Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


1) I've long been one of the party poopers at the Massachusetts universal health care celebration -- with apologies to my friends, but I've got to be honest. The reform does nothing to contain costs or move effectively toward a more rational allocation of resources. The result is that we aren't going to be able to afford it. My fellow party poopers Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar explain it all for you here.

2) I read the wrap-up articles on Iraq yesterday from several sources -- AP, WaPo, the NYT, and others. They all say the total of U.S. deaths in Iraq in July was the lowest this year. And they gave the figure as 78. First of all, the military usually delays reports of combat deaths by at least a day or two, so the total for July is now 80. That's still the lowest this year, but that's highly misleading. It was a bad month for the Brits, as it happens, so the total of MNF deaths in July was higher than in January, February, or March. Second, July has always been a slow month for combat deaths in Iraq -- there was a dip in 2006 and 2005 as well. This year was actually the deadliest July for U.S. forces, by a lot. (Might have something to do with the 130 degree afternoons. Killing Americans is just too much work under the circumstances.) Third, it was a particularly deadly month for Iraqis, so the Americans may have been keeping their own asses a little bit safer than they did in June, but they weren't doing shit for the Iraqis, and why are they there again? Reporters are unencumbered by the thought process.

Update: Specifically, according to the official Iraqi government count, which is a gross understatement, the death toll for Iraqi civilians rose in July to 1,653 from 1,227 in June. But hey, we're winning! We're definitely winning!

3) Here in the People's Republic, we've had legislation introduced which has a chance to be a model for the U.S. It would make eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities a goal of state government and back that up concretely, with an office in the secretariat of Health and Human Services that will evaluate all state policies with respect to their impact on disparities -- and that means environmental policy, housing, transportation, education, labor, economic development, you name it -- not just health care and public health. It would also put up some money for meaningful programs and policy evaluation. Eliminating social disparities in health saves the state money, gang, by reducing future health care costs and disability, and improving the productivity of the population. That's what liberalism is all about -- being all that we can be. Here's info about Massachusetts House Bill 2234. You'll be hearing more about this.

No comments: