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Welcome to Our Modern Hospital Where If You Want to Know a Price You Can Go Fuck Yourself

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Welcome to America General Hospital! Seems you have an oozing head injury there. Let’s check your insurance. Okay, quick “heads up” — ha! — that your plan may not cover everything today. What’s that? You want a reasonable price quote, upfront, for our services? Sorry, let me explain a hospital to you: we give you medical care, then we charge whatever the hell we want for it.

If you don’t like that, go fuck yourself and die.

Honestly, there’s no telling what you’ll pay today. Maybe $700. Maybe $70,000. It’s a fun surprise! Maybe you’ll go to the ER for five minutes, get no treatment, then we’ll charge you $5,000 for an ice pack and a bandage. Then your insurance company will be like, “This is nuts. We’re not paying this.” Who knows how hard you’ll get screwed? You will, in three months.

Fun story: This one time we charged two parents $18,000 for some baby formula. LOL! We pull that shit all the time. Don’t like it? Don’t bring a baby, asshole.

Oh, I get it: you’re used to knowing a clear price for products and services. The difference is that medicine is complicated and scary — unlike, say, flying hundreds of people in a steel tube across an ocean, or selling them a six-ounce hand-held computer that plays movies and talks to satellites. Anyway, no need to think this through rationally while you’re vulnerable, right? Your head is really gushing, ma’am.

Sure we could start posting prices and discussing our costs, but then it turns into a public debate about transparency, and people get all huffy and self-righteous about $15 pills of Tylenol, $93 to turn on a single goddamned light, or $5,000 worth of sanitary gloves. We’d rather just mail you a bill later for $97,000, full of obscure medical codes you can’t understand. Oh, you like understanding things? Here, maybe this will help:

Hit your head, and talk to a doctor for one minute? $2,500, you idiot.

Want your pesky appendix out? That’ll probably be $33,611. Or it could be $180,000. Shrug. Don’t know. Don’t care.

Need an hour in the ER? How does $15,000-$50,000, sound? Hint: we don’t give a piss how it sounds you stupid fucking helpless human wallet.

Our medical system strikes you as “insane?” Well, you can’t do much about that now. Except of course to go fuck yourself. Yes, ma’am, as a matter of fact, we do have a special room where you can go fuck yourself. Yes, it does cost money to use the room, and no I cannot tell you how much. Want a hint? It’s between $1 and $35,000 per minute. Will you be reserving the go fuck yourself room?

Oh, you think you think we’re cruel and illogical? Well, no one forced you to come here. It’s your decision, you head-injured meatball. Feel free to go out into the parking lot and just die. I suggest you do that out in section F. Try to lean your corpse against a light pole. Our dead body disposal fee is $3.75 and is not covered by your shitty, confusing, out-of-network medical plan.

So, will you be dying in our parking lot today, you pathetic, impotent, walking insurance code? Okay, great! Your husband will get a bill for that soon, and if he doesn’t like it, he can fuck himself too.

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PhaChayFy
18 hours ago
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Australia
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3 days ago
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5 public comments
sarcozona
2 days ago
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I am never ever going back
BLueSS
3 days ago
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Thankfully, dental procedures are the opposite, in my experience. I usually get provided my out of pocket expenses when I'm being told about the work that should be done.

If only medical could catch up to what's done on the dental side...
ChrisDL
3 days ago
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number one reason i might move away from the US.
New York
freeAgent
3 days ago
My wife is having a procedure done that isn't covered by insurance. She was referred to a place that was going to charge $1,600. She shopped around and found a different place that will do it for $4-500. She had to go back to her referring physician to have a second referral for the procedure sent to the other location. On top of that, my wife and her referring physician are coworkers, so it is not as though her doctor was trying to screw her over. Doctors just aren't aware of the costs for procedures or the differences in cost between facilities. That there can be a 3x cost difference between providers, even in the same region, for the exact same procedure is ridiculous.
ChrisDL
2 days ago
thanks for sharing that. I feel like we all have some version of these stories at this point. a dentist that gives you a bunch of care you don't really need. Or an insurance company rep that says something is covered but then it isn't, and there just doesn't seem to be any real recourse unless you feel like litigating. The other thing that surprised me is that it seems a lot of americans don't realize it doesn't have to be like this, plenty (arguably most?) other countries don't have these issues.
diannemharris
3 days ago
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The only thing that is wrong about this piece is that a lot of the time people don't have a choice and are taken against thier will, unconscious or not, and they still get the bill.
deezil
4 days ago
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Yet again, McSweeney's hits it on the head. (no pun intended)
Louisville, Kentucky
jhamill
4 days ago
That'll be $150 or $15,000. Don't know. Don't care.

Challenge Coins

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Imagine you are a king of old, afraid of being assassinated. Your king’s guard tells you that they’ve got you covered, but too many kings have been killed in your area over the last century for you to feel that safe. How can you learn of your actual vulnerability, and of how to cut it?

Yes, you might make prediction markets on if you will be killed, and make such markets conditional on various policy changes, to find out which policies cut your chance of being killed. But in this post I want to explore a different solution.

