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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

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

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

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

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 Pills of Last Resort

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

Doctor No

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

“It just got very, very old and all of us felt that we were whores."

More than half the population of small, rural Madras, Oregon (population: ~6059) and its surrounding community is served by one clinic: Madras Medical. At the beginning of 2006, the clinic's doctors and nurses decided to ban pharmaceutical reps from visiting their practice. No more free lunches. No more free drug samples. No more gifts. And yet.... "It's made us better doctors." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 27, 2013 - 40 comments

'Paying Till It Hurts': Why American Health Care Is So Pricey

NPR's Fresh Air interviews Elizabeth Rosenthal about her year spent investigating the high cost of health care.
"Every part of the system needs to rethink the way it's working. Or maybe what I'm really saying is we need a system instead of 20, 40 components, each one having its own financial model, and each one making a profit." [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Aug 11, 2013 - 105 comments

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, an outgrowth of Oregon's 2008 lottery to allocate Medicaid slots to eligible residents, has released their second year of results (Previous discussions on the lottery and the experiment). The gist of the results are that they found statisitically significant reductions in catastrophic health care expenditures, improvements in the incidences of depression, and increased use of health care services. They found minimal (and not statistically significant) improvements in the rates of physical health indicators (diabetes and hypertension) they tracked. Because of ethical concerns, there are no other randomized controlled tests on this scale that study the effects of Medicaid and few on the effects of health insurance in general (the only significant one being a RAND study released 30 years ago). Because of the small amount of information available on the topic and the impending Medicaid expansion offered by Affordable Care Act, this study has drawn a lot of attention from political commentators. This will presumably be the last year these results will be published, as the state of Oregon was able to find extra money in 2010 in order cover the rest of its Medicaid-eligible population. [more inside]
posted by Weebot on May 3, 2013 - 20 comments

Not So Evergreen

"India's supreme court has ruled against Swiss drug giant Novartis in a landmark case that activists say will protect access to cheap generic drugs in developing nations." [more inside]
posted by vidur on Apr 1, 2013 - 15 comments

We are powerless buyers in a sellers’ market

Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. Summary: Inside the Cover Story. Related video: The Exorbitant Prices of Health Care [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 21, 2013 - 85 comments

Abortion in America

The Geography of Abortion Access - Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic. (more)
posted by Artw on Jan 24, 2013 - 26 comments

NYMag: "A Life Worth Ending"

“Old age isn’t a battle, it’s a massacre.” A son’s plea to let his mother go.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on May 21, 2012 - 63 comments

A hidden children's health crisis.

A chronic public health disaster. Complex trauma and toxic stress puts children into a state of reflexive fight, flight, or freeze responses to a perpetually threatening world. The traditional authoritative response only serves to reinforce those behaviours and, perhaps worse, has long-term health consequences:
With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent.
One doctor describes it as “a chronic public health disaster”. Remediating this problem is going to require listening, kindness, and parachutes.
posted by davidpriest.ca on May 1, 2012 - 53 comments

My breast has fallen off. Can you reattach it?

Since she is not truly an emergency patient, she is triaged to the back of the line, and other folks, those in immediate distress, get in for treatment ahead of her. She waits on a gurney in a cavernous green hallway. The “chief complaint” on her chart at Grady Memorial Hospital, in Downtown Atlanta, might have set off a wave of nausea in a hospital at a white suburb or almost any place in the civilized world. It reads, “My breast has fallen off. Can you reattach it?” (via Boing Boing) [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Apr 24, 2012 - 103 comments

Stag Party

The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
posted by Artw on Mar 27, 2012 - 160 comments

Progress Stalled

In the summer of 2007 on the campaign trail Barack Obama took a clear stance on the controversial subject of medical marijuana. “I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” As President in 2009 he took action to follow through on this promise by instructing federal prosecutors to “not focus federal resources in [their] States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” The memo cited the “efficient and rational use” of the U.S. Department of Justice’s “limited investigative and prosecutorial resources,” as a motivating factor in the decision." In the winter of 2012 Rolling Stone magazine takes a look back on this subject and the record is surprising. "With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst." [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on Feb 19, 2012 - 128 comments

To help thousands of people in over 200 countries diagnose, treat and prevent common illnesses

Hesperian is a non-profit publisher of books and newsletters for community-based health care, mostly aimed at the third world. Their first book, Where There Is No Doctor, A Village Health Handbook, has been translated into 88 languages and is one of the most widely used training and work manuals for community health care in the world. They have now made 20 of their publications available for free download, many of which can now also be browsed online through their website using an "Ebrary" in-browser interface. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 26, 2011 - 15 comments

What happens when you give poor people health insurance?

