Posts filed under ‘Health – Physical and Psychological’
Geezus. The man with no spine (unless we’re talking prosecuting whistleblowers) backs down yet again:
The Obama administration will not penalize businesses that do not provide health insurance in 2014, the Treasury Department announced Tuesday.
Instead, it will delay enforcement of a major Affordable Care Act requirement that all employers with more than 50 employees provide coverage to their workers until 2015.
In delaying the enforcement of that rule, the White House sidesteps those challenges for one year. It is also the second significant interruption for the Affordable Care Act, following a one-year delay on key functions of the small business insurance marketplaces.
Together, the moves could draw criticism that the administration will not be able to put into effect its signature legislative accomplishment on schedule.
This is the Republican-driven Chamber of Commerce doing its part to try to kill national health care and the Obama administration bites.
About 20 years ago a co-worker acquaintance of mine died very, very suddenly of sepsis, which is caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria. So when I see the words “staph” or “sepsis” they tend to leap out at me. Thus this good news:
In an age when microbial pathogens are growing increasingly resistant to the conventional antibiotics used to tamp down infection, a team of Wisconsin scientists has synthesized a potent new class of compounds capable of curbing the bacteria that cause staph infections.
Writing online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a group led by University of Wisconsin-Madison chemistry professor Helen Blackwell describes agents that effectively interfere with the “quorum sensing” behavior of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium at the root of a host of human infections ranging from acne to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome and sepsis.
First, as background, there’s this from a few weeks ago:
Hospitals Fail to Take Simple Measures to Thwart Deadly Infections, Survey Says
Many hospitals fail to take simple measures to prevent infections of a new strain of Clostridium difficile that’s hard to track and at least in part responsible for skyrocketing infection rates in U.S. hospitals.
Now think about this for a minute:
Johns Hopkins researchers report that hospitals may be reaping enormous income for patients whose hospital stays are complicated by preventable bloodstream infections contracted in their intensive care units.
In a small, new study, reported online in the American Journal of Medical Quality, the researchers found that an ICU patient who develops an avoidable central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) costs nearly three times more to care for than a similar infection-free patient. Moreover, hospitals earn nearly nine times more for treating infected patients, who spend an average of 24 days in the hospital.
So, potentially, hospitals have no incentive whatsoever to reduce the incidents of infections. Hey, why would they if they’re making big bucks off of them?
It might be time for insurance companies to step in:
The researchers also found that private insurers, rather than Medicare and Medicaid, pay the most for patient stays complicated by CLABSIs — roughly $400,000 per hospital stay — suggesting that private insurers would gain the most financial benefit from working with hospitals to reduce infection rates.
We’ll see what happens.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted this out this morning ahead of President Obama’s visit to Texas today:
So cute huh? This from a guy whose party is set to hold its 31st+ vote on repealing Obamacare next week…not exactly creating jobs themselves. Geezus. What a dick.
Wow, what an interesting project:
[I'm Kate Green and] I’m on the Big Island of Hawaii right now, but I’m not on vacation. I’m not honeymooning, nor am I attending a conference or visiting relatives.
I’m on the Big Island to find Mars.
Starting next week, I will begin a simulated Mars mission. For 120 days, my five crewmates and I will live on the red, rocky slopes of the Hawaiian volcano called Mauna Loa.
We will eat, sleep, work, exercise and relax inside a two-story dome that offers a little less than 1000 square feet of floor space. When we go outside, we will wear mock spacesuits. There will be very little sunshine, no fresh fruit, and no ocean breeze.
But there will be science.
In fact, the purpose of the Mars simulation, called HI-SEAS (Hawaiian space Exploration Analog and Simulation), is to study astronaut food for long-haul space missions. Developed by Jean Hunter at Cornell University and Kim Binsted at the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA, it boils down to these questions: Does it make sense to provide dehydrated, shelf-stable ingredients to astronauts on a mission to Mars? Does it make sense for astronauts to actually cook some of their meals?
