Category Archives: Healthcare

A Couple Things About Ebola (Update)

ebolaTo begin, let me say that I’m not a virologist and I’m not an infectious disease physician. I think, though, that there are a few things that need to be said about Ebola. First, it seems like the mainstream media would like nothing better than for us to be frightened. I guess if your fear index goes up they sell more papers and get more hits online.

According to the CDC, there have been 887 deaths secondary to Ebola. All the deaths have been confined to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

Unlike HIV in the late ’70s and early ’80s, we already have a large amount of knowledge regarding the Ebola virus. Fruit bats are the natural host of the Ebola virus. Most infections have come from handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. Ebola spreads through direct transmission. It is not an airborne virus. In order to catch Ebola it must be absorbed through the mucous membranes or through a break in the skin. You must come in contact with direct secretions/fluids from an infected individual or animal in order for you to come down with Ebola.

As far as I know, people like Donald Trump are not experts in virology. Mr. Trump, however, thought it was extremely important for him to weigh in on whether or not infected Americans should have been flown to Emory University for appropriate care. I’m sorry, but I don’t ever want to be in a position where I would need to ask Donald Trump about how to take care of complex medical problems. On the other hand, if I need to build a skyscraper or a casino, he will be at the top of my list. If the folks at Emory and the CDC can’t take of Ebola patients then nobody can. They are the experts in infectious diseases.


News Roundup – Jobs, Eric Cantor, Ebola (Update)

jobs 2

The economy added 209,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained 6.2%. The economy continues to grow at a slow but steady space.

Rep. Eric Cantor, who lost his reelection bid, is going to resign from the House on August 18, 2014. Curious?

Ebola and West Africa are a bad combination. Sierra Leone declares a state of emergency (two Americans with Ebola are being flown to the US for treatment).

A recent survey of economists showed almost complete universal agreement that the stimulus reduced unemployment. Yet, when you talk to politicians you get a variety of answers which are all over the map. This begs the question of whether, in the face of overwhelming evidence and/or overwhelming opinion of experts, politicians make the right decisions.

Huge crater in Siberia is probably secondary to global warming.

Huge flash flood here in West Virginia a couple days ago. My backyard was out of control.

Update: Oh damn, I almost forgot… About five or six months ago Diane Feinstein took to the Senate floor to accuse the CIA of hacking/spying on Senate computers. It was really a pretty amazing speech. The mainstream media sort of, kind of covered it. For the most part, it was blown off. John Brennan, CIA director, came out and gave the most wishy-washy of rebuttals, “We just don’t do that.” Yesterday, to nobody’s surprise, it turns out the CIA actually did access Senate Intelligence Committee computers. Unfortunately, I really don’t see any good solutions. Firing John Brennan will not have the desired effect of changing behavior at the CIA. In my opinion, the CIA has been completely infected by a Dick Cheney personality. For years, the CIA was allowed to do almost anything. Now, we want guidelines. Now we want oversight. I’m not sure the CIA is up to that.

ObamaCare – Yes and No

Health care reform

It is kind of crazy that two separate courts made two opposite rulings on ObamaCare. Both courts were looking at the same thing – are subsidies for ObamaCare legal?

From Abbe Gluck

As Marty notes, the opinion is out. Initial quick reaction, more to come:  The opinion is terribly disappointing from a statutory interpretation perspective. It relies in part on irrelevant legislative history (from the HELP committee, whose bill wasn’t even the basis for these provisions–the Finance committee’s was) and gets it wrong anyway (as I argued here);  it bends over backwards to come up with reasons why Congress might have intended this result (which we all know it certainly did not); and it attaches far too much significance to a line in the statute that expressly deems exchanges in the territories to be state exchanges and does not replicate the special deeming language for the federal exchanges.  The territories language is boilerplate language used by Congress when talking about territories in statutes even beyond the ACA, and should have been attached no significance here. What’s more, applying the exclusio unius presumption  (that when Congress specifies X we can assume that it meant not to specify X elsewhere) to a statute as long and complicated as the ACA — and one that did not go through the usual linguistic “clean up” process in Conference (as I wrote here) does a disservice to textualism and all those who have defended it over the years–turning it into a wooden unreasonable formalism  rather than the sophisticated statutory analysis that textualists have been claiming they are all about.

Who is Abbe Gluck? Continue reading