Category Archives: Health

Universal health care is a popular idea in America—will Biden keep enriching private insurance or ‘go big’?

If Biden really wants to go big and bold, he could start by pushing for a truly universal health care system, instead of pouring tax dollars into private insurance companies.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on people’s lives, President Joe Biden has been on a victory tour to promote the American Rescue Plan, a hefty $1.9 trillion spending package that not only sends direct stimulus payments to struggling Americans, but also greatly expands health care options through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “We’re becoming a nation where health care is a right and not for the privileged few,” said Biden in his remarks at a hospital on the campus of Ohio State University. Eleven years after the ACA was first passed into law as President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform, it has survived relentless Republican attacks in the form of legal challenges and defunding attempts. Preserving and expanding it under Democratic leadership certainly constitutes a win against Republican obstructionism and a refusal to offer better alternatives. But this latest strengthening of the ACA is first and foremost a victory for the health insurance industry. Continue reading

Perfidy meets putty—congressional Democrats betray voters

Where is the outcry among Democratic politicians to reverse completely the corporate takeover of Medicare?

Do you remember the promises made by the Democratic Party’s presidential and Congressional candidates on universal health insurance? You can forget their pledges and somber convictions now that your votes put the Democrats in charge of the House and the Senate. The Democrats’ leaders are abandoning their promises and retreating into a cowardly corporatist future. Continue reading

Here’s something you can do to protect your family from coronavirus

And how we may be doomed to an eternal pandemic if we don’t follow science

Our hearts go out to all the families who’ve lost a loved one to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are well over 500,000 dead and more than a thousand continue to die daily in the USA. Continue reading

Look at pharma’s recent record before bestowing a crown

The vaccine “halo” that drug makers are currently wearing obscures their track record of selling addictive drugs, overpriced drugs and drugs with dangerous side effects hidden from the public. Continue reading

Bibi, Pfizer and the election

Israel’s biggest news outlet Ynet reported Friday that in the country voluntarily making itself Pfizer’s testing ground, “75.4% of those diagnosed yesterday were under 39. Only 5.5% were over 60. “The number of critical patients dropped to 858—the lowest since January 4. However, this number is more than double that in mid-December, just before Israel started its ‘pioneering’ experiment in mass vaccination. Ynet also reported that “In Israel 59.9% of critical patients are over 60 years old. 18.2% are aged 50 to 59. In addition, 10.8% are aged 40 to 49 and 7.5% are in their 30s. As of today, more than a third of critical patients are between 30 to 59 years old.” Continue reading

The ‘pre-existing condition’ that doomed the U.S. COVID response?

The answer from a blue-ribbon medical commission on the Trump years: decades of rising inequality.

Back in April 2017, only a few months after Donald Trump’s inauguration, one of world’s most prestigious medical journals, the London-based Lancet, established a special commission to keep tabs on “Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era.” Continue reading

Medicare for All the ‘only way forward,’ concludes Lancet panel in study detailing death and misery inflicted by Trump

"Trump's disastrous actions compounded longstanding failures in health policy in the USA. We know what it will take to create a healthy society. We just need the political will to do it."

A panel of policy experts and medical professionals convened to examine the healthcare legacy of Donald Trump concluded in a detailed report released Thursday morning that the former president’s sweeping regulatory rollbacks and full-scale assault on America’s already decimated public health infrastructure severely undermined the nation’s fight against Covid-19 and caused tens of thousands of preventable deaths. Continue reading

Congressional report reveals manufacturers ‘knowingly’ sold toxin-tainted baby food

"This is what happens when you let the food and chemical companies, not the FDA, decide whether our food is safe to eat."

Leading baby food manufacturers are selling—knowingly and without warning—unsafe products contaminated with dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals that can cause serious and often irreversible damage to infant brain development, according to a new congressional investigation that is generating renewed calls for greater regulation of the industry. Continue reading

Trump was on controversial baldness drug

In 2018, President Trump’s doctor disclosed that the president takes finasteride, a drug marketed as Propecia to treat male pattern baldness. While it is tempting to make jokes about Trump’s hair and even the sexual side effects that accompany the drug, it also has many disturbing adverse effects and probably no other men should risk taking the hair drug. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: The never ending COVID crisis

Profits determine the US response to a health care crisis, so Americans are in trouble regardless of who occupies the White House. Continue reading

Corporate media bash teachers’ unions for resisting school reopenings amid rising death toll

Rather than attack the government for its poor handling of the COVID crisis, corporate media have opted for a return to a favorite pastime of theirs: union bashing.

