Category Archives: Health

‘Paging Dr. Doctivity’: Medicine evolves into a business model

Beneath a three-column headline in my local newspaper was a barely-edited press release. Continue reading

The benefits of medical marijuana

Caution: May induce euphoria

I periodically meet John at the rehabilitation center where I receive occupational therapy for my arthritic fingers, and where he receives treatment for the stroke he suffered several years ago. The stroke left his right arm and leg paralyzed. Continue reading

Insurers say private Medicare plans are better, but we really don’t know

Firms hold tight to data, so comparing their programs with traditional Medicare not possible

Health insurers have been telling us for years that their Medicare Advantage plans, which are federally funded but privately run alternatives to traditional fee-for-service Medicare, can provide better care—at lower cost—than the government. Continue reading

Merger of health insurers usually leads to big payday for executives

Policyholders end up paying more, according to studies.

If regulators approve the recently announced mega-deals in which Aetna, Inc. would buy Humana Inc. and Anthem, Inc., would buy Cigna Corp., will consumers benefit? Or will the winners be limited primarily to the executives and shareholders of the companies involved? Continue reading

Walkercare gives women reasons to worry again

Walker plan envisions a return to an ‘open market’ that rolls back ACA’s consumer protections and ratchets up premiums for women.

If women are beginning to get a tad concerned about what their world might be like if the next occupant of the White House is a Republican, they have more reason to worry now that some of the GOP candidates for president are cluing us in about their Obamacare replacement plans. Continue reading

Why pre-existing conditions mattered . . . to millions

Before Obamacare became law, Americans faced rejection of individual health coverage for any one of 400 medical conditions

The Republican candidates for president who say they’ll lead the charge to repeal Obamacare if they’re elected (that would be all 17 of them) might want to take note of the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll: more Americans are now for the law than against it. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this. Continue reading

Health insurers working the system to pad their profits

Taking advantage of Medicare Advantage

One of the reasons the health insurance industry worked behind the scenes in 2009 and 2010 to derail Obamacare was the fear that changes mandated by the law would cut their Medicare Advantage profits. Medicare Advantage plans are federally funded but privately run alternatives to traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Continue reading

No insurance no teeth . . . no future!

You know things must really be getting bad when the mainstream media starts asking questions. Even if the questions dance around the truth a bit, it still is powerful to see it there. The August 10 issue of USA Today on page 5A had this title: More Americans turning to dentures to get, keep jobs. Now, this in itself is a bit of a con job by the writer and editor of that paper. Continue reading

Scotland bans growing GM crops

Independent evidence shows GM foods and ingredients harm human health. All nations should ban them. Continue reading

Candidates without a clue

GOP contenders hate Obamacare but don’t have an alternative and know nothing about health insurance

If folks who watched Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate were expecting the candidates to tell us what they’d do to replace Obamacare if they could get rid of it, those folks would have been disappointed. Continue reading

Privatizing Medicare would create more problems than it solves

Republicans have long dreamed of finding a way to either privatize or get rid of Medicare, a program that has provided access to health care for well over 100 million Americans since it was created in 1965. As presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush made clear a few days ago, that dream is still alive. Continue reading

Minimizing the risk of radiation skin burns

Patients who are to undergo radiation for head, neck and breast cancer learn about a litany of possible side effects from the treatment. Among the warnings I received was that about 90% of patients will experience some radiation dermatitis. What the doctor meant was that skin burns occur to about 90% of all patients receiving radiation to the head and neck. The odds are about the same for breast cancer. Continue reading

Alabama OB-GYN whose patient died, pushed for ‘drive-through deliveries’

Sen. Larry Stutts fought law enacted to require longer hospital stays for mothers and newborns

During his campaign for the Alabama legislature last year, now-state Sen. Larry Stutts, a Sheffield Republican and OB-GYN, vowed to get the government out of the middle of the patient-physician relationship. He made no mention of the fact that what he really had in mind was putting insurance companies back in the middle of that relationship. Continue reading

Something in the USA has to work right: A non-profit hospital in Virginia actually does

It is easy to severely criticize the state of many things in the United States of America: the US president and Congress bowing to the demands of the national security community to exempt their $1 trillion (US) spending from sequestration mandates. The demise of Detroit, Michigan, and another round of water shut-offs scheduled for April that will affect nearly 100,000 residents (the Detroit bankruptcy case judge’s ruled that residents have no inherent right to clean water). The geopolitical brinkmanship with Russia and China that, if pushed too far, could lead to World War III. The odious double standards applied to “leakers” of classified military and intelligence information js repulsive: former US Army general and CIA director David Petraeus gets no jail time for passing off military secrets to his lover Paula Broadwell, yet former CIA analyst John Kiriakou gets two years in federal prison. Continue reading

Fukushima radiation found in sample of green tea from Japan

Four years after the multiple explosions and melt-downs at Fukushima, it seems the scary stories have only just begun to surface. Continue reading

If Obamacare critics win high court case, effects will be wildly disparate

Kentucky residents would be unaffected, Tennesseans devastated

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, nowhere will the effect be more stark than along the 400-mile border between two states my family has called home, Tennessee and Kentucky. Continue reading