Questions of food are more critical than you might think. On longer missions, astronauts tire of the just-add-water-and-heat meals that squirt out of pouches. They eat fewer calories, and they lose weight. Neither is good for performance and overall health, especially during a dangerous, multi-year trip to the red planet.
Here’s a short video introducing Kate Green and her five fellow “crew” members:
And here is the Hi-SEAS’ website.
I’m going to follow this project!
I’ve seen advertisements touting the supposed wonders of robotic surgery but in my gut I didn’t trust it and I thought it sounded like a bad idea. Maybe it is:
Reports of complications from robot-assisted surgery are rising, according to Massachusetts health officials who sent hospitals an “advisory” letter last week alerting them about their safety concerns.
In some cases, it appears that doctors have used the aggressively marketed robots to perform hysterectomies and colorectal operations that were too complex for the technology, or for the surgeons’ skill level in directing the robots’ actions.
During one hysterectomy, two surgeons failed to coordinate their movement of the remote-controlled robotic arms, damaging the patient’s bowel and causing excessive bleeding, according to the letter from the Quality and Patient Safety Division, part of the agency that licenses Massachusetts doctors.
In another hysterectomy, a woman was anesthetized and placed for nearly four hours in a steep head-down angle — a position often used during robotic operations. She suffered shoulder injuries. The advisory described a number of mishaps but did not identify the doctors or hospitals involved.
Patient injuries during robotic surgery have grown over the past two years, the division said, but it would not provide the data. The advisory comes amid a growing number of patient lawsuits nationally, some of which allege doctors inexperienced with the robot took so long to complete operations that patients suffered nerve and other injuries from the anesthesia or from the angle of the operating room table.
“The marketing is not based on any data,” said Dr. Peter Dunn, director of perioperative services at Massachusetts General Hospital. “This tool was brought to us [by the manufacturer] solely as a marketing device. The medical community didn’t do what it should have done — say, ‘Wait a minute, hold on.’ ”
Ah yes. Another example of a manufacturer creating a product, wowing its intended customer (hospitals), generating a demand, making millions if not billions and then oops.
When will we ever learn?
Over the last several weeks my husband has begun having episodes of incontinence. There’s no cure for his disease. The plan is to “manage the symptoms.” So I called one of his neurologist who called in a prescription for “Detrol LA 4mg.” We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home this afternoon to pick it up and almost passed out.
The total cost for 30 pills? $221.86. Yeah. That’s right. $221.86 for 30 pills. That’s more than $7 per pill.
Fortunately our insurance paid for most of it but we still had to shell out $85.59 which in and of itself is outrageous. (What do people without insurance do?! Yikes.)
Dan’s diagnosis is four weeks old. I knew immediately we would be “nickled and dimed” to death before this thing came to and and sure enough. Here we go.
During the 2010 mid-term election, Republicans jumped up and down about how the number one priority had to be — just had to be — JOBS! But this has been their obsession ever since:
The Senate on Friday rejected an effort by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to repeal Obamacare, an outcome that was expected but is far from the last attempt by Republicans to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) noted that Friday’s vote is the 36th time that Senate Republicans have tried — and failed — to repeal Obamacare.
Even though it’s early, here’s my Tweet of the Day.
The operative word here is “fantasy.” Obamacare isn’t going to be repealed and Paul Ryan knows. But in order to maintain his street cred with the Tea Partiers, he’s got to play this game and throw them some red meat, even though he’s wasting everyone’s time doing it.
Republicans Were Against Medicare Cuts Before They Were For Them Before They Were Against Them Before They Were For Them
That title is no joke. Read on:
What Do You do When One Party is This Dishonest?
We’re still waiting for a full rollout of House Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s Republican budget, but there’s confirmation now that it will once again rely heavily on retaining the Medicare cuts passed in the Affordable Care Act (even as Ryan’s budget repeals the rest of the law).
