Closing Thought–12Nov19

Yesterday we celebrated Veterans Day…and yet our vets are still fighting illnesses that they contracted while they fought our many wars…….

Us Vietnam vets had our Agent Orange….the Gulf War has its Gulf War Syndrome…..

Agent Orange gave exposed vets different types of cancer…..The Gulf War Syndrome has several symptoms among then are…..

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a condition of long-term and severe fatigue that isn’t relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions.
  • Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Other symptoms may include insomnia, morning stiffness, headache, and memory problems.
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders, a group of conditions marked by chronic or recurrent symptoms related to any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Examples include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and functional abdominal pain syndrome.
  • Undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that may include but are not limited to: abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances.

I bring up these illnesses from our past wars because of the findings in our present wars…..

Veterans saw a spike in urinary, prostate, liver and blood cancers during nearly two decades of war, and some military families now question whether their exposure to toxic environments is to blame, according to a McClatchy investigation.

McClatchy found that the rate of cancer treatments for veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs health care centers increased 61 percent for urinary cancers ⁠— which include bladder, kidney and ureter cancers ⁠— from fiscal year 2000 to 2018.

The rate of blood cancer treatments ⁠— lymphoma, myeloma and leukemia ⁠— rose 18 percent in the same period. Liver and pancreatic cancer treatment rates increased 96 percent and prostate cancer treatment rates increased 23 percent.

McClatchy analyzed all billing data for veteran visits involving a cancer diagnosis at VA medical facilities from fiscal year 2000 to 2018. The data was obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. A more in-depth methodology of the review can be found here.

McClatchy selected that time frame to look at what impact the last two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have had on veterans’ medical needs, even as the VA continues to treat veterans from past wars.

Veteran Marine Corps Sgt. Mark S. Villamac Ho joined the military after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and deployed in early 2003 to Al Numaniyah, Iraq, as an aircraft rescue firefighter.

In Iraq he was exposed to the firefighting foam the military is removing from service due to its links to cancer, and to the open-air trash-burning pits that more than 187,000 veterans have reported made them sick.

(McClatchy)
Each war seems to have its unique illnesses that are a result of the actions in these conflicts.
 
I Read, I Wrote, You Know
 
“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Warren And Medicare For All

All the major candidates have offered up their plans for health care….most want either a Medicare For All type of thing or they want to “reform” the ACA to make it better…..

I keep trying to stay ahead of all the BS swirling around the one idea that has the health industry running scared….https://lobotero.com/2019/10/28/can-we-afford-medicare-for-all/

One of the last major candidate to offer up her plan for a Medicare For All and how to pay for it is Warren…..and now we have her plan and let the criticism begin…..

Elizabeth Warren promised Friday to spend more than $20 trillion over the next decade to provide government-funded health care to every American without raising middle-class taxes—finally offering ideas about how to implement the massive “Medicare for All” program without taking a larger bite out of most Americans’ salaries. Her plan, posted online, is built on transferring to the government 98% of the $8.8 trillion she estimates that employers would spend on private insurance for their employees, per the AP. Remaining costs would be covered by “taxes on big corporations, Wall Street, and the top 1%—and enforcing the tax laws we have now,” she explains. “My Medicare for All plan gives everyone good insurance and cuts their health care costs to nearly zero—without increasing middle-class taxes one penny,” Warren says.

Companies with fewer than 50 employees would be exempted, and Warren said employers already offering health benefits reached under collective bargaining agreements will be allowed to reduce how much they send to federal coffers—provided they pass those savings on to employees. If the program fails to raise $8.8 trillion, Warren says she’d impose a supplemental contribution requirement for big companies “with extremely high executive compensation and stock buyback rates.” A critical question is how she’d slash the cost of her plan well below what experts have said it would take to implement it. Coming up with lower payment rates for hospitals and doctors that avoid disrupting the system would be a big challenge for a Warren administration and for Congress, where her plan could bog down.

