Category Archives: Health

Is crony capitalism a big reason for America’s dental health care crisis?

For an example of how Big Money in politics is causing real harm to average Americans, look at the practice of dentistry in this country. Continue reading

The healthiest Americans are those who avoid TV drug ads

Americans should be the healthiest people in the world with our advanced medical care. But thanks to direct-to-consumer advertising, they are some of the sickest in the world suffering from seasonal allergies, depression, mood disorders, dry eye, GERD, perimenopause, adult ADHD, sleep/wake disorders, restless legs, high cholesterol, thinning bones and spectrum disorders which may or may not even have symptoms. (Like people with “epilepsy spectrum disorder” who never had a seizure). Continue reading

How to reduce the absurd amount of money Americans spend on health care? One community at a time

If you’d like to meet someone who is truly “part of the solution,” someone who understands the problems of American health care in a way that few politicians do—and someone who is putting her money where her mouth is to get us healthier—meet Esther Dyson. Continue reading

Industry ghostwriters are behind many deadly products presented as ‘safe’

How much of what we believe about the “safety” of chemical and drug products is planted in journals by industry itself? A lot! Continue reading

Presidential aspirations for Medicare’s future

If you’ve watched all of the presidential debates so far—both Democratic and Republican—and you were waiting for the candidates to tell you if and how they would change Medicare, you are still waiting. Continue reading

Think corruption from pharma money has been stopped? Think again!

The years between the debut of direct-to-consumer drug (DTC) advertising in the 1990s and passage of the Physician Financial Transparency Reports (Sunshine Act) in 2010 were a kind of “Wild West” for the drug industry. Continue reading

The ‘casino effect’ on your health insurance rates

If you’re being hit with a huge rate hike on your individual health plan next year, your insurance carrier likely ‘placed bad bets’ last year.

Minnesotans who get health insurance through the individual market last week became the latest in the country to get unwelcome news: the cost of their coverage will likely go up significantly next year. According to the state’s Commerce Department, which regulates insurance in the North Star state, some customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota may see their premiums jump nearly 50 percent beginning January 1. Continue reading

Presidential candidates in fantasy land over health care

Candidates say this and that about health care, but it’s the insurers and pharmaceutical companies that call the tune

Presidential candidates from both parties are full of sound and fury about various aspects of the U.S. health care system, but unless we as a nation get serious about big money in politics, all the noise will ultimately amount to nothing. Continue reading

‘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