Archive for category Health
By Michael Collins
(Washington, DC 11/18) Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. had some tough words for the oil giants at the organization’s events in the nation’s capital. He announced to a packed house at the Warner Theater, “We’re going after the fossil fuel industry” for trying to wreck the future. It’s that simple. He argued that we have a choice. Either we take on the oil giants and end their rapacious behavior or we find a way to change the laws of physics to accommodate the insanity of ongoing pollution in the face of calamitous outcomes.
Shell, Exxon, BP, and the others in the fossil fuel industry were portrayed as world killers, rogue corporations whose relentless pursuit of profits threatens the lives and culture of every human being on earth.
The 350.org Do the Math Tour started in Seattle on November 7. The nationwide tour visits 21 cities across the country and culminates in Salt Lake City on December 3. Yesterday’s presentation at the Warner Theater was followed by demonstration during which participants encircled the White House to remind President Barack Obama to hold fast on suspending work on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The math is simple and painful in its implications: Read the rest of this entry »
McClatchy Newspapers reports that two giant health insurance companies are outsourcing clinical services to India and the Philippines.
WASHINGTON – July 29 – After years of shipping data-processing, accounting and other back-office work abroad, some health care companies are starting to shift clinical services and decision-making on medical care overseas, primarily to India and the Philippines.Some of the jobs being sent abroad include so-called pre-service nursing, where nurses at insurance companies, for example, help assess patient needs and determine treatment methods.
Why outsource jobs when there professionals in this country who can perform the services? Why send this function to another country?
A claimed 30% cost savings is why and the companies are unapologetic. They owe it to the shareholders.
But what about he market for health insurance? Sending good paying jobs overseas reduces buying power here. It leads to unemployment that impacts the ability to get and pay for insurance, not to mention the impact on the rest of the economy.
Senior executives and major shareholders of Anthem and AETNA don’t care. They don’t have to. It’s all about the quarterly bonus. Who cares about the quality of care and the American worker.
McClatchy reports that this is a first. Previously, when clinical services were sent out of the country, it was due to some shortage here The jobs were repatriated.
Who do we hold responsible for this?
The management, board, and institutional shareholders for both firms are first in line. But a special award goes to the regulators across the country that allowed the nonprofit Bluecross/Blueshield firms to become for-profit. That added up to 30% to their costs for the profit needed, just the amount they now propose to save by this lousy action.
Thanks to LaurenH for her heads up on this.
By Michael Collins
Here is perfect example of crony capitalism. Greek leaders do a very bad deal in secret with the help of the geniuses on Wall Street. It turns out badly for he Greek people by creating an economic crisis. As he crisis worsens, predicted shortages of medicine and exponential price increases emerge. Patients with multiple sclerosis, cancer,diabetes and other critical diseases face drug shortages and out of control price increases.
“On Thursday, the [Greek] multiple sclerosis patients’ association warned that if the problems persisted, sufferers could be ‘led to their deaths’. Associations representing cancer, diabetes and kidney disease patients have also spoken of the gravity of the situation. ‘Finding medicines,’ said the MS association, ‘has become a marathon for people with chronic illnesses.’” The Independent, June 9
What happens if multiple sclerosis is untreated?
“Conclusions: This first large study in untreated patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) with different disease subtypes shows that brain atrophy proceeds relentlessly throughout the course of MS, with a rate that seems largely independent of the MS subtype, when adjusting for baseline brain volume.” Assessing brain atrophy rates in a large population of untreated multiple sclerosis subtypes, Neurology, January 31, 2012
German Chancellor Merkel and the central bankers who see the need to act tough with Greece and other nations in financial crisis plus all of those complicit with the denial of health care based in economic deprivation are directly responsible for everyone suffering as a result of those efforts. They belong in jail. Unfortunately, they’re the leaders of the advanced economies.
The system is beyond broke. It is assaulting the people it claims to serve.
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By Michael Collins
I hadn’t paid much attention to the Supreme Court hearings on the Obama health care program until today. Someone told me Obama’s lawyer was tanking the case, which surprised me. Reflexively, I thought, Oh, that’s too bad. Then it all came back to me, my revulsion at what a lousy deal Obama’s health care program was and is.
The health care law does nothing about drug costs, a huge factor in affordability. It does nothing much about preexisting conditions, putting that off until 2014 (unless you are under 18 and how many of those folks buy their own plans?) It should target those medical conditions that create the greatest health care costs. It does not. Read the rest of this entry »
By Michael Collins
Georgia Democratic Representative Yasmin Neal has an answer to recidivist Republicans in Georgia, Virginia, and across the country seeking to limit a woman’s right to manage her reproductive health. She introduced a bill in the Georgia legislature to bar vasectomies for men. Unlike the recent vaginal invasion bill proposed by Virginia Republicans, this measure doesn’t invade the bodies of men, it protects them, along with motile spermatozoa. (Image)
Georgia House Bill 1116 states:
“It is patently unfair that men avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly. … It is the purpose of the General Assembly to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men in this state and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men.” Read the rest of this entry »
By Michael Collins
The Virginia legislature is about to enact a law that requires a transvaginal ultrasound procedure for all women who have abortions (except in the case of a medical emergency). Apparently, the legislators are unaware that the law violates existing sexual assault code or that Virginians oppose the law by a wide margin.
Here’s the procedure.
“You will lie down on a table with your knees bent and feet in holders called stirrups. The health care provider will place a probe, called a transducer, into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel. … The health care provider will move the probe within the area to see the pelvic organs.” Medline Plus
This isn’t an option. It’s a requirement for an abortion in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The law is clear:
“a qualified medical professional … shall perform fetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of fetal heart tone services on the patient undergoing the abortion for the purpose of determining gestational age.” House Bill No. 462, Virginia Assembly (Also here)
The medical professional is then required to “offer the woman an opportunity to view and receive a printed copy of the ultrasound image and hear auscultation of fetal heart tone.” Read the rest of this entry »