Analysis of Proposition 28 on California June Ballot

This weekend I was voting and decided to do a thorough analysis of proposition 28. You can see the detailed results here:

prop-28 analysis summary


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Justify Rates in California

If you have not done so yet, please visit to get an initiative on a ballot for insurance companies to justify rate increases.

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Why a slider is more important than a drop down

Although this is not related to health, I highly recommend watching a really interesting presentation about improving creative tools by my friend Bret. It’s actually called “Inventing on Principle”

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Simple version of the Medicare Model

Based on the feedback I received about the medicare model, I decided to create a simple paragraph version. This way someone can get to the conclusion fast. If details are of importance, then there is a detailed version that looks more like a spreadsheet.

Check it out: Medicare Model

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You are what you eat

Once in a while I read Zero Hedge. Mostly it’s a financial blog with some crazy opinions. I did come across a post this morning that was related to health which I recommend reading. You Can’t Fool Mother Nature For Long: Profiting from Sickcare It’s probably a little extreme, but the ideas in this post are not new. Simply do a search for “food industry” on Amazon and you will get many books with similar philosophies.

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Interactive Medicare Model – Updated

I updated the model. It’s now web based (IE9, Safari, Chrome, Firefox supported); no need for Excel. Play around with it and let me know what you think. One of the new options includes raising tax revenue from bottom 50%, not just top 1%.

Interactive Medicare Model — allows experimentation with assumptions about Medicare age and inflation, GDP growth, and effective tax rates.

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BA or BS Degree Should Not Be A Requirement for Med School

Doctors have been revered in most countries because they deal with keeping us alive. We often put them on a pedestal because they’ve touched/saved a life of a loved one. I believe that’s great (as doctors have saved my life) but such reverence can also impede progress.

One of the areas that needs the most progress is the medical education. Doctors spend way too much time in school learning things that will not help them in their profession. They also accumulate unnecessary debt and delay having families.

Doctors are technicians, they diagnose a problem and prescribe treatment, much like a car mechanic. The difference is that the human body is more complex and has many more unknowns than a well documented car. Car mechanics don’t go to school for eight to ten years and learn a lot by actually doing work. There are great mechanics and not very good ones. I don’t know if the percentages of good ones are comparable between professions.

I believe that if students could apply to Medical school during sophomore year in college they would already be sufficiently vetted by the institution they are attending (they had to work hard to get in plus they did not fail out in the first year). The first two years should be enough to take all the biology, chemistry, and math classes that a doctor might need. If someone is planning to do medical research, they should stay and finish their BS program and then apply to Med school after four years. Medical schools can deny admission if they don’t feel that someone is qualified. I believer there are plenty of kids that are ready and have all the prerequisites after their sophomore year. Admissions counselor who is unbiased would see it that way too.

To summarize, allowing students to apply and attend Medical school after two yeas of college would:

  • lengthen the time a doctor could practice, thus increasing the supply of doctors
  • reduce the amount of debt doctors take on
  • allow doctors to start families earlier
  • encourage more students to go into medicine by removing the fear factor of too much time commitment and too much debt

Overall, it’s a win win for everybody.

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Apple Juice, Arsenic, and Dr. Oz

I am sure most parents have heard of Dr. Oz’s claims this week that many of the brands of apple juice, tested by a lab that he hired, had elevated levels of arsenic. Doing a quick Google search, I found other reports from a couple of months ago about arsenic in Apple juice such as this one: Food and Water watch I have not verified some of the claims in this particular article (and I should since the organization that published is probably a bit biased), but it seems crazy that we import two thirds of Apple juice from China. If that’s really true, we need to change our food import policies as quickly as we can. It makes no sense to import such a large amount of one food type that can be easily grown here for many reasons.

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Layout Changes for Condition and Treatment Pages

In order to improve navigation experience for users, we added a quick treutatment result average, link to details results, as well as links to other relevant pages.

See the the new layout for yourself.

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Finding Excessive Treatment and Fraud Using Data Analysis

Now that a lot of Medicare information is public, it’s becoming easy to isolate cases of fraud and over treatment. Center for Health Reporting does just that. They found all the cities in California where there has been an excessive amount of certain types of procedures (such as angioplasty which is very expensive).

The following article on SF Gate discusses how Clearlake, California has an abnormal amount of angioplasties and angiographies and tries to find an explanation.

Normally you can explain an increase by the poorer and less healthy population that eats a lot of fried food. However, in this case, I believe it’s much simpler than that. All three cardiovascular disease doctors (that practice in Clearlake) went to the same school of medicine in Seoul. They either were taught wrong or they have been friends for a long time and consprired to get more procedure referral fees to supplement their incomes.

This is a great example of data mining helping bring down healthcare costs.

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