Yesterday, the little-noticed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force caused a stir by releasing new guidelines
discouraging routine mammography for women under age 50 and breast self-examinations at any age. (Comparison chart of new and old guidelines here
.) The American Cancer Society immediately registered its strong disagreement
; meanwhile, the National Breast Cancer Coalition came out in strong support
of the new guidelines, saying:
The over-emphasis on the importance of screening, despite a lack of strong evidence, has been elevated to such a degree that some even equate screening with prevention of breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Coalition hopes that today’s release of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) revised recommendations will put the brakes on this run-away train and will put screening and its limitations into proper perspective. [more inside]
The House of Representatives just passed
the health reform bill
in a vote of 220-215.
Representative Alan Grayson (Dem- Florida) has recently been supporting the Democrats health care plan. Well, 'support' is an understatement. His first speech on the subject outlined the Republicans plan: "Don't get sick. And if you do, die quickly."
After mass outrage from the GOP, Grayson made an apology, but not to the GOP. Instead, he apologized to the 44,000 Americans who die each year due to lack of insurance.
Yesterday, Grayson took the floor and named the number of people expected to die in each Republican representative district. This time, the Republicans tried to stop him.
An insurance industry CEO explains why health care in the U.S. costs so much
. Full set of charts here
(1.29 mb pdf
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."
Health care around the world
: The state has had success over 35 years of requiring employers to provide health care benefits.
: Its health care is first class, cheap and market-driven.
: "more than 80 percent of the population is happy with the system"
: "300 million people have no coverage at all"
: "America is going to go Dutch"
: "I just wanted to flag for colleagues that their bosses should be careful using the talking point that under the Dem bill, Americans who don't like the coverage they have, will be able to choose something else... more than 90 percent of Americans will remain barred from shopping for insurance in the exchange."
The Senate Finance Committee has approved the
plan proposed by Max Baucus.
takes a look at the rise of Betsy "Death Panels" McCaughey - No Exit: The never-ending lunacy of Betsy McCaughey
: Since her earliest days in the spotlight, McCaughey has presented herself as a just-the-facts-please, above-the-fray political outsider. In reality, she has proved devastatingly adept at manipulating charts and stats to suit her ideological (and personal) ambitions. [more inside]
Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus
has released the "chairman's mark" (his draft) of health-care legislation, America's Healthy Future Act
. [more inside]
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
is a genetic disorder affecting 600,000 Americans and 12.5 million people worldwide. Large cysts grow on the kidneys causing urinary problems, elevated blood pressure, and eventually renal failure
. Although there is no cure for PKD, patients are generally good candidates for kidney transplants. For patients on Medicare, the transplants are covered, but the needed anti-rejection medication is not after 3 years
. The health care bill [pdf]
currently in the House contains a provision to change that. [more inside]
Al Franken shows a revolutionary way to deal with an upset crowd - talk to them like adults
A Day Without Cats on the Internet
Because why should all the fun on 09/09/09 be for Beatles fans
, Apple geeks
, 99-cent-store customers
and post-apocalyptic steampunk ragdolls
. Oh, and also President Obama
. Is there anybody NOT doing something special on 09/09/09? Maybe... Satan
? (long boring talk by nutcase about Large Hadron Collider and Nostrdamus) [more inside]
People are starting to get a little worn out on Healthcare coverage
, or at least, a little worn out on the way it's been covered
. Thank god our own grrarrgh00
isn't listening. Because someone has to spread the truth about Obama's nazi socialist communist granny killing satanist witchcraft healthcare reform.
Edward M. Kennedy, Senator from Massachusetts
, has died at age 77
. After a rocky youth (including scandals of cheating
and reckless driving
), Kennedy followed his brothers into politics, making health care
his cause, and eventually went on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Anticipating his own death, he had been trying to create a quick transition for his replacement
as a vote on health care reform rapidly approached.
Healthcare reform has agitated right-wing extremists and moneyed interests in the United States for some time — during the presidencies of FDR and Truman
as well as Clinton and Obama, most recently — but where do the objections originate from, and particularly those which are known to be based on complete untruths? Some of these lies start with or are repeated by well-known right-wing media personalities
, but there are other people who get the ball rolling, who are perhaps less well-known. Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey
originated one of the current myths more commonly known as "death panels"
, but despite her attempts to market herself as a folksy voice fighting for the well-being of senior citizens, she has been an effective advocate for the interests of private health insurance companies since the early 1990s. [more inside]
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.
) [more inside]
The Views From Your Sickbed
: Andrew Sullivan's readers share stories about health care in the United States.
