Canada’s National Health Care forces some Windsor Moms to have their Babies 2 Hours away in London

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2012

Week in Review

One of the most traveled VIA Rail corridors is between Windsor, Ontario, and Quebec City, Quebec.  There’s a lot of population density along that corridor.  Some of Canada’s biggest cities, too.  Including Toronto and Montreal.  But at the western terminus is the city of Windsor.  Across the river from Detroit, Michigan.  One of the most congested US-Canada border crossing.  A city all Canadians can get to by train.  But apparently health care dollars have trouble reaching (see Change to hospital could force babies, moms to London posted 7/20/2012 on CBC News).

The CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital fears a potential downsizing of its neonatal intensive care unit could mean a loss of doctors and force women to give birth in London.

The province is in the process of reviewing Ontario’s 14 NICUs. Windsor’s NICU is currently classified as a modified Level 3 care centre but wants to become a full Level 3 unit. However, according to CEO David Musyj, the province is looking to increase the number of Level 2 centres and that could mean a demotion for his hospital.

“It will negatively impact 50-60 babies in a year and some 300 moms,” Musyj claims.

Windsor currently has the ability to care for pregnant women and newborns who are a minimum of 26 weeks. A change would mean those women and babies would have to head to London for care.

Why are they doing this?  Why else?  Budget cuts.  Common in a national health care system.  Something we can look forward to under Obamacare.  Once they start cutting costs to make Obamacare more efficient.  Making us travel 2 hours for health care services we once received from our local hospital.

All Canadians pay taxes.  And they will get the health care services those taxes pay for.  It just may take a 2 hour drive to get to your hospital.  Of course the good people of Windsor may be able to shorten that drive time by crossing the most congested US-Canada border crossing.  And paying for their health care in the United States.  Of course with Obamacare that may not be an option for long.

Sad, this free national health care.  It can make getting medical treatment so very hard.  Which is something we have to look forward to under Obamacare.

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Hydroelectric Dams can’t make Electricity if it doesn’t Rain

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2012

Week in Review

Some people like to think that renewable energy is the energy of the future.  And that it will be free and abundant.  But with today’s technology it is none of these things.  It is just too unreliable.  And has such low capacity factors (CF).  The CF is a rating we calculate by dividing actual power produced by the amount possible under ideal conditions over a period of time.  Solar panels have a CF of about 20% because there are nights and cloudy days.  Wind farms have a CF of about 30% because there are times the wind doesn’t blow.  Big hydroelectric dams have a CF of about 50%  because there are times when it doesn’t rain (see Erratic monsoon clouds hydro power generation by Sadananda Mohapatra posted 7/18/2012 on the Business Standard).

Hydro power generation in the state may decline over the next couple of weeks due to erratic and deficient monsoon…

Daily generation from seven hydro power plants in the state reached up to 722 MW this week, up from 210 MW in early June. However, as the monsoon rainfall has been below normal so far, power managers feel this could hurt generation in coming days.

“All reservoirs, except Burla, have water levels below or at par with (MDDL) Minimum Draw Down Level. The generations had gone up on expectation of better rainfall, but it has to come down as rainfall has not been satisfactory,” said a senior official of state-run power trader Gridco…

Even though hydro power generation does not contribute significantly to meet the state’s power demand, cash-strapped Gridco depends on it heavily due to its low cost and easier availability. This summer, thermal units operating in the state had to shut down operations frequently due to technical glitch or coal supply problems, compelling the power trader to look for other sources such as captive power plants.

Fossil fuel-fired plants may not be as clean as the renewable energies but they are more reliable.  With capacity factors in excess of 90%.  As long as they aren’t broke.  Or run out of fuel.  Things we can minimize with proper maintenance.  And a sound energy policy.  One that encourages the extraction of fossil fuels from the ground.  Even with this though these plants can go off line because they only have a CF of about 90%.  And sometimes that 10% happens.

Of the renewable energies hydroelectric is the one with the most commercial potential.  A mix of coal and hydro can go a long way in meeting a nation’s energy needs.  One that normally works in India.  When the rains cooperate.  Which they sometimes don’t.  Which limits their capacity factor.  For if the water in the reservoir isn’t high enough it can’t spin those water turbines fast enough.  Or long enough.  And if it falls too low it may not even be able to enter the water inlets that feed those water turbines.  A prolonged dry spell could shut a hydro dam down completely.  Something you never have to worry about with coal.

