Thursday, August 6, 2009

Koalas, Chlamydia and Health Care

Okay, it's been awhile, not that anyone reads this anyway. I'm going to try to promote this more and post a little more regularly. Anyways, here are some thoughts.

Apparently koalas need a sex education class. According to a passing statement in this article, 50% of the koala population is effected by chlamydia. Sam, apparently an internet sensation for living through the Australian brush fire, died of the disease. The headline of the article really overshadows the experience of this koala, but thats the sensationalist media for ya.

Yayyyy Obama!

Okay that was a little sarcastic. However, the White House is encouraging people to rat out others for stating thier opinion on whats going on, mainly with health care. In the original official White House blog post , people are encouraged to send an email to a certain address "if you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy." The reason given on the blog (not made up by me) is that the White House can't keep track of all the "disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care."

To me, this is a clear a violation of freedom of speech. Look, the bill is over 1,000 pages and is worded in a language not used by the common man. People are going to get what it says wrong, and, after looking at the actual bill, you really can't blame the every day person for distorting what it says. But to actually come out and essentially say, "Hey, could you let us know if anyone is badmouthing the health care bill? We appreciate it and we'll handle it from there, thanks" just seems against what this country supposedly stands for. I realize its now a felony to shed a negative light on our savior president, but to want people to rat out their fellow citizen to the White House is in no way acceptable.

Let's take a look at the main issue that seems to be causing a hang up, page 58. Here it is, copied from the bill link I just posted:

‘‘The goals for standards under paragraph (1) are that such standards shall—...enable the real-time (or near real time) determination of an individual’s financial responsibility at the point of service and, to the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card..."

and on the following page:

"The standards under this section shall be developed, adopted and enforced so as to—...enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice"

Well, then. I don't know about you, but this is a bit confusing. It took me a couple reads to understand it in bill format just so I could whittle it down into paragraph form. To me, it would sound as though this bill, if enacted, would give every citizen utilizing national health care a card. On that card would be information saying whether or not that person was eligible to receive a specific treatment from a specific doctor at a specific place. Now, this isn't really revolutionary. Having your medical records on a chip is something that has been discussed (possibly tried, I've done enough research though) in the past. To me, it makes sense to have all your information with you in case of emergency. If you're travelling in a different city and something happens, it would seem to me that it would be a hassle to contact your doctor at home to make sure you can have certain medications or what not. By this time, if something serious happened, you could be dead. Having all of your medical info on you is logical. Opponents of the bill are just sensationalizing it by taking that one sentence of a 33 line section of the bill, and circulating that.

Now, the part that does worry me is the second quote I posted. This would appear that in some way, the government would have access to a designated bank account of yours, as to ensure you had the funds to pay for your procedure. I know the government can pretty much get access to your account anyway, but that's only if you give them a reason to get a warrant to go into your account. This would seem give the government the ability to freely access your account. I realize the government has little, if any, interest in randomly going through ordinary people's personal bank accounts, but the possibility is a bit frightening.

A logo has also been developed, and the design incorporates the Obama logo. Is this about him or attempting to improve health care? We get it, Obama, you won. Now drop the branding and focus on the country, not yourself. Of course, as I say this, I'm including the logo. I hate myself sometimes.

Overall, I don't think the bill will get passed, since to implement and follow every part of a 1,000+ page bill would be near impossible. However, the discussion it generates is definately an interesting one.

Also, if either of my readers hasn't seen the Obama joker poster that plastered LA, here it is.

On a non-Obama, slightly biased note, earlier today Bing, Microsofts answer to Google, was called out on a little game their engine was playing. If you go to their site and enter "Why is Windows so expensive?" into the search bar, one would assume that something would come up about Windows' OS. Instead, here is what was at one point the first result. As of 4:30 pm, that link has dropped to the seventh result. Still, even if this is the equivalent of a GoogleBomb, it doesn't look good on Microsoft's part to have an Mac result come up as the first hit under the news for that particular question.

George Sodini is a real creep. He really hated women due to his own inability to hang on to one, and decided the best way to go about handling this would be to go to his gym, turn the lights off and fire bullets into the darkness before finally killing himself. I read the online diary he posted before it was taken down, and apparently this guy had less hits to his blog than even I do. He has been planning this attack since last year, but I guess no one read what he wrote because he was able to finally carry out his plan. At one point in January I believe it was, he said that he was going to do it, even giving a time, but then chickened out. Just a weird, weird story.

Today was the day of the social media fail, as Twitter was the target of a Denial of Service attack, Facebook encountered regular errors, and something happened to LiveJournal (I just didn't read about it because I dont care.) Here's the info.

One last thing, there's a pretty cool article about whats living in the depths of the ocean. It's a lot of words to skim, but the pictures of "Earth's Own Aliens" are pretty sweet.


  1. Having spent the last few months dealing with our current health care system, Obama's plan scares me. Instant access to payment from our accounts? So when they pull the money, we won't be able to pay our mortgages, credit cards, student loans, etc? How do they think this is a good idea? Frustrating...

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