Posts filed under ‘Health – Physical and Psychological’

22% of Americans Are Paying Off an Old Medical Bill

The New York Times sent this graph out today under the headline:  Financial Distress Connected to Medical Bills Shows a Decline, the First in Years.  Thankfully the percentage is down from 2010 and 2012 but it’s still appalling and nothing to cheer about.  If the U.S. had universal healthcare, 22% of Americans wouldn’t be under this kind of stress.  (Oh, and don’t forget: The population of the United States is 316 million so we’re talking a lot of people here.)

NYT Medical stress

(Image via the New York Times)



January 18, 2015 at 6:27 PM Leave a comment

Boehner Turns 65: Going With Obamacare Instead of Medicare

John Boehner Crying 12-22-10

OMG.  House Republicans have voted something like 54 times to repeal Obamacare.  Today, their leader did this:

Boehner Opts for Obamacare Over Medicare

House Speaker John Boehner became eligible for Medicare when he turned 65 years old Monday, but he’s not planning to sign up.

Instead, Boehner is going to keep his “expensive” Obamacare insurance plan.

The Affordable Care Act required members of Congress to get off the federal government’s insurance plan and, in most cases, enroll in an Obamacare policy. When members turn 65, they become eligible for Medicare as well.

When asked at a press conference on Tuesday about his health care coverage plans, he paused and laughed.

“I’ll continue to purchase my expensive health care coverage,” he said in an obvious nod to his Obamacare policy.


In a perfect world this would be front page news all across the country tomorrow.



November 18, 2014 at 7:07 PM Leave a comment

The World is Dragging Its Feet in the Fight Against Ebola


Ebola Virus via

The information contained in an article published by The Guardian this morning highlights the world’s pitiful response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa:

Ebola Cases in Sierra Leone Show Sharp Rise

The number of new cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone has jumped dramatically, putting paid to any hopes that the infection rate is slowing.

Official figures released by the minister of health and sanitation show there were 111 new cases registered on Sunday, the highest daily rate since the ministry started publishing figures in August.


IMC [International Medical Corps] is constructing a 100-bed Ebola treatment centre in Port Loko but it will not be open until the end of November


111 new cases were diagnosed yesterday and a treatment center with 100 beds will be ready at the end of November.

Okay then.  I see we’re gettin’ right on it.


November 10, 2014 at 9:48 AM Leave a comment

Obama Caves, Appoints an “Ebola Czar,” and Hours Later…

Czar via Wikipedia

Remember when Republicans were screaming about all the “czars” President Obama appointed?  No?  Good.  That’s what they’re counting on (and don’t expect the “liberal media” to remind you of it).

Fast forward to the last few days during which Republicans have been beating the drum for Obama to do just that again…appoint another “czar:”

GOP senators who opposed Obama ‘czars’ now want one for Ebola

Obama caved today — still hoping for bipartisan reconciliation or what; I don’t know — and he appointed an Ebola “czar.”

Three hours later, this is where we are:

Obama appoints Ebola czar… and we are so screwed

Obama Bows to Pressure, Appoints Ebola Czar

GOP blasts Ebola czar pick

Google “Obama appoints Ebola czar” and you’ll see links to hundreds of critical articles.

Nothing like Mr.-Cave-to-Republicans-Since-Day-One to go into the November election caving again.  Way to rally the base, huh?

As Jeff Sacks wrote today:

There is no case for an American Ebola czar, least of all another political “fixer” who has no expertise in public health. This is just another case of the Obama administration putting politics before substance, and cowering at the idiocy and vileness of the Republicans in Congress.


The CDC is the world’s pre-eminent public health institution, and Tom Frieden is a consummate professional. And yes, the CDC is overstretched in this epidemic and under-funded, given the relentless attacks on “government” by the Republicans in Congress. And yes, a hospital in Texas performed poorly. These are not signs of disaster; they are signs of the suddenness and unusual circumstances of the Ebola epidemic.


The sad reality, however, is that during his administration, Obama has been so insecure, so incapable of bold leadership, that he has, in the end, sided with the Republicans on the budget cuts that have put the CDC, USAID, and even the World Health Organization (WHO) in danger —the latter because of the U.S. unwillingness to fund the UN properly. Therefore, when the crisis hit, the U.S. and the world were not ready for it.


This is just downright painful to watch.