The seven-day average COVID death toll hit an all-time high last Wednesday, with over 3,400 Americans expected to die on any given day. Educator cases are on the rise. Studies have shown that children are as likely to contract and pass the coronavirus on as adults, making schools potential super spreading hotspots. As a result, European nations like the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands are shuttering schools, despite, in many cases, having lower infection rates than the U.S. Continue reading

Poor nations left reeling after Bill Gates advised Oxford to ditch open source COVID vaccine

Unable to secure a profit in immunizing poorer nations, Western multinationals, including Oxford’s private partner AstraZeneca, have prioritized those who can pay the most.

Europe is reeling from the shock news that biotech giant AstraZeneca will not be delivering anything like the number of vaccines it promised. The company informed European Union officials that they will only be supplying 31 million doses to 27 E.U. countries, rather than the 80 million they had promised would arrive by the end of March. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti predicted that the news would reap “enormous damage” on the continent that has already sustained over 32 million confirmed cases and 703,000 deaths due to COVID-19. Continue reading

Covid-19 under Apartheid: How Israel manipulates suffering of Palestinians

Israel’s decision to exclude Palestinians from its COVID-19 vaccination campaign may have surprised many. Even by Israel’s poor humanitarian standards, denying Palestinians access to life-saving medication seems extremely callous. Continue reading

Diet drug pulled after red flags

By now, most people are aware of the US obesity statistics. In 2016, almost 70 percent of US adults were obese of overweight says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means normal sized people are in the minority. (Some are even considered “anorexics.”) Continue reading

Grocery workers call on employers to put public health above CEO profits

Congress let mandatory paid leave requirements expire at the end of 2020, sparking calls for universal leave benefits to protect workers and their customers from the pandemic.

Congress allowed federal mandatory emergency paid leave benefits to expire at the end of 2020, leaving millions of American workers more vulnerable to catching—and spreading—the COVID-19 virus. Continue reading

More brave new food: FDA approves an “innovative animal biotechnology product”

This month the FDA approved the first “intentional genomic alteration” (IGA) in pigs. The “animal biotechnology product” is called a “GalSafe” pig. It is designed to eliminate a substance called “alpha-gal sugar” found on the surface of pigs’ cells that could cause people with Alpha-gal (AGS), syndrome to have allergic reactions to red meat. The recently identified condition of AGS usually begins with a tick bite that sensitizes someone to later allergic reactions to beef, pork, and lamb. Continue reading

Hey, hey, FDA! how many Americans have you killed since May?

As I write this on December 17, the US Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is meeting to review a COVID-19 vaccine developed by biotech company Moderna. Likely outcome: The panel will recommend approval of the vaccine to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn. Continue reading

A public option won’t save us. The sick and disabled need Medicare-for-All

Medicare and Medicaid are rife with complicated formulas for exclusions, exceptions, and limitations. The cruelty that is imposed by the constraints of these programs cannot be overstated.

I have multiple sclerosis. It is a painful, often debilitating, ever-progressing disability and disease with no cure. I don’t have a viable plan for what will surely be a lifetime of extensive healthcare. No one in my situation could. It would be impossible for me to maintain long term care under the for-profit insurance system. Over the last ten years, insurance deductibles have risen 111%, premiums have risen 55%, and workers’ earnings only 27%. I currently work full time to maintain my very expensive employer-based healthcare. When working full time renders me too disabled to continue working full time, I will promptly lose this healthcare. Continue reading

I know why black people are dying at triple the pandemic rates but white people better pay attention, too

Since the pandemic began, people of color have been dying at higher rates than those with lighter skin tones. Black, Indigenous and Latino Americans all have a COVID-19 death rate of triple or more that of White Americans. Continue reading

The rain on our yes-we-now-have-a-vaccine! parade

What could be better than a drug that can stop COVID? A society that doesn’t let some make billions off a drug millions can’t access.

