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No single-payer healthcare for Vermont

Governor Shumlin announced he would not pursue single-payer healthcare for his state. Reasons include high costs, high complexity, and Shumlin barely eking out reelection.
posted by doctornemo on Dec 18, 2014 - 54 comments

In The Hospital, There's No Such Thing As A Lesbian Knee

"When my partner Cheryl was dying from respiratory complications related to treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, she was in so much physical distress she couldn't bear to be touched. The only contact she could stand — one of the few ways I could share my love with her — was for me to rub her feet. As I stood at the foot of her hospital bed doing just that, a scrub-clad figure we had never seen before poked her head in the door, curled her lip and demanded: 'What is your relationship?' The question was clearly directed at me, but my girlfriend reached through her drug-induced, hypoxic haze to respond with her New Yorker tough-girl attitude: 'Really? Whose feet do you rub like this? What the hell are you, the relationship police?' " [more inside]
posted by Librarypt on Nov 30, 2014 - 31 comments

Bob's your uncle and Bertha's your aunt

Aunt Bertha is a web-based platform that connects Americans in need to locally available government programs, non-profit organizations, and community-based resources that offer free or low-cost assistance with health and dental care, job placement, emergency and long-term shelter, clothing and household goods, child and elder care, legal aid, assistance with navigating the social safety net, and much more. All programs are searchable and sortable by ZIP code, city, or eligibility. Find food, health, housing, job training programs and more, anywhere. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Nov 26, 2014 - 28 comments

Are Democrats elitist?

The Affordable Care Act was "put together by a bunch of elitists who don't really fundamentally understand the American people," said former DNC chair Howard Dean. A few years ago, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland voiced concerns about Democrats' "intellectual elitism" and hesitancy to "talk using populist language." Republicans have long used accusations of elitism against Democrats as an electoral tactic. Did elitism lose the Democrats the 2014 midterms?
posted by shivohum on Nov 12, 2014 - 303 comments

SCOTUS v. Obamacare Pt. Deux

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in King v. Burwell, invalidating subsidies through the federal healthcare exchanges, despite the lack of a Circuit split.
posted by T.D. Strange on Nov 7, 2014 - 212 comments

"It was all about me, my life, and my choice."

So I had no choice. At work, I spoke to my friend Shirley, who promised to call around her Bronx neighborhood that night. She knew someone who knew someone, and in a few days, it was arranged. I would stay with her and everything would be all right.
What having an abortion was like in 1959.
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 25, 2014 - 37 comments

Disrupting Healthcare

'We Are Going For Change': A Conversation With 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki. 'After spending seven months in the Food & Drug Administration’s penalty box, the consumer genetics testing firm 23andMe recently submitted a new health-related test for FDA approval.' 'It was a significant step following last November’s FDA slapdown of 23andMe’s genetic tests, which included health reports outlining customers’ chances of getting a wide variety of diseases from celiac to melanoma. In a sharply worded warning letter, the FDA said the $99 tests, analyzed from a vial of customers’ saliva, constituted a medical device under its regulations, and the company needed to get explicit approval for providing risks of getting specific diseases.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Oct 24, 2014 - 72 comments

Some U.S. hospitals weigh withholding care to Ebola patients

"The possibility of withholding care represents a departure from the 'do everything' philosophy in most American hospitals and a return to a view that held sway a century ago, when doctors were at greater risk of becoming infected by treating dying patients. 'This is another example of how this 21st century viral threat has pulled us back into the 19th century,' said medical historian Dr. Howard Markel of the University of Michigan.

posted by Jacqueline on Oct 24, 2014 - 162 comments

Why Obama is "a historic success"

"Am I damning with faint praise? Not at all. This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don't care about the fact that Obama hasn't lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn't quite say, a big deal." Paul Krugman (previously) writes "In Defense of Obama" for Rolling Stone.
posted by jbickers on Oct 8, 2014 - 309 comments

Dodging Healthcare Cost Controls For Fun And (Mostly) Profit

The New York Times reports on a new way medical professionals are gaming the system (to the tune of $2.8T a year) - by making end runs around cost controls through out of network consultation calls.
posted by NoxAeternum on Sep 23, 2014 - 29 comments

Backed By The CDC

The Atlantic pulls back the partition on Hollywood, Health, and Society, a CDC-funded clearinghouse for popular media to better understand modern medicine - and modern medical legislation like the Affordable Care Act.
posted by NoxAeternum on Sep 22, 2014 - 5 comments

"Poor people don't plan long-term. We'll just get our hearts broken."