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year (or, What Happens When You Give Poor People Health Insurance?) "We find that in this first year, the treatment group had substantively and statistically significantly higher health care utilization (including primary and preventive care as well as hospitalizations), lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and medical debt (including fewer bills sent to collection), and better self-reported physical and mental health than the control group." [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Jul 11, 2011 - 65 comments

The Loading Dock Manifesto

John Hyduk, a middle aged blue collar worker in Cleveland, writes about his daily existence.
posted by reenum on Jun 28, 2011 - 46 comments

Getting what we pay for

Per capita US spending on health care in 2008 exceeded $7500-- more than any other OECD nation, half again the spending of the runner-up [PDF], and double its spending in 1990. Why? Aaron Carroll of the Incidental Economist explains in 12 parts. [more inside]
posted by nathan v on Dec 3, 2010 - 41 comments

Doctors, Not Gods

What US Health Care Needs Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board. (via)
posted by kliuless on Jun 21, 2010 - 43 comments

Does it come in size BFD too?

The votes are in, the people have spoken. An official commemorative health reform t-shirt design has been chosen and is now on sale at Organizing for America. The Vice President must be so proud.
posted by booksherpa on Apr 13, 2010 - 47 comments

Finding patients like me

Do you have a life-changing medical condition? Patientslikeme (mentioned previously in a 2008 post on mood conditions) is a way for you share information online with other people who have the same condition. Some of the conditions with groups established already are epilepsy, depression, and Multiple Sclerosis. Started by 3 MIT engineers who had personal experiences with ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), the site is funded by partnerships with healthcare providers who have access to anonymised data about the member base. The stated goal in their Openness Policy is to speed up the pace of research and help fix the broken (US) health system. The Privacy Policy has a plain-English description of what happens to information that members share.
posted by harriet vane on Mar 16, 2010 - 15 comments

Testing, Testing

Atul Gawande offers a way for health care to be improved through experimentation and pilot programs, much as agriculture was in 20th century
posted by reenum on Feb 27, 2010 - 24 comments

Will marry for health insurance

Will marry for health insurance. "They're not going to pass health-care reform, so what are my options? Friends and I were joking, and one friend said,'Well, you could always marry some guy who has a good policy.' And I thought, You know what. That's crazy. That's unbelievable, but it's my only option." [more inside]
posted by velvet winter on Feb 19, 2010 - 179 comments

When transphobia interferes with quality healthcare

"Melissa" (name changed for privacy) is a transwoman who was badly injured in a car accident and is in hospital in critical condition. While in treatment, some of the medical staff and her family decided that since she still had a "male" body, to make things "less confusing", they will erase 4 years of her female identity by referring to her as a man and taking her off her hormone therapy. (Warning: possible triggers) As little light puts it:
And if she woke up as from a deep sleep, she’d wake up into a world where her best friend was dead, where her body had been forcibly edited back to its pre-transition state and given a few more years of the influence of testosterone to boot, where her memory and self were hazy and confusing and nobody was calling her by the right name and pronouns, they were in fact pretending four years of her life, the four years she finally got to be honest and true to herself, those had never happened, and shh, she’s just confused, shhhh, calm down, let’s work on fixing your memory some more.
[more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 13, 2010 - 147 comments

Senate Sends Health Care Bill to Floor

The Senate votes to bring health care bill (text in an amendment) to floor, 60-39. Major concessions extracted by holdout senators. Other analysis here and here. Differences between this and the House bill.
posted by shivohum on Nov 22, 2009 - 74 comments

Sen. Lieberman (I - Aetna).

Joe Lieberman... Deal or No Deal?! (SLYT) A campaign ad for Ned Lamont has suddenly become very relevant, considering Sen. Joe Lieberman's recent statement threatening to block any health care legislation with a public option. "I accused him of, after 20 years, dithering on that topic," said Ned Lamont yesterday. "As far as I can tell, a filibuster is one more dither."
posted by markkraft on Oct 28, 2009 - 123 comments

A very good article on health care economics

How American Health Care Killed My Father After the needless death of his father, the author, a business executive, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. And the health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. Here’s a radical solution to an agonizing problem. (via mr) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 18, 2009 - 144 comments

A rational conservative solution for health care reform

E.D. Kain with a moderate conservative solution to the health care crisis
posted by reenum on Aug 13, 2009 - 88 comments

Why We Must Ration Health Care

Why We Must Ration Health Care by Peter Singer.
posted by grouse on Jul 19, 2009 - 93 comments

How I lost my health insurance at the hairstylist's

How I lost my health insurance at the hairstylist's is one story among millions about the insanity of US health care. 59% of the American public and 59% of physicians support single-payer national health insurance, but in a recent prime time town-hall meeting on health reform proposals, ABC did not air a single question about single-payer. HELP is on the way. At a HELP hearing on single-payer, Kucinich pwned a doctor who claimed Canadian health care was worse than the US's.
posted by shetterly on Jul 8, 2009 - 561 comments

Can We Cure the Health Care Crisis?

