; and David Scott, District 13.
But Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon remains uncommitted.
“I am an uncommitted superdelegate who doesn’t feel too super,” Marshall said. “Nobody asked me whether or not I wanted to be one, and my plan is to just stay out of it and hope the others make the decision.”
Maybe he’s waiting for Carter & Gore to step in and deliver the coup de grÃ¢ce to Hillary.
YouTube bigger in video than Google is in search
So says Hitwise. Read/WriteWeb:
Traffic analysts Hitwise released new numbers today indicating that while online video sites as a category have seen a 7% drop in traffic year over year since March 2007 - YouTube has seen a remarkable 32% growth in visits during that period. YouTube’s market share in the video sector is now at 73.18%, Hitwise reports.
That’s significantly higher than Google’s all-time market share high-point among search engines. Google saw an all-time high 67% of searches performed in March, also according to Hitwise.
MySpace TV came in second place last month, with just over 9% of visits. Google Video was 3rd at 4%, meaning that the two Google properties combine to hold a staggering 77% marketshare. Hitwise numbers are limited to US internet users and in this case to 68 selected top video websites.
Meanwhile, shockingly, YouTube was NOT blamed for the teen web attack in which a Florida teen lured another into a home to be beaten specifically for a YouTube posting. The Associated Press was among those who were actually able to establish that YouTube was not the problem here.