Premium: $30,803

Drew Altman of KFF:

On the other hand, if we assume increases revert to the average of the last ten years—an average annual increase of about 8.7% and a very plausible scenario—premiums in 2019 will average a whopping $30,803, a very scary number.

Here’s a less-than-bold prognostication: it can’t get that high, just can’t.  The cost of health care is not well known to individuals because of our payment system, but $30,803 is a lot of health care.  We’ll have far surpassed some sort of Laffer Curve optimum of individuals’ willingness to actually be insured.

It’s fun (not really, but it is optimism) to think of drop-dead points in the future where things just can’t go on any longer than they have.  An average premium of $30,803 in 2019 is one of them.  Hopefully we hit a wall much sooner…or do something proactive.

The Modern Day Hawthorne Effect

Matt Mosley at ESPN:

For now, Jones truly believes the opening of Cowboys Stadium will serve as a motivating force for his team in ‘09. He’s done everything except name the stadium a team captain, but I think that’s probably coming Sunday night.

“I think our team will play to the level of the new stadium,” Jones said at the beginning of training camp. “We’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking about playing for the Cowboys, what it means, the visibility of the team, the interest in the team. We’re the most-watched team there is in the NFL; we’re the most-watched programming in all of television … the Dallas Cowboys. That’s fact.”

I’ve never heard of a new building leading a franchise to a Super Bowl, but Jones is convinced something like that can happen.

Silly, right?  But then this from the Columbus Dispatch about a new hospital:

“It has to be uplifting and convey hope for the people coming here for treatment and for our staff.”

It’s believable.  But the crux of the Hawthorne Effect is that it results in short-term productivity improvement and recent research questions the totality of its impact.


In a few days this website will look differently.  You’ll have to update your RSS feed if that’s how you roll.  Nothing drastic, just a new look with a new blogging platform.  Bad news is that Tumblr doesn’t yet allow for the easy importation of old posts…so until that function is made easier the blog archives will appear here.  The new website will be here.


The world’s most powerful MRI machine used on humans packs a 45-ton magnet that generates a 9.4-Tesla magnetic field.

If you’re counting Teslas at home — which are a standard measure of magnetic force — that’s stronger than the magnets in the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. (Of course, there are thousands of LHC magnets.)

Instead of using that power to accelerate particles, the MRI machine, located at the University of Illinois, Chicago, is used to peer into the human brain. And it’s already yielding new insights.


In: Mandatory Choice

This has always been baffling:

Even more surprising, nearly 50 percent of the nation’s health-care workers also ignore the reminder [to get a flu shot]. (Chicago Tribune)

As providers weigh the risks of impending H1N1 doom this flu season there are plenty of strategies in place to improve that number…including the dreaded M word: mandatory.  Or, reframed as choice: take the shot(s) or wear a mask.

Continue to wash your hands

Some good news re: H1N1 lately:

U.S., Australian Researchers Say Single H1N1 Vaccine Dose Protects Adults Against Virus

Earlier Release Date Planned for H1N1 Vaccine

The below are intended to provide some Monday morning enjoyment.

Fast Company:


New York Times via MSNBC:

greeting risk

Remember: the most effective way to stop the spread of flu until a vaccine is ready is to wash your hands…often.