Good Reads: From domestic violence, to lion survival, to the cost of Medicare
In this week's round-up of Good Reads includes fighting domestic violence, a look at how lions survive, why apps can't end poverty, Greek youth unemployment, and the Medicare panel that decides your health-care costs.
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“None of this is for a lack of science; often it isn’t even for lack of money. It is because parents don’t follow simple health practices like washing their hands, government bureaucrats can’t or won’t provide basic water and sanitation programs, and arbitrary immigration restrictions prevent the poor from moving...,” the authors write. “Sorry, but no iPhone, even one loaded with the coolest apps, is going to change all that.”Skip to next paragraph
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Youth unemployment in Greece
“Absent a rapid and dramatic economic turnaround, an entire generation in Southern Europe faces years, possibly decades, of dependency and disillusionment – with consequences that can’t be measured in economic terms alone,” writes Stephan Faris in Bloomberg Businessweek.
For many young Greeks, this means living with their parents and waiting to start families. Although the economy is showing signs of mending, there still aren’t enough jobs to be found. About 160 young Greeks apply for one job opening, although that number is down from 330 in January 2012, according to a jobs website.
Secret committee sets Medicare prices
In Washington Monthly, Haley Sweetland Edwards takes an in-depth look at the hidden process behind determining how doctors bill Medicare for specialized procedures and general care. Based more on politics than science, prices are set by the Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (or RUC), convened three times a year by the American Medical Association.
The RUC sends its recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which doesn’t have the resources to investigate the prices independently.
“Because of the way the system is set up, the values the RUC comes up with wind up shaping the very structure of the U.S. health care sector, creating the perverse financial incentives that dictate how our doctors behave, and affecting the annual expenditure of nearly one-fifth of our GDP,” Ms. Edwards writes.
The small group of doctors, driving up fees for their services, drive up the entire cost of health care in the country. The author argues that the process requires major reform before Americans will receive the best care at the lowest cost.
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