Search for an Rx - We asked Johns Hopkins administrators, physicians, and researchers about the health of a system Americans rely on to keep them healthy. Afterall, an ounce of prevention... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 3, 2008 - 15 comments

"It seems like a money-saving exercise," she said. "If a patient dies, tough."

£35,000-a-year kidney cancer drugs too costly for NHS: Sutent offers to extend a kidney or GIST cancer patient's life by about 26 months, but the British NHS refuses to fund it, citing "marginal benefit at quite often an extreme cost."
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 17, 2008 - 47 comments

Birth of the National Health Service - How the state of the nation's health became a political ideal

The NHS at 60. The National Health Service is 60 on July 5th. Take a look at documents, audio and video related to the birth and growth of this "radical plan."
posted by fire&wings on Jun 28, 2008 - 5 comments

The Winning Numbers are 14, 46, 23, 49, and 22.

The state of Oregon is holding a health insurance lottery where 91,000 hopeful enrollees will be competing for a couple thousand spots under the Oregon Health Plan, the state's Medicaid program. OHP was created to cover those who made too much to enroll in traditional Medicaid but too little to afford market healthcare, and this development comes as a result of budget cuts and a subsequent enrollment closure in July of 2004. It's a far cry from the universal health care coverage that the plan was suppose to lead to, and marks a dramatic turn for the state's once-ambitious health care reforms.

(Previously in dystopic health care developments)
posted by Weebot on Mar 30, 2008 - 64 comments

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care, Part I. Part II: Debunking the Free Marketeers. [Via Orcinus.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 13, 2008 - 227 comments

Pepsi BlueCross BlueShield

The Prepaid Healthcare Visa® Gift Card, for that special someone without insurance on your holiday list. Rejoice! Terry Gilliam's dystopian future is now! [via]
posted by blendor on Dec 19, 2007 - 146 comments

Health Care and Innovation

Creative Destruction: The Best Case Against Universal Health Care. [Via The Mahablog.]
posted by homunculus on Nov 14, 2007 - 82 comments

Closer to the heart

"In 2003, Americans spent an estimated US$5,635 per capita on health care, while Canadians spent US$3,003... Canada’s single-payer system, which relies on not-for-profit delivery, achieves health outcomes that are at least equal to those in the United States at two-thirds the cost." What do wealthy, educated Americans living in Canada think?
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 3, 2007 - 137 comments

Seeing the doctor, old school.

Sickday. (for my NYC mefites) As I sit here in Chicago with a fresh case of bronchitis and unable to leave the office, I'm wishing I was back in NYC. Apparently they have plans to expand soon...
posted by allkindsoftime on Mar 5, 2007 - 42 comments

Veterans' Health Care

Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility. The Iraq war has transformed Walter Reed into "a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients." Meanwhile, despite predictions that the cost of medical care for veterans will skyrocket, the Bush administration apparently plans to cut funding for veterans' health care. Tired of waiting for the government, more people are taking the initiative in developing alternative facilities to help veterans.
posted by homunculus on Feb 18, 2007 - 88 comments

The Challenge of Global Health

The Challenge of Global Health is an article written in the most recent Foreign Affairs, describing how "stovepiping" health care funding towards only HIV/AIDS, the shortage of health care workers in the West, and a vacuum of international health-care experts are all causing great damage to developing countries. The article was written by Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, Betrayal of Trust, as well as a Pulitzer Prize winner for her writing on Ebola. Previously on mefi: garrett resigns, comments on world leaders.
posted by thethirdman on Jan 23, 2007 - 7 comments

Cancer

Cheap, safe drug kills most cancers. That's the good news. The bad news is that because there's no patent and it's so cheap to make, researchers may not be able to get funding from the private sector for further research since the treatment wouldn't make a profit. [Via Hullabaloo.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 18, 2007 - 122 comments

Mr. Universe's muscular agenda

California's Governor Seeks Universal Care: Under a plan by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California would become the largest state to attempt to provide near universal health coverage.
posted by kliuless on Jan 8, 2007 - 53 comments

How Democrats can make themselves useful.

The Health Care Crisis and What to Do About It. Is it time to socialize medicine in the US?
posted by homunculus on Nov 9, 2006 - 128 comments

Broken promises, broken hearts

The New England Journal of Medicine published several articles this week on remaining, statistically significant gender and racial disparities in the quantity and quality of various medical procedures and care management resources made available to black and white Americans. These disparities may possibly help our understanding of the cause of some of the unexplained differences in mortality rates between populations. "Although the reasons for these differences are unknown, their persistence emphasizes the need for a continued search for explanations so that inequities in clinical care may be eliminated..." (registration req'd)
posted by Rothko on Aug 19, 2005 - 23 comments

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