Posted by Charles II on January 10, 2013
What profiteth a man if he gain the world and cannot even get decent medical care? Sarah Boseley, The Guardian:
America may be one of the richest countries in the world, but its people are less healthy and more likely to die early from disease or accidents than those in any other affluent country, a damning official US report has found.
Even the best-off Americans – those who have health insurance, a college education, a high income and healthy behaviour – are sicker than their peers in comparable countries, says the report by the US National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.
“We were struck by the gravity of these findings,” said Steven H Woolf, professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and chair of the panel that wrote the report. “Americans are dying and suffering at rates that we know are unnecessary because people in other high-income countries are living longer lives and enjoying better health.
The US does badly in nine specific areas….highest infant mortality rate …. does poorly on other birth outcomes, such as low weight babies.
Deaths from injuries and homicides are far higher than elsewhere and a leading cause of death in children, adolescents and young adults. US adolescents have had the highest rate of pregnancies of affluent countries since the 1990s and are more likely to acquire sexually transmitted infections. The US has the second highest HIV rate and the highest incidence of Aids among the 17 countries.
Even taking out drunk driving, Americans lose more years of life to alcohol and other drugs than people in other affluent countries. The US has the highest obesity rate and, from age 20, one of the highest levels of type 2 diabetes. The death rate from heart disease is the second highest in the 17 countries. There is more lung disease and more deaths from it than in Europe and older people report more arthritis and other limitations on their activity than in Europe or Japan.
I’ll be surprised if the Republicans allow Obamacare to be fully implemented. Killing off Americans is so much more in line with what they do!
Posted in health care, health issues, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on May 2, 2012
I guess they were a bunch of socialists. Eliot Spitzer, Slate (via Avedon) reports on an article in TNR by Einer Elhauge:
In 1790, a Congress including 20 Founders passed a law requiring that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. Washington signed it into law.
In 1792, another law signed by Washington required that all able-bodied men buy a firearm. (So much for the argument that Congress can’t force us to participate in commerce.)
And in 1798, a Congress with five framers passed a law requiring that all seamen buy hospital insurance for themselves. Adams signed this legislation.
Not only did most framers support these federal mandates to buy firearms and health insurance, but there is no evidence that any of the few framers who voted against these mandates ever objected on constitutional grounds. Presumably one would have done so if there was some unstated original understanding that such federal mandates were unconstitutional. Moreover, no one thought these past purchase mandates were problematic enough to challenge legally.
To bad the Solicitor General didn’t make these arguments when it was his turn at bat. But if the Court rejects the Affordable Healthcare Act, we will all know that it is based on the lie that the Founders would never make anyone do anything.
Posted in health care, Supreme Court | Comments Off
Posted by Charles II on March 30, 2012
In its entirety:
The following message was released today by the National Alliance of Funeral Directors:
This week, several Republican Supreme Court Justices have argued that the Affordable Care Act supported by the Obama Administration is unconstitutional. At the National Alliance of Funeral Directors, we couldn’t agree more.
It was Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry who said, in 1775, “Give me liberty or give me death.” From that moment on, legal scholars have agreed that the Constitution guarantees every American the liberty to be dead. Here at the Alliance, we will fight for your right to be dead to the death.
Let’s take a look, if you will, at the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which protects every American’s right to shoot another American. It says nothing about giving the person who is shot health insurance to prevent him from dying. This cherished constitutional right to shoot people and make them dead is currently recognized in all fifty states, most recently Florida.
In commenting on the Affordable Care Act this week, Justice Samuel Alito compared the Obama healthcare plan to burial insurance. Coincidentally, burial insurance is the Republican healthcare plan, and one that we enthusiastically support. Under this plan, every American would be mandated to buy a coffin from one of our member-owned and operated funeral homes. May we recommend the Peaceful Valley Royale,™ a luxury mahogany casket with sienna satin interior and the finest imitation antique nickel handles ($2899).