Ebola update: Global vaccination

Last October, during America’s Ebola scare, I wrote an article that questioned the motives behind the Obama administration’s decision to not ban flights traveling out of Ebola-stricken countries. Specifically, I questioned the conflict-of-interest connections between the Council on Foreign Relations, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Bill Gates’ corporate-philanthropic investments. More specifically, I questioned whether the potential outbreak was being mismanaged by the Obama administration in order to justify global health regulations proposed by the CFR and to amass profits in Gates’ pharmaceutical and vaccine sales. Continue reading

American defense contractors are now health care providers

Tracking patient data like tracking a missile

“Defense contractor” is no longer a valid term for US weapons makers. Continue reading

Elimination of ‘public option’ threw consumers to the insurance wolves

Big firms and their campaign cash found a friend in Joe Lieberman

When members of Congress caved to demands from the insurance industry and ditched their plan to establish a “public option” health plan, the lawmakers also ditched one of their favorite talking points, that a government-run plan was necessary to “keep insurers honest.” Continue reading

FDA Commissioner Hamburg appointed who as a deputy?

Many had high hopes for the FDA when Margaret Hamburg was confirmed as commissioner in 2009 because of her public health background. But she swiftly moved to loosen conflict of interest rules governing those who can serve on FDA expert advisory panels, claiming it was too hard to find experts without Pharma financial links. Continue reading

Medical neglect in Israel’s gulag

Conditions for Palestinians in Israeli prisons are horrific by any standard. Some of the worst anywhere. Continue reading

Reason Number 13,336 why capitalism will be the death of us

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria—the “superbugs”—if left unchecked, could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050. New drugs to fight the superbugs are desperately needed. But a panel advising President Obama warned in September that “there isn’t a sufficiently robust pipeline of new drugs to replace the ones rendered ineffective by antibiotic resistance.” Continue reading

Fish show drug effects and we’re drinking the water

You don’t have to see a doctor to imbibe a witch’s brew of prescriptions pain pills, antibiotics and psychiatric, cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy and heart drugs in your drinking water. They are found in many public drinking water systems says the Associated Press. Also found in drinking water is the toxic plastic, Bisphenol A. Some of the Bisphenol A comes from plastic bottled water which people, ironically, drink to avoid tap water risks! Continue reading

Are you walking away from McDonald’s? Many are.

Since its founding in the 1940s, McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant, has navigated many threats to its bottom line. Other fast food companies have imitated and sought to improve on its concept. Labor activists have decried its treatment of workers. Food and environmental activists have assailed the way it has industrialized food production. The international community has deplored McDonald’s trade practices and protectionism. Animal welfare activists oppose its wholesale commodification and mistreatment of animals. And, of course, public health experts condemn its hawking of unhealthy, fattening food to children and adults. Continue reading

Broken mental health system makes patients prisoners, says Patrick Kennedy

This month, mental health and correctional professionals from all over the nation gathered in Chicago to address a problem that many are not aware of. People denied mental health services who end up homeless or incarcerated as criminals. Continue reading

Legislating abortion behavior: Lessons from Romania and Prohibition

An unprecedented epidemic of anti-abortion legislation swept across America after Republicans gained control of many state legislatures in 2010. Indeed, more new laws restricting access to or interfering with abortions were passed in 2011-2013 than in the prior decade. Continue reading

US radiation levels exceed evacuation level: Part 2

SAN FRANCISCO—The American EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is the big agency of the federal government tasked with monitoring and issuing timely reports about harmful levels of radiation to the American people. Well, that is the theory, anyway. Continue reading

Did you or your children use this asthma drug?

Did you or your children use the blockbuster asthma drug Singulair? World sales of Merck’s drug were about $5 billion a year until 2012 when its patent expired and it was the U.S.’s seventh best-selling drug. But last month, data from an FDA committee were presented that acknowledge “safety concerns” about “neuropsychiatric adverse events, including suicide and suicide attempts” with the drug. Continue reading

Sleazy pharma front groups pretend concern for ‘mental illness’ while pushing pills

One out of four people has a “mental illness.” You hear the statistic all the time. People who were once “nervous” or “high strung” now have “general anxiety disorder.” People who have the “blues” from real life issues like job, relationship and family problems now have “major depressive disorder.” People who are “up and down,” again from real life issues, are now “bipolar.” Adults who can’t focus on the work at hand, either because they didn’t get enough sleep or because the work at hand is boring—hello?—have adult ADHD. All need to be on drugs indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of their life. And notably, all suffer from diseases that are medical “judgment calls” that can’t be verified by blood or other diagnostic tests. Ka-ching. Continue reading

US radiation levels exceed evacuation level

SAN FRANCISCO—High radiation levels exceeded the evacuation level requiring the wholesale evacuation of civilians at many locations in the States over the past four years, from 2011 to 2014. Those who remain are supposed to be wearing hazmat suits. Continue reading

Many hope new rules will stop pharma tax dodgers

Just a few months ago, many US health corporations were eyeing tax inversions—reincorporating overseas, often merging with a European entity—to evade US taxes. Following the drug companies Mylan, Actavis, Perrigo, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Endo, the Illinois-based drug company AbbVie announced inversion plans last summer, to the joy of many investors. Continue reading

CFR analyst says travel ban wouldn’t keep Ebola from spreading to the US

According to a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Laurie Garrett, “Travel bans would [not] keep Ebola from spreading in the United States.” Continue reading