John McLean and the NRSP

Hey, remember John McLean? The guy who kept steering Andrew Bolt into brick walls? Well he’s teamed up with Tom Harris of the NRSP to accuse the IPCC of lying about the scientific support for its reports:

In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”. Of the comments received from the 62 reviewers of this critical chapter, almost 60% of them were rejected by IPCC editors. And of the 62 expert reviewers of this chapter, 55 had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial.

First, there were much more than 62 reviewers for chapter 9. McLean and Harris have only counted the reviewers of the second order draft and ignored the more numerous comments on the first order draft.

Second, they mislead by giving the impression that 60% of the reviewers disagreed with the IPCC, but half of the comments (572 of them!) were made by Vincent Gray, with 97% of them rejected. Only 16% of the comments by other reviewers were rejected. Gray was also responsible for most the rejected comments on the first order draft. Examples of Gray’s rejected comments include:

Insert after “to” “the utterly ridiculous assumption of”

Insert after “Bayesian” “(or super-guesswork)”

Insret before “Calibrated” “Bogus”

Dave Semeniuk has a more detailed analysis of Gray’s comments — 50 of them were Gray repeatedly asking for “anthropogenic” to be replaced with “human-induced”.

Third, as Richard Littlemore points out, it is pretty dodgy for the NRSP to complain about “vested interest” when their own vested interest is so blatant. But how did McLean and Harris come up with their claim that 55 of the reviewers had “serious vested interest”? McLean gives details in a piece published by the SPPI (an oil industry funded think tank that apparently does not count as a vested interested to McLean). Scientists were declared to have a vested interest if they were an IPCC author, or an IPCC author of a previous assessment, or if any of their work was cited by the report, or if they worked for a government, or if they work for an organization that gets government funding, or if they have a “possible commercial vested interest in the claim of man-made warming”. Basically that leaves amateurs like Gray and McKitrick. In one of his comments Gray asked them to cite one of his Energy and Environment papers. Fortunately it was rejected, or he would have been ruled out as well.

John Mashey examined McLean’s background and it seems that while the National Post awarded him a PhD he actually has no scientific qualifications at all, just a Bachelor of Architecture. Which makes McLean’s rant against a critic, which was captured by Nexus 6 particularly funny.

Comments

  1. #1 derek
    December 20, 2007

    Replace “there own vested interest” with “their own vested interest”. Or I will comment 60 more times.

  2. #2 Dave S
    December 20, 2007

    Thanks for the shout-out Tim – nice summary.

  3. #3 ben
    December 20, 2007

    Intersting, though I’m waiting to see what is said here about this report from the Democrat controlled US Congress.

  4. #4 LeeS
    December 20, 2007

    ben,

    Actually that report is from Sen Inhofe’s office.

    “The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s office of the GOP Ranking Member”

    I’ve skimmed through it quickly – its pretty funny.

  5. #5 Ian Gould
    December 20, 2007

    “Scientists were declared to have a vested interest if they were an IPCC author, or an IPCC author of a previous assessment, or if any of their work was cited by the report, or if they worked for a government, or if they work for an organization that gets government funding…”

    How about if they ever voted for a government or paid taxes to a government?

  6. #6 Ian Gould
    December 20, 2007

    Tell me Ben, as a US taxpayer how does it feel to know Senator Imhofe is paying as staffer to browse the internet in search or blogs in which someone with (claimed) scientific credentials says “I am a climate skeptic”?

  7. #7 dhogaza
    December 20, 2007

    And, Ben, do you really want us to believe that you’re stupid that you didn’t know that wasn’t from the “democrat-controlled congress”?

    Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

  8. #8 Boris
    December 20, 2007

    Off topic, but I’d like to commend Steve McIntyre for altering his post that called the scientists from Real Climate “vicious little men.” An apology should probably be in order as well, but baby steps, right?

  9. #9 jc
    December 20, 2007

    Tim

    The ipcc report is essentially a poltical document in almost all respects so it doesn’t really matter as the science came in a close second. That’s one reason why Chris Landsea resigned.

  10. #10 Eli Rabett
    December 20, 2007

    Ben darling, we know you are a Republic, but it is the Democratic controlled congress. Go down in the basement and bitch slap yourself ten times little boy.

  11. #11 Deech56
    December 20, 2007

    Boris, I saw that this afternoon. Now that thread is closed to comments, except for “King’s exposition invites satire and there have been some lively comments during the day. If you missed them, you’ve missed them because I’ve decided that we’ve had a little fun today, but I’m not going to preserve the repartee.” Probably a lot of wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

  12. #12 JC
    December 20, 2007

    Thanks Ben,

    I saw that report too. Very interesting.

    Rabbet what you think of it? I couldn’t imagine they’re all in the pockets of the coal producers as their aren’t enough to pay them all. Some are from top filght learing institutions, hey?

  13. #13 Dano, MD
    December 20, 2007

    My grad degree was from a top-flight uni in medicine, although my grad wasn’t in medicine.

    But what the heck, according to JC’s logic, I’m a world-reknowned doctor.

    Say, JC, let me examine your coleorectal system with this rolled-up Inhofe report in my hand here. No, really trust me – I’m an expert.

    Best,

    D

  14. #14 LeeS
    December 20, 2007

    Boris, I DO NOT think McIntyre gets props. He apparently said it, let it sit for a while, apologized for it, then scrubbed the entire thing from his site as if it never happened. That, in the final analysis, constitutes denial rather than apology.

    McIntyre does this repeatedly. He often alters his posts, either without comment that he has done sol, or with the comments buried deep in the discussion thread. usually, even if he does note that he edited the post, he does not say or preserve what it was edited from – he simply changes it. It is an inherently dishonest tactic, and to me this seems just another example of the way he uses it frequently.

  15. #15 Ian Gould
    December 20, 2007

    “Rabbet what you think of it? ”

    I think if someone hired me full-time to trawl through blogs, letters to the editor; newspaper op-eds; magazine interviews and journals world-wide, I could probably find more than 400 scientists prepared to to support the geocentric theory.

    Given the rather desperate lengths they’ve gone to, dragging in anyone who has disputed any aspect of the science or of the IPCC process, I’d say 400 represents the upper bound of the qualified scientists who reject the AGW hypothesis.

    Which leaves tens of millions of others who support it.

  16. #16 John Mashey
    December 20, 2007

    More questions on John McLean in the real world: help?

    A.

    Some of us are fortunate to be near good universities where one can hear public talks by experts and learn something.
    [I'm lucky, living 5 miles from this, which I can attend even without being a climate data analyst.]