Of course the critics are telling all sorts of consequences for her plan….but here is an industry whistleblower to explain it better…..

Now that we’ve seen Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pay for Medicare for All without raising taxes on the middle class, let me tell you what is happening in Washington.

Forbes Tate, the Washington-based PR firm hired by big insurance, drug and hospital companies to create and run a front group called the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, will already have convened an urgent conference call with its clients to go over Warren’s plan and begin implementing a strategy to attack it. A big part of that strategy will be to reach out to reliable industry allies to do the dirty work.

One of those allies is likely to be the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a supposedly nonpartisan organization that issued a widely publicized report on October 28 insisting that, as Axios reported in its analysis of the report, “the middle class would be forced to shoulder some of the burden” of financing Medicare for All.

A health insurance whistleblower reveals how the industry will lie and attack Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All plan

Personally, It is time for a true health plan for ever person in this nation regardless of station in the society…..the industry has raped the people longer enough…..time for them to step up and be part of this country.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Sunday Medical News (FYI)

Did everyone “Fall Back” this Sunday?  (Time change)

As a retired old fart I am constantly worrying about my health as well as my wife’s…..one really bad problem and we could be ruined just like most of the American retired.

So yeah it is pretty damn important!

I read an article about the disparity of the American health care system…….

A research study on a commercial computer program used to allocate health care resources on predicted future health care costs provided a window on the ongoing pervasive impact of structural racism in our nation’s health care system.

Moreover, the research published in Science magazine reinforced how structural racism persists throughout society, including disparities in income, housing and other social and economic factors, and the impact that has on disparities in health.  

The study focuses on an algorithm used by health systems, insurers, and practitioners to predict which patients with complex medical needs should receive extra medical care. The ostensible goal is to slash costs by suggesting those patients receive “high risk management” at less expensive primary care levels.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/29/what-algorithms-tell-us-about-structural-racism-health-care

By now just about everybody has heard of the Dems proposal known as Medicare For All…..lots of pros and just as many cons……but those that have the most to lose, the health industry, the drug industry and those that have prostituted themselves to these industries, are the loudest opponents…..

But what does the economics say about the proposal?

Medicare for All would give most U.S. workers “the biggest take-home pay raise in a generation,” two economists from the University of California, Berkeley said Friday, countering one of the main insurance industry talking points against single-payer.

In an op-ed for The Guardian, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman directly challenged the claim that Medicare for All would “involve massive tax increases for the middle class,” an attack line centrist Democratic presidential candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg have recently deployed against the popular proposal.

“Supporters of Medicare for All are right,” said Saez and Zucman, leading experts on income and wealth inequality. “Funding universal health insurance through taxes would lead to a large tax cut for the vast majority of workers.”

The two economists argued that health insurance premiums are effectively taxes taken out of workers’ paychecks and paid to for-profit insurance companies instead of the government.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/25/two-leading-economists-say-medicare-all-would-give-workers-biggest-take-home-pay

Last bit for this Sunday…..an update on the medical procedure known as a “fecal transplant”….I have informed my readers of this medical treatment in the past……https://lobotero.com/2019/06/16/all-those-transplants/

The rain has stopped and cooler temps and now the satsuma crop is in we need to start on the tangerine crop…..

Now there is more on this health issue….

What the New York Times calls “a frank and public act of self-examination” has emerged from a Boston medical center following the death of a fecal transplant patient after receiving contaminated stool. In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital document the events leading up to the death of the 73-year-old blood cancer patient, which was first reported by the FDA in June. He and another patient, a 69-year-old with liver disease, had been given stool last spring that hosted drug-resistant E. coli bacteria, both samples from the same donor. The liver patient became seriously ill after his fecal microbiota transplant (aka FMT), which aims to restore a patient’s microbiome, or gut organisms. That man recovered, but the cancer patient was put on a breathing machine a week after his last FMT; he died two days later from a blood infection.