[E]veryone is under-appreciating just how outrageous this is. For the second time in a row, Paul Ryan and the Republicans have run a national election campaign (the 2012 presidential election) in which the main theme was bashing the Democrats … for a policy which Republicans support — and indeed are making a key part of the most important policy blueprint that they will roll out this year.
This is no garden-variety flip-flop. It’s a fundamental decision to govern one way and campaign the exact opposite way.
This is one of those cases where it’s so audacious that reporters just don’t want to believe it.
I really can’t think of any comparably dishonest episode in recent American political history. To base not one but two campaigns on attacking the other party for a policy which, between elections, they support…it’s well beyond chutzpah. Oh, and that’s without even beginning to reckon with the fact that the House GOP’s larger Medicare plans call for much bigger long-term cuts than Obamacare made.
1) This wouldn’t happen if Republicans knew, for sure, without a doubt, that the media would report this kind of bait and switch clearly and repeatedly.
2) We’ve got to invent a new word. Outrageous, audacious, dishonest and chutzpah don’t describe what the Republicans are doing now, and have been doing for years. I guess the big takeway is that they’re willing to lie to the American people and tell them during campaigns they’ll do the exact opposite of what they intend to do if elected.
Way to corrode the democratic process guys.
New stats are out today showing the percentage of the population covered by medical insurance in the states. Massachusetts has the highest rate, with only 4.5% uninsured. Texas is at the bottom, with 28.8% uninsured.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that his state will not take part in the Medicaid expansion in President Obama’s healthcare law, and also won’t set up an insurance exchange.
“If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare,” Perry said in a statement. “I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government.”
Using taxpayer dollars to finance family-planning services has become politically thorny in Texas, largely because of Republican lawmakers’ assertions that the women’s health clinics providing that care are affiliated with abortion providers. In the fiscal crunch of 2011, the Legislature cut the state’s family-planning budget by two-thirds, with some lawmakers claiming that they were defunding the “abortion industry.” Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, found that more than 50 family-planning clinics had closed statewide as a result.
Now, amid estimates that the cuts could lead to 24,000 additional 2014-15 births at a cost to taxpayers of $273 million, lawmakers are seeking a way to restore financing without ruffling feathers.
Gee. Who could have ever predicted.
Memo to Government Officials Everywhere: Want Your Sons to Have Malformed Genitals and Small Penises?
Insofar as most government officials around the world are men, maybe this will get their attention when it comes to dealing with water pollution and food additives:
A new study in Wales has uncovered a disturbing connection between pollution and shrinking penis size in otters. The report, from the Cardiff University Otter Project and Chemicals Health and Environment Department, found that chemicals present in both the environment and the food chain could be altering the hormones of the water mammal, causing a smaller penis bone. Aside from affecting the future spawn of otters, the scientists also worry that these ever-present chemicals could have serious effects on other mammals.
The health of otters is not the only concern in this study, but of male sexual health across the species. The presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the water and environment will affect humans as well, and the study questions the link with EDCs and the increasing number of human males with undescended testicles, low sperm count and malformed genitals.
Apropos of this, there’s this:
Fla. Medicaid Privatization Plans Moving Forward
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Federal health officials said Wednesday they expect to approve Florida’s request to privatize Medicaid statewide as long as the state resolves several outstanding issues, including hiring an independent entity to monitor the process and having a robust plan to measure the quality of patient care in the controversial program.
Rick Scott, Florida’s Tea Party Governor, the guy who’s moving this along should be in prison. If you’ve got time, read this: Rick Scott’s Dirtiest Deeds.
I predict Scott will privatize Medicaid in Florida right into the hands of his hospital chain / insurance company buddies and three, four years from now the “Medicare” system in Florida will be a corrupt mess. And people will have died as a result, including Tea Partiers who voted for this narcissistic monster.
I’m so old I remember when it was a right of passage for every kid in the neighborhood to get measles, mumps (and chicken pox). I especially liked the mumps (not). A sore throat like you wouldn’t believe.
Click on image to enlarge or go here.