    1) Google: university melbourne climate science
    shows that University of Melbourne has some serious climate scientist who do at least occasional public talks.

    2) John McLean appears to live about 35km from there by road, but is about 2km from the Croydon train station, and there’s a train/tram combination that gets to UofM. As an ardent climate data analyst, presumably he attends such lectures and interacts with these folks, as after all, speaking to active researchers live is really valuable.

    3) So, does any Aussie Deltoid reader know anybody at UofM (and maybe RMIT), or know someone who might know, and could ask them if they happen to know McLean? Is he a regular at such events?

    I ask for help as it’s been a few years since my last trip to Melbourne, and the last time I was too busy surviving those tram-induced hook turns to do much else.

    B) John McLean uses the label computer scientist, and is often listed on “lists of scientists” or “top scientists” of denying climate change. As noted elsewhere, CS can be a fuzzy label, but often people who are *really* computer scientists, especially top ones, leave tracks as such in the real & virtual worlds:

    - published papers
    - public talks
    - society membership & activities
    - jobs

    - credible participation in USENET/Google groups (once upon a time)
    - blogging credibly on computer science topics

    Now, “john mclean” is a very common name, and there are at least several computer scientists with that name, all of which makes searches very hard. I’ve searched diligently for traces of activity as a computer scientist, especially before 2004, when he burst onto the scene as a climate guy.

    So far, my searching skills have been insufficient, and I have found no trace of actual computer science activity.

    Of course, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence … but on the other hand, after a lot of searching, you start to wonder.

    Can anybody help? Is there any ACS member, especially in Melbourne, that might comment? I looked here, but no luck (not an officer or committee member).

    Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated.

  17. #17 stewart
    December 20, 2007

    Wow:
    NRSP has just decided that ALL climate scientists are biased (that is, if they contribute to the field, obtain grants, or are cited by other scientists). Makes sense to me, just as all geologists and astronomers are biased against young-earth science.
    John M, I used to attend RMIT, and I never ran into John McLean there (or at the parties at Melbourne Uni). That was some decades ago, mind. I haven’t seen him around my current neighbourhood, either. he doesn’t exist.

  18. #18 ben
    December 20, 2007

    d’oh!

  19. #19 Boris
    December 20, 2007

    Lee,

    I missed the apology, did he really apologize?

    In any case, can you imagine if RC had posted something like that, then erased it? We’d never hear the end of it.

    Back on topic, I see John McLean’s vapid rant as yet more evidence that skeptics do not hold themselves to their own high standards of conduct or scientific rigor.

  20. #20 LeeS
    December 20, 2007

    Boris,

    I didn’t see an apology – I heard third-hand that he made one, but I certainly cant vouch for it.

    McIntyre’s ‘rewriting history’ in the threads is one of several reasons I no longer bother over there, BTW. He rewrote history I was part of on too many occasions.

  21. #21 John Mashey
    December 21, 2007

    re: #17
    Thanks.

    Also, my bad, I somehow forgot about Monash U, which is even closer (<20km) from Croydon, and also has public lectures, so maybe McLean goes there instead.

  22. #22 frank
    December 21, 2007

    “Intersting, though I’m waiting to see what is said here about this report from the Democrat controlled US Congress.”

    Hm. I just picked the second one from the top (Dr. Oleg Sorochtin) and found this gem: http://www.russland.ru/analysen/morenews.php?iditem=89 Unfortunately in German so it could of course just be a bad translation; but it would have to be _very_ bad to not demonstrate that this guy is either a crank or deceitful.
    OS claims that the general idea of greenhouse gases goes back to Svante Arrenius (sic) and has since then been accepted on good faith and was never seriously confirmed. Thus policy reactions (Kyoto etc.) are based on a old and wrong idea.
    Oh dear somebody should have told all those scientists.

    On the other hand he concedes that CO2 _is_ responsible for a warming of the lower atmospheric layers, but says that this has only relevance for weather.
    Another of OS’ arguments is that CO2 cannot have anything to do with the change in global temperature since the Sun’s energy output is so much larger than what we humans create.

    And Vincent Gray (_the_ expert reviewer) has signed as well. Go and read his comments to see for yourself what interesting scientific comments he made: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Comments/wg1-commentFrameset.html

    Great scientist indeed. Well I am unfair here; the report only says that they are “prominent” – but not why.

    frank

  23. #23 Jeff Harvey
    December 21, 2007

    “Intersting, though I’m waiting to see what is said here about this report from the Democrat-controlled US Congress”.

    Ben writes this as if the Congress is ‘left-leaning’. As if there is ‘rel debate’ in the US political arena. As if that makes a difference with respect to Kyoto. What a laugh that is! There is no difference in policy between the Democrats and Republicans. Nix. Nil. Nooit. This explains why US elections are always fought on grounds of ‘personality’ and avoid domestic and foreign policy issues. Look at Kerry – he was more a an imperial war hawk than even Bush. And Hillary Clinton? Same notation. And check out the stands of both parties on social security. The fact is that the US population is miles to the left of its government. It should be obvious why: the US is a corporatocracy – or at best a plutocracy. Elections are bought-and-paid for.

  24. #24 dhogaza
    December 21, 2007

    I saw that report too. Very interesting.

    Rabbet what you think of it? I couldn’t imagine they’re all in the pockets of the coal producers as their aren’t enough to pay them all. Some are from top filght learing institutions, hey?

    The letter they’ve signed includes the easily falsified claim that “global warming has stopped since 1998″. Ignoring the cherry-picking (i.e. dishonest) aspect of picking the warmest year globally as a starting point, the trend 1998-2006 still shows warming, albeit diminished.

    In my mind, anyone who signs on to a statement containing such a dishonest, easily-checked claim cedes all credibility.

    In other news, creationists have well over 400 scientists who’ve signed a statement declaring they don’t believe in evolution.

    Therefore, evolutionary biology must be an even greater commie conspiracy than climate science, right?

  25. #25 dhogaza
    December 21, 2007

    Other problems with Inhofe’s “400 scientists”.

    He’s included everyone who’s listed as part of Lomborg’s “Copenhagen Consensus”. Lomborg’s not a scientist (well, he’s a *political* scientist, but even if you do consider that a science [I don't] it’s certainly not relevant to climate science). Most of those involved in the Copenhagen Consensus are economists.

    Another trick used has been to list co-authors of papers written by known skeptics. Scientist A writes a paper with N co-authors. Scientist A is a known skeptic. Inhofe lists all N co-authors as being “skeptics”, including those known not to be.

    The list is apparently full of tricks like this.

    So, Ben, JC, what does this tell you about Inhofe’s honesty?