Renewable energy can help.  But it just can’t replace fossil fuel-generated electric power.  For nothing is more reliable.  Which is a comforting fact when you head home after a tiring day at work.  Knowing that the electricity-provided creature comforts you so enjoy will be there waiting for you.  Thanks in large part to coal.  With the occasional assist from hydroelectric power.

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National Health Care Budget Deficits force Hospital Closures in Wales

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2012

Week in Review

People have the misperception that a national health care system provides quality health care to everyone for free.  But health care is not free.  Someone has to pay for it.  In the United Kingdom that’s the taxpayer.  And when they can’t raise enough in taxes to close budget deficits they have to cut costs.  Close hospitals.  And make people travel farther for their health care needs (see Betsi Cadwaladr proposals: Flint and Blaenau Ffestiniog hospitals may shut posted 7/19/2012 on BBC News Wales).

Two community hospitals could close and minor injury accident departments may shut at others under a major health service shake-up in north Wales…

Among the areas under scrutiny are older people’s mental health services, neonatal intensive care and vascular and major arterial surgery.

The board is the first in Wales to outline plans for balancing the books.

It predicts a gap of £64.6m, the second highest in Wales…

Speaking before the meeting at St Asaph, Christine Evans, chair of patient watchdog Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council, said: “The local communities will be very upset.”

The UK, like the US, has an aging population.  And that’s a fact.  There are fewer people entering the workforce than are leaving it.  And those who are leaving the workforce tend to consume most of the health care services.  So you have a huge transfer of wealth from the working young to the retired seniors.  But because there are so many more of those retired seniors it is difficult to tax the working young enough to pay for them.  And if they can’t generate the tax revenue they have little choice but to cut costs.  Such as closing hospitals and minor injury departments.  And there’s probably more to come.

In the U.S. the private health insurers were vigilant in controlling health care costs.  For they were the only ones who were.  Doctors are reluctant to order tests that aren’t absolutely necessary because health insurers may not reimburse them.  And if they have a relationship with their patient, which most of them have, they don’t want their patient to get stuck with the bill.  So they won’t order a test if it’s not absolutely necessary.  Unless the patient insists.  People hate the insurance companies for this.  But one thing the private health insurance companies never did was close hospitals.

This is the future of Obamacare.  Health care will still cost.  Someone will still have to pay for it.  So they will do like they do in the UK.  Raise taxes.  Transfer wealth.  And then close hospitals when all of that fails to close budget deficits.  It’s just the nature of a national health care system treating an aging population.  With about 5 times the population of the UK those budget deficits will probably be about 5 times worse under Obamacare.  With 5 times the hospital closures.  Making the local communities about 5 times as upset.

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Canadian Doctors earn too much according to Canada’s Health Minister

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2012

Week in Review

This one is for the U.S. doctors.  Here’s what you can look forward to working under Obamacare (see Number of millionaire doctors in Ontario appalls health minister by Jonathan Jenkins and Antonella Artuso posted 7/16/2012 on the Toronto Sun).

Ontario’s millionaire medics are overpaid, the province’s health minister said Monday.

“I was appalled when I saw how many were making in excess of $1 million,” Health Minister Deb Matthews said Monday of a list that in 2010, was 407 names long. “Some doctors are getting paid too much…

The Toronto Sun revealed last week through an access to information request Ontario’s top billing doctor in 2010 made a staggering $6.4 million and that five other physicians pulled in more than $3 million that year.

The list of 407 million-plus earners is dominated by cardiologists, radiologists and ophthalmologists.

Cardiologists operate on the human heart.  Radiologists study internal imaging to diagnose things like brain tumors.  And they use radioactive materials to treat patients.  Ophthalmologists do things with the human eye.  Allowing us to maintain our vision.  All complex and demanding fields.  Requiring enormous amounts of education.  Training.  Continuing education.  Long hours.  And enormous stress levels.  Not everyone can do this.  Some don’t even want to try.  Some would rather do something far easier.  Like working in the government.  Where they can tell these hard-working doctors that they make too much money.  And tell them how much money is enough for them.

“Ontario’s (doctors) are the best paid in the country,” she said. “Alberta is close but I can’t imagine that there’s any place else that they could earn more.

“Tell me where. There is just nowhere where they will be better compensated.”

Once upon a time these doctors could have gone to the U.S.  But that was then.  Now we have Obamacare.  Which won’t treat them any better.  So U.S. doctors take a look to what’s happening up north.  This is your future.

