Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money

❝ Lingering uncertainty about the fate of the Affordable Care Act has spurred the California legislature to consider adoption of a statewide single-payer health care system.

Sometimes described as Medicare for all, single-payer is a system in which a public agency handles health care financing while the delivery of care remains largely in private hands.

Discussions of the California measure have stalled, however, in the wake of preliminary estimates pegging the cost of the program as greater than the entire state government budget. Similar cost concerns derailed single-payer proposals in Colorado and Vermont.

❝ Voters need to understand that this cost objection is specious. That’s because, as experience in many countries has demonstrated, the total cost of providing health coverage under the single-payer approach is actually substantially lower than under the current system in the United States. It is a bedrock economic principle that if we can find a way to do something more efficiently, it’s possible for everyone to come out ahead.

❝ By analogy, suppose that your state’s government took over road maintenance from the county governments within it, in the process reducing total maintenance costs by 30 percent. Your state taxes would obviously have to go up under this arrangement.

But if roads would be as well maintained as before, would that be a reason to oppose the move? Clearly not, since the resulting cost savings would reduce your county taxes by more than your state taxes went up. Likewise, it makes no sense to oppose single-payer on the grounds that it would require additional tax revenue. In each case, the resulting gains in efficiency would leave you with greater effective purchasing power than before.

❝ Total costs are lower under single-payer systems for several reasons. One is that administrative costs average only about 2 percent of total expenses under a single-payer program like Medicare, less than one-sixth the corresponding percentage for many private insurers. Single-payer systems also spend virtually nothing on competitive advertising, which can account for more than 15 percent of total expenses for private insurers.

The most important source of cost savings under single-payer is that large government entities are able to negotiate much more favorable terms with service providers. In 2012, for example, the average cost of coronary bypass surgery was more than $73,000 in the United States but less than $23,000 in France.

Although Republicans and Conservative Democrats have blocked civilians from the opportunity – so far – the essential benefit that produces lower cost insurance for our military and military veterans is just such negotiations.

Liars lie. That’s what they are paid to do. From Congressional politicians down to their state-level peers, media hacks, foundations chartered by conservative dollar$ – earn a significant chunk of their payola providing lies about the cost of universals insurance, class-conscious education, policing responsive to the needs of citizens instead of gun lobbies. No doubt, anyone thoughtful enough to look at lobbying practices in the United States can add to the list.

Tesla is building the world’s biggest battery

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❝ By the end of the year, the state of South Australia will be home to the world’s biggest battery, if Elon Musk and Tesla make good on an ambitious commitment. The battery installation will be hooked up to a 99-turbine wind farm (which is still being built) and serve as an energy reservoir to ensure that the region has enough power, even during times when power demand peaks.

❝ It’s fun to imagine an enormous Duracell battery sticking out of the ground, but in reality, the massive installation will be a network of batteries housed in Tesla-made units called Powerpacks. Together, they will make up what the company calls the “largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world.” Tesla isn’t saying how many Powerpacks will be required for the project, but it will pack 100 megawatts of power capable of energizing over 30,000 homes…

❝ The South Australia battery is scheduled to be completed by December of this year, and in true Elon Musk fashion, he’s pledged that it will be free if they don’t install it within 100 days—a countdown that starts ticking as soon as a “grid interconnection agreement has been signed,”…

Mark Tholke, the chief development officer of Advanced Microgrid Solutions, says that giant batteries like this can play an important role in mitigating the fact that with renewable power generation, the wind doesn’t alway blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.

Musk’s legendary brashness ain’t scary. He’s already built a smaller version of this concept – on time, on budget.

Waymark: First Object Teleported from Earth to Orbit

❝ Last year, a Long March 2D rocket took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert carrying a satellite called Micius, named after an ancient Chinese philosopher who died in 391 B.C. The rocket placed Micius in a Sun-synchronous orbit so that it passes over the same point on Earth at the same time each day.

Micius is a highly sensitive photon receiver that can detect the quantum states of single photons fired from the ground. That’s important because it should allow scientists to test the technological building blocks for various quantum feats such as entanglement, cryptography, and teleportation.

❝ 10th July, the Micius team announced the results of its first experiments. The team created the first satellite-to-ground quantum network, in the process smashing the record for the longest distance over which entanglement has been measured. And they’ve used this quantum network to teleport the first object from the ground to orbit.

❝ Teleportation has become a standard operation in quantum optics labs around the world. The technique relies on the strange phenomenon of entanglement. This occurs when two quantum objects, such as photons, form at the same instant and point in space and so share the same existence. In technical terms, they are described by the same wave function.

The curious thing about entanglement is that this shared existence continues even when the photons are separated by vast distances. So a measurement on one immediately influences the state of the other, regardless of the distance between them.

This is the first time that any object has been teleported from Earth to orbit, and it smashes the record for the longest distance for entanglement.

Emphasis added. RTFA.