    I have hope for Ben, but I expect JC to say “Hoo-Rah for Inhofe, it’s *brilliant*, I couldn’t do better myself!”

  26. #26 Ian Gould
    December 21, 2007

    “He’s included everyone who’s listed as part of Lomborg’s “Copenhagen Consensus”. Lomborg’s not a scientist (well, he’s a political scientist, but even if you do consider that a science [I don't] it’s certainly not relevant to climate science). Most of those involved in the Copenhagen Consensus are economists.”

    Moreover the Copenhagen Consensus explicitly recognised that global warming was occurring, that it was anthropogenic and that action to mitigate it was possible.

    A majority (not all) of the participants agreed that if a very pool of money had to be divided between a certain group of their projects there were higher priorities than global warming.

    What’s next, criticise IPCC’s selection of print fonts and get classified as a denialist?

  27. #27 Ian Gould
    December 21, 2007

    I don’t propose to go through and count every single name in the Imhofe “report” but it’s worth noting that several names appear to appear more than once.

    For example, Vincent Gray appears in the signatories of the letter to the Bali Conference; as a member of the NZCSC and in his own individual entry.

    Bob Carter has both his own entry and appears as part of the NZCSC.

    Nowhere in the report is there a single list of the 400 supposed skeptics, which makes it difficult to heck for double counting.

    JC will no doubt be pleased to see Richard tol included amongst the “prominent”.

  28. #28 Ian Gould
    December 21, 2007

    To be fair, I spotted four names on the various lists who really could fairly be described as prominent scientists:

    Freeman Dyson, David Bellamy and Patrick Moore.

    Dyson’s best-known for grandiose but infeasible ideas like the Dyson sphere and Bellamy and Moore are really only known to the public as presenters not for their original scientific work.

    None of the three, of course, have any qualifications directly relevant to climate science: Dyson is a physicist; Moore an astronomer and Bellamy a botanist.

    It may also be noteworthy that Moore and Dyson are well into their 80′s and Bellamy is in his 70′s.

  29. #29 Ian Gould
    December 21, 2007

    Okay at a rough count there are around 200 names with individual entries in the file. (A word search also shows several names such as Willie Soon show up several times. Since there’s no single list ot refer to its hard to tell whether he’s been double-counted or not.)

    Supposedly “15″ Dutch scientists signed an open letter – but the actual list includes only 11 names. (Okay twelve if you allow for the fact that Jan Mulderink i listed twice. Sicne the other details given for him are identical I doubt its two guys with the same name.)

    So how do we get from 200 to 400? We presumably you add in the two attached petitions, one signed by 60 skeptics the other by 100.

    Too bad those two lists overlap significantly with each other and with the individual listings.

  30. #30 Dunc
    December 21, 2007

    Moore an astronomer

    Actually, Moore (national treasure that he is) is a broadcaster and amateur astronomer. He is not and has never been a professional scientist, as I’m sure he’d be the first to point out (in fact, he does it all the time whenever anyone even implies that he’s a “proper” scientist). Although he has done some valuable scientific work… many, many years ago… on the subject of lunar geography.

  31. #31 Ian Gould
    December 21, 2007

    The fourth scientist who I thought was indisputably prominent was Dr. Norman Borlaug – also not a climate scientist.

    It’s also difficult to see how you get from his statement that temperatures are definitely rising but it may be worthwhile to do more studies of the causes to classing him as a denialist.

  32. #32 Thom
    December 21, 2007

    Thankfully, the report gives a nod to one of the Pielkes. This time it’s Sr., not Jr.

    But now that Pielke Jr. is teaming up with Steve McIntyre, I don’t think we should count him out.

  33. #33 ben
    December 21, 2007

    “The fact is that the US population is miles to the left of its government.”

    Now there’s a laugh.

  34. #34 John Mashey
    December 21, 2007

    re: Lomborg & Copenhagen Consensus

    1) It has *always* been a reasonable idea that one has to prioritize funds.

    2) It has always been reasonable that economists (laongwith politicians, engineers, etc) be involved in deciding what to do, based on the findings of science.

    3) However, the economists argue endlessly about the choice of “discount rate”, where a positive discount rate means that people get richer, such that people in 2100 are much richer than now, and also, some are only coming around to the potential of really-bad effects.

    3) In any case, in the light of Peak Oil and Gas, the strong influence of exergy (= energy*efficiency) on economic growth, there is a very hard slog ahead (on efficiency & installation of renewable sources) to keep the exergy flat, much less increase it, even much less increase the exergy/person [given population growth]. For some reason, even the Stern Report doesn’t handle this.

    A good source: Ayres&Warr, Accounting for Growth: the Role of Physical Work
    http://www.iea.org/Textbase/work/2004/eewp/Ayres-paper1.pdf

    4) In addition, the idea of “richer” ignores the fact that costs of different goods change at different rates. In 2100, an iPod with a Terabyte of storage should be no problem, which in economics terms, means that you are “richer”.

    It may well be that electricity will get cheaper. It better.

    On the other hand, I need some serious convincing that any of these will be vastly cheaper:
    - water [as Georgia is learning]
    - food [The Economist: The End of Cheap food last week]
    - fuel [no more cheap oil&gas]
    - earthmoving, steel & concrete for building dikes & seawalls

    No amount of cheap iPods will help anyone substitute for those.

    Anyway, reasonable to prioritize, but economists have to show that their models are plugged into the real world, and I’ve seen enough that weren’t to worry. In particular, a lot of climate chane economics studies do not mention Peak Oil, which makes me very nervous.

  35. #35 Ian Gould
    December 21, 2007

    Ben, you know that since about year dot opinion polls in the US show majority support for universal healthcare and national handgun control, right?

    While I’ve got your attention, care to tell us where you learnt about the Imhofe report? I’m curious as to how the story was presented.

  36. #36 Ian Gould
    December 21, 2007

    It’s interesting how it appears neither the UPI report who did the wire story or any of the other journalists who reported the story seem to have actually checked the list of names.

    http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&ncl=1125161775

    It’s also interesting to see that Inhofe isn’t always negative about the environment – just last week he proposed spending federal money on a “Poultry Sustainability Research Council”.

    Another wonderful use of Ben’s tax dollars no doubt.

  37. #37 z
    December 21, 2007

    “There is no difference in policy between the Democrats and Republicans…. It should be obvious why: the US is a corporatocracy – or at best a plutocracy. ”

    I think that’s a bit too strong a statement. Democrats like African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Woman-Americans, and Gay-Americans, while Republicans hate them all. (On anything resembling economic policy, however, of course they are all bought and sold by the highest bidder.)