As the organization representing America’s funeral directors, gravediggers, embalmers and cremators, we are confident that the Supreme Court will ultimately do the right thing and decide that healthcare flies in the face of every American’s constitutional right to the pursuit of deadness. And when they do, we’ll be waiting for you.
The National Alliance of Funeral Directors
Posted in health care, judicial rulings, judiciary, Republicans as cancer, Supreme Court | 4 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on March 2, 2012
I do not understand why, in discussing Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of Sandra Fluke as a “slut” because she wanted health insurance to include birth control (Limbaugh called this “being paid to have sex”) that almost none of those who spoke in opposition to Limbaugh noted many of the women who use birth control are married. As Keith Olbermann (the only person I have heard who made this obvious point) said, Limbaugh probably just called his four wives and his mothers prostitutes.
Nor has anyone asked whether people who have insurance against cancer, including prevention, are being paid to have cancer, another rather obvious question. [Added: or, for more perfect parallelism, paying to get anally probed. What does that make Rush?]
I am not surprised that Democrats/liberals/feminists/etc. lose rhetorical battles when they are so poor at listening to their opponents.
Perhaps they imagine that no one could be so morally sick that they would deny health insurance to people at risk of getting cancer. But what poor imagination, considering that for sixty years the right wing has denied that insurance to tens of millions of people annually, leading to death and suffering that probably exceeds all of the American casualties of World War II.
Yes, they are that bad. It would help if the people who represent progressive causes would stop sputtering and start really listening.
Added: What makes Jon Stewart a great comedian? He listens to what people are actually saying, and verbalizes it. The problem with progressive spokespeople like NOW president Terry O’Neill, is that so many of them trained in the law, while so few of them trained in being class clown, which is where the real action in rhetorical efficacy is to be found.
Posted in evil, health care, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, Rush Limbaugh | Comments Off
Posted by Charles II on June 26, 2011
Alan Rappeport, FT.
Who cares if its workable? As long as it p–ses off the liberals, it must be a good thing.
Posted in health care | 1 Comment »
Posted by Charles II on June 9, 2011
Yes, the issue is so obvious that even a Reagan Republican can see it. Bruce Bartlett (via Barry Ritholtz):
This is everything–federal,state, and local taxes. Even when–to make a truly fair comparison– you add the cost of a European-style health care system (since Europe pays for healthcare through taxes), it would only add about 5 GDP points [see footnote] to taxes (because we already pay taxes for Medicare, Medicaid, vets, and government workers), putting the US between Slovakia and Canada in terms of taxes plus healthcare. This puts the US near (but below) the OECD average. And if we had a healthcare system as efficient as the European one, our taxes would be 4.9 GDP points below the OECD average. That amounts to almost $700B.
In other words, our deficit problem is a problem of undertaxation plus inefficiency in healthcare delivery.
footnote: To compare the burden of taxes plus healthcare, Bartlett adds in the costs of the US health care system as it is. This adds 8.6 GDP points to the cost burden, but since we know that the US system costs about 60% more than the European, one can estimate that the additional cost of a European-style system would add 5.4 points to taxes including healthcare… and subtract about $800B from private costs for healthcare.
Posted in health care, taxes | Comments Off
Posted by Charles II on June 5, 2011
Krugman flagged a very interesting paper by several UT Houston authors. It is dated 1998, but since zombie lies never die, it is just as fresh today as it was then. Here is an excerpt:
Why are health care costs so high, and so hard to control? Everybody knows the answer, or at least a large part of it. “Spiraling costs” have been driven by the aging of the population. As the baby boomers turn geriatric, the pressure can only get worse. And everybody is wrong. All the evidence points in a very different direction. Mencken would be amused.
The aging population story is, moreover, only one of a number of common misunderstandings, widely held and erroneous beliefs, about health care and its costs.
• Spiraling costs are driven by “frivolous” patient demands; these can be dampened through the judicious application of user fees.
• Costs would be even higher if insurance coverage were universal; no one is against covering the uninsured, if only it weren’t so expensive. (This belief is exclusive to the United States.)
• You get what you pay for; higher costs buy more and/or better health care. Cost control inevitably implies “rationing” and imperils health.