One big misstep: Although the hospital had tightened screening for stool donations starting in January based on new FDA guidelines (FMT isn’t FDA approved), older samples were kept, untested, in a freezer. “It wasn’t obvious to a lot of smart people here. We didn’t think to go back in time,” Dr. Elizabeth Hohmann, the article’s lead author, says, adding to STAT that “the prevalence of these organisms in healthy individuals is so low.” Hohmann adds that “20/20 hindsight” also made them realize that antibiotics given to the two patients before their fecal transplants may have helped the E. coli bacteria flourish. The Times notes that while the Boston hospital uses fecal transplant material produced in-house, most treatments in the US use material from the OpenBiome nonprofit stool bank, which has been screening for antibiotic-resistant E. coli since 2016, with no reported cases of “serious adverse events” from FMTs.

In closing….Eeeeewwwwwwww!

The rain has stopped and cooler temps and now the satsuma crop is in we need to start on the tangerine crop…..

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I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Thanx for the visits this past week…I appreciate those people that participate….have a great Sunday…..

Can We Afford Medicare For All?

One very popular, (at least with the voter, not so much with the industry)…I wrote a post a few months ago that got the ire of the health industry demanding that I explain how we will pay for the program……please check out the comments on that post……https://lobotero.com/2019/03/04/medicare-for-all/

So in that vane I have read a piece that will help explain how this can be paid for……

Health care is Americans’ number-one priority, based on recent polls, so it’s no wonder it’s been a hot topic in the Democratic primary.

Every candidate is offering a plan, ranging from Joe Biden’s Affordable Care Act upgrade to Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” that would abolish private health insurance. Even the president is joining the bandwagon and unveiled his own Medicare plan.

On the high end, a full-scale single-payer heath care system would come at a steep price: I estimate about US$40 trillion over 10 years.

There is, however, a simpler and less costly path toward single-payer, and it may have a better chance of success: simply strike the words “who are age 65 or over” from the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act that created Medicare, which would mean virtually everyone would be covered by the existing Medicare program.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/07/how-us-could-afford-medicare-all

I say we can and must fund a policy of health care….I do not care what we call it just that it gets done and soon.

There is more….there is the LIE that hospitals will close with Medicare For All…..call this what it is manure (I was being polite)…….this lie was spread by a Dem candidate, Delaney…..

Delaney’s staff told us his talking point came from three sources. First: the fact Medicare pays hospitals on average 87 cents for every dollar of costs. Second: a federal report suggesting that “more than two-thirds of hospitals are losing money on Medicare inpatient services.” Third: Delaney, his staff said, “has been asking this question at the rural hospitals he has visited over the course of the campaign.”

Experts we spoke with offered a different take — mainly, that his evidence is not strong enough to support his claim. In addition, they told us that the potential impact of Medicare for All on hospitals would be much more nuanced — it is not at all clear that “every single hospital” would close, and while some would do worse, some might do better.

Delaney’s Debate Claim That ‘Medicare For All’ Will Shutter Hospitals Goes Overboard

I will be honest (more than the people that would lie this proposal out of existence) this Medicare For All is just a re-name of the old single payer…..and is it for all?

This “is an issue that affects, literally, every single person in this country,” he said. “Even putting the medical issues aside, it’s an economic issue. The way we finance health care promotes economic inequality.”

Medicare-for-all, in the purest sense, largely would replace private health insurance with a single, government-run program covering most everyone. It would be similar to traditional Medicare, the current federal health insurance program for most adults over 65 and young people meeting federal disability requirements, hence the name.

Sounds simple? It’s not.

https://www.propublica.org/article/medicare-for-all-is-not-medicare-and-not-really-for-all-so-what-does-it-actually-mean

Both sides of the issue have put so much stuff out there that this whole issue as become, to use my grandmother’s words, clear as mud.

We need a program that will help the population get the adequate health care they need and at a reasonable price……you will hear and read many versions of this please do some research and get the real story not some sanitized crap we always get.