I have a good friend who lives in Ohio and she says everything Governor John Kasich does is self-serving:
John Kasich’s Obamacare Flip Burns Conservatives
Conservative groups wanted to stop the march of Obamacare expansion at ground zero: the states.
But one of their best hopes just caved.
John Kasich, the fiercely conservative governor of Ohio, announced Monday that he’s going to expand Medicaid dramatically using federal money — a 180-degree turn from what conservative groups swore their allies in governors’ mansions would do when the Supreme Court gave them an out last year.
That leaves Kasich, who built his political identity arguing for smaller government, at odds with the same movement conservatives who propelled him to victory in Ohio and have eyed him for a presidential run in 2016.
“I think it’s definitely going to weaken him with the conservative base,” said Chris Littleton, the Ohio director for American Majority Action.
Yeah, it probably will “weaken him with the conservative base” — as in the 26%ers – but it will help with independents, moderates and who knows, maybe even some Democrats, so this move sure points toward him eying a run for prez.
Now it’ll be interested to see what the wackos do.
It’s just amazing what Republicans think is important:
During their first three weeks in power, Senate Republicans [in Washington state] have introduced bills to require parental notification for abortions, allow ranchers to kill wolves and let people ride motorcycles without a helmet.
Also on the list: plans to revamp [read, cut] workers’ compensation benefits, repeal the state’s family leave act [that, among other things, gives new parents five weeks off after the birth of a child] and assign A-F grades to public schools. There’s also talk of dumping the state employee pension system in favor of a less-expensive, 401(k)-type plan.
So, they want supposedly want to protect unborn fetuses but for people who are already born they want to increase traffic deaths and health care costs by letting people ride motorcycles without a helmet; kill wolves; cut workers’ compensation benefits; make it so folks don’t have a guaranteed leave plan so they can take time off when they or a family member needs help due to a medical problem; deprive new parents of bonding time with a new baby and make it harder for people to make ends meet in retirement.
What a vicious, hateful crowd.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest translates Coca-Cola’s new kumbaya-like “Coming Together” ad:
When something like this happens it’s a bad sign:
McLEAN, Va. — The Virginia Department of Health will no longer provide public access to its hospital complaint investigations after an Associated Press story found inconsistencies in the probe of a woman’s care at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
The change in policy was ordered by the federal agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid, said Erik Bodin, director of the department’s division of licensure and certification.
When Medicare patients file complaints about the treatment they received at a hospital, state regulators conduct investigations under a contract with that federal agency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Officials with CMS declined to comment on the records change.
While officials wouldn’t comment on the reason for the change, it comes after an Associated Press story in October showed that the state released two different versions of a report that investigated the care of an Inova patient, Sharon Van Putten, who died shortly after leaving the hospital.
A report given to the family largely exonerated the hospital, while a report obtained by AP under the state’s Freedom of Information Act substantiated most of the family’s allegations.
Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, said she could not recall a similar situation where a federal agency ordered Virginia to stop releasing an entire class of documents.
So, while “the Virginia Department of Health will no longer provide public access to its hospital complaint investigations,” it’s the Feds who have mandated that and that mandate seems to have come as the result of a discrepancy between a “report given to the family” vis a vis a presumably internal report obtained by the AP.
Wow. Sounds like a cover-up to me, and now we have a policy which will preclude discovering the existence of new cover-ups.
This is not good. This implies things are not going well for Medicare and Medicaid patients in Virginia hospitals.
We need more info, and soon.
As a paralegal who worked for years in the field of medical malpractice, I can tell you, this sends chills up and down my spine.
I had a cold a few months ago that ended with a cough that seemed to last forever. In reality it lasted about four weeks which kind of scared me because that seemed like an abnormally long time.
If I’d had this info beforehand, I wouldn’t have been so alarmed:
If you’re a victim of this year’s terrible flu, or any of the other nasty bugs causing general respiratory distress, Dr. Mark Ebell sends his sympathies.
