Tag Archives: MEDICINE

Rookies With Bullshit

A lot of laid off coal miners voted for Trump because he got them to believe in the lie that coal was coming back to Eastern Kentucky and Trump would be driving the lead truck. Well that’s just not going to happen if you believe in reality. There is not a single indicator lending evidence that coal is in out future.

While coal consumption has been dying in America the same has occurred in other nations. China just cancelled the construction of 103 coal-fired generating plants in favor of natural gas. China has stopped importing coal and has laid off tens of thousands of their own miners due to lack of demand.

Continue reading Rookies With Bullshit

Give Me the Money!

During the years I taught government another teacher and myself would invite state politicians to discuss our classes about the realities of being a politician. We had both a Democrat and a Republican and they always did a wonderful job.

One question always asked by students was some form of, “How’s come you guys don’t do thus and thus?” The standard answer was always, “OK, I’ll do that, just give me the money.” People want to believe government functions on air and politicians can just wave their hands and things happen. Of course, the reality is that everything takes money and the most common source of money for government is taxes.

Continue reading Give Me the Money!

Ignorance May be Bliss But it Can Bite Your Butt!

I love it when ignorance comes home to bite people on the butt cheek. Such is becoming a frequent reality as the truth of the Trump campaign promises unfold. One example is that 35% of Americans don’t know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Obamacare are the exact same things. Same thing, different names. Ironically lots of  those who supported the conservative right favored the ACA but were dead set opposed to Obamacare.

Continue reading Ignorance May be Bliss But it Can Bite Your Butt!

I Can See the VA From My Porch

veterans-affairsNot that there is any less but, back in the early days of the Obama administration there was lots of controversy regarding America’s health care system. In trying to sort through all the claims and myths about how other nations approached it I read a book by a researcher who had been hired by some institution to visit certain countries and evaluate their systems.

I don’t recall many details but I do remember that Canada and Taiwan were near the top of the best ten list. Some of the other countries he investigated were Germany, England, France, and the US. At no surprise the US ranked at the bottom of the list. Not because of poor health services and facilities but because it was too expensive for too many Americans.

Continue reading I Can See the VA From My Porch

Simple Fix for Obamacare

Given the announced increases in Obamacare premiums it’s important that people have accurate information about what it means and how you may be affected. I found this article in the New York Times and it’s certainly worth your time. Pay special attention to the roll a “functioning” Congress needs to play in the fix.

Figuring out how Obamacare is faring has always been hard.
It’s been hard because many Republicans are rooting for the law to fail and try to make any flaw sound existential. And it’s been hard because we in the media haven’t always done a good job covering the law. We tend to sensationalize its problems, rather than distinguishing between routine ones and truly worrisome ones.
The recent spike in premiums — raising the cost of many insurance plans — is a real problem. But it’s also contained to the smaller part of Obamacare’s coverage expansion, and it’s a problem that could be easily solved by a functioning Congress.
First, some context: The 260 million or so Americans who receive health insurance through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid (including through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion) are unaffected by the prices increases. The increases instead apply to the 10 million people who buy coverage on one of the private-insurance exchanges established by the law. Even among those 10 million, the vast majority receives government subsidies that will largely or partly cancel out the price increase.
So why do I say the price increases are a real problem? Because those insurance exchanges are vital to the idea of universal coverage in this country. Without them, many people who don’t qualify for government insurance or aren’t covered through their job will be stuck without good medical care.
The spike in premiums is a sign that not enough healthy people are signing up for the exchanges. Without healthy people to balance out the sick, insurance stops being insurance and becomes terribly expensive.
The basic solution is straightforward. It involves increasing the subsidies for lower-income families — while also increasing the penalties for people who refuse to sign up for health insurance. The overall cost of this fix would be modest, and a better functioning Republican Party would have no problem agreeing to a compromise. It would preserve a robust role for the private market, after all.
The more boldly liberal solution is to create a so-called public option on the exchanges — a government insurance plan anyone could buy. In a Times Op-Edtoday, Jacob Hacker — one of the architects of the public option — makes the case for it.
I’ll confess to being torn about whether the public option is a more complex solution than the current problem requires. I encourage you to read Hacker’s piece – and also this recent Times piece raising questions about the public option. If you have thoughts after doing so, send me an email, at Leonhardt@nytimes.com.
David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist

Notes On Ageing – Volume 78

I’ve heard that life is a series of hurdles. While there may be truth in that it is also a series of probes and pokes and as you age the frequency of probes and pokes increases. Someone is always wanting to put something someplace.

I don’t know how old I was when a doctor first suggested I allow him to stick a finger in my anus but it wasn’t too long after that instead of a finger it was a 6′ colonoscopy tube.

Continue reading Notes On Ageing – Volume 78

My mother wouldn’t like Sam Brownback

Kansas governor, Sam Brownback, is typical of so many radically conservative GOP politicians these days. He, and they, seem to take great pleasure in bashing the poor and disabled. In a recent statement about Medicaid he said that permitting an expansion of Medicaid would be “morally reprehensible” because it could provide assistance to able-bodied adults who choose not to work.

 

Gov. Sam Brownback responds to a reporter's question during an interview in his Statehouse office in Topeka, Kan., Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Sam Brownback, Gov. of Kansas.

Well, my mother worked her entire life, mostly in factories. At age 50 she went to nursing school and became a LPN and worked until retiring at age 65. Like millions of working Americans she ended up with not nearly enough savings or net worth to cover her needs in retirement, especially after some major medical issues.

Continue reading My mother wouldn’t like Sam Brownback

Just Sayin’ – Obamacare

Increasingly the news is showing Obamacare being a success. While I have never thought it was the correct answer I am very pleased that increased numbers of Americans now have medical coverage. I just can’t understand why John Boehner and his GOP brethren can’t be happy for these fellow citizens.

$25 vs. $300 K, that is the question?

bariatricsugeryMost of you know I had bariatric surgery in early 2008 and ended up losing and keeping off one-hundred plus pounds. The decision to to do so significantly changed my life in many positive ways.

Since then I have heard it reported that those who suffer from diabetes are frequently symptom free shortly after surgery. Doctors don’t really understand this phenomenon but it is seems related to the surgery and not subsequent dietary changes.

The subject was recently discussed on the NBC Nightly News and suggested that bariatric surgery be used as a cure for diabetes and not just weight loss. NBC reported that they average cost of a bariatric procedure is $25,000 and frequently not covered by insurance policies unless the patient is “morbidly” obese. On the other hand, the cost of treating a person with Type II diabetes over their lifespan averages around $300,000.

Seems to me the insurance industry needs to revisit this issue.

Followup #1 to drug discussion

heroin-gearAs a follow up to a previous article about the growing drug related explosion in America’s prison population here’s a couple of things that have come to my attention:

  1. A reader sent a link to a New York Times article about the heroin problem in Rutland, Vermont. Since heroin is a major drug of abuse the article could have implications to most communities American communities.
  2. A lot of people on want to rant on and talk about how horrible the drug situation is but very few are willing to actually get involved. Recently a group organized in Greenfield to try finding answers. Pretty much it is three people sitting in a room once a week waiting for others to come join them.
  3. There have been a couple of reader comments at the end of my original article and also
  4. several made on Facebook. Here’s examples from Facebook.

1. Well I realize I no longer live in Ohio but being from there and still call it home, would like to put in my two cents on this matter.. I live in a state where Medical Marijuana has been legalized..I agree with it and encourage it, especially when people have

Continue reading Followup #1 to drug discussion