On an up note—-a health industry insider is telling the tale of the profit system of the industry…..

Eleven years ago, after a moment of reckoning at a country health clinic in Tennessee, Potter left a high-ranking job as head of corporate communications at Cigna to tell the truth about the excesses and abuses of the health insurance industry. Since then, he has worked hard to spread the word, authoring two best-selling books, Nation on the Take (with Nick Penniman) and Deadly Spin, and founding the nonprofit investigative journalism site Tarbell.org, named after muckraking Progressive Era reporter Ida Tarbell.

Now, among all his other efforts, activist Wendell Potter has become president of Business for Medicare for All, the only national business organization working for single payer health insurance. This group of the economically pragmatic lends expertise and credibility to the cause of reform at a time when many, including some of those running for the Democratic presidential nomination, question the viability of single payer.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/30/healthcare-reformer-wendell-potter-profit-system-unraveling

You want to know why your medical bills are so high……ask Sen. Moscow Mitch…..

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised last month that he would block a drug pricing plan introduced in the House, calling it a “socialist” program that would do “damage to the healthcare system.”

Now, new analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found that drug plan, put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would in fact save Medicare $345 billion over a decade.

The bulk of this savings would come from allowing the program to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies — something that is currently banned by law — to save money on the insulin and other expensive medications.

https://shareblue.com/mitch-mcconnell-nancy-pelosi-medicare-prescription-drug-pricing-plan-345-billion-congress/

So please stop blaming Obama for the higher prices and start blaming the slugs that are making the higher charges possible…..Moscow Mitch and his Ilk.

I await the industry hit man to make his presence known.

Until then a bill offered up by Speaker Pelosi to lower drug prices according to the CBO would save Medicare millions….

Democrats quickly touted the projected savings to show that their bill would effectively lower drug prices. 

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/465491-cbo-pelosi-bill-to-lower-drug-prices-saves-medicare-345-billion

But not to worry a Pharma friendly Dem, Rep. Neal, is crushing the lower drug pricing bill……like he is paid to do…..

Following the lead of pharma-friendly Rep. Richard Neal, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee this week crushed several progressive amendments to a House drug pricing bill that would have expanded the number of medicines covered by the legislation and extended lower costs to the nation’s tens of millions of uninsured.

The Intercept reported Wednesday that Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, warned his Democratic colleagues against offering any amendments to the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3) during the committee’s markup of the legislation on Tuesday.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/24/led-pharma-friendly-rep-richard-neal-democrats-crush-progressive-amendments

Not to worry…..if your meds are expensive then you probably will not get a break….the staus quo remains.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Closing Thought–12Sep19

Health care has been a point of contention on the campaign trail for 2020….there are a wealth of “plans” to get the American people their health care…..from single payer to Obamacare.

Biden is the one that has hung his reputation and his campaign on Obamacare……but his support for the plan may be in jeopardy….Obamacare may be losing its luster….

The number of Americans without health insurance edged up in 2018—the first evidence from the government that coverage gains from President Obama’s health care plan might be eroding under President Trump, the AP reports. The Census Bureau also said in an annual report Tuesday that household income rose last year at its slowest pace in four years but finally matched its previous peak set in 1999. Median household income rose 0.9% in 2018 to an inflation-adjusted $63,179, from $62,626 in 2017. The data suggest that the economic expansion, now the longest on record at more than 10 years, is still struggling to provide widespread benefits to the US population. Solid gains in household incomes in the past four years have returned the median only to where it was two decades ago.

An estimated 27.5 million people, 8.5% of the population, went without health insurance in 2018. That was an increase of 1.9 million uninsured people, or 0.5 percentage point. More people were covered by Medicare, reflecting the aging of the baby boomers. But Medicaid coverage declined. The number of uninsured children also rose, and there were more uninsured adults ages 35-64. Though the increase in the number of uninsured Americans last year was modest, it could be a turning point, the first real sign that coverage gains under Obama could be at least partly reversed. This year, the number of uninsured could rise again because a previous Republican-led Congress repealed fines under the Affordable Care Act for people who remain uninsured if they can afford coverage.