"Why do so many poor people eat junk food, fail to budget properly, show no ambition? Linda Tirado knew exactly why… because she was one of them. [more inside]
posted by turbid dahlia on Sep 21, 2014 - 92 comments

Missouri abortion waiting period bill: a veto override is imminent

Republican legislators in Missouri are pushing to expand abortion restrictions in the state. A bill mandating a 72-hour waiting period, vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon in July, is likely to become law on Wednesday in a special legislative session. [more inside]
posted by ghostbikes on Sep 9, 2014 - 54 comments

Birth Culture

Since 2006, Alice Proujansky has photographed childbirths around the world for a project entitled 'Birth Culture.' Her intent is to highlight 'the universal aspects of childbirth, elements that are culturally-specific and the struggle to provide women with safe, respectful maternity care.' Images: Photographer's site. NYTimes Gallery. Agnostica. Slate. Some photos may be NSFW.
posted by zarq on Sep 6, 2014 - 21 comments

The staples are punk as hell.

I haven't been blogging for a while. Now I'm ready to tell you the story. Just so you're prepared, the story ends with "in two weeks I'm having brain surgery." Or maybe that's how the story should begin.
posted by Phire on Sep 4, 2014 - 6 comments

"For years I lived in the dark, part dead, part asleep...."

"... now, my sight and my world and my life have all returned." Vision: Healing the Blind in Ethiopia [vimeo, 10m] [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Aug 29, 2014 - 8 comments

The compelling history of vaccination

A timeline of diseases and vaccines [warning: graphic photo of cutaneous diphtheria at year 1975]. Categories are: diphtheria, measles, polio, smallpox, yellow fever, and 'others'. You can select one keyword to view only that subject's timeline. From the History of Vaccines website (about page | FAQ). Similar timelines at the same site for pioneers, science and society, and there's an En Español timeline, too. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 26, 2014 - 22 comments

where the poor people are is where the amputations are

poverty linked to diabetic amputations in california [more inside]
posted by yeoz on Aug 7, 2014 - 8 comments

Too Clever To Be Legal

For the past several months, Allergan has been fighting a take over by its competitor Valeant. While mergers and acquisitions are far from unusual in the pharma world, this may be the first time that a public corporation has combined efforts with an activist investor (Bill Ackman of Herbalife fame) in a bid to buy another company. Last week, Allergan sued both Valeant and Ackman, claiming their actions go beyond regulatory arbitrage and enter the realm of insider trading. At risk is Allergan's R&D operation- while Allergan spends roughly 17% or revenues on research (in line with the industry), Valeant, run by McKinsey alum Mike Pearson, spends under 3%. [more inside]
posted by exit on Aug 6, 2014 - 37 comments

Rube Goldberg wept

A Republican panel of the D.C. Circuit has ruled [.pdf opinion] in the case of Halbig v. Burwell that a drafting error in the Affordable Care Act provides subsidies exclusively to state-based exchanges and not to federally-facilitated ones, even while subjectively intending to provide subsidies in both cases. The ruling threatens to take away federal subsidies for insurance sold on Obamacare exchanges in 36 states.
posted by T.D. Strange on Jul 22, 2014 - 104 comments

W56.22xA Struck by orca, initial encounter.

V91.07xD Burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter I did not know water skis can catch on fire. Presumably, somebody's water skis did catch on fire, resulting in a trip to the hospital. [more inside]
posted by otto42 on Jul 19, 2014 - 20 comments

What The Poor Deserve

"When our donors met the actual people they were helping they often didn’t like them. During our Secret Santa drive, volunteers sometimes refused to drop gifts at houses with TVs inside. They got angry when clients had cell phones or in some other way didn’t match their expectations. Other times, the donations we got were too disgusting to pass along—soup cans that bulged with botulism and diapers so dry rotted they crumbled in our hands. One Thanksgiving, a board member called from the parking lot, requesting help carrying a frozen turkey from her trunk to our office. “Can you find a deserving family?” she asked. I lugged the bird up three flights of stairs. Somewhere near the top, I noticed the expiration date. It was seventeen years old." Anya Groner talks about working for Hudson Outreach in up-state New York and the sobering, chilling effect it had on her idealism.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 7, 2014 - 95 comments

How can I move forward in my life if I never know what I'm dealing with?

Why Chicago’s MasterChef Star Killed Himself
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 26, 2014 - 36 comments

How Dying Became A Multibillion-Dollar Industry

Hospice, Inc. (A Huffington Post project)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 20, 2014 - 22 comments

US health care ranked last among 11 developed countries

How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally - "The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but this report and prior editions consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity." [full report (pdf)] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 17, 2014 - 71 comments

nothing is broken; you can go home now.

hit by a car, an emergency doctor experiences firsthand the shortcomings in ER care
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 13, 2014 - 133 comments

A Eulogy to the NHS

Harry Leslie Smith describes his despair at the coalition's dismantling of the welfare state
posted by Ned G on Jun 6, 2014 - 40 comments

"An argument that has the characterizing flavor of bullshit."

