Thursday, August 10, 2017

Healthcare and Libertarian Beliefs

From a release presenting Libertarian Party beliefs, explaining libertarian views on the subject. The application of the philosophy as expressed by the Libertarian Party or others may or may not universally represent what is a libertarian view on the topic for all adherents.

Libertarians believe that healthcare prices would decrease and quality and availability of healthcare would increase if providers were freed from government meddling and control. 

Virtually every person wants access to quality healthcare at an affordable price. Libertarians think the best way to achieve this is by removing government interference and enabling free markets.

-Government inappropriately controls our healthcare in many ways:
-Government and a handful of insurance companies have a virtual monopoly as payers. Because of this, they make most of the decisions about what kinds of healthcare are available.
-Government regulates where, when, and who may open new healthcare facilities.
-Government agencies greatly slow development of and access to new medicines, devices, and technologies that may improve quality of care and reduce cost of care.

Currently, the healthcare industry is virtually monopolized by the government and a handful of insurance companies. They hold the checkbook and wield it for their own benefit.

Each year, the government sets prices that they will pay providers including doctors and hospitals. Each year, these payments increase at less than the cost of inflation, while the cost of providing medical care increases by a far greater amount. This has unpleasant consequences for everyone. Providers are incentivized to do what is quick and cheap, not what is in the best interest of a particular patient. Doctors are forced to reduce the time they spend with patients, and this reduces quality of care. Hospitals are discouraged from upgrading facilities, and this reduces quality of care. Worse yet, insurance companies often set their payments according to the government’s prices. This regular ratcheting down on payments to providers, while actual costs to provide care increases, makes providers less able to provide high quality healthcare.

Government also regulates where medical facilities can be built, who can build them, and when. The process for applying for permission to build facilities is very costly and very slow, thus it favors the biggest corporations and prevents smaller organizations from opening new facilities that could serve patients. This greatly limits patients’ access to medical care and increases costs compared to a system where government permission was not required.

Institutions such as the Food and Drug Administration also limit cost-effective access to quality care. The approval processes for new drugs and technology is lengthy and expensive. Because of this, the process favors the biggest companies with the most lawyers. There are many stories of patients dying while waiting for approval of a new device or medicine. Instead, Libertarians call for free-market testing which will be inherently incentivized to be efficient and fair in their processes. Additionally, Libertarians believe in the “Right to Try”, especially in situations with a terminal diagnosis. The government must not be permitted to deny patients access to new medical advances.

Tort reform would also greatly reduce the cost of health care. The current tort system raises the cost of care by
 encouraging unnecessary testing and procedures which increase the cost of medical care by forcing medical teams to devote significant time and resources to preventing or defending against unwarranted legal actions. When legitimate claims arise, they should be taken seriously and resolved fairly through the courts. However, frivolous and fraudulent claims should not be tolerated, as our current system does. These disparage our healthcare providers and the quality of medical care they can provide and that we can receive. Libertarians oppose fraud in all forms.

In short, Libertarians believe that each person has the right to make their own medical decisions. Libertarians support removing government meddling from healthcare. We think this and tort reform are the best ways to improve quality of healthcare, increase access to healthcare, and decrease prices of healthcare in our country.

How Healthy is Your Antivirus Program, According to the CIA

This curated news item shows how a promising a third party firm can be that offers consumers online support for Norton, McAfee installation and similar antivirus support for consumers using major PC security software. Similar antivirus support companies may exist, but this one covers all aspects of assisting consumers seeking to activate AV programs, install Norton software, download McAfee antivirus apps, renew Norton, or receive other online PC help:

PARIS (AP) — Peppering the 8,000 pages of purported Central Intelligence Agency hacking data released Tuesday by WikiLeaks are reviews of some of the world’s most popular anti-virus products.

The hackers are quoted taking potshots at anti-virus firms, suggesting the American intelligence agencies are keenly aware of flaws in the products meant to be keeping us all safe online.

The data published by WikiLeaks isn’t systematic enough to draw firm conclusions about the reliability of one product or another and the uncertain dating means the CIA’s critiques provide more of a snapshot than an overview.

Still, the posts show America’s top cyberspies aren’t always flattering about commonly used security software.

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COMODO

The CIA appears to give mixed praise to the anti-virus solution by Comodo, the self-described “global leader in cyber security solutions.”

 One post by an apparent CIA hacker published by WikiLeaks said Comodo is “a colossal pain in the posterior. It literally catches everything until you tell it not to.”

Just don’t upgrade to Comodo 6.

That version “doesn’t catch nearly as much stuff,” the hacker appears to say, describing a particularly glaring vulnerability as a “Gaping Hole of DOOM.”

