Thursday, August 30, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

One of the tougher decisions I've had in a while, but I'll have to go with a Happy Birthday to Lars Frederiksen, 41.

Have to get straight to the good stuff this morning:

1. Members of Congress who lost renomination attempts over the last few decades, compiled by Greg Giroux.

2. Adam Serwer on the five weirdest items in the GOP platform.

3. Pre-speech, John Sides has five things polling tells us about Paul Ryan.

4. Huh. I had no idea that the current doctor shortage was caused by the Newt Congress (in their deal with Bill Clinton, so that, too) and could be fairly easily solved. Sarah Kliff reports. Kliff says the problem is money; my question is whether the doctors are for it (to relieve the shortage) or against it (because restricting supply of something should make it more expensive).

5. As far as I'm concerned, we still don't know why offensive levels headed upwards in the mid-1990s, spiked, and have fallen back down in the last several years. Jay Joffe thinks it was the balls.


  1. Regarding #4: This is a really complex issue, like everything else I guess, but one which is done a disservice by "simple solutions."

    There may very well be too few residency positions, however the fact remains that many of the primary care residency positions go UNFILLED every year (implying that there is a shortage of people willing to go into these fields). Those that do fill fill with a high percentage of foreign graduates (who are much less competitive candidates).

    Subspecialty residencies are typically more competitive.

    Increasing funding for residency spots will not relieve the shortage unless there is some sort of requirement for people to do primary care. Not going to work. The only way I can see it working is to provide financial incentives. REAL financial incentives, not an extra 5-10 thousand a year in reimbursement. Incentives like lower tuition for primary care docs. The market is not really providing solutions. Hospitals have a hard time recruiting competent physicians to fill their primary care positions. Creating more residency spots without any other incentives (or reduction in specialists) is unlikely to make a difference.

    The likely solution, since that won't happen, will be the continued expansion of ancillary profesionals like nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

    1. The article Kliff cites says that there are more applicants than available slots overall. If primary slots are going unfilled, what are the excess would-be specialists doing? Are they giving up on being doctors after finishing medical school?

  2. Why the ambiguity about LF's birthday?

  3. Can I just second how much I appreciated your Twitter rant? Although, for me, the biggest whopper might have been when Ryan said the stimulus "went to companies like Solyndra", with ordinary people left out. I haven't seen too many people go after that one.

  4. This is anecdotal. But my grandfather played for the Phillies' triple A team back in the 50s (I think) and he always said that they wound the balls tighter in the modern era. That was his theory as to why they hit more home runs.


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