The entire first episode of John Oliver's new current-events comedy show on HBO, Last Week Tonight, is viewable on its official YouTube Channel. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 28, 2014 - 99 comments

Bounty Mutiny

"If an NHS trust proposed today that it was going to introduce Viagra sales reps into men's genitourinary wards, or reps for walking aids to orthopaedic wards, the very least you'd expect would be some stout resistance. It is a measure of the strength of the association between "motherhood" and "buying stuff" that the presence of commercial representatives on maternity wards has been tolerated for so long."
[more inside]
posted by Catseye on Apr 23, 2014 - 29 comments

"I don’t care what you call it," he says. "I care that we get it right."

About half of countries who attempt to build single-payer systems fail. That’s Hsiao’s estimate after working with about 10 governments in the past two decades. Whether he’s in Taiwan, Cyprus, or Vermont, the process is roughly the same: meet with legislators, draw up a plan, write legislation. Only half of those bills actually become law. The part where it collapses is, inevitably, when the country has to pay for it.
Ezra Klein's Vox Media looks at the financial and administrative mechanics of Governor Peter Shumlin's quest to bring single-payer health care to Vermont. Bonus: 12 questions about single-payer.
posted by psoas on Apr 9, 2014 - 39 comments

The Voluntarism Fantasy

Mike Konczal, for Democracy Journal: The Voluntarism Fantasy [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Mar 18, 2014 - 33 comments

Congress examines single-payer healthcare EEK SOCIALISM!!!

Six years ago, PBS's feature documentary program, Frontline, aired Sick Around the World, a documentary examining health care systems around the world -- and specifically how all those featured were generally superior to the American system. (2008 MeFi post) Today, the American Senate subcommittee on primary health and aging brought the debate over single-payer care to Washington. C-SPAN has a fine video of the hearing, which features seven witness representing health care systems and think tanks from around the US and the world. [more inside]
posted by greatgefilte on Mar 12, 2014 - 57 comments

How Obama's tech team saved his presidency a second time

Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov - "Unknown to a nation following the fiasco, McDonough's assignment from the President had boiled down to something more dire than how to fix the site. As the chief of staff remembers his mission, it was 'Can it be patched and improved to work, or does it need to be scrapped to start over? He wanted to know if this thing is salvageable.' Yes, on Oct. 17, the President was thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 3, 2014 - 120 comments

eStonia

Estonia, with a population of 1.3 million, might just have the most technologically forward-thinking government around.
posted by gman on Feb 9, 2014 - 31 comments

She died well because she was willing to die too soon....

The Ultimate End of Life Plan. "...Torn, I called my mother's internist. 'I know your mother well enough, and I respect her,' he said. 'She doesn't want to risk a surgery that could leave her debilitated or bound for a nursing home. I think I would advise the same decision if it was my Mom.' I called my mother and said, 'Are you sure? The surgeon said you could live to be 90.' 'I don't want to live to be 90,' she said. 'I'm going to miss you,' I said, weeping. 'You are not only my mother. You are my friend.' That day I stopped pressuring my mother to live forever and began urging her doctors to do less rather than more. A generation of middle-aged sons and daughters are facing this dilemma, in an era when advanced medical technologies hold out the illusion that death can be perfectly controlled and timed."
posted by storybored on Feb 3, 2014 - 58 comments

Life After Jan. 1

As a result of new coverage under the ACA, many previously uninsured people in eastern Kentucky are giving the nation a glimpse of life under the new health care law.
posted by reenum on Feb 3, 2014 - 132 comments

On Breaking One's Neck

On Breaking One's Neck. Dr. Arnold Relman, former Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, gives a first-hand account of a catastrophic accident, intensive care, and rehabilitation--as a patient. I am a senior physician with over six decades of experience who has observed his share of critical illness--but only from the doctor's perspective. That changed suddenly and disastrously on the morning of June 27, 2013, ten days after my ninetieth birthday, when I fell down the stairs in my home, broke my neck, and very nearly died. Since then, I have made an astonishing recovery, in the course of which I learned how it feels to be a helpless patient close to death. I also learned some things about the US medical care system that I had never fully appreciated, even though this is a subject that I have studied and written about for many years.
posted by russilwvong on Jan 19, 2014 - 22 comments

Obamacare "horror stories"

"Obamacare horror stories" where innocent citizens are losing their insurance and being forced to pay astronomical costs for new plans on the exchanges are being reported by some media outlets. The problem is that most of these stories don't survive further scrutiny. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 7, 2014 - 129 comments

Is the Affordable Care Act a 'Republican' Health Plan?

