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And the real reason why we don’t have universal health care in the U.S. July 11, 2009

Posted by truthspew in health care.
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The insurance industry has really sold this one. Watch Wendell Potter, a former insurance company executive (Most recently with CIGNA) explain what the industry did to try and discredit Michael Moore’s film Sicko (Full film at this link)

The fact that they go after the politicians not only withholding campaign funds, but to actively run ads targeting those politicians smacks of the ultimate in tyrannical tactics. Corporations should not be allowed to run ads for or against politicians period. They shouldn’t be allowed to form PACs, and most of all the 1st amendment shouldn’t apply to corporate lobbyists.

If you have iTunes on your machine you can get the full broadcast in Bill Moyers video podcasts . In fact once you subcribe, download the episode with Mr. Potter. He lays it all out in the open, shows how the insurance companies destroy their opponents, how they confuse the public, and how they optimize profit. Potter even says a public option (E.g. Medicare/Medicaid) runs administrative costs of about 3% while the insurance industry currently runs around the 20% mark and most of that satisfies investor demand for profit.

Then get good and angry and find your federal representatives and senators, write them, email them, and call them and demand universal health care in the United States.

I don’t care if it means a 10% increase in the tax rate so long as every single one of us is covered by this plan.

And just for your amusement I give you Roy Zimmerman with “Dear Number 1036924053887″

Single Payer Health Care Now! May 31, 2009

Posted by truthspew in health, health care.
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Bill Moyer has been doing several interviews with medical professionals about health care in the United States. More specifically he tries to play devils advocate which really draws out the professionals.

Part of the argument is based on the equation of socialism with communism.
Merriam Webster gets it very wrong, in essence saying government controls all means of production and distribution. There are some things governments are very good at when properly regulated and with ample oversight. Banking is one industry and health care another.

so·cial·ism
Pronunciation:
\ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\
Function:
noun
Date:
1837

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

The U.S. already has a form of socialism if you really want to get down to brass tacks. Fire Departments, Police Departments, Public Schools, Public Works Medicare, Medicaid and the list goes on and on. I have no objection to our form of socialism. The only issue I have is that there seems to be a lack of oversight.

We the people are the actual owners of all those services which is why I object to Merriam-Websters definition of socialism.

Anyhow the video linked above is interesting because it exposes the prime reason that we don’t have single payer health care. Our congressional representative are afraid to push anything that would be disruptive to their prime campaign financiers.

There is nothing wrong with disruptive change. Ask the telecom and cable companies. They know.

Health Care Stories April 14, 2009

Posted by truthspew in government, health, health care, medicine, politics, Uncategorized.
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This evening I attended a Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Met up with a couple of people on Sheldon’s staff that I had worked with when we were all at the RI Secretary of State’s office. Overall all about 130 people showed up for the event.

The event was MC’d by Providence Mayor David Ciciline:

Mayor Ciciline MCs Health Care Dinner

Mayor Ciciline MC's Health Care Dinner

And then Sheldon got up to say a few words before handing microphones out to the crowd:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

It was a bit of a political who’s who, what with city councilmen John Lombardi (Ward, 13) , Nick Narducci (Ward 4), Peter Mancini (Ward 14), Terry Hasset (Ward 12), and Michael Solomon (Ward 5) and Rep. Grace Diaz. Also in attendance was Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman. One commonality among the politicians that attended, they all represent areas with a large number of elderly and economically disadvantaged.

There were some compelling stories. I didn’t tell mine but I’ve gone without treatment for this inner ear condition because I don’t even have coverage at this point. And the nerve sectioning in the inner ear won’t be cheap I’m sure. Other people were talking about the $15,000 for this, $7,000 for that, etc. The time and money wasted because we don’t have a viable public health care solution yet.

Sheldon did talk about a public insurance program. And he alluded to something that I should have asked but didn’t. He says that the public system will cause the private system to shape up. I suspect the public system would drain off the more expensive cases from the private insurers. In order to balance the system strong regulation would need to be put in place. Perhaps a fair system for those with expensive chronic conditions would be to create a pool of insurers including the public and assign people to those insurers by random lottery. This way all plans would share in the care for chronic conditions.

Sheldon did touch on efficiencies in health care delivery which is encouraging. But the idea of a for-profit insurer or a for-profit health provider runs counter to my beliefs. I don’t mean doctors and nurses should be taking a lower rate of pay, but that hospitals and insurers need to change the focus form providing for the shareholders to providing for the insured.

Low birth weight and infant mortality in the U.S. June 12, 2008

Posted by truthspew in medicine, public health, public policy.
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Found this interesting ranking of states for child birth weight and mortality statistics.

If you look at the map a couple of interesting bits of data become apparent:
Child Well Being Map of the United States

One of the scarier things that pop immediately into view is the fact that south and a column going up the midwest have the worst issues with child well being. In the case of the south, that’s the Bible belt, in the case of the midwest states, too much distance between advanced medical care and people.

Then look at the light pink areas. One of the things about those light pink areas is that there are many colleges and universities located within them, including many medical schools. In areas like that the quality and quantity of care tend to be greater and more accessible.

But what is the root cause of low birth weight babies? Is it the modern lifestyle? Or maybe all the chemical contamination in our environment. For example we now know that bisphenol-A is an endocrine disrupter. One of it’s effects on developing male babies is decrease in the anogenital distance and smaller penises In essence it mimics a feminizing hormone.

Other contaminants include heavy metals, radioactive isotopes, etc. We live in a very toxic environment and the effects aren’t just present in developing fetuses, but they affect children and adults too.

It’s really a shame that the Clean Air and Water act has been repeatedly attacked because we’re going to pay the price over and over again due to our lack of diligence.

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