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THE OTHER HEALTH CARE SCANDAL

Published May 31, 2014|Updated Jun. 2, 2014

At Vox.com, Ezra Klein points out similarities in the VA scandal and states' failure to expand Medicaid, including Florida. Read "There's Another Scandal in American Health Care" in full at tbtim.es/2scandals. Here's an excerpt.

It's a relief to see so much outrage over poor access to government-provided health care benefits. But it would be nice to see bipartisan outrage extend to another unfolding health care scandal in this country: the 4.8 million people living under the poverty line who are eligible for Medicaid but won't get it because their state has refused Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. As appalling as the wait times are for VA care, the people living in states that refused the Medicaid expansion aren't just waiting too long for care. They're not getting it at all. They're going completely uninsured when federal law grants them comprehensive coverage. Many of these people will get sick and find they can't afford treatment and some of them will die. Many of the victims here, by the way, are also veterans.

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Ticketing driverless cars

Driverless cars are coming, and they will get in accidents and get tickets. But to whom should tickets be issued? In the Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal ponders the question. Read "Google's Self-Driving Cars Have Never Gotten a Ticket" in full at tbtim.es/ticketless. Here's an excerpt.

This brings up an interesting question. To whom should the ticket be given? When the car is in operation, there is someone sitting in the driver's seat, but that person isn't actually doing anything. Perhaps the ticket should go to the programmer who wrote the algorithm that made the mistake? "Right now the California Vehicle Code reads that the person seated in the driver's seat is responsible for the movement of the vehicle," (a police official) told me in an email. "Exceptions being someone grabbing the steering wheel and forcing the car off the roadway, etc." Perhaps the way the driverless car takes control of the vehicle is analogous to someone grabbing the wheel? Google itself argues that the ticket should go to ... well, Google itself.

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Disabled and striving

At Al Jazeera America, Michael Berube reflects on his son's search for employment. As a 13-year-old, he had wanted to be a marine biologist. But reality set in and he lowered his sights to "marine biologist helper." That was still too ambitious. Read "For Hire: Dedicated Young Man with Down Syndrome" in full at tbtim.es/sonjob. Here's an excerpt.

This winter, I had occasion to take Jamie to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and could not help noticing that they were looking for volunteers. For Jamie, that would amount to a dream job, pay or no pay. Perhaps the sheltered-workshop aspect of his life is partly my fault, for not arranging our family in such a way that we could live in a city that has an aquarium. I knew Jamie would not grow up to be a marine biologist. And I know that there are millions of nondisabled Americans out of work or underemployed, whose lives are less happy than Jamie's. I don't imagine that he has a "right" to a job that supersedes their needs. But I look sometimes at the things he writes in his ubiquitous legal pads when he is bored or trying to amuse himself - like the page festooned with the names of all 67 Pennsylvania counties, written in alphabetical order - and I think, isn't there any place in the economy for a bright, gregarious, effervescent, diligent, conscientious and punctual young man with intellectual disabilities, a love of animals and an amazing cataloguing memory and insatiable intellectual curiosity about the world?

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Hygiene experiment

In the New York Times Magazine, Julia Scott tries a "No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment" for a month on herself. Read the essay in full at tbtim.es/bioskin. Here's an excerpt.

When I visited the gym, I followed AOBiome's instructions, misting myself before leaving the house and again when I came home. The results: After letting the spray dry on my skin, I smelled better. Not odorless, but not as bad as I would have ordinarily. And, oddly, my feet didn't smell at all. My skin began to change for the better. It actually became softer and smoother, rather than dry and flaky, as though a sauna's worth of humidity had penetrated my winter-hardened shell. And my complexion, prone to hormone-related breakouts, was clear. For the first time ever, my pores seemed to shrink. As I took my morning "shower" - a three-minute rinse in a bathroom devoid of hygiene products - I remembered all the antibiotics I took as a teenager to quell my acne. How funny it would be if adding bacteria were the answer all along.

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