But if you’re tempted to head to the doctor to demand drugs for the hacking cough that came with your illness, he’s got another message: Wait a little longer.
A new study shows that although most people think a cough ought to last no more than a week or so, the duration of the most annoying symptom of winter illness is about 18 days — and could be more than three weeks.
Ebell decided to pursue the study, published Monday in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, after noticing the disconnect between how long people thought coughs should last and how long they actually lingered.
When he surveyed nearly 500 Georgia residents by phone, he found that they predicted that a cough would last between five days and nine days, but generally about a week, depending on the scenario.
A review of 19 published medical studies, however, revealed that the mean duration of any cough was 17.8 days, with a range of 15.3 to 28.6 days.
Count me as one of those who thought a cough should last, oh, maybe 10 days. Now, the next time a cough lasts a month, I won’t worry about having lung cancer. Yikes.
Fairfield State Hospital (also known as Fairfield Hills State Hospital or Fairfield Hills) was a psychiatric hospital in Newtown, Connecticut, which operated from 1931 until 1995. At its peak the hospital housed over 4,000 patients. The entire facility was owned and operated by the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health.
Due to deinstitutionalization in the 1960s and 1970s, there was less of a need for hospitals like Fairfield Hills. With the high cost of running underused hospitals, state hospitals around the country shut their doors. In 1995, Gov. John Rowland closed Fairfield Hills and its sister hospital, Norwich State Hospital. All patients that remained were moved to Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown.
UPDATED below @ 6:58 p.m. ET.
Here’s a heartbreaking and terrifying account of what it’s like to be the mother of a child with an as-yet undiagnosed mental illness, i.e., a potential future Adam Lanza:
Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.[...]
We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
UPDATE @ 6:58 p.m. ET:
Man is this ever a step in the wrong direction:
In a controversial move, the Massachusetts Public Health Council last week eased restrictions on gifts that drug and device makers can give doctors and other health care practitioners by voting to allow “modest” meals and alcohol in connection with efforts to provide medical education.
In doing so, the state agency implemented regulations that were contained in a bill that was passed last June and repealed a disclosure rule requiring all financial arrangements between drug and device makers with prescribers to be posted on a website maintained by the state Department of Public Health.
“…[I]n connection with efforts to provide medical education?” Now that’s funny. Here’s the shorter version: Drug and device makers can secretly bribe doctors with food and drink in their effort to brainwash them into prescribing their drugs and/or using their devices on their patients.
Lobbyists for the drug and “device makers” are probably getting a big bonus today.
Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about Americans. Heck, they’re willing to let Americans die if it turns people against Obamacare which is apparently their life mission:
Republicans failed to block Obamacare from passing Congress. They failed to get it overturned by the Supreme Court. They failed to repeal it by electing a Republican president.
And now, with the law apparently here to stay, they’re rolling out their latest strategy to undermine it: Make it work badly, so the public wants to repeal it later.
Republican governors are trying to accomplish this by turning down the chance to run state-based exchanges. Remember that under the health law, state governments will set up on-line insurance marketplaces so that those without insurance can easily compare and purchase the private-market package best for them. The law did allow for states to opt out, in which case the federal government would do it for them. Now, normally Republicans would assure us that the states do a better job of running things than the federal government in Washington, especially states with Republican governments. The key, however, is that they simply don’t want this policy to work, so they’re simply refusing to implement it: The latest in the GOP scorched earth policy on health care, now that it’s been defeated everywhere else.
Can anyone think of a similar historical example?
It’s as if Democrats who opposed missile defense had actively campaigned for contracts to go to the contractors they believed were most likely to produce duds, just so they could eliminate the program after “proving” that it didn’t work.
What a bunch of sick mofoes.
Thinking about everyone in the northeast, especially my friends Carrie, Linda and Libby.
Check out this chart drawn from 2008 statistics:
Think about all the shows on TLC, The Discovery Channel or Animal Planet about people being charged, mauled, stomped or otherwise killed by animals, lightening, high seas, heat, cold, bugs, snakes or glaciers.
