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Archive for the ‘Medicine’ Category

An anti-abortion rights organization is withdrawing an award it planned to present Rep. Bart Stupak, after the Michigan Democrat announced Sunday he would support health care reform legislation.

The Susan B. Anthony List had chosen Stupak to receive the “Defender of Life” award at the “Campaign for Life Gala” Wednesday here in the nation’s capital.

Because we all know Susan B. Anthony was pro-life.

From Yglesias. Emphasis mine.

We should also, however, spare a thought for the unsung hero of comprehensive reform, McConnell and his GOP colleagues, who pushed their “no compromise” strategy to the breaking point and beyond. The theory was that non-cooperation would stress the Democratic coalition and cause the public to begin to question the enterprise. And it largely worked. But at crucial times when wavering Democrats were eager for a lifeline, the Republicans absolutely refused to throw one. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and other key players at various points wanted to scale aspirations down to a few regulatory tweaks and some expansion of health care for children. This idea had a lot of appeal to many in the party. But it always suffered from a fatal flaw—the Republicans’ attitude made it seem that a smaller bill was no more feasible than a big bill. Consequently, even though Scott Brown’s victory blew the Democrats off track, the basic logic of the situation pushed them back on course to universal health care.

Today, conservative anger at the Democrats is running higher than ever, and for the first time in years the GOP leadership’s blanket opposition has won them the esteem of their fanatics. But in more sober moments in the weeks and months to come, my guess is that the brighter minds on the right will recognize that their determination to turn health reform into Obama’s Waterloo sowed the seeds of their own destruction. Universal health care has been attempted many times in the past and always failed. The prospects for success were never all that bright. Many of us, myself included, at one point or another wanted to try something more moderate. But the right wing, by invariably indicating that it would settle for nothing less than total victory, inspired progressive forces to march on and win their greatest legislative victory in decades.

Paul Krugman

Instead, I want you to consider the contrast: on one side, the closing argument was an appeal to our better angels, urging politicians to do what is right, even if it hurts their careers; on the other side, callous cynicism. Think about what it means to condemn health reform by comparing it to the Civil Rights Act. Who in modern America would say that L.B.J. did the wrong thing by pushing for racial equality? (Actually, we know who: the people at the Tea Party protest who hurled racial epithets at Democratic members of Congress on the eve of the vote.)

And a word of my own on “death panels.” Now that healthcare reform has passed (barring something catastrophic in the Senate), I predict the same people who whipped their followers into a froth over the government using death panels to put granny down, I predict that these same people will start to talk about the burden of keeping the poor and illegal immigrants alive. They are costing us money in insurance. Why should they get a life-saving transplant, they will say. I’ve done everything right all my life so why should I be punished.

Predators. I predict they’ll say child predators can get health insurance and it will cost insurance money to keep them alive. Those costs will be  passed on to us. In short, that they very people who fear mongered are now going to be the ones who want to go back to the old system where they can choose who is worthy of life-saving treatment.

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Two short observations

Pat Robertson on NPR speaking about Oral Roberts’ 1987 plea to his supporters that they donate money to his church or God would kill him:

It was unseemly. We all have a mole or a wart somewhere in our lives.

What do you mean it was unseemly? He said God told him that he was going to kill him if he didn’t raise the money. Are you insinuating that Oral Roberts was lying? Is it so common for televangelists to lie that you can use that word unseemly instead?

Second observation of the day.

A new provision being rolled into the unified House health care bill would allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they turn 27, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Tuesday.

I think it says a lot about the state of this country’s health insurance problems that reform involves infantilizing adults in order to get them covered. And how classist is this anyway? This is a big benefit for upper middle class families who sent their kids off to college when their kids have not yet found work that includes benefits. Baristas anyone? What about poor 27 year olds? Chances are their parents don’t have insurance either. What a bunch of crap. Full disclosure: I was on my parents’ insurance until I was 23 years old.

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I’m still reeling over the New York Times article that says don’t bother exercising because nothing will make you lose weight. This article makes me feel a bit better.

That’s the word from Danish researchers who studied more than 2,800 middle-aged people for up to a dozen years, only to find that those with the slimmest thighs had the highest chance of heart disease and premature death.

“There was up to a double risk for the people with the smallest thighs,” said Dr. Berit L. Heitmann, a director of research at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark. “It’s quite substantial.”

People whose thighs measured less than 60 centimeters, or about 23.6 inches in circumference, were in trouble. And those with stick-thin gams (less than 18 inches around) were at the greatest risk, according to new study in the online version of the British Medical Journal.

