Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

As Romney passed St. James’ Infirmary…

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

He saw lots of people’s sweethearts there, cause everybody in America can have their life-threatening conditions treated for freesies.

Wait, turns out they can’t either. Here, I’ll just let this guy talk about it. He does it better.

Cal Thomas Tries to Revive “Death Panel” Lie

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

I missed this scolding when it was printed in the Birmingham News, but, fortunately, local attorney Jo Alison Taylor wrote a brilliant response that caught my eye this morning.  According to Cal Thomas, we all owed Sarah Palin an apology in December because Obama had managed to sneak through the “death panels” after all.  That would be the “death panels” that PolitiFact called the political lie of the year in 2009.

Now we learn, courtesy of one of the ridiculers — The New York Times — that [Palin] was right. Under a new policy not included in the law for fear the administration’s real end-of-life game would be exposed, a rule issued by the recess-appointed Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, calls for the government to pay doctors to advise patients on options for ending their lives. These could include directives to forgo aggressive treatment that could extend their lives.

Why, that sneaky Obama. How dare the President make a recess appointment? He should wait around for the Republicans to stall it for months on end instead. And how devious of him to allow patients the opportunity to discuss end-of-life plans with their physicians — and allow physicians to be paid for providing their professional services.

Here’s a little background:


Demonstrate Your Support for Health Care Reform

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Join me and (I hope) a bunch of others TOMORROW (Tuesday 10/20)for a demonstration in support of health care reform.

  • When: tomorrow, October 20, noon to 1:30 PM
  • Where: in front of the Federal Building on 5th Avenue North between 18th and 19th Streets
  • Who: sponsored by Greater Birmingham Ministries and open to anyone who supports health care reform
  • What: bring yourself, your sign, and comfortable shoes :)

See you there!

(Full disclosure: yes, I’m shilling for my employer.  We’re the good guys.)

UAB Surgeons Reattach Deputy’s Hand

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

This is just amazing!  Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Freeman was attacked with an axe on Friday while attempting to serve a warrant, and his right hand was severed.  A team of surgeons at UAB reattached his hand — and another unrelated patient’s hand — over the weekend.

It’s too soon to know how well the reattached hands will function, but there’s reason for optimism.  Dr. Jorge de la Torre, part of the surgical team, says this:

“With any of these traumatic type injuries there’s always going to be some loss of function because at the very least, there’s some bone injury and arthritic changes in the wrist — if we’re talking about a case where it’s right at the level of the wrist,” de la Torre said.

“The wrist joint is fairly complicated joint and if you disrupt several of those bones, the chance that you are going to get full range of function at the wrist is unlikely. But the chance that somebody has a functional hand, that they can have sensation, feeling in the fingers and grasp and hold things, that’s something that you’re looking at (in) months.”

Best wishes to Deputy Freeman and the other unnamed patient, and kudos to the surgical team and the medical personnel who are providing after care.  Good work!

Some Required Reading for Spencer Bachus

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

At Congressman Spencer Bachus’ town hall meeting back in August, he based almost all of his opposition to health care reform on the Republican talking points that the “uninsured” really weren’t uninsured or chose to be uninsured or — worst of all — were dirty illegals only here for a welfare handout.

That last got plenty of applause from the 99% of the audience willing to ignore the reality that many US businesses thrive on undocumented workers. Not to mention the reality that undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible for welfare, and won’t be eligible for federal assistance in purchasing health insurance.  And now, apparently, won’t even be able to buy private health insurance with their own money.

Yay for having lots of people with untreated illness working in businesses that we all frequent!  (Well, of course, if you believe the fairy tale that we can stomp our feet real hard and magically remove all the illegals from our midst, you have nothing to worry about.)

It appears that new census data don’t back up Bachus’ assertions about the uninsured:


Health Care Reform Forum Tonight in Birmingham

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Another health care reform forum tonight, this one at 6 PM at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  It features providers, insurers (private and Medicare/Medicaid), academics and advocates.  No yelling, just good information.  For more information, click here (PDF).

Reality Check – Countering Health Care Myths

Friday, August 28th, 2009

T. R. Reid, writing for the Washington Post, addresses five myths about health care around the world.

Read the whole thing.  It’s worth your time.  I was surprised by a number of things, but this struck me most:

U.S. health insurance companies have the highest administrative costs in the world; they spend roughly 20 cents of every dollar for nonmedical costs, such as paperwork, reviewing claims and marketing. France’s health insurance industry, in contrast, covers everybody and spends about 4 percent on administration. Canada’s universal insurance system, run by government bureaucrats, spends 6 percent on administration. In Taiwan, a leaner version of the Canadian model has administrative costs of 1.5 percent; one year, this figure ballooned to 2 percent, and the opposition parties savaged the government for wasting money.

The world champion at controlling medical costs is Japan, even though its aging population is a profligate consumer of medical care. On average, the Japanese go to the doctor 15 times a year, three times the U.S. rate. They have twice as many MRI scans and X-rays. Quality is high; life expectancy and recovery rates for major diseases are better than in the United States. And yet Japan spends about $3,400 per person annually on health care; the United States spends more than $7,000. [emphasis mine]

All this while “In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don’t bother to make an appointment”.

We like to believe we have the best health care in the world, but the statistics say otherwise.  Perhaps this article should be required reading for every Congress member who’s out there trashing “foreign” systems.

h/t Alabama Moderate in comments at Left in Alabama

Today in Death Threats

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Via Think Progress, by way of Shakesville, an attendee at Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Monday town hall meeting had this to say about President Obama:

“The president of the United States, that’s who you should be concerned about. Because he’s acting like a little Hitler,” said Tom Eisenhower, a World War II veteran. “I’d take a gun to Washington if enough of you would go with me.”

I wish I thought Sen. Grassley repudiated that comment and referred this nut to the Secret Service, but somehow I doubt it. Unfortunately, the report to which I linked doesn’t mention any response from the senator, but does point out that the anti-reform crowd at the “emotionally-charged” meeting left satisfied that “Grassley is pretty much, how would you say, one of us.”

Vote for Birmingham

Monday, August 24th, 2009

voteforbirminghamIf you live in the city, be sure to vote in Tuesday’s City Council/School Board elections.  Join Greater Birmingham Ministries and Alabama Arise for a health care briefing at 6:45 PM at First United Methodist Church, and then head to Rojo for an election night celebration with Vote for Birmingham.  Food is provided, drinks on your own.  See you there!

(If you can’t make the health care briefing, the Vote for Birmingham party starts at 7 PM.)


Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

After Spencer Bachus spent all that time last night flogging the single-payer straw man, it looks like we won’t even get a public option.

Insurance companies are delighted with the way “reform” is unfolding. Think of it: The government is planning to require most uninsured Americans to buy health coverage. Millions of young and healthy individuals will be herded into the industry’s welcoming arms. This is the population the insurers drool over.

This additional business — a gold mine — will more than offset the cost of important new regulations that, among other things, will prevent insurers from denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing conditions or imposing lifetime limits on benefits. Poor people will either be funneled into Medicaid, which will have its eligibility ceiling raised, or will receive a government subsidy to help with the purchase of private insurance.

If the oldest and sickest are on Medicare, and the poorest are on Medicaid, and the young and the healthy are required to purchase private insurance without the option of a competing government-run plan — well, that’s reform the insurance companies can believe in.

I guess all those people who were hyperventilating at last night’s town hall meeting over the prospect of “government-run” health care can calm down now.  Especially the ones concerned about their Medicare benefits.