The conventional wisdom about the origins of the Affordable Care Act is that it is a reformulated plan from the Clinton era, one that right-wingers like Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation created. How true is it? [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Dec 9, 2013 - 141 comments

Thankfully, the Constitution says you only have to do this once a year.

It's time for Americans to gather around the dinner table, eat too much, and argue about politics! A new genre of Thanksgiving-themed web pages seems to be taking off this year, that being the "How to argue with your [opposite political party] family members at Thanksgiving" genre. From the left side of the political spectrum, the Democratic National Committee has launched "The Democrat's Guide to Talking Politics with Your Republican Uncle", and The Huffington Post chimed in with "Here's Every Argument You'll Need To Win Your Obamacare Debate This Thanksgiving". Not to be outdone, conservatives have responded with cheat sheets of their own, including RedState.com's "Thanksgiving dinner with your liberal relatives" and The Washington Examiner's "The Thanksgiving guide to making conservative arguments liberals can understand". [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Nov 28, 2013 - 126 comments

Texas' Other Death Penalty

A Galveston medical student describes life and death in the so-called safety net. [via]
posted by AceRock on Nov 16, 2013 - 78 comments

Will Play for Root Canal

The O+ Festival in San Francisco offers artists an opportunity to barter their services for dental and health treatment. "The O+ Festival in San Francisco this weekend would seem a typical indie arts event, with performances by local musicians and displays of funky art. But in a twist that highlights a longstanding problem in the creative economy, the artists involved will be paid not in cash but rather in something they may need just as badly: health care." [more inside]
posted by semaphore on Nov 15, 2013 - 17 comments

The State of Health Care on the Rosebud Indian Reservation

Native Americans were promised health care by the government, but what are they really getting? Stanford Medicine on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where health services are underfunded, suicide rates are high, and the life expectancy is just 46 years:
posted by porn in the woods on Nov 2, 2013 - 10 comments

The Pills of Last Resort

How Dying Patients Get Access to Experimental Drugs
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 1, 2013 - 16 comments

"Remember – language is the battleground of humanity."

In the Shadows. The healthcare and human rights challenges of the LGBT populations of Malawi -- where homosexuality is outlawed. Via
posted by zarq on Oct 28, 2013 - 1 comment

The Cost of Living

The Rising Cost of Cancer Drugs: "New drugs could extend cancer patients’ lives—by days. At a cost of thousands and thousands of dollars. Prompting some doctors to refuse to use them."
posted by lalex on Oct 27, 2013 - 50 comments

Doctor No

What doctors would not do
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Oct 24, 2013 - 53 comments

It Could Be Worse

I signed up for an account on Healthcare.gov last week. It wasn’t the smoothest process, but I was able to create an account. Some parts are slow; sometimes you have to reload a page to make progress. But it’s starting to work. It will be fixed, because it has to be. And now that the launch and inevitable crash has finally happened, in a way the worst is over. Real-world traffic is providing programmers all the debugging data that they could ever want, and “all bugs are shallow with the president watching,” as Paul Ford writes in Bloomberg Businessweek, paraphrasing the open-source-software advocate Eric Raymond’s assertion that “with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” -- Rusty Foster in The New Yorker
posted by jim in austin on Oct 22, 2013 - 585 comments

The Ultimate (Frisbee) Argument For Visiting Healthcare.gov

John Hodgman posted about the ACA, which led his followers to tweet him about the various health problems they had encountered and the effect insurance or a lack thereof had to their lives. Hodgman retweeted many of the stories from people in their 20's and then posted 17 reasons for young people to get insured to his blog.
posted by reenum on Oct 9, 2013 - 189 comments

"October is a fine and dangerous season in America"

Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)! In one corner: the first federal government shutdown since 1996, born of the House GOP/Tea Party faction's crusade to delay, defund, and destroy Obamacare (and the Democratic Senate and President's resolve to not do that). "Continuing resolutions" have ping-ponged between the two houses, fighting over language to cancel healthcare reform (plus a few other items, such as the implementation of Mitt Romney's entire economic agenda). National parks are closed, contractors are hamstrung, and 800,000 federal workers furloughed until Speaker Boehner drops the "Hastert Rule" and passes a bill the other branches can agree to. In the other corner, heedless of the chaos (though not without glitches of its own): the official rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its state insurance exchanges. The portal at Healthcare.gov is your one-stop shop for browsing, comparing, and purchasing standardized, regulated insurance coverage with premium rebates, guaranteed coverage, and expanded Medicaid for the poor (in some states). A crazy day, overall -- but peanuts compared to what might happen if the debt ceiling is breached in 16 days. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 1, 2013 - 2207 comments

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