  38. #38 z
    December 22, 2007

    “‘The fact is that the US population is miles to the left of its government.’
    Now there’s a laugh. ”

    Well, for one example, the vast majority who at this point seriously doubt that we should continue to slaughter Iraqi and American alike in order to protect Bush’s reputation from the appearance of failure; or, as they are known in Washington, that small but vocal minority of defeatist extremists.

  39. #39 z
    December 22, 2007

    “‘Padded’ would be an extremely generous description of this list of ‘prominent scientists.’ Some would use the word ‘laughable’ (though not the N.Y. Times’ Andy Revkin, see below). For instance, since when have economists, who are pervasive on this list, become scientists, and why should we care what they think about climate science?”
    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/12/21/16436/710

  40. #40 Ian Gould
    December 22, 2007

    “Democrats like African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Woman-Americans, and Gay-Americans, while Republicans hate them all. (On anything resembling economic policy, however, of course they are all bought and sold by the highest bidder.)”

    I think it’s more accurate to say that the Democrats pander to African-Americans etc (without necessarily liking them) while the Republicans choose to pander to those who if they don;t hate these groups at least resent them.

    It’s a fair bet there’s a fair bit of hypocrisy going on inside both parties. That hypocrisy ranges from Hilary campaign workers distributing religious slanders about Barack Obama through to Bush who seems genuine in his personal commitment to equality fro all not openly condemning the bigots within his party.

    On economic policy, they’re both horse thiefs but the Democrats are just barely bright enough to realise that if they keep burning down the barns and poisoning the water troughs there won’t be any horses left to steal.

  41. #41 John Mashey
    December 22, 2007

    re: #39 economists

    Whether they are scientists or not (some certainly are, I really like Robert Ayres’ work, for example), lots of people listen to them.

    We really are at the stage where this is economics+politics; I hope you don’t think Inhofe’s gang has *anything* to do with science. What they do is politics, 100%.

    In 2000, Inhofe’s Oklahoma got $4B more from Washington than it sent. CA sent $63B more to Washington than we got back. When the Ogallala Aquifer gets difficult, and then if more of OK goes back to dust bowl, I’ll be very sorry for the people … but a state that keeps electing Inhofe isn’t going to be high on *my* list for aid. We’ll have enough climate stresses to deal with of our own.

    [SF Bay planners think it will take $5B to survive a 1meter rise in sea level ... to protect the $100B of stuff that gets threatened, although I don't recall if that includes the airports, and I don't know if their estimates included the cost effects of Peak Oil.]

    But, do not ignore economists, jsut as I suggested one not writeoff journalists….

  42. #42 Marion Delgado
    December 22, 2007

    TROLL RACE

    ben__|####|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|
    Jc___|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|
    JohnS|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|
    Kent.|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|

    Lance|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|

    PaulS|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|—-|

    ben 07/12/20 James Inhofe is the Democrat-controlled Congress

  43. #43 Marion Delgado
    December 22, 2007

    All decisions are arbitrary. Winner gets a Phlogiston-Based Community Service medal. Place your bets!

  44. #44 stewart
    December 22, 2007

    The NRSP press release was presented in an opinion piece in December 21′s Calgary Herald. the writer didn’t waste any time on analysis, just gave stenography. Send your responses to letters (at) theherald.canwest.com.
    Again, I think that notion that knowing something about the field produces a conflict of interest is duplicitous, not just cynical.

  45. #45 ben
    December 22, 2007

    “Ben, you know that since about year dot opinion polls in the US show majority support for universal healthcare and national handgun control, right?”

    Which “opinion polls” are you speaking of? Many of the gun-control polls that I’m familiar with present the questions of gun-control in a fairly biased manner. And “universal health care”? Most Americans that I know who think Canada has a wonderful health care system are shocked when I tell them the truth of Canada’s Universal access to waiting lists. They typically do not know that Canada outlaws private health care for “necessary” procedures.

    Also, probably most Americans are in favor of Social Security as we have it, even though it’s nothing more than a fine example of a pyramid scheme. I like how the Democrats used to refer to the Social Security “lock box,” as if there was ever any actual money locked away, and not just a bunch of IOU’s fromt the government to itself.

    And recall, the claim was that the general public was “miles to the left of it’s government”. Your average American really doesn’t give a whit about gun control one way or the other. If they really cared, the Brady Campaign wouldn’t be hurting for funds, wouldn’t be seeing declining revenues, and wouldn’t be calling the latest legislation a gun-control victory.

  46. #46 Mike
    December 22, 2007

    ben 4:00 PM:Which “opinion polls” are you speaking of?

    Here are a couple:
    CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. May 4-6, 2007. N=1,028 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

    5/4-6/07.
    “Would you like to see gun laws in this country made more strict, less strict, or remain as they are?”

    More Strict 50%
    Less Strict 9%
    Remain as They Are 40%
    Unsure 1%

    Poll on Universal Health Care

    …In an extensive ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll, Americans by a 2-1 margin, 62-32 percent, prefer a universal health insurance program over the current employer-based system. That support, however, is conditional: It falls to fewer than four in 10 if it means a limited choice of doctors, or waiting lists for non-emergency treatments.
    Support for change is based largely on unease with the current system’s costs. Seventy-eight percent are dissatisfied with the cost of the nation’s health care system, including 54 percent “very” dissatisfied.
    Indeed, most Americans, or 54 percent, are now dissatisfied with the overall quality of health care in the United States — the first majority in three polls since 1993, and up 10 points since 2000….

    It would be shocking if you told anyone the truth about anything.

  47. #47 ben
    December 22, 2007

    Er, it seems that those polls support my position, and not Ian’s. Thanks, Mike.

  48. #48 z
    December 22, 2007

    “Most Americans that I know who think Canada has a wonderful health care system are shocked when I tell them the truth of Canada’s Universal access to waiting lists.”

    As it happens, I am just returned from the Great White North, where my father was having surgery. It went something like this: Doc: “When would you like it?” Dad: “In two weeks?” Doc: “OK”. Me: “Crap, how am I going to get a flight this quickly without paying a ridiculous amount?” In fact, I couldn’t get reservations on the dates I wanted; I mean, literally, you can get a date for surgery in Canada more quickly and easily than you can get an airline reservation. This after, a couple of years ago, his being admitted instantly, directly from the doctor’s office, when a routine checkup turned up a cardiac irregularity. Wait time: 0.