I suggest that you auction off challenge coins at some set rate, say one a month. Such coins can be resold privately to others, so that you don’t know who holds them. Each coin gives the holder the right to try a mock assassination. If a coin holder can get within X meters of you, with a clear sight of a vulnerable part of you, then they need only raise their coin into the air and shout “Challenge Coin”, and they will be given N gold coins in exchange for that challenge coin, and then set free. And if they are caught where they should not be then they can pay the challenge coin to instead be released from whatever would be the usual punishment for that intrusion. If others can find the challenge coin, such as on their person, this trade can be required.

Now for a few subtleties. Your usual staff and people you would ordinarily meet are not eligible to redeem challenge coins. Perhaps you’d also want to limit coin redeemers to people who’d be able to kill someone; perhaps if requested they must kill a cute animal with their bare hands. If a successful challenger can explain well enough how they managed to evade your defenses, then they might get 2N gold coins or more. Coin redeemers may be suspected of being tied to a real assassin, and so they must agree to opening themselves to being investigated in extra depth, and if still deemed suspicious enough they might be banned from ever using a challenge coin again. But they still get their gold coins this time. Some who issue challenge coins might try to hide transmitters in them, but holders could just wrap coins in aluminum foil and dip them in plastic to limit odor emissions. I estimate that challenge coins are legal, and not prohibited by asset or gambling regulations.

This same approach could be used by the TSA to show everyone how hard it is to slip unapproved items past TSA security. Just reveal your coin and your unapproved item right after you exit TSA security. You could also use this approach to convince an audience that your accounting books are clean; anyone with a coin can point to any particular item in your books, and demand an independent investigation of that item, paid for at the coin-issuer’s expense. If the item is found to not be as it should, the coin holder gets the announced prize; otherwise they just lose their coin.

In general, issuing challenge coins is a way to show an audience what rate of detection success (or security failure) results from what level of financial incentives. (The audience will need to see data on the rates of coin sales and successful vs. unsuccessful redemptions.) We presume that the larger the payoff to a successful challenge, the higher the fraction of coins that successfully result in a detection (or security failure).

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PhaChayFy
66 days ago
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rosalarian: shiralipkin: thelilithnoir: startrektrashface: schumie: keeveet-talks: obstinatecond...

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rosalarian:

shiralipkin:

thelilithnoir:

startrektrashface:

schumie:

keeveet-talks:

obstinatecondolement:

I wonder when exactly it was that Star Trek stopped being perceived as light, fluffy, not-really-legitimate sci fi that ~housewives~ liked and started being seen as serious nerd business that girls had to keep their gross cooties off. 

Also when did the Beatles start to be remembered as rock legends rather than a silly boy band teenaged girls liked?

When men decided they liked them.

this is seriously exactly how it happened. Women were actually the first rock and roll ‘critics’ because they would write in to women’s papers and magazines to share and discuss what their kids were listening to when men still thought it was trashy teeny bopper music. once it became a lucrative, mainstream genre men shoved women out of the space. Men also tend to be gatekeepers once they move into formerly female spaces - early trek fandom was incredibly open and inclusive; women would set up fan get togethers in their own houses to discuss the show or invite the actors to visit before conventions became a thing, and then were huge in organizing the first conventions - but now the stereotype of a trekkie is a nerdy white dude who scoffs derisively at casual fans and newbies with his encyclopedic and pedantic knowledge of trek

I propose we call this “mentrification”

YES

MENTRIFICATION that’s genius

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PhaChayFy
70 days ago
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sirshannon
74 days ago
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MENTRIFICATION!

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Shock

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Of course, now we can do it wirelessly, from space.


Today's News:
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PhaChayFy
82 days ago
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Amy Hoy's How To Master New Skills

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I'm mostly interested in instrumental rationality, and I think Amy's essays are ridiculously practical and well-written and not-scary and rational in their approach. I'm hoping this is of help to some people here, it reminds me of the instrumental rationality sequences I was referred to the last time I asked for links and pointers.



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PhaChayFy
111 days ago
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Voting Software

16 Comments and 48 Shares
There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
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popular
121 days ago
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PhaChayFy
122 days ago
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14 public comments
siskamartin
104 days ago
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uff
caffeinatedhominid
117 days ago
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Yep.
tante
121 days ago
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xkcd on voting software is spot-on
Oldenburg/Germany
wmorrell
122 days ago
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Hazmat suit, too. Just to be safe.
rjstegbauer
123 days ago
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Amen!! Paper... paper... paper. It's simple. It's trivial to recount. Everyone already knows how to use it. It's cheap. It's verifiable. Just... use... paper.
ianso
123 days ago
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Yes!
Brussels
ChrisDL
123 days ago
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accurate.
New York
reconbot
123 days ago
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Legitimately share this comic with anyone who represents you in government.
New York City
cheerfulscreech
123 days ago
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Truth.
jth
123 days ago
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XKCD Nails Secure Electronic Voting.
Saint Paul, MN, USA
skorgu
123 days ago
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100% accurate.
jsled
123 days ago
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endorsed; co-signed; it. me. &c.

(alt text: «There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.»)
South Burlington, Vermont
alt_text_bot
124 days ago
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There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
alt_text_at_your_service
124 days ago
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There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
srsly
123 days ago
Seconding this policy ^^
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