Saturday, October 31, 2009

Health & Care

I had a series of shabbes conversations on health care today. What astounds me is the often callus regard physicians have for their patients sentiments. They agree that the highest level of care should be provided to every patient, but that excessive wait times (5 hours in the emergency room) and curt explanations are just a fact of life. Deal with it. Often, doctors claim to be exceedingly busy and unable to spend the necessary time to explain their diagnosis to patients and do general hand holding. My instrumental counterclaim is that more time hand holding will yield fewer malpractice suits. My friend's response was, don't sue so much and your health care premiums won't go up so fast. This is obviously silly, as the the cost of malpractice suits is 1) negligible to the entire cost of health care in America and 2) shouldered far more by doctors than patients. The reply strikes me as exceedingly arrogant, however, and reveals a certain bravado amongst physicians.

What really bothered me, however, was my inability to give a non-instrumental argument as to why health CARE is important. Why am I owed an explanation? I come in which a life threatening illness that almost kills me. Doctor enters, grunts, writes a prescription, and leaves. Five days later I am totally healthy but without a whit of understanding as to why. Has the doctor shirked her responsibility? Is she blameworthy? I feel like I could offer some souped-up Kantian 'respect' argument, but somehow that feels forced. Are we entitled to care, above and beyond health?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

11221, you are so predictable like that

Netflix has this cool feature that lets you see the top 100 movie rentals across the country. Of course shlock like "The Pursuit of Happiness" and "The Bucket List" are on it. But then you can get a list of the top 25 rentals in your area. Ann Arbor is a bit more posh than the rest of the country so we get Season 5 of "The Office" and "Annie Hall." I know those titles, though. Where are they uber-hip, where do all the cool kids hang out? So I googled "Williamsburg, NY zip code" pulled 11221 and punched up the list. What do I get? A documentary of Hasidic Jews, a 1983 PBS documentary on Style, "Masculine/Feminine" and nine foreign titles (two of which are Ingmar Bergman).

Oh 11221, it's good to know that you so are predictably trendy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I want to see any movie

which, according to the NYT, is rated R for, "drug use, swearing and the repeated violation of Commandments 3, 5 and 7 to 10."

It would be funny if the MPAA characterized moral breaches in movies according to the Rambam's minyan hamitzvot. That would be a very Coen brothers thing to do.