    Fact is, long wait times exist: for knee replacement, hip replacement, and cataract surgery. Seems like the aging population is straining some of the specialties. Otherwise, things aren’t bad. Average wait time in Alberta for a pacemaker is 5 days. Considering that includes the usual pretty thorough going over first to make sure you won’t die during surgery, and incorporates the fact that they don’t do it over weekends (or holidays), that doesn’t seem that excessive. A quick readthrough of the reported wait times for the Alberta Health Plan show the rapidity of response where surgery is needed, vs. elective surgery:

    pacemakers 0.7 weeks

    (1.0 for urgent

    8.5 for elective)

    coronary bypass surgery 2.1 weeks

    1.7 for urgent/emergency

    17 for elective)

    plastic surgery 6 weeks

    varicose veins 7 weeks

    A humorous side anecdote: The Fraser Insitute, whose rightwing fulminations for returning healthcare to the private pay-as-you-go model have been roundly ignored by Canadian voters as assuredly they have been quoted by Americans, quotes astoundingly high waiting times; as the small print in their report explains, that time includes, however, “persons who voluntarily delayed their procedure or test”. Geez. By that measure, the wait time on my back operation, here in the US, is pushing 20 years. And in all probability it will hit 60 years. Something must be done.

  49. #49 ben
    December 22, 2007

    My experience with Canadian health care is decidedly different. One of my roommates waited 30 days for cancer surgery, and my best friend’s girlfriend (of 10 years) waited a month and a half for an MRI at the same time that I waited 2 days for the same thing. Her condition was much more serious than mine.

    Thanks but no thanks.

  50. #50 John Mashey
    December 22, 2007

    Is it time to give up on this thread?
    Somehow the recent posts have gotten rather far away from the original topic.

  51. #51 Ian Gould
    December 22, 2007

    “Which “opinion polls” are you speaking of? Many of the gun-control polls that I’m familiar with present the questions of gun-control in a fairly biased manner. And “universal health care”? Most Americans that I know who think Canada has a wonderful health care system are shocked when I tell them the truth of Canada’s Universal access to waiting lists. They typically do not know that Canada outlaws private health care for “necessary” procedures.”

    So basically the majority of Americans only THINK they disagree with you on these issues because they don’t have all the facts.

  52. #52 Ian Gould
    December 22, 2007

    “I like how the Democrats used to refer to the Social Security “lock box,” ”

    Actually that was Newt Gingrich.

  53. #53 Ian Gould
    December 22, 2007

    “Er, it seems that those polls support my position, and not Ian’s. Thanks, Mike.”

    Majority support for stricter gun laws and universal healthcare support your position?

  54. #54 jc
    December 22, 2007

    So basically the majority of Americans only THINK they disagree with you on these issues because they don’t have all the facts.

    Gouldiechops, most americans think two things about health care.

    1. 89% of Americans think they have great health care.

    2 and close to the same number think everyone ought to be covered.

    I would add a third.

    Most Americans would like illegals rorting the public health system ought o stop by sending those people back to where they came from.

    these are all perfectly reasonable positions.

  55. #55 z
    December 22, 2007

    “Most Americans would like illegals rorting the public health system ought o stop by sending those people back to where they came from.”

    Which is, ironically, the reason some Canadian provinces now have photos on the provinical health cards, to keep the illegals from coming north over the border to steal healthcare they can’t get at home.

  56. #56 Boris
    December 23, 2007

    I’m sorry, but jc and ben have it right. Keep the poor people uninsured and untreated so I can get my surgery a smidge faster, please. Thank you.

  57. #57 John Mashey
    December 23, 2007

    back to McLean, courtesy of Jennifer Marohasy:
    In
    http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002641.html , we find:

    “BTW While I am unsure what John McLean’s exact university qualifications are, it has been my observation that he is a committed and hard working ‘student in research’ which I believe qualifies him as a scientist. I understand the notion that all knowledge starts with a university degree is a relatively recent one.

    Posted by: Jennifer M at December 22, 2007 10:29 AM”

  58. #58 jc
    December 23, 2007

    Z
    You don’t need money to roll up at a US public hospital. i couldn’t imagine any american wanting to go to Canada for medical treatment, as personally i wouldn’t send a pet dog through the canadian system.

    …..to keep the illegals from coming north over the border to steal healthcare they can’t get at home.

    That’s bullshit. If you were illegal you couldn’t make it back through the border to the US , as US immigration would prevent entry. Someone just sucked you in. You got to think more for yourself, Z.

  59. #59 JC
    December 23, 2007

    Boris:

    Shorter Boris

    “please excuse my idiotic brain explosions”

  60. #60 Sortition
    December 23, 2007

    Feelings about the quality of healthcare have nothing to do with left nor right positions. In fact, if I think that my healthcare is good, and even so support universal coverage, that makes me more of a socialist than if I only supported universal coverage since I expected my own healthcare to improve as a result.

    The crucial questions are about equality and the role of government in maintaining just use of resources.

    http://www.pollingreport.com/health3.htm

    “Do you think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, or is that not the responsibility of the federal government?” N=501, MoE ± 5 (Form A)

    11/11-14/07 Is 64% Is Not 33% Unsure 3%

    “Do you think it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure that everyone in the United States has adequate health care, or don’t you think so?”

    ALL reg. voters
    Think It Is 57% Don’t Think So 38% Unsure 5%

    Also see,
    http://www.pollingreport.com/budget.htm

    “Which comes closer to your view about the tax cuts passed under President Bush over the past few years? All of the tax cuts should be made permanent. Tax cuts for the wealthy should be repealed, while others stay in place. OR, All of the tax cuts should be repealed.”

    10/17-23/07
    All Made Permanent 24% Repeal Cuts For Wealthy 31 Repeal All Tax Cuts 30 Unsure 15

    “As I read off some different groups, please tell me if you think they are paying their fair share in federal taxes, paying too much, or paying too little. How about [see below]?”

    4/2-5/07
    Fair Share, Too Much, Too Little, Unsure

    “Lower-income people”
    34, 45, 17, 4

    “Middle-income people”
    44, 47, 7, 2

    “Upper-income people”
    21, 9, 66, 4

  61. #61 ben
    December 23, 2007

    Sortition, the last number you have up there is telling. The top 1% of income earners paid 39% of income taxes last year, IIRC. 66% of Americans think those persons pay to little? That is seriously F**cked up.

    “I’m sorry, but jc and ben have it right. Keep the poor people uninsured and untreated so I can get my surgery a smidge faster, please. Thank you.”

    Boris, don’t be a jerk. I was one of those uninsured when I was a kid. My nose got broken. I was treated. And I still didn’t have to wait. For all intents and purposes, we have universal coverage in this country: nobody gets turned away from emergency wards for lack of ability to pay.

    Now, if you want to extend coverage to those who really can’t afford it, especially children, I would probably vote for that. But never for Canadian style “no two tier health care system” style care. NEVER.