If this is properly reported then Biden may have an epiphany and worm his way into some other plan…..or he could double down and use the media to help control any fallout from this report.

I prefer the Medicare For All and will vote that way for 2020…..

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Are You An Organ Donor?

Closing Thought–03Sep19

I am not…..an organ donor that is……my thoughts are if I donate a kidney then why should all along the medical line make money off my free kidney?

When the whole process is free then all my organs can be had.

This is a story that I wish I did not have to read or report…..

Speaking of kidneys and transplants….

Every day, 12 Americans die while waiting for a kidney transplant. In what will be an especially hard pill to swallow for the 93,000 Americans currently on the waiting list, about 10 donated kidneys are discarded in that same period, reports USA Today. A study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine found that 17.9% of kidneys donated in the US over the decade ending in 2014 were rejected (28,000 kidneys in all), compared to 9.1% in France. In 2016 alone, about 20% of 3,631 donated kidneys in the US were discarded, per CNN.

France, it turns out, is more willing to use kidneys from older donors or those who have an ailment such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or Hepatitis C. Researchers cite the “intense regulatory scrutiny of US transplant programs, which may lose credentials if their one-year death and graft failure outcomes exceed predicted outcomes.” Meaning, the programs don’t want to risk their credentials and opt to use only organs in the best condition. But patients “using kidneys from diabetic donors do remarkably well,” study co-author Sumit Mohan of the Columbia University Medical Center tells USA Today.

You read it right 28,000 wasted kidneys in a decade.

Someone please explain that waste to me.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Speaking Of Mental Health

The panels have been gathered and the media is having their typical discussions on the subject of gun violence….and they discuss…..and more will die.

Our Dear Leader has decided that a focus on mental illness is a cure for gun violence, this after a talk with the NRA……

President Donald Trump on Sunday emphasized a need for the country to focus on “a very big mental health problem” in the wake of two mass shootings in one weekend that left 32 people dead earlier this month as he appeared to defend current US gun control measures, stating “we do have a lot of background checks right now.”

“It’s the people that pull the trigger, not the gun that pulls the trigger so we have a very, very big mental health problem and Congress is working on various things and I will be looking at it,” Trump told reporters on the tarmac before heading back to Washington after a vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The White House, Trump said, is “very much involved” in the discussions Congress is having to address gun violence and while “a lot of things are happening on the gun level” he said “the concept of mental institutions” must be addressed.
 
These are people that have to be in institutions for help, I’m not talking about as a form of a prison, I’m saying for help and I think it’s something we have to really look at, the whole concept of mental institutions,” he said. “I remember growing up we had mental institutions, then they were closed — in New York, I’m talking about — they were, many of them closed. A lot of them were closed and all of those people were put out on the street.”
 
(CNN)
There is a method to this madness (pun intended)…..according to some…..
The U.S. president is widely mischaracterized as a cynical politician maneuvering for personal power and financial gain. Yet the situation is far more dangerous.
 
It is important to call these actions what they are: the personal decisions of an incontinent individual, not the result of legislative action or the outcome of any semblance of public deliberation. Remarkably, 230 years after its constitution was adopted, the United States suffers from one-man rule. Trump has rid his administration of anyone of independent stature, such as the former defense secretary, retired General James Mattis, and few congressional Republicans murmur a word against their leader.
 
That aside…have you ever listened to the president explain something to the media?
 
He sounds like a 8 year trying to justify his last lie while trying to remember what he said earlier…..his constant redundancies make him sound like a mental midget.
 
I agree with the findings…..Trump is a mental case that needs immediate help and institutionalization.
 
But I have no say in the problem….just my bitching and moaning….something we Americans do very well…..and as an old fart I do it better than most.
 
“Lego Ergo Scribo”