What is amazing is that they say these doctors are earning too much.  Yet these same people don’t say superstars that make tens of millions per year earn too much.  And they never performed a life-saving operation.  Or treated a person for cancer.  Or even gave the gift of sight to someone.  In fact, you could say that if anyone won life’s lottery it was these superstars.  For they didn’t have to earn it like these doctors did.  And even if these celebrities worked hard (not ‘doctor’ hard but hard) they still live a far better life than these doctors could ever hope to live.

Of course this is what happens in a national health care system.  When it serves an aging population.  Health care costs rise while the number of taxpayers fall.  Requiring higher taxes on the fewer remaining taxpayers.  And when that no longer works you have to cut costs.  As in doctor compensation.  And when that doesn’t work anymore you have to ration medical care.  Which they are doing in national health care systems everywhere.  As they will be in the United States thanks to Obamacare.

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When Sales Fall and Inventories Rise the Unemployment Rate Typically Rises

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2012

Week in Review

Inventory is the stuff businesses have made but haven’t sold yet.  Factories make things that go into inventory.  When retailers sell things they sell them from inventory.  So there is an inverse relationship between inventory and sales.  When one goes up the other goes down.  When one goes down the other goes up (see May business inventories climb 0.3 percent; sales drop by Jason Lange posted 7/16/2012 on Reuters).

Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product changes. Retail inventories outside of autos – a measure which goes into the calculation of gross domestic product – rose 0.6 percent…

Business sales edged 0.1 percent lower to $1.25 trillion in May, matching the prior month’s decline.

Sales fell 0.1% while inventories rose 0.6%.  Which means inventories have grown larger than the corresponding fall in sales.  Not good news for the people who make the things that go into inventory.  For there are apparently more of them than the current level of sales requires.  This typically portends a rise in the unemployment rate.  Which did happen.  The unemployment rate increased from 8.1% in April to 8.2% in May.

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Not showing the Carbon Tax on WA Electric Bills is Propaganda against the Carbon Tax

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2012

Week in Review

The carbon tax sure isn’t popular in Australia.  For the proponents of the carbon tax want to hide the full extent of its cost to consumers (see PM accuses Barnett of hoodwinking on tax by Daniel Emerson posted 7/16/2012 on The West Australian).

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has reignited the Federal Government’s dispute with Colin Barnett over his refusal to allow information on the carbon tax to be inserted in electricity bills, accusing him of “hoodwinking” West Australians…

Ms Gillard said Mr Barnett was trying to solely blame the Federal Government’s carbon pricing, which will increase average power bills by about 10 per cent, for WA’s high electricity prices.

Mr Barnett has previously ruled out allowing the Commonwealth to insert information into Synergy bills, saying that would amount to “propaganda”.

Ms Gillard this morning said the average household would pay $3.30 extra a week on electricity as a result of carbon pricing, but Commonwealth assistance would be on average $10.10 a week.

“I want every West Australian, every Australian, to be able to judge the facts for themselves,” she said. “I have wanted in power bills in WA to see an insert that explains to people the impact on electricity pricing, the impact of the 10 per cent rise and also the assistance that’s available from the Federal Government.

“Unfortunately that won’t be happening because Premier Barnett, who has overseen a 57 per cent increase in electricity prices in this State, is hoping to not take responsibility for those increases but try and blame them on the Federal Government.

Confusing, yes?  Considering Ms. Gillard is more on the political left and Mr. Barnett is more on the political right.  So one would assume that Mr. Barnett would love to include the carbon tax as a line item on people’s electric bills.  So why doesn’t he?  And why would Ms. Gillard want to show the people a breakout of a new tax her government is adding to people’s electric bills?  Because there is more to the carbon tax than that the additional tax paid by the consumer.

The new carbon tax also imposes “a levy of Aus$23 (US$23.50) per tonne of carbon emissions on about 350 of the country’s top polluters.”  Apparently the federal government wants these polluters to pay this tax without passing it on to their customers.  Which, of course, they can’t.  As customers ultimately pay all taxes.  So it would appear that Mr. Barnett doesn’t want to include the tiny tax each and every customer is paying on their utility bill for it would mislead the people into thinking that was the full cost of the carbon tax.  Hence the “propaganda” claim.  The carbon tax will increase the cost of making electricity.  For this tax on the polluters is no different than an increase in fuel prices.  A cost born by the utility.  And passed on to the customer.

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