Fast forward to that huge number near the bottom of this chart: 2,205,515 who die from “noncommunicable diseases.” That would be diet and exercise-related things.
Just sayin’. Food for thought.
In 1971 President Nixon announced that the United States was launching a war on cancer. The most recent issue of Newsweek magazine includes an article about where that alleged war stands today: I’m Sorry, Steve Jobs: We Could Have Saved You.
This chart, which is included in the article, pretty much sums it up:
I had a friend who was a Letter Carrier at the USPS during the time letters and packages containing anthrax were being mailed out immediately after 9/11. She washed her clothes every night and bought a mask that screened out fine particles and wore it for months. She was so scared.
She and I talked about what would happen if a biological weapon was released because, well, everyone was talking about that then. If you think about what would happen if the world was suddenly faced with a deadly, fast moving illness of some sort, it isn’t hard to imagine daily life becoming absolutely chaotic and impossible.
Mail wouldn’t get delivered. People would refuse to come to work if they had any personal contact with the public — grocery store clerks, firemen, gas station attendants, policemen, nurses, doctors; you name it, and we’d all be afraid to leave our homes.
I’m not afraid of very much. I don’t worry about the UN taking over the country, Sharia law, Iran, China or “illegals.” But I do fear an unstoppable, deadly monster disease.
So on that cheery note, there’s this:
We know what ecological degradation looks like: Clearcut hillsides, vanishing elephants and whales, forests overtaken with kudzu, and Florida swamps filled with Burmese pythons. These constitute a poignant, convenient visual shorthand for landscapes out of balance — so convenient, in fact, that it’s easy to forget about the ecological communities we can’t see.
What is the clearcutting equivalent for bacteria? How does the changing environment look to a virus? In other words, what is the disease landscape of the Anthropocene?
Obviously, any answer is going to involve some guesswork, but let’s look at the United States as a case study:
- Warming temperatures mean mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and West Nile start moving north from the tropics.
- The explosion of rodent populations following the extermination of top predators across the U.S. contributes to the emergence of rodent-associated illnesses such as hantavirus and the new “Heartland” virus.
- Increased human travel and migration introduce new illnesses like Chagas disease, a tropical parasite that already affects an estimated 300,000 Latin American immigrants in the U.S., while helping turn local outbreaks into full-blown epidemics.
Frankly, it’s easy to get apocalyptic when it comes to emerging infectious diseases. James Holland Jones, a Stanford University anthropology professor and disease ecologist, says climate change will be a “mixed bag” for infectious disease. But when I asked him to sum up his prognosis for the future, he did so in a single word: “bleak.”
In the last week or so we’ve learned how climate change is affecting things we might never have imagined, like ground water levels and the length of allergy season. Now this, and I’m sure more and more things will come to light as time passes.
So gee, I’m so glad we aren’t “overreacting” to the climate change hoax.
Mitt Romney’s health care plan in 16 words: “…pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care,” as described to Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes last night:
[Scott] Pelley: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?
Romney: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we — if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.
Pelley: That’s the most expensive way to do it.
Romney: Well the–
Pelley: In an emergency room.
When it comes to health care policy, this might be one of the more important moments of the presidential race. Romney doesn’t believe the United States has a responsibility to provide health care coverage to its own citizens — the Republican Party is the only major political party in any democracy on the planet to hold this position — but he does see emergency rooms as an avenue for caring for the uninsured.
But it’s extremely expensive to treat patients this way, and it would be far cheaper, and more medically effective, to pay for preventative care so that people don’t have to wait for a medical emergency to seek treatment.
For that matter, when sick people with no insurance go to the E.R. for care, they often can’t pay their bills. Since hospitals can’t treat sick patients for free, the bills can still bankrupt those who get sick, and the costs are still passed on to everyone else.
In other words, it’s the most inefficient system of socialized medicine ever devised.