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I like the way Eli Sanders phrased this story:

Meet Kenneth Gladney, 38, of St. Louis. He recently disrupted a town hall meeting to complain about health care reform, got in a fight with some union members, and, in the process, got hurt. Now Mr. Gladney is looking for donations to cover the cost of treating his injuries.

Why?

Because he has no health insurance.

The whole story is here.

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This is one of those studies that pisses me off. It says that the more you exercise the more you eat and so it is impossible to actually lose weight. For that reason, don’t exercise or go to the gym.

I’ve noticed this sense of hopelessness a lot in politics as well. If any one part of a reform doesn’t make the world a perfect place, you toss out the reform in whole. Let’s not reform healthcare, let’s not reduce our carbon footprint because if we can’t create a perfect solution then there is no point in trying.

The truth is that for most of our decisions in life we mentally create a pros and cons list. If the pros outweigh the cons then we go with the decision which gives the overall good.

I see myself in this study about exercise. I am fairly physically active with an average of one and a half hours a day of exercise and yet I wouldn’t call myself “thin.” Yet I get so much out of exercise. I’m passionate about food and I can enjoy my passion without having to worry about gaining a great deal of weight. And I have lost weight due to physically activity. Will I ever be thin? Perhaps not but the quality of my life is vastly improved.

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Just had an endoscopy

No posting earlier today because I went to the hospital to have an endoscopy on my esophagus and stomach. I’ve had mild yet chronic acid reflux for years. Part of me felt that perhaps this procedure wasn’t necessary. I’ve been reading a lot about how in America, many doctors draw a lot of revenue from expensive tests that may or may not be necessary. I don’t think all doctors are this way, but it has been a part of the health care reform discussion that it is important that we not only change how insurance works, but that we change the fundamental way American hospitals operate. Currently we financially hospitals for conducting expensive tests rather than financially reward them for overall healthy patients. More info about that here.

It’s been years since I’ve had general anaesthesia and I have to say it’s much better than it was the last time. I slept all day and who knows if I’ll even remember this post tomorrow.

The outcome of the test was good. I need not worry about taking expensive medications; I can continue with my favorite occasional cure: Pepto Bismol. I’d be lost without it.

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I thought this piece from Matt Yglesias was interesting regarding reforms other than the public option.

The most important part of the bills that actually exist—the part that will impact the lives of most Americans—are the new regulations on insurers.

The administration is proposing:

— A ban on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.

— Caps on out-of-pocket spending.

— No cost-sharing for preventive care.

— No “rescission” of coverage for people who get seriously ill.

— No gender discrimination.

— No caps on coverage, either lifetime or annual.

— Extension of family coverage for kids up to the age of 26.

— Guaranteed insurance renewal.

The fact that liberals like to talk about the uninsured and Peter Orszag likes to talk about bending the curve and I, personally, like writing about tax policy and don’t like seeing doctors has tended to obscure this whole set of issues. But your typical middle-aged, middle-class voter is going to be impacted dramatically by this stuff and fairly little by all the rest of it. This is also, in political terms, the stuff that polls really well. The “goodies.”

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, since the bulleted points above are just proposals and not reality, but Yglesias raises a good point. The above reforms would certainly mean a lot to people like me — people who already have insurance.

What’s amazing is that we didn’t create these regulations decades ago. I mean isn’t it pretty straightforward? Think about it. Each state has an insurance commissioner whose sole job is to make sure that people don’t get screwed over by insurance companies, and yet not one state has these types of regulations.

A few years back there was a noted story in Seattle about a man who tried to crash his vehicle into his girlfriend’s vehicle while driving ultra-fast on the highway. In making this attempt, the man veered into another car and a woman in that care was seriously injured. Her car insurance company, Farmers Insurance as it happens, refused to pay for her hospitable bills because they posited that the accident was intentional. The man meant to hit her car. Well in truth, the man meant to hit his girlfriend’s car and he didn’t care a lick about this other woman. The state insurance commissioner told Farmers Insurance that if they didn’t pay the innocent bystander’s hospital bills, FI would no longer be allowed to sell car insurance in Washington state. FI reversed their original position.

So why haven’t insurance commissioners played hardball with the health insurance companies? I really don’t know the distinction here and I don’t know a lot about this topic, but from a consumer standpoint it really confuses me.

If the Dems can get these new regulations through, I think it will be an important victory. I just can’t believe it’s taken this long to get here.

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