Month: September 2012

What is a disability?

 Swimming has 10 classifications for athletes with different physical impairments, plus three more for visual impairments and one for athletes with intellectual deficits. For that reason it is particularly prone to challenges, and swimmers say they sometimes suspect that athletes have not been classified correctly.

Three weeks before she was set to compete in the London Paralympics, Mallory Weggemann, an American swimmer who is paralyzed from the waist down, learned that officials from the International Paralympic Committee had questions about her level of ability and were requiring her to submit to reclassification in London.

And this:

The most notorious example of Paralympic classification manipulation took place at the 2000 Games in Sydney. The Spanish men’s intellectual disability basketball team was stripped of its gold medal after it emerged that many of its members were not intellectually disabled at all.

After that, mentally disabled athletes were barred from the Paralympics while officials revised the classification process; they are back again this year.

The athletes say they sympathize with the difficulties faced by the classifiers, who are forced to determine how to sort people who have several hundred different types and degrees of disability.

There is more here, interesting throughout and yet also more interesting than the article itself as well.

Welsh markets in everything

There was a time when the best you could hope for from prison food might be cold porridge.

But all that is set to change when a bizarre new restaurant opens next month – inside a Welsh prison.

The Clink Cymru, at Cardiff Prison, is the brainchild of award-winning chef Alberto Crisci, who has worked at Marco Pierre White’s Mirabelle Restaurant in Mayfair, London.

All the dishes will be cooked and served by criminals but Crisci insists it is “no gimmick”.

The story is here, hat tip goes to Yana.

How high are Medicare overhead costs?

Yuval Levin makes a few points of relevance:

…many of Medicare’s most significant administrative costs are just covered by other federal agencies, and so don’t appear on Medicare’s particular budget, but are still huge costs of the program. The IRS collects the taxes that fund the program; Social Security collects many of the premiums paid by beneficiaries; HHS pays for a great deal of what you would think of as basic overhead, but doesn’t put it on the Medicare program’s budget. Obviously private insurers have to pay for such things themselves. Medicare’s administration is also exempt from taxes, while insurers pay an excise tax on premiums (which is counted as overhead). And private insurers also spend a great deal of money fighting fraud, while Medicare doesn’t. That might reduce the program’s administrative costs, but it greatly increases its overall costs. Some administrative costs save money, after all: The GAO has estimated that a $1 investment in pre-payment review of claims, for instance, would save $21 in improper Medicare payments.

My original source is this Reihan Salam post.  I also would add the deadweight cost of taxation.  Arguably that does not count as a cost of “overhead,” but very often it runs 20% or more and still it is a cost.