  62. #62 ben
    December 23, 2007

    One other thing. I would actually like to see the .gov extend care to those who find themselves in the rare situation where they encounter astronomical health care bills. It’s fairly impossible to plan for those.

  63. #63 Ian Gould
    December 23, 2007

    “The top 1% of income earners paid 39% of income taxes last year”

    Which means next to nothing without knowing what per cent of income (you know the thing being taxed) they received.

    Oh and let’s not talk about all the other taxes including sales taxes, land taxes and state income taxes which mean, depending on which state you live in, the total US tax burden is either is very, very slightly progressive or actually regressive (i.e. the more you make the lower percentage you pay).

  64. #64 Ian Gould
    December 23, 2007

    “That’s bullshit. If you were illegal you couldn’t make it back through the border to the US , as US immigration would prevent entry. Someone just sucked you in. You got to think more for yourself, Z.”

    The illegals in question are the Americans traveling to Canada to get access to cheap drugs.

  65. #65 dhogaza
    December 23, 2007

    Boris, don’t be a jerk. I was one of those uninsured when I was a kid. My nose got broken. I was treated. And I still didn’t have to wait. For all intents and purposes, we have universal coverage in this country: nobody gets turned away from emergency wards for lack of ability to pay.

    Oh, yes, free trauma care at the ‘ole emergency room, trotted out once again as “universal health care coverage in the United States”.

    News flash – far more people will contract cancer than need a nose repaired after a bar fight. It’s routine testing, diagnosis, and treatment that those without coverage aren’t getting.

    Don’t try to cover your philosophical tracks by claiming “universal health care is bad, but hey, we don’t need it because we already have it”. That’s just bullshit, pure and simple.

    I don’t know about the Canadian system (other than to be suspicious of right-wing spin on a system that seems to be popular with most Canadians), but I am somewhat familiar with the Spanish system (ranks in the top 10 in the world, US ranks far down in the 20s). My gf is able to see her GP with 24 hours notice in most cases. She’s had regular access to specialists with no problems, and she’s a cancer survivor who had very good treatment. She’s not spanish, so has no inherent native pride affecting her judgement, but thinks the system’s great. The main city hospital in Madrid is a bit run-down. No old city hospital in the United States is run down (and we have bridges for sale in NYC). However the doctors are well-trained and have access to the latest diagnosis equipment and treatments, though there are fewer MRI and CAT scan machine lying dormant compared to the US, a sin if you’re in the business of selling these machines.

    If you don’t like it, you can go the private route, and private health insurance is available, but few do so because the system’s so good. Yes, sometimes you have to wait for an hour when you arrive for your appointment. This, of course, NEVER happens when you see a doctor in the United States (har-har-har).

    France has universal health care insurance. Private providers, universal insurance. This would work well in the US, I think. Strangely, you never hear the US right scream holy-hell about it. Perhaps they’d just as soon not pay draw the people’s attention to this system? The #1 ranked system in the world?

  66. #66 Ian Gould
    December 23, 2007

    To return to the Inhofe silliness for a moment: Robert Tol a lead author of the latest IPCC TAR made the list because he criticised Stern’s estimates of the cost of global warming.

    Now I’ve defended Stern’s figures meaning I’ve questioned the figures in the IPCC.

    Yippee that means I’m a climate skeptic. I can’t wait to see if I make it onto next years list of “prominent scientists”.

  67. #67 Ian Gould
    December 23, 2007

    “But never for Canadian style “no two tier health care system” style care. NEVER.”

    There are about fifty developed countries with universal health care coverage, why fixate on Canada?

  68. #68 jc
    December 23, 2007

    The illegals in question are the Americans traveling to Canada to get access to cheap drugs.

    Stop making shit up as you go along gouldie. It’s very unbecoming , even of you.

    This is what Z said.

    …..to keep the illegals from coming north over the border to steal healthcare they can’t get at home.

    Hardly means:

    The illegals in question are the Americans traveling to Canada to get access to cheap drugs.

    He’s not talking about drugs, Gouldmeister. He’s talking hospital visits etc.

    Americans can simply phone or get drugs mailed.

  69. #69 jc
    December 23, 2007

    Hoggsie:
    There just aren’t the systems around the world that are so innovative as the US. Your gf ought to indirectly thank the US heathcare system for her cure as it is most likely (yes not all Gould) that her medications and procedures originated in the US.
    Eg:
    Although it seems not to be very helpful the US introduced mass prostrate screening in the early 90′s to prevent early deaths. The only did 3/4 years ago.

    The governemnt hand is very slow.

  70. #70 dhogaza
    December 23, 2007

    He’s not talking about drugs, Gouldmeister. He’s talking hospital visits etc.

    Regardless, he’s still talking about American citizens, not mexican illegals in the US.

  71. #71 jc
    December 23, 2007

    Now I’ve defended Stern’s figures meaning I’ve questioned the figures in the IPCC.

    Yippee that means I’m a climate skeptic.

    No it simply makes you someone who doesn’t understand GW economics.

    “The top 1% of income earners paid 39% of income taxes last year”

    They didn’t get 39% of the income, Gouldiness.

    Which means next to nothing without knowing what per cent of income (you know the thing being taxed) they received

    The top 20% receive 23% of the income : http://www.sugisorensen.com/taxes/index.html

    Oh and let’s not talk about all the other taxes including sales taxes, land taxes and state income taxes which mean, depending on which state you live in, the total US tax burden is either is very, very slightly progressive or actually regressive (i.e. the more you make the lower percentage you pay).

    Gouldiness , you’re being silly now. We have a gst of 10% and property taxes etc. Europe has VAT and property taxes.
    All have death taxes while we don’t. The US even has an alternative minimum tax.
    US income tax is just a little less progressive than it is here, so stop getting carried away. I think you need to apologise for all these distortions this evening.

    Sure it’s the sily silly season, but you’re carrying this to ridiculous extremes.

  72. #72 Jc
    December 23, 2007

    Regardless, he’s still talking about American citizens, not mexican illegals in the US.

    This is new one on me, Hoggise. Since when have Americans been referred to as illegals in the canadian provinces. The term “illegal” nearly always refers to people who are NOT legally documented in the US or Canada. It usually means they are from 3rd world nations.

    And spare me…. Canada does not have a problem with US citizens throwing themselves across the great lakes to find work in wealthier Canada. :-)

  73. #73 dhogaza
    December 23, 2007

    In which JC shows himself to be as ignorant of the law as he is of economics, health care, and science:

    The term “illegal” nearly always refers to people who are NOT legally documented in the US or Canada. It usually means they are from 3rd world nations.