Melih Abdulhayoglu, Comodo’s chief executive, emphasized the first part of the post, saying that being called a pain by the CIA was “a badge of honor we will wear proudly.” In a statement, he said that the vulnerability described by the CIA was obsolete. Comodo 6 was released in 2013; Comodo 10 was released in January.

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KASPERSKY LAB

This is one of the world’s leading providers of security protection. But it may not keep you safe from the CIA.

A flaw in the code “enables us to bypass Kaspersky’s protections,” according to another post .

Founder Eugene Kaspersky dismissed the comment, saying in a Twitter message that the flaw identified in the CIA leak was fixed “years ago.”

A statement from his company said a second flaw apparently identified by the agency was fixed in December 2015.

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AVIRA

A CIA hacker appears to say that this German-engineered anti-virus product is “typically easy to evade.”

The firm said in a statement that it had fixed what it described as “a minor vulnerability” within a few hours of the WikiLeaks release.

It added that it had no evidence that any of its users had been affected by the bug.

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AVG

The CIA apparently had a trick to defeat AVG that was “totally sweet.”

Ondrej Vlcek, the chief technology officer for AVG’s owner, Netherlands-based Avast, said that the CIA appeared to be discussing a “theoretical bypass” of AVG’s scanning engine which would have required additional work to successfully deploy as malicious software.

“We would not consider it critical,” he said of the issue. Speaking via email, he added that it seemed the post was written “some time” ago.

“This is in fact not an issue today given the current operation of the AVG products,” he said.

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F-SECURE

One CIA hacker appeared to be particularly scathing about this Finnish firm’s security software. It’s a “lower tier product that causes us minimal difficulty,” one apparent hacker said .

F-Secure noted that the company was described elsewhere , along with Avira, as an “annoying troublemaker.” It said there was a broader point to be made about the CIA’s apparent decision not to warn anti-virus companies about the flaws in their products.

The agency “considered it more important to keep everybody unsecure ... and maybe use the vulnerability for its own purposes or counter terrorism purposes,” F-Secure’s chief research officer Mikko Hypponen said in a statement.

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BITDEFENDER

The posts aren’t complete enough to say for sure, but Bitdefender, a Romanian anti-virus product, seemed to cause CIA hackers a lot of trouble.

One post appears to suggest that Bitdefender could be defeated by a bit of tinkering.

Or maybe not.

“Alas, we’ve just tried this,” a response to the post said. “Bitdefender is still mad.”

Bitdefender representative Marius Buterchi said the only conclusion to draw was that “we are detecting the CIA tools.”

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This story has been corrected to show that the last name of Bitdefender’s representative is Buterchi.

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Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina contributed to this report

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Online:

WikiLeaks’ release: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/

Do Kids' Cheap Instagram Likes Lead to Mental Health Issues?

Curated item from CNN about the social media advertising trend on possible outcomes involved from using social media, where to get cheap Instagram likes or get to Instagram top posts:

(CNN) — Instagram is the most detrimental social networking app for young people's mental health, followed closely by Snapchat, according to a new report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK.

Their study, #StatusofMind, surveyed almost 1,500 young people aged 14 to 24 on how certain social media platforms impact health and well-being issues such as anxiety, depression, self-identity and body image.

YouTube was found to have the most positive impact, while Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter all demonstrated negative affects overall on young people's mental health.

Instagram -- the image-saturated app with over 700 million users worldwide -- topped the list in terms of negative impact, most notably among young women, stated the report, published Friday.

Instagram draws young women to "compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality," said Matt Keracher, author of the report.
"Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren't good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look 'perfect,' " an anonymous female respondent said in the report.

To tackle the problem, the Royal Society for Public Health has called for social media platforms to take action in order to help combat young users' feelings of inadequacy and anxiety by placing a warning on images that have been digitally manipulated.

"We're not asking these platforms to ban Photoshop or filters but rather to let people know when images have been altered so that users don't take the images on face value as real," Keracher said.

"We really want to equip young people with the tools and the knowledge to be able to navigate social media platforms not only in a positive way but in a way that promotes good mental health," he added. 

The survey concluded that while Instagram negatively affected body image, sleep patterns and added to a sense of "FOMO" -- the fear of missing out -- the image app was also a positive outlet for self-expression and self-identity for many of its young users. 
Professional YouTuber Laci Green, a health vlogger with 1.5 million subscribers, said that education surrounding mental health issues in a digital age is an educational imperative for young people.

"Because platforms like Instagram and Facebook present highly curated versions of the people we know and the world around us. It is easy for our perspective of reality to become distorted," she said. "Socializing from behind a screen can also be uniquely isolating, obscuring mental health challenges even more than usual."

Green added that it is important we lay the groundwork now to minimize potential harm as the first generation of social media users become adults.

More: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/health/instagram-worst-social-network-app-young-people-mental-health/