Who doesn’t like a race? A grand global race, like the competition to run the first mile under four minutes. Or the race to scale the world’s highest mountain. Or be the first to walk on the moon. Continue reading

Mink strains of COVID show the potential folly of a vaccine

The role of China’s wet markets in producing COVID is ignored for two reasons. Vaccines that Pharma is developing with $1 billion of our tax dollars would be shown to be a fool’s errand as new animal strains erupt from the markets. And wild-eyed conspiracists, when they aren’t exposing Satanic cultists who eat babies, call the virus a “bioweapon” not an outgrowth of animal practices. (Were the animal originated SARS, MERS, Ebola, Avian Flu and HIV also bioweapons conspiracists? How about malaria?) Continue reading

Biden health adviser has a plan to get pandemic under control and revive economy: Pay people to stay home for 4-6 weeks

The government "could pay for a package right now" to cover economic losses—making it possible to curb COVID-19 transmission without increasing the financial suffering associated with shutting down commerce, said epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.

A nationwide lockdown of four to six weeks would help contain the coronavirus pandemic and need not cause economic hardship, according to Dr. Michael Osterholm, a top health adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, who said that paying people to stay home would limit the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and put the country on track for a smoother recovery. Continue reading

Britain’s endless lockdowns are taking a terrible toll

The problem is that most Britishers are no longer in the mood to be compliant

John, a British friend of mine whom I met in Dubai some 30 years ago, retired to the UK where he rebuilt his life in South Wales. He has always lived alone and enjoys his own company while regularly socialising with friends and travelling around the world to catch-up with others Continue reading

Is Pharma our COVID savior?

The COVID pandemic has given Pharma a temporary halo. Who cares about its prohibitively expensive drugs, the way it hides drug risks, the way that it “sells” diseases through TV ads and “symptom checkers” and the opioid epidemic it created? We need a vaccine and we need it now! Already Pharma has received $1 billion of our hard earned tax dollars to develop COVID vaccines. Continue reading

Why Your CVS prescription is taking so long

The drug store giant’s CEO has been cutting corners while rewarding himself handsomely.

Sometimes I don’t know whether to weep uncontrollably, laugh hysterically, or just throw up. Continue reading

‘We Need Medicare for All’: Tens of millions more expected to lose employer-based insurance by 2021

The strain on employers ‘just shows how ridiculous it is to have a system where a person's health insurance is tied to their job.’

While for-profit health insurers have reported record-high earnings this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, small companies across the U.S. are reporting difficulty paying premiums for their employees—and tens of millions of workers are expected to lose their employer-based health insurance by the end of the year, even if they keep their jobs. Continue reading

How concentrated animal feeding operations fuel pandemics

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may be the worst in recent memory but another pandemic occurred just a decade ago. During 2009 and 2010, the world was stricken with H1NI, a novel virus hosted by pigs. Continue reading

Trump takes another shot at seniors: Medicare and Medigap costs increasing in 2021

Not content with referring to the 200,000 Americans who have perished from Covid-19 as “virtual nobodies,” Donald Trump has a particularly damaging surprise in store for senior citizens. Trump’s category of “nobodies,” who he classed as “elderly people with heart problems and other problems,” are going to see costly rises in Medicare and Medigap costs in 2021. Once considered an essential component of Trump’s base, senior citizens are fleeing away in droves from Trump, particularly in key states with large numbers of retirees, including Florida, Arizona, and Texas. Continue reading

Trump’s USDA is serving up diseased chicken

Federal regulators recently okayed selling chickens suffering from Avian Leukosis, which produces cancerous tumors.

Top regulatory officials in Trump’s government keep chanting the same one-word mantra: “Deregulate. Deregulate. Deregulate.” Continue reading

Connecting the dots: big meat, big pharma, big vaccines and big pandemics

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is surely the worst in recent memory, but prehistory is full of records of plagues and pandemics. Continue reading

COVID ‘has laid bare’ the crisis of healthcare in America

Wendell Potter’s new group, the Center for Health and Democracy, investigates money in politics and how it stubbornly resists health insurance reform.

Time flies. Hard to believe that it was twelve years ago that healthcare reform activist Wendell Potter left his job as head of corporate communications at Cigna and shortly after, loudly blew the whistle on the gross malpractices of the health insurance industry that had employed him. Continue reading

Trump’s pathological racism and COVID-19

Donald Trump’s pathological racism, which he displays every day, has hampered international efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. Trump’s insistence on using terms like the “Chinese flu” or “China flu” to describe COVID-19 is merely designed to stoke tensions with China and, by default, between Trump’s racist white nationalist base and Asian-Americans. Worse is Trump’s use of the blatantly racist “kung flu” to denote COVID-19. Continue reading