Posts filed under ‘Health – Physical and Psychological’
Love this scathing — scathing — editorial from the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
The moment the Republican obfuscators of Obamacare feared has come to pass.
On Tuesday, the Post-Dispatch’s Tim Logan reported that a Virginia-based company is bringing to Wentzville one of three national call centers to handle health insurance applications under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed derisively by the GOP as Obamacare.
Serco Inc., a private company that contracts with the federal government, is bringing 600 jobs to a legislative and congressional district that is redder than red.
That’s 600 jobs, with benefits, to the 3rd Congressional District of Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, who brags on his website that he’s voted to defund Obamacare 37 times.
Those 600 jobs are also in the hometown and state Senate district of Republican Scott Rupp, who proudly brags of his co-sponsorship of two statewide referendums in which Missourians expressed their dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama’s plan to increase the number of Americans who have insurance and pump billions of dollars into the nation’s health care economy.
Six hundred jobs, Mr. Rupp.
I’ve made a note to myself to follow these two Republicans to see what happens next. Meanwhile, I’m laughing my ass off at the fix they’ve gotten themselves into.
Check out this graph (far right) showing the percentage of 19- to 25-years-olds who are enrolled in their parents’ health insurance plan(s) — thanks to Obamacare — that are Democratic or Republican. Republicans win.
I know I’ve already posted a Tweet of the Day but I don’t want to ignore this — and forget about it — before I put it up:
Get on it Obama:
Far as I can tell, voting to repeal Obamacare is pretty much the only things House Republicans do. If they hold another vote — as John Boehner promised today — it will be the 38th time they’ve done so.
The House will vote again to repeal part of Obamacare, Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday.
A vote would most likely target the provision that requires individuals have health insurance, GOP sources say.
From The Guardian:
As Ramadan begins, more than 100 hunger-strikers in Guantánamo Bay continue their protest. More than 40 of them are being force-fed. A leaked document sets out the military instructions, or standard operating procedure, for force-feeding detainees. In this four-minute film made by Human Rights organisation Reprieve and Bafta award-winning director Asif Kapadia, US actor and rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), experiences the procedure.
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.