    There’s only one topic left for JC to comment on to prove that he knows something about at least one topic:

    Sports.

  74. #74 dhogaza
    December 23, 2007

    This is new one on me, Hoggise. Since when have Americans been referred to as illegals in the canadian provinces.

    Well, let’s see, recently there was Tre Arrow …

  75. #75 dhogaza
    December 23, 2007

    Although it seems not to be very helpful the US introduced mass prostrate screening in the early 90′s to prevent early deaths. The only did 3/4 years ago.

    As always with JC, the story is much more complex than one would imagine from his post (US health care good, world bad).

    As this piece shows, in Europe large-scale trials of random mass screening (in concert with the US) began in the 1990s. In the US, efficacy of screening has been questioned, with the American Cancer Society in 1997 backing off its 1992 recommendations that all men 50 and older be screened (because of concerns that led to the decision to organize the large-scale multinational study I’ve referred to above).

    If you read the article, there’s legitimate concern that screening of all men leads to overtreatment of benign cancers that shouldn’t be treated. In other words, many more cases are found, therefore more are treated that are best left alone (given that treatment itself carries risk).

    There’s nothing in the article to support the unspoken implication of JC’s post – that mass screening has been put off in Europe because of cost, rather than legitimate concerns over outcomes. In other words, that US medical care is better because, as JC puts it himself, 100% screening is “not to very helpful”.

  76. #76 Ian Gould
    December 23, 2007

    “Since when have Americans been referred to as illegals in the canadian provinces.”

    Call me crazy but an American citizen entering Canada for the purpose of defrauding the Canadian government is probably violating the conditions under which they’re allowed to enter Canada.

    Meaning they’re in Canada illegally (you know like all those people in the US on student visas who violate them by working illegally.)

  77. #77 jc
    December 23, 2007

    You ignorant dolt Hoggsie. You need to lace your ad homs with effective refutations otherwise people easily see through them.

    Yea, americans are now racing north of the border to find wealth, fortune and superior healthcare in Canada. What a piss take.

  78. #78 Ian Gould
    December 23, 2007

    “You ignorant dolt…ad homs”

    You know JC I get the impression that you regard the various exchanges here as some friendly horseplay between friends.

    In some cases, as with me and Ben, this is correct.

    In your cases, nothing could be further from the truth. I can’t speak for others but personally I quite genuinely think you are a truly vile and contemptible person.

  79. #79 dhogaza
    December 23, 2007

    You ignorant dolt Hoggsie. You need to lace your ad homs with effective refutations otherwise people easily see through them.

    As always, JC meets substance with his own unique brand of red-faced, spluttering, pacifier-tossing “maturity”.

  80. #80 Jc
    December 23, 2007

    And you actually thought I consider any of our exchanges here friendly, Gouldiechops? Are you on tranquillisers?

    Gouldiechops, save your opinions for someone who cares because I couldn’t give a rats what you thought of me.

    Oh and plese don’t give me your personal details again as I am a contented hetro.

  81. #81 jc
    December 23, 2007

    Call me crazy

    You said that first, Gouldie. I would also add propagandist as well and very sore loser to that kitty.

    but an American citizen entering Canada for the purpose of defrauding the Canadian government is probably violating the conditions under which they’re allowed to enter Canada.

    Correct , Genius.

    Meaning they’re in Canada illegally (you know like all those people in the US on student visas who violate them by working illegally.)

    In most cases foreign students are allowed to work in the US while studying, Gouldiechops.

    We’re not really talking about these people though, are we Miss strawmman. We’re talking about the 11 million people who reside in the US illegally most being from south of the border. It was these people Z was suggesting were going across to canada for medical reasons. This of course is total horseshit as I am couragously pointing out.

  82. #82 Sortition
    December 23, 2007

    ben:

    > Sortition, the last number you have up there is telling. The top 1% of income earners paid 39% of income taxes last year, IIRC. 66% of Americans think those persons pay to little? That is seriously F**cked up.

    That’s your opinion, which is in the minority – because, to your and to the rest of the elite’s dismay, the American people are socialists. If you remember, that’s exactly what Jeff Harvey wrote above, to which you responded: “Now there’s a laugh.”

    By the way, to me, being a typical American, what seems f**cked up is the fact that after taxes the top percentile still get 15.6% of the national product.

    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8885/12-11-HistoricalTaxRates.pdf

  83. #83 Sortition
    December 23, 2007

    And by the way, looking at “All federal taxes” instead of only at “Income taxes”, the share of the top percentile drops from 38.8% to 27.6%.

    Factoring in state taxation which relies heavily on sales taxes, would reduce the share of the rich even further.

  84. #84 Ian Gould
    December 23, 2007

    “Sortition, the last number you have up there is telling. The top 1% of income earners paid 39% of income taxes last year, IIRC. 66% of Americans think those persons pay to little? That is seriously F**cked up.”

    Ben, the point isn’t whether the majority of Americans are correct on this issue or not.

    The point is that the original statement that American public opinion is considerably more left-wing than the American government is correct.

    You might want to pause and consider what that says about the US political system.

    Then again if the Australian political system reflected the popular will perfectly we’d have the death penalty, zero or next to zero immigration and no unemployment benefits.

  85. #85 Dominion
    December 23, 2007

    Boris, don’t be a jerk. I was one of those uninsured when I was a kid. My nose got broken. I was treated. And I still didn’t have to wait. For all intents and purposes, we have universal coverage in this country: nobody gets turned away from emergency wards for lack of ability to pay.

    Of course what no one ever wants to talk about is how much pressure this puts on emergency rooms. Here in Houston my mom worked for Southwest Memorial Hospital in, you guessed it, the emergency room. Typical wait times are anywhere from 8 to 14 hours. A year ago my best friend sat in the waiting room, in considerable pain with a broken arm, for ten hours. Believe it or not, emergency rooms are not set up to accept anyone at anytime for any reason. They are for (surprising I know) EMERGENCIES!

  86. #86 jc
    December 23, 2007

    By the way, to me, being a typical American, what seems f**cked up is the fact that after taxes the top percentile still get 15.6% of the national product.

    Dude, it’s not your money, as they earned it. Think about that and chew on it. That goes for you too, Gouldmeister as you seem to be a bigger thief than he is when it comes to government theft.

  87. #87 elspi
    December 23, 2007

    They grow up so fast:
    jc’s first funny “it’s not your money, as they earned it”.

    Earning money is for the smucks (like jc) These people steal it.

