Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Saner Arizona

Arizona shows up today on as barely Republican.  Romney leads Obama 48-45, his down 8 points since August.  Arizona not going for Romney would be an upset but I can at least imagine that possibility.  After all, the last incumbent Democratic president seeking re-election actually carried Arizona.  Despite Arizona's wingnut and racist reputation, many Arizonans do not accept those attitudes and beliefs as legitimate.  I know too many of them to ever accept the caricature of Arizona so easily created by the racists and assholes.

One of those fine people--Kyrsten Sinema--is running for Congress as a Democrat in Arizona District 9.  She was first elected to the Arizona Legislature not long before I left Arizona.  She served in both House and Senate, earning a reputation as a strong advocate for social and economic justice.  CD 9 is a swing district; Sinema is currently about 5 points ahead of a Republican opponent.

Further evidence of intelligent life in Arizona is Sinema's endorsement by Barry Goldwater's grandchildren. Compared to today's Arizona Republicans, Barry is a Bolshevik.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Those Electronic Medical Records

...that will reduce health care costs?  Maybe not so much.
Many doctors and hospitals say that computerized medical records encourage the move to higher codes because the software makes it easier for providers to quickly create documentation for charges. One electronic medical records company predicts on its Web site that its product will result in an increase of one coding level for each patient visit, potentially adding $225,000 in new revenue in a year.
Which goes to show that entrepreneurs will always work the angles.  Still, much can be done.  Inefficiencies in the US healthcare system waste about $750 billion per year.  That's right--$750 BILLION.  The Institute of Medicine estimated losses due to unnecessary services ($210 billion annually); inefficient delivery of care ($130 billion); excess administrative costs ($190 billion); inflated prices ($105 billion); prevention failures ($55 billion), and fraud ($75 billion).  These are estimates but even allowing a margin of error they are large numbers.  Targets of opportunity for reform and effective management.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Arizona History Lesson

Anyone wondering why Arizona is ground zero for wingnuttery in the United States would do well to read Arizona's Secret History by Daniel J. Herman at Common-Place.  The article provides a good back drop on Arizona's range wars and Mormon settlement in the late 19th century.  Much of that history--the Pleasant Valley War and Commodore Perry Owens--I recall reading about during my years in Arizona.  I spent time in Saint Johns and heard the story of Mexican-Americans driven from their land by Mormon setters so it's all still pretty real to me. 

The article is also a reminder of Arizona's progressive history, something that seems laughable now but was still evident when I moved there in 1982.  Morris Udall, descendent of a Mormon pioneer just like Mitt Romney, was a strong progressive voice as my congressman most of the years I lived there.  And I know that not all Arizonans are racist wingnuts.  

It leaves me sad that a state where I know many thoughtful, compassionate  people is has become such a cesspool of fear and loathing.