The Obama administration signaled today it is ready to entirely abandon the public option, i.e.
giving Americans the choice of government-run health insurance (AP
, Daily Kos
). Further, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius indicated that end-of-life counseling was "probably off the table
", presumably due to Republican "death panel" commentary.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market (WHMI
) writes a Wall Street Journal op-ed
about teh evil Obamacare. Customers seem to disagree
with his stance, and are reviewing their options.
After the Remote Area Medical (RAM
) Expedition visited Wise County
in rural Virginia, they made their next stop
at the Fabulous Forum
, in urban Los Angeles.
With inadequate access to basic health care (WHO .doc summary)
, impoverished Afghans turn to cheap and available opium as 'medicine'
for pain relief, cough suppression and other ailments. The level of addiction among children is at a critical level.
Jawed Taiman's film Addicted in Afghanistan
provides some further perspective
. [more inside]
A simple question shows how complex the issue is.
Chris at "Cynical C" asks his fellow citizens where they get thier health care (insurance) from and the incredible diversity of the current options and situations is immediately apparent. Quite spontaneously (but surely not unexpectedly), the question of "How much does it cost you?" becomes an essential part of the answers. Outsiders opine and tell stories and commiserate. [more inside]
Three committees of the United States House of Representatives have released the House's version of healthcare reform--the America's Affordable Health Choices Act
. The bill [1000 page pdf] [summary]
introduces a Health Insurance Exchange
, minimum standards
for benefit packages, protections
for consumers, and a "level playing field" public insurance option
with the right to use Medicare rates for the first three years. Initial reactions
Can You Spot a Lobbyist?
Who made up the bulk of the audience when Congress began work on health care reform legislation? Lobbyists, according to this photo ID-crowdsourcing project, part of Dollar Politics
, a new NPR investigative series. Bill Moyers shines some sunlight too, with Some Choice Words for 'The Select Few.'
Bill Moyers Interviews Former Cigna PR Chief Wendell Potter
Cigna's former head of Corporate Communications discusses about how Insurance companies have fought against public health care in the U.S, How wallstreet's demands drive up profits, how they do it, and why he quit. transcript
How Safeway Is Cutting Health-Care Costs
- "At Safeway we believe that well-designed health-care reform, utilizing market-based solutions, can ultimately reduce our nation's health-care bill by 40%. The key to achieving these savings is health-care plans that reward healthy behavior... 70% of all health-care costs are the direct result of behavior... 74% of all costs are confined to four chronic conditions (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity). Furthermore, 80% of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is preventable, 60% of cancers are preventable, and more than 90% of obesity is preventable
] cf. Wyden's Third Way
& Healthcare CEOs Shoot Themselves in the Foot [more inside]
Single-payer health care advocates arrested at Senate hearing.
On May 5, 2009 advocates of a U.S. national health care program disrupted
a Senate Finance Committee event to call for single-payer healthcare to be part of the discussion. The eight protesters were subsequently arrested
. The protesters included representatives of Physicians for a National Health Program
, which favors the The United States National Health Care Act, H.R. 676
. Committee Chair Max Baucus (D - Montana), who has received more money
in contributions from health insurance companies than any other member of Congress, favors
requiring Americans to purchase private health insurance from those companies. Baucus, who has previously said that single-payer is "off the table
," responded to the doctors and their fellow activists with, “I want you to know I care deeply about your views," and then, "we need more police [to eject protesters]."
"We're a demonstration project, if you would, of all the things that can go wrong at once." "You know Yolanda, I think most people watching this interview think to themselves that if they get cancer and they don't have health insurance that somebody’s going to take care of them," Pelley remarked.
"No, no, there's nobody to take care of you," she said. [more inside]
Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H.,
first female director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is resigning her post
effective January 20th. While subject to criticism for her management
of the agency and failure to mollify
the autism community over issues of vaccine safety
, she was a straight (if silenced)
shooter on global warming and her efforts to restructure the CDC
as a prevention-oriented agency are to be commended.
. They are not doctors. They are not nurses. They are illiterate women from India's Untouchable castes. Yet as trained village health workers, they are delivering babies, curing disease, and saving lives—including their own. Photo Gallery
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]
The invisible hand of the Free Market guides insurance payments to hospitals
"Call it the best-kept secret in Massachusetts medicine: Health insurance companies pay a handful of hospitals far more for the same work even when there is no evidence that the higher-priced care produces healthier patients. In fact, sometimes the opposite is true: Massachusetts General Hospital, for example, earns 15 percent more than Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for treating heart-failure patients even though government figures show that Beth Israel has for years reported lower patient death rates."