Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fun with Hypotheticals

Megan is too lazy to construct her own straw people these days, so she's outsourced to Arnold King:

Next, imagine that the best hope is a treatment that costs $100,000 and offers a chance of success of 1 in 200. Would I want her to get that treatment? Absolutely.

But look at the issue from a rational, bureaucratic perspective. You have to treat 200 patients at a cost of $100,000 each in order to save one life, for a cost per life saved of $20 million. Is that what a rational bureaucracy would do?
Yeah, that must happen all the time. Just recently drug trials showed that a new controversial treatment, which involves the killing of 100 kittens and has a one in a million chance to spontaneously reverse Earth's gravitational field, cures athletes foot for 1 in 12,354 people. They had a REALLY large sample size.

Of course, most of us would unhesitatingly take this risky treatment to cure athlete's foot. Sure the chances are slim, but wouldn't you do ANYTHING to alleviate the uncomfortable itching and burning sensation. Now, a one in a million chance of killing all life might not seem like a lot, but let's imagine a hypothetical. Imagine that every person on earth has athletes foot. Now imagine that Earth has 1000 times more people than it does. That would mean that 6 trillion people would need this treatment. Not only would we be forced to farm kittens (at the expensive of world saving tobacco peanuts wheat!) but the chance of catastrophic gravity reversal becomes almost certain. Clearly, if we had universal health care, gravity would reverse itself.

Megan realizes the direness of the situation and asks the tough questions:
Unless we're willing to let health care expenses grow unchecked, someone is going to have to think about costs. But so far in America, I see no means to develop a culture which will allow bureaucrats to deny potentially life-saving treatments simply because they're costly--either in the free market or in a single payer system. Thus, I predict, costs will continue to grow.
OK, there are no actual questions. I forgot she's an expert and hence all questions have been answered. It's true, though. I mean now, we don't worry at all about cost effectiveness. I went to the doctor for an ulcer the other day and he said that it was stress induced. When I told him that the stress in my life was due to work, family issues, girlfriends, friendships and the weather, he quickly wrote me a prescription for 50 actors/actresses to take over the roles of my personal network. He also got me on full disability and paid for a house in a small Caribbean island. It was a bit costly but since we never worry about the price of treatments, my HMO immediately authorized the procedure. Now my life is totally stress free and my ulcer is cured. I'd hate for socialized medicine to come in and start performing some kind of ridiculous "cost analysis" and ruin this all for me.


Downpuppy said...

I had an uncle who spent 40 years with ulcers. By the time an ulcer doctor heard about the newfangled "germ theory" & cured him with antibiotics, there wasn't much left.

Healthcare is as messed up as McMegan.

NutellaonToast said...

Oh, no doubt. I hope it doesn't seem like I'm saying otherwise.

Downpuppy said...

I thought in case you really had an ulcer you might want it actually cured, instead of just treated.

If you were trying to be crazier than Megan, nahgunhappen.

ChicagoEd said...

Megan recites that tired Republican talking point that the problem with health costs in the U.S. is that people here consume too much health care; they get over-treated with expensive modalities for things Megan refers to as "life-saving treatments." We already know that Megan thinks it's unfair for the old and the sick to get their health care paid for by the young and the healthy. Thus the cure to our health care dilemma is to get right-thinking people, like Megan, to decide who gets health care and who doesn't. Why should a fat guy even go to a cardiologist? Smokers should pay their own way. Diabetics? Lay off the sweets. Otherwise we're just wasting money. You got cancer? Move away from the power lines, pal. MS? Fuck you! We've got better things to do with those heath care dollars, like spend it on Megan's ridiculous ailments such as "vertigo" and chronic bronchial problems. That's where our health dollars should be spent. Not on sick old people who are going to die anyway. Hitlerian, isn't it?

NutellaonToast said...

Well, Rand was a big fan of either Plato or Aristotle, and Plato was the first (to my knowledge) to put forth the idea of eugenics, so, yeah, full circle.

CaptBackslap said...

There's one big health-care area where there isn't nearly as much discussion of cost as there should be: end-of-life care. It simply costs way, way too much to keep people alive for an extra few weeks or months, especially considering that the treatments often greatly reduce the quality of the time the patient has left. And the costs of people's last six months of life are far above average in areas, such as Miami, where there are lots of specialists and hospitals around. Oddly, though the outcomes for patients in high-cost areas aren't notably better.

Anonymous said...

Totally off-topic, but has anyone here read the paper Atlantic of late? Jeffrey Goldberg has been unmeganly productive, but the results are sad and reflective of the diminished standards of the magazine. His "answers" column is a (Gene) Weingarten-esque pile of awfulness that only serves to demonstrate the strange genius of Dave Barry by counter-example of the ease of failure when attempting humor. His financial insights in a longer piece make Megan look less completely stupid and that should, on this blog at least, raise some concern. Anyway, your (plural) determination to document Megan's imbecility is utterly misguided but well appreciated by this reader, and I hope you might have some thoughts on Jeffrey. One last thought... his Caryl Churchill "fetid jew baiter" post is, to my mind, the finest example of the sheer anarchic onslaught of the unhinged mind in a mainstream publication.

Marshall said...

Rand was a fan of Aristotle, but her real secret crush was Nietzsche except that she misread him and though that the real ubermensch was the untermensch. The blinking got to her.

NutellaonToast said...

We used to do some of the other "voices" and such. We might expand our horizons again. I can only speak for myself, but it seems that our collective interest in the project has waned some.

Susan of Texas said...

I'm pretty burnt out. I can't even laugh at them any more.

NutellaonToast said...

Yeah, as I've said. You can only come up with so many funny ways to call someone stupid.

Unless you're Jon Stewart

Some Guy said...

But, but, but....megan seems to have come up with many different was of being stupid.

I was pointed here the other day by Angry Bear and I spent an entertaining couple hours or so going through the archive. Love the blog.

Yuppers said...

Gotta agree with Some Guy. This place can't die. If FMM dies, then the terrorists have won!

NutellaonToast said...

Oh, it's not dying, I'm just saying that I've lost some of my zazz is all.

That is, if I ever had zazz.

M. Bouffant said...

Well, excuses, excuses (& welcome semi-fans; you should be semi-inspiring) but I've been going through a semi-rough time lately.

However, now that I'm just recently not living in parks & motels, & as soon as some sort of non-dial-up connection can get put in my tenement, stand clear!

Of course, this economics shit is so awful that wading through it, high-speed or no, is a severe pain. I really can't type much beyond "everyone concerned is an idiot who has no idea what's going to happen, or why, or when." And wonder when the Comment & Gadget of the Week will change.

And: I don't think this is a closed shop, although founder/Editor-in-Chief brad gets to decide if we all are too many already. Submissions possibly cheerfully accepted, no SASE needed.

clever pseudonym said...

M. -- she took the comment and gadget of the week sidebars down. After about a year and a half of updating her "...of the week" features two, maybe three times at most, she finally got around to just removing them.

Susan of Texas said...

I never even noticed. I guess the stupid was too blinding. I did notice they changed the Business Channel layout. Maybe having four or five links to the same crappy posts on one page wasn't a great idea.

M. Bouffant said...

Damn, I hadn't noticed either. Guess I'm drawn to & then repelled by the posts so quickly that I missed it. Sort of noticed the general re-design & inclusion of a "food channel."

No comments on that, please.

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