"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.
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:
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]
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]
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]
The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush.
"The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz
, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup." [Via Firedoglake.]