Oh, and P.S.  – I heard on CNN about an hour ago that banning flights is now “on the table” in the White House, something Obama was adamantly against:  Ebola: Obama will increase airport screenings, won’t ban West Africa flights.

Expect another cave even though no public health expert says a flight ban would be a good idea.  Why? Because Obama = ring in nose led by Republicans.



October 17, 2014 at 6:46 PM Leave a comment

For-Profit Hospitals Don’t Want to Spend the Money Preparing for Ebola

Betsy McCaughey via Wikipedia

(Betsy McCaughey via Wikipedia)

The Ebola scare is exposing the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into here in the U.S. with the privatization of our hospital system:

Dr. Betsy McCaughey, the CEO of Defend Your Healthcare and former Lt. Governor of New York, appeared on Fox just after she had attend a CDC conference call with hospitals this afternoon.

Host Stuart Varney asked her what it would take to set up 50 hospitals to be ready for Ebola.

McCaughey’s answer is stunning.

According to her, after the CDC outlined its preparation strategy, one hospital administrator responded, “What you’re telling us would bankrupt my hospital!” She said that that administrator represents a Southern California hospital.

McCaughey noted that there was no word on the call of who would pay for hospitals to get themselves ready for Ebola patients.

And then she added: “Treating one Ebola patient requires, full time, 20 medical staff. Mostly ICU (intensive care unit) people. So that would wipe out an ICU in an average-sized hospital.”

In the case of Texas Presbyterian, McCaughey says that the hospital cordoned off its ICU to care for Thomas Eric Duncan and sent the rest of its ICU patients to other area hospitals. She added that many communities will not have multiple hospitals to choose from, so one Ebola case could cripple ICUs in small towns.

“But the most important thing,” McCaughey said, “is that doctors and nurses are not ready for the challenge of using this personal protective equipment even if you see them with the helmet, the respirator, the full suits, as the CDC said on the call today, even all that equipment is not enough to guarantee the safety of health care workers because it is so perilous to put it on and particularly to remove it once it’s become contaminated.”

McCaughey said many of those on the call were “daunted by the expectations, the separate laboratory next to the isolated patients, all kinds of — all kinds of adjustments, where to put the waste. Many states won’t even let you dispose of this waste from such a toxic disease.”


So, the next time some guy from the CDC hems and haws about why mandatory procedures aren’t being implemented across the country, let’s remember that behind that hemming and hawing is his inability to say outright that the hospital system is privatized and the CDC has no authority to force them to do anything.


Ah yes, the “best health care system in the world.”


October 15, 2014 at 1:33 PM Leave a comment

The CDC Issues Ebola Guidelines to U.S. Funeral Homes

Funeral Flowers via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Um.  I guess the CDC is taking the long view here (knock on wood):

CBS46 News has confirmed the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines to U.S. funeral homes on how to handle the remains of Ebola patients.


The three-page list of recommendations include instructing funeral workers to wear protective equipment when dealing with the remains since Ebola can be transmitted in postmortem care. It also instructs to avoid autopsies and embalming.


And then there’s this:

September 30, 2014 at 5:52 PM Leave a comment

Ebola: One Million More People Placed in Quarantine in Sierra Leone Today

Ebola Virus via

(Image via

Wow.  This is not going to end well, at least for these people.  I would think chances are good they’re going to panic (who wouldn’t) and riot and who knows what else.  Ugh.  Just an awful, awful terrifying situation:

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone on Thursday took the dramatic step of sealing off districts where more than 1 million people live as it and other West African countries struggle to control the Ebola outbreak that has claimed thousands of lives.

With three new districts under quarantine, about one-third of Sierra Leone’s 6 million people are now living in areas where their movements are heavily restricted. In parts of Sierra Leone and in neighboring Liberia where these cordons have been used in this outbreak, food prices have soared, some markets have shut and the delivery of goods has slowed.

“There is a desperate need to step up our response to this dreaded disease,” the Sierra Leone government said. “The prognosis is that without additional interventions or changes in community behavior, the numbers will increase exponentially and the situation will rapidly deteriorate.”

This is worrisome because two months ago the government put one million people in a different region under quarantine, which apparently didn’t do any good:

Two districts near the outbreak’s epicenter – Kenema and Kailahun – were isolated about two months ago. In all, the movement of more than 2 million people is now restricted in Sierra Leone.



September 25, 2014 at 5:11 PM Leave a comment

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