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daily 08/30/2013

    • Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1.

       

    • At every step from manufacturer to patient, there are confidential deals among the major players, including drug companies, purchasing organizations and distributors, and insurers. These deals so obscure prices and profits that even participants cannot say what the simplest component of care actually costs, let alone what it should cost.

       

    • In fact, manufacturers are required to report such prices annually to the federal government, which bases Medicare payments on the average national price plus 6 percent. The limit for one liter of normal saline (a little more than a quart) went to $1.07 this year from 46 cents in 2010, an increase manufacturers linked to the cost of raw materials, fuel and transportation. That would seem to make it the rare medical item that is cheaper in the United States than in France, where the price at a typical hospital in Paris last year was 3.62 euros, or $4.73.

       

    • Few hospitals negotiate these deals themselves. Instead, they rely on two formidable sets of middlemen: a few giant group-purchasing organizations that negotiate high-volume contracts, and a few giant distributors that buy and store medical supplies and deliver them to hospitals.

         

       

    • These contracts proved to be another black box. Debbie Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Cardinal Health, one of the three largest distributors, said she could not discuss costs or prices under “disclosure rules relative to our investor relations.”

       

    • The charges included “IV therapy,” billed at $787 for the adult and $393 for the child, which suggests that the difference in the amount of saline infused, typically less than a liter, could alone account for several hundred dollars.

       

    • At White Plains Hospital, a patient with private insurance from Aetna was charged $91 for one unit of Hospira IV that cost the hospital 86 cents, according to a hospital spokeswoman, Eliza O’Neill.

       

    • Dr. Frost, the anesthesiologist, spent three days in the same hospital and owed only $8, thanks to insurance coverage by United HealthCare. Still, she was baffled by the charges: $6,844, including $546 for six liters of saline that cost the hospital $5.16.

       

    • The main rationale for a US strike against Syria is that, by using chemical weapons against Syrians living in an opposition-controlled village, President Bashar al-Assad has violated an international norm and must be punished. In theory, a strike would not only prevent Assad from using these weapons again but also deter embattled governments elsewhere from deploying them. As of this writing, President Obama said he still hasn’t made up his mind about going forward with the attack, but no one will be surprised if he gives the order.
    •  Yet throughout the more than two-year-old crisis, China has consistently used its veto power to squelch punishment on Damascus, and has continued to offer financial support to the Assad regime. And should Obama go ahead and seek UN authorization for military action against Assad, China has hinted that it will veto that, too.
    • Instead, these are the actual reasons for China’s opposition to an invasion of Syria:
    • China and Russia feel burned by what happened in Libya
    • “The Chinese felt that the UN Resolution was essentially used to overthrow Gaddafi, and that it was far more expansive than what they envisioned,” said Bonnie Glaser, an East Asia Senior Advisor at Center for Strategic and International Studies
    • Although China’s diplomatic profile in the Middle East has grown over the years—the country has a dedicated Middle East envoy and has even floated its own four-point proposal for Israel/Palestine peace—its reach in the region remains limited. However, China has consistently objected to American interventionism overseas.
    • China is obsessed with stability—and fears a post-Assad future
    • Syria lacks a unified opposition, a shadow government, or any other institution that could step in should Assad’s regime collapse, so a military endeavor that decapitates the government might just make everything a whole lot worse.
    • It is is barely 400 km from top to bottom, its terrain is almost entirely flat and it represents the highest sales of Tesla’s Model S outside the United States. It also the location of Tesla’s European headquarters. But Norway has the highest per-capita sales of Tesla, and indeed electric cars, anywhere in the world.
    • Tesla’s focus on Norway comes from the same root as Norway’s fascination with electric vehicles: an incentive system so generous that it seems almost financially unsound to not buy one.
    • As a result, a Tesla Model S that is priced at $62,500 in the United States, costs only a little more—roughly $73,000—in Norway. Without the exemptions, it would cost more than $100,000.
    • Bjart Holtsmark of Statistics Norway estimates in a paper under review by Environmental Science and Policy that an electric car-owner living in a suburb of Oslo would save over $8,100 a year as compared to her petrol-head counterparts. No estimate exists for how much this costs Norway as a whole.
    • But perhaps the biggest criticism of Norway’s incentive policy is that it has encouraged rich suburban dwellers to buy second and third cars and to give up public transport in order to commute to work.
    • Residents of big Norwegian cities are beginning to notice that their bus lanes are often full of cars. Though all sides of the political spectrum have agreed to keep Norway’s incentives in place until the end of 2017, the privilege to drive in bus lanes may be one early casualty.
    • Tesla’s $73,000-price tag makes it far more expensive than other electric cars. Yet its size, speed, style and features put it in the same league as luxury BMWs and Audis—but at less than half the price. It is no surprise Norwegians are enthusiastic.

    • Clowney did not have a sack and finished with three first-half tackles. The Tar Heels’ fast-paced offense wore him down and forced him to the sideline for several pit stops, yet he and the defense mostly hemmed in North Carolina. Shaw and Thompson put South Carolina up 17-0 in the opening quarter. Shaw found Shaq Roland for a 65-yard touchdown on the game’s third play. Thompson threw a 29-yard TD to Kane Whitehurst later in the quarter.

       

    • In his first game as the head coach at Texas Tech, Kingsbury will be starting a true freshman walk-on.
    • Mayfield will face off against SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who starred at the same high school in Austin, Texas, as Mayfield. Out of Lake Travis High, Gilbert originally signed with Texas and won the starting job, before losing it and transferring to SMU.
  • Joe Tessitore, the Pontiac Gamechanging Performer of a nation’s heart.

  • Partido, blusas.

  • That awkward moment when you realize there were Daleks on the Looney Tunes movie all this time and you JUST noticed it!

  • We’re pleased to be one of @MyABJ ‘s Fast 50 Companies! http://t.co/RpLDldX1IJ

  • Are you ready for some football? ProctorU is proud of its partnerships with 12 of the Top 25 in preseason polls! http://t.co/D4BDLawkLT

  • tags: Christ

    All these toys were never intended to possess my heart… my true good is in another world, and my only real treasure is #Christ. CSLewis

    • For example, when it was disclosed that the judge selected to try the case, Theodore J. Markow, had a brother who was a plant manager for Philip Morris, ABC’s legal team declined to request another judge.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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