  88. #88 cce
    December 24, 2007

    If you’ve heard the old adage “it takes money to make money,” it’s true. An equivalent statement is “the more money you have, the easier it is to make it.” Someone with $1,000,000 in the bank at 4% makes $40,000 in interest alone, which is more than enough for the typical person to live off of. A conservative mix of stocks and bonds should get 7% over a long time period, which allows you to spend 4% every year, with the remaining 3% nullifying inflation. Once you are sufficiently wealthy, you could stop working entirely, and your wealth will never be depleted.

    It is completely fair for the wealthy to pay a greater percentage of taxes than the rest, especially given that most wealth is created by the buying power of consumers. The economy is built from the bottom up, not the other way around. Either you tax the people at the bottom so heavily that they have no disposable income, or you tax the wealthy at a higher rate. And given that the top (US) earners have more than doubled their share of all income in the past 20 years, all the yelps of the rich being “taxed to death” is demonstrably false.

  89. #89 z
    December 25, 2007

    “to keep the illegals from coming north over the border to steal healthcare they can’t get at home.
    That’s bullshit. If you were illegal you couldn’t make it back through the border to the US , as US immigration would prevent entry. Someone just sucked you in. You got to think more for yourself, Z.”

    Geez, you just can’t use subtlety with these folks, you got to spell out every single step. See, in Canada, illegals sneaking north across the border to get in aren’t Mexicans. Do we have to keep spelling it out? I find it difficult to speak to people as though they were slow kindergarteners.

  90. #90 z
    December 25, 2007

    “For all intents and purposes, we have universal coverage in this country: nobody gets turned away from emergency wards for lack of ability to pay. ”

    Yes, the Bush observation.

    “People have access to healthcare in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.”
    - George W. Bush, July 2007

    “Bush polyps benign
    WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) — White House spokesman Tony Snow Monday said the five polyps removed during U.S. President George Bush’s weekend colonoscopy were benign.

    “They represent the various — very earliest cellular changes,” Snow said. “Left untreated, they can progress to larger, more advanced lesions and a small percentage could become cancerous.”
    http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2007/07/23/bush_polyps_benign/2751/

    Better for the patient, cheaper than treating the patient for cancer later.

    So, the only thing that I’m wondering is…. at which emergency rooms can you get a free colonoscopy so your precancerous polyps are removed, saving you a bunch of grief and the “system” a ton of money?

  91. #91 z
    December 25, 2007

    “Now, if you want to extend coverage to those who really can’t afford it, especially children, I would probably vote for that. But never for Canadian style “no two tier health care system” style care. NEVER.”

    Reminds me of a political cartoon I saw: “But if EVERYBODY could get healthcare, then I wouldn’t want it”.

  92. #92 z
    December 25, 2007

    “The illegals in question are the Americans traveling to Canada to get access to cheap drugs.
    He’s not talking about drugs, Gouldmeister. He’s talking hospital visits etc.”

    Stop, you’re both right. I am talking about Americans, and I am talking about hospital visits, etc. In the US, even if you do get a fake healthcare card, you still have to jump through so many hoops with the insurance company; precertification, etc. In Canada, anyone with a card makes an appointment with the doctor, hospital, etc. That’s it. There was a thriving black market in fake/stolen/duplicate cards, requiring some of the provinces to put pictures on them. Now, it’s clear that it’s not the Canadians who need fake/stolen/duplicate cards, they get the originals for free. So, who can it be who makes such demand for them? Hmm.

  93. #93 z
    December 25, 2007

    “as it is most likely (yes not all Gould) that her medications and procedures originated in the US”

    Yeah; as a result of government sponsored academic research, or government sponsored support for medical schools. That was one of the explicit missions of Medicare originally, to pump government money to medical schools and teaching hospitals, which obviously have higher costs than nonteaching hospitals. Since the Medicare cutbacks a few years ago, that’s no longer the case.

    And drug companies, etc. can’t afford to do research on anything that doesn’t look like a sure thing with a quickish payoff. They score seldom enough as is, just with compounds that look real promising; doing basic research is just not financially feasible. Take recombinant DNA technology, for example. Nobody in some private company sat down and said “you know, the government is taking too damn long coming up with biochemical tools for manipulating DNA, and therefore genetic research is being slowed down. We’re going to do it ourselves, good old fashioned for profit private enterprise”. In fact, the whole field is a spinoff of the discovery of restriction enzymes, which were an oddball phenomenon found in random academic research into bacteriology, with no particular commercial value whatsoever. No sane company would have funded the line of research into DNA restriction among bacteria; and in fact, none did. Once the basic discovery was made, and after a great deal of academic work was done showing what could be accomplished with these enzymes, commercial entities took over the field. But private enterprise parasitizes government sponsored research. Period.

    There is one grain of truth in the vast arguments of this type however; the US is the major cash cow that keeps the drug companies afloat, in the style to which they have become accustomed. (Highest profit margins of any industry, including petroleum). US patients pay more for drugs than Canada, as everyone knows, Europe, or Japan (none of the rest of the world registers on the drug companies’ radar). If that’s OK with you, fine; it’s not exactly “fair”, it certainly smells like socialism, what with the “from each according to their abilities” pricing and all. It’s kind of hard on the US citizens who have to struggle to pay for health insurance because the insurers have to pay more for the drugs than the Canadian government, however. Or more than the US government; as I mentioned elsewhere, in the US market, the deals Medicare cuts due to its huge size are the gold standard for insurers. And of course, if you are buying pharmaceuticals as a private individual and not via your insurance company or Medicare, you pay the full premium price, many times what the insurance company pays. But, if you don’t mind having the private US healthcare consumer pay for an extra large share of the world’s medical care, that’s not only OK, I’ll even say thanks.

  94. #94 z
    December 25, 2007

    “If you read my previous post, it will dawn on you that Americans “illegals” are causing the same problems in Canada that Mexican “illegals” are causing in the U.S. (perhaps not to the same extent – yet – but yes it is still a problem in Canada)
    And American illegals are stealing healthcare in Canada for the same reason as their Mexican counterparts are stealing healthcase in the U.S.: The American illegals’ medical system is completely inadequate to serve their medical needs.”
    http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/407133

  95. #95 Graculus
    December 29, 2007

    Ian Gould: There are about fifty developed countries with universal health care coverage, why fixate on Canada?

    Because until 1971 the US and Canadian systems were almost identical, and so were outcomes (mortality). Think of the US as the control on the experiment.

    According to the hard metrics, Canadians are better served than Americans.

    Canadian infant mortality: 4.7
    US infant mortality: 7.1

    Canadian overall mortality: 6.5
    US overall mortality: 8.4

    Now can I go back to lurking on a climate thread?