Not only would this be the most expensive and inefficient way to go, it’s reminiscent of how then-Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) described the Republican health care plan back in 2009:
I am going through an unbelievable experience with a sebaceous cyst. I had no idea such a harmless-looking thing could blow up into a major medical problem.
I’ve had the darn thing, on the inside of my left knee, for probably 15 years. It very slowly grew from the size of a lentil to the size of a marble but it otherwise didn’t bother me and it wasn’t in a very visible area so I just blew it off.
I had skin cancer about ten years ago so I go to the dermatologist once a year and though my doctor would always note the cyst, she didn’t push me to have it removed.
Then, on May 24, the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend, I noticed some redness around the base of the cyst. Friday it was worse so I called my dermatologist for an appointment which I made for the following Tuesday at 8:00 a.m.
On Sunday the redness extended out several inches and down my leg about six inches in a wide oval. I called my doctor’s office because as that point, I was scared and didn’t think I could make it to Tuesday morning.
The doctor who was on call told me to go to the office and she would meet me there (so sweet), which I did. Despite dropping everything while working in her garden, and reeking of manure, she took one look at the site and said oh, yeah. Good thing you came in. You wouldn’t have made it to Tuesday. Then she shot me up with some steroids, gave me a prescription for antibiotics and told me to come back for that already-scheduled Tuesday morning appointment.
So I went back and my regular doctor lanced the cyst, told me to push on it several times a day to drain it, and said I could come back in a week.
When I asked what made the thing suddenly erupt, she said the cyst probably burst internally and then my body attacked the contents thinking it was foreign matter.
So to make a long story short, ever since the end of May I have been seeing the doctor roughly every ten days and nursing the thing while waiting for the infection to go away completely and for the whole area to calm down.
Fast forward to August 30. I went in for minor surgery to have the cyst removed. All seemed to go well though my doctor was concerned about getting it all because it seemed to have multiple “sacks” instead of a nice neat one. But, she sewed me up and I made an appointment for last Tuesday, September 11, to have the stitches removed.
Everything looked good to my (untrained) eye but after the stitches were out, a little hole, about the diameter of a medium-sized nail (the size you’d use to hang picture on the wall) remained. My doctor said it looked like the thing still wanted to be a cyst. She said might not have gotten all of it out. She said even if one cyst cell remains, it’ll turn into a cyst again.
So she put this fake skin-like bandage over it and a pressure bandage on top of that and told me to come back in seven days.
I was supposed to change the fake skin in the middle of those seven days so on Friday morning I unpacked the area and just about fell out of my chair. The hole was the size of a pencil eraser and it was bleeding a watery blood.
I didn’t want to go into the weekend with it like that so I made an emergency appointment and went in that afternoon. My regular doc wasn’t there so I saw someone else who recommended we leave the hole alone and essentially let it close from the bottom of the hole up.
Fine. She covered it with more of that fake-skin bandage and told me to come back in five days, i.e. today, to see my regular doc.
At today’s appointment my doc noticed that the rim of the hole was turning inside, meaning it was healing around the edges instead of reaching across the hole, so to speak, and closing up. She looked around, pulling the hole every which way (it’s getting pretty gross by now as you can imagine) and said she saw the edge of some sack material (it has the texture of skin but it is pure white) so she numbed the area and slid a scalpel under the skin around the edges of the hole and pulled more sack tissue out. She also cut around the rim of the hole to create a raw edge hoping, again, that the hole would close up instead of turning under. Then she filled the hole with some antibiotic cream, covered it over and told me to come back on Monday.
(They gave me six days worth of antibiotic tablets somewhere along the line in case it gets infected.)
Today my doctor said I might have to GO TO THE HOSPITAL and have an operation where they open the whole area — approximately two inches in diameter around the site — to get every last bit of cyst tissue.
This is crazy! I had no idea a little ol’ cyst could cause this much trouble!
Bottom line: If you have a cyst, have it removed immediately. You don’t want this to happen to you. It isn’t worth it.
Geez. If I’d only known.