Friday, August 13, 2010

Random bullets of academic denial

  • I mentioned that I'd written down my top ten internet fun sites and, from that list, am now allowing myself only one per day. Apparently, blogs (which count as one in my system) are it. So long for now, Facebook, Twitter, and NYTimes.
  • Female Science Professor and Historiann are reporting more attacks on tenure. If I were wearing my tinfoil hat, I'd wonder who's stirring up the let's-you-and-him-fight attacks on workers in all professions, not just the professoriate. Here's what I get from reading the news: 
  • professors and teachers should work for free, and they shouldn't worry if they're fired for cheaper workers after a couple of years. 
  • Doctors should work for free (Medicare cuts). 
  • Nurses should work for free. 
  • Union people should shut up and be happy they have a job but should make concessions to help Our Country in Its Time of Crisis by making upper management's stock options worth more. 
  • People in factories, managers, and salespeople, ditto. 
  • The only people who apparently deserve to make any amount of money are those who make huge, obscene amounts of it, like football coaches, professional athletes, and the CEOs of giant financial corporations. Them we should pay, because they are vital to our country's interests. Hmmm.
  • Like Horace, I'm studiously ignoring any signs that the semester is coming up fast.

    Nicole said...

    I really hate the way news organizations do that. I'm only well-informed on one of the tin-foil hat things you mentioned, but here's my rant on that one.

    The Medicare cuts aren't doctors working for free. They're focusing on getting doctors to make decisions based on medical need instead of what gets reimbursed the most. Not only are there a lot of unnecessary tests which don't hurt but also don't improve outcomes, but there are many instances where the better reimbursed option is more dangerous and less effective. They're trying to fix that problem so that health outcomes improve.

    It isn't some sort of anti-doctor movement. It's the combination of glaring health inefficiencies caused by bad reimbursement policies and the knowledge that if you think there's a social security problem hurting our future deficit outlays, that is nothing compared to the upcoming medicare problem.

    David Cutler has some good talks on cspan that explain the underlying thought processes behind administration changes to Medicare.

    Knowing all that background really does make all the other media stories on things I don't understand suspect. Maybe I can avoid the tinfoil hat.

    Ink said...

    I am trying to ignore the upcoming term but keep having scary dreams so it's not working!!!! ;)

    undine said...

    Nicole, I agree with all you've said about the unnecessary tests and the need for change. Those excesses are unreal, and they do need to change. Atul Gawande's recent article in _The New Yorker_ is food for thought about this, too.

    I was thinking more along the lines of the reductions in reimbursements for office visits and the like that pay doctors less than what their overhead is for seeing Medicare patients: if it costs, say, $125 per patient to pay the nurses, medical billers, malpractice insurance, electricity, etc., and Congress decides to cut the reimbursement to $50 per patient, so that the doctor loses money for each Medicare patient, there's a great hue and cry in the newspapers about how doctors should just suck up the difference when a lot of times they can't and about how "doctors are there to help people," so they shouldn't mind the cuts. But I completely agree about the abuses of the system.

    undine said...

    Ink, when the scary dreams come, I'll have to believe that school is upon us!