• More and/or better health care is the only, or at least the major, way to improve health.
Each of these is based on a mix of truths, half-truths, and fallacies. They offer interpretations of the forces driving cost expansion in the health care sector that are “neat, plausible, and wrong” – and dangerously misleading for health care policy.
Posted in health care, liars | Comments Off
Posted by Charles II on April 18, 2011
That would probably be the Culture of Truth distillation of a news story involving Tenet Healthcare and Community Healthcare, had he come across it. Don Jeffrey of Bloomberg:
Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC), after rejecting Community Health Systems Inc. (CYH)’s unsolicited buyout offer, said it sued that company for allegedly overbilling Medicare in admitting patients to its hospitals. Community Health Systems shares plunged.
Tenet seeks to compel Community Health Systems to disclose how it admits patients to hospitals for “financial rather than clinical purposes,” according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today in which Tenet said it filed the lawsuit in federal court in Texas.
Community Health, the largest publicly traded hospital company in the U.S., bid $6 a share in cash and stock, or $7.3 billion, in November to acquire Tenet. Tenet rejected the offer in December, saying it wasn’t “remotely fair.”
As Jonathan Weil, also on Bloomberg says, this is like Snooki of Jersey Shore calling someone else on the cast a trashy boozer:
Grand acts of self-immolation aside, what makes this lawsuit comical is Tenet’s own history of ripping off the government, as well as its own shareholders.
Here’s a company that paid more than $900 million as part of a 2006 settlement with the Justice Department, after the government accused Tenet of fraudulently overbilling the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid programs. (The settlement was structured so there would be no formal finding that Tenet had engaged in illegal behavior.)
Tenet paid a $10 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2007 to settle accounting fraud claims. That was about a year after the company agreed to a $216.5 million class-action settlement with Tenet investors.
And yet Tenet, the third-largest publicly traded U.S. hospital operator, has the audacity to accuse the second-largest chain of running a crooked outfit.
Tenet Healthcare’s board includes that paragon of virtue, Jeb Bush (and, as if to show that the corruption is bipartisan, former Sen. Bob Kerrey). The crooks at Community Health Systems are less well known.
(note: I edited out of Weil’s otherwise reasonable rant a comment that attempted to characterize the euthanasia of patients in New Orleans during Katrina as an example of Tenet corporate culture. The medical staff acted in what they believed was the best interest of the patients. That is precisely not the kind of attitude that Tenet’s corporate culture represents)
Posted in Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, corruption, health care | 2 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 13, 2010
The mandate portion of the Baucus-WellPoint “health care reform” law was struck down as unconstitutional by a Federal judge.
Whether or not the Roberts court will allow this attack on the commerce clause to stand is one issue. But another issue is this: Ditching the mandate wouldn’t necessarily kill actual health care reform, as Jon Walker points out:
This problem, of course, could have completely been avoided. You don’t need an individual mandate penalty forcing Americans to buy insurance from a private company to create a near universal health care system. There are dozens of ways to design a health care system without using the government to force people to give money to private companies.
An easy way around the constitutional issue would have been to include a public option and make the whole system more like Medicare. Instead of an individual mandate, you could “tax” individuals and provide them with insurance through the public option. You could then grant everyone who had private insurance a waiver from the tax. Even if the state doesn’t have the right to compel an individual to buy a private product, its constitutional right to tax individuals in exchange for government services is not in doubt.
Walker also notes that there is still time to use reconciliation to add in a public option. Might be something to remind your Senators of. It’s not as if AHIP’s going to keep their word now, is it?
Posted in 2010, gravy train, greed, health care | Comments Off
Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2010
Via Barry Ritholtz.
JA Meyer has two charts that should put the STFU on right-wingers on health care issues.
First, under which presidents have health care costs spiraled out of control? And how do our costs compare with other nations?
Second, what do we get for our insurance premiums?
Some of the lowest life expectancies in the developed world. With a little work, we could catch up with Korea.
Posted in Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush, capitalism as cancer, health care | 1 Comment »