Friday, May 10, 2013

French President François Hollande: "It is business that creates wealth, activity and jobs"

See Hollande Woos Entrepreneurs, from The Wall Street Journal, 4-29-2013. Excerpt:
"Our first duty is to stimulate the spirit of business and initiative in our country," Mr. Hollande said in a speech at the Élysée Palace. "It is business that creates wealth, activity and jobs."

President Obama: "No government program alone can take the place of a great entrepreneur"

See Billionaire Executive Pritzker Picked for Commerce Post , from The Wall Street Journal, 5-2-2013. It is about Penny Prizter being nominated for Secretary of Commerce. Excerpt:
""Penny is one of our country's most distinguished business leaders," Mr. Obama said from the White House. "She knows from experience that no government program alone can take the place of a great entrepreneur."" 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Alternatives to the War on Drugs From Gary Becker

Click here to read the article. Excerpts:
"The war on drugs makes it much more difficult for individuals who are unhappy about their addictions to cocaine or other drugs to end their addictions. When using drugs is a criminal offense, drug addicts who want to quit hesitate going to drug clinics, or seeking other help, because they are subject to arrest. Although decriminalizing drugs makes it easier to experiment with using drugs, it also encourages the development of for-profit and non-profit organizations that help individuals terminate their reliance on cocaine, heroin, and other addictive drugs. Since smoking and drinking are legal, the non-profit organization AA could develop to help heavy drinkers end their addiction, and profit-making companies had the incentive to create patches to help individuals stop smoking.

The evidence from Portugal, a country that decriminalized all drug use in 2001, offers some support for the claim that decriminalization of drug use will reduce addiction to drugs. A 2010 study in the British Journal of Criminology concluded that decriminalization in Portugal reduced imprisonment on drug-related charges, only slightly increased, if at all, drug experimentation among young persons, increased visits to clinics that help end drug addictions, and reduced deaths from drug overdoses."

"...full decriminalization on both sides of the drug market would lower drug prices, reduce the role of criminals in producing and selling drugs, improve many inner-city neighborhoods, encourage more minority students in the U.S. to finish high school, lessen the drug problems of Mexico and other countries involved in supplying drugs {to the U.S.}, greatly reduce the number of federal and state prisoners and the harmful effects on drug offenders of spending many years in jail, and save the financial resources of government.

In most countries, including the United States, smoking and drinking are rather heavily taxed through so-called “sin taxes”. For those concerned that legalizing drugs would greatly increase the use of drugs, legalization could be combined with a tax on drugs, like these other sin taxes. Some drug transactions might move underground to avoid paying this tax, but most production would remain legal because of the many contractual and other advantages of legally producing drugs."

Penalizing Hospitals For Re-admissions Might Be Counter-Productive

See An ObamaCare Penalty on Hospitals: This approach to reducing Medicare patient readmissions will have unintended consequences by STEPHEN SOUMERAI AND ROSS KOPPEL, from the WSJ, 5-6-2013.Excerpts:
"Research shows that most readmissions can't be prevented.
Readmissions are often unavoidable consequence of life-threatening complications that can appear after discharge from the hospital."

"...only about 25% of all readmissions are preventable"

"...patients that are elderly, minority, poorly educated, poor, smokers and the noncompliant (among others) have higher readmission rates."

"Readmission penalties will have unintended consequences that harm patients."

"Hospitals will seek to keep such patients in emergency rooms rather than admit them. Why? The simplest way to avoid readmission is not to admit a patient in the first place." 

"The policy discriminates against poorer hospitals.
Small and financially struggling hospitals lack the resources to effectively manage their discharged patients at home."

"...of 2,200 hospitals found that "safety-net" hospitals that treat a higher number of lower-income patients are "30 percent more likely to have 30-day hospital readmission rates above the national average.""

"...rained physician and nurse-practitioner teams can help homebound elderly and heart-failure patients avoid readmissions, sometimes reducing rehospitalizations by nearly 50%."

"...Medicare penalties for hospital infections deemed "preventable" failed to reduce infections. Instead, the penalties contributed to misleading coding to give the appearance of fewer infections."

"...paying doctors extra money for individual quality metrics (like treating high blood pressure) rarely, if ever, works."
Dr. Soumerai is a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. Dr. Koppel, a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, conducts health-care research at Penn and Harvard.