Category Archives: Health Care

I Guess This Means I’ll Have to Leaflet

“Generation Opportunity”–the people who brought you that hideous, weird, Creepy Uncle Sam Video–are coming to UM during Homecoming.

Yes, the Koch-bros-funded astroturf group that wants to persuade young people to forgo health insurance on the grounds that it costs money–and why learn to plan ahead for your future when they are working so hard to make sure you don’t have one?–are coming to Coral Gables. They are well funded (NYT):

Evan Feinberg, the president of Generation Opportunity, said in an interview that the group would spend “close to three-quarters of a million dollars” on the campaign, which will include not just online videos but also events at college football games, music festivals and other gatherings that tend to draw young adults. The group will ask young people to pledge not to sign up for insurance through the exchanges, Mr. Feinberg said.

And they’re coming here (emphasis added):

Generation Opportunity, which formed in 2011 and gets funding in part from the conservative Koch brothers, is about to embark on a tour of 20 college towns nationally, including a Nov. 9 stop at the University of Miami. The pitch is that you shouldn’t feel compelled by the government to buy insurance, and that it may be cheaper outside the marketplaces.

A blueprint for an upcoming tailgate calls for games such as beer pong and cornhole, free Taco Bell and beer. Pictures of people signing petitions to opt out would be sent over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

I’m a big believer that ‘you start where you are’. So if these guys are coming into my back yard, I will probably feel compelled to do something. Leafleting on the importance of critical care insurance, and the lifelong value of knowing you have insurance even if you lose your job, seems a possibility.

Pointers to any good ready-made leaflets or graphics online gratefully accepted. I suppose if I were really going to get organized about this, I’d try to liaise with relevant student groups (college Democrats?), but that sounds like more meetings….

Posted in Health Care, U.Miami | 1 Comment

The $23,800 Bug Bite

Greg Knauss describes his son’s $23,800 bug bite, and why Obamacare (and thus this coming election) is important.

This is how medicine is supposed to work. Everybody has been kind and patient and our stay has been nothing but reassuring and comfortable. Alerts were raised when they should have been, and professionals acted accordingly. Score one for the American medical establishment.

The bill is $23,800.

I’ll have to have to pay less than 6% of that, because I’m lucky enough to still have insurance.

Two years ago, the company I worked for up and skedaddled — that’s how you say it, right? — to Texas, for a “better business environment” than you can apparently find in California. I think that means that the CEO doesn’t have to pay state taxes and is allowed to hunt low-level employees for sport. I’ve been working as an independent contractor since — and having a good time doing it — but I haven’t been able to find private insurance. Everybody loves the small businessman, the fabled self-sufficient entrepreneur, unless he’s got a history of kidney stones and a ruptured disc and, delicately put, a “problematic height/weight ratio.” They didn’t say which way it was problematic, but I think it’s insurance industry jargon for “Tubby McLardass.”

But California — in an effort, no doubt, to discourage business — lets former employes extend their COBRA coverage for an additional 18 months after the federal limit runs out. I’m paying the full premium, but I and my family have insurance.

It’s good, I suppose, to be reminded that although President Obama has been so disappointing in so many things I care about — torture, drone killings, Guantanamo, stimulus, bank fraud, immigration (until election pressure got to him) — things could be even worse.

But the Republican convention just finished up, and tens of thousands of people gathered in Tampa to cheer every mention of reversing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The PPACA is how literally tens of millions of Americans can avoid having a bug bite wipe them out financially.

Uniformed troops are out of Iraq, although that has at least as much to do with the Iraqis kicking us out as it does with the Administration’s determination to leave. We did get almost a quarter loaf on health care, and the cause of gay rights has advanced.

Spotted via rc3.

Posted in 2012 Election, Health Care | 4 Comments

“The Mandate is in Trouble”

That’s the conclusion of a leading Supreme Court observer based on this morning’s oral arguments.

The source, SCOTUS Blog, is a bit slashdotted at this moment.

Posted in Health Care | 3 Comments

Google Health Has Only Months to Live

HealthVault to die 1/1/12:

When we launched Google Health, our goal was to create a service that would give people access to their personal health and wellness information. We wanted to translate our successful consumer-centered approach from other domains to healthcare and have a real impact on the day-to-day health experiences of millions of our users.

Now, with a few years of experience, we’ve observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would. There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts. But we haven’t found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people. That’s why we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue the Google Health service. We’ll continue to operate the Google Health site as usual through January 1, 2012, and we’ll provide an ongoing way for people to download their health data for an additional year beyond that, through January 1, 2013. Any data that remains in Google Health after that point will be permanently deleted.

Official Google Blog: An update on Google Health and Google PowerMeter

There were some major privacy issues, although (because?) Google Health navigated around HIPAA effectively. I wonder how many people exactly were using it? The people at Microsoft HealthVault must be very happy today.

Posted in Health Care, ID Cards, Internet | Leave a comment

Report from Haiti’s Medical Front Line

For complicated reasons perhaps having to do with how both doctors and patients are trained, blogger “Scott” finds that Haitian patients have an unusual approach to foreign doctors:

they seem to have this insane mindset, exactly the opposite of that prevailing in parts of the States, where medicine is good. In particular, getting more medicine of any type is always a good thing and will make them healthier, and doctors are these strange heartless people who will prevent them from taking a stomach medication just because maybe they don’t have a stomach problem at this exact moment. As a result, they lie like heck. I didn’t realize exactly how much they were lying until I heard the story, now a legend at our clinic, of the man who came in complaining of vaginal discharge. He had heard some woman come in complaining of vaginal discharge and get lots of medication for it, so he figured he should try his luck with the same. And this wasn’t an isolated incident, either. Complaints will go in "fads", so that if a guy comes in complaining of ear pain and gets lots of medicine, on his way out he’ll mention it to the other patients in line and they’ll all mention ear pain too – or so the translators and veteran staff have told me.

via Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz. The whole account is interesting, although it differs quite a bit from other accounts I’ve read (and heard) of post-disaster medicine in Haiti.

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Florida Governor Gets the Respect He Deserves

Political Animal’s The moral of the story: don’t elect a criminal to be governor is full of both bon mots and painful truths about Governor Voldemort.

Posted in Florida, Health Care, Politics: The Party of Sleaze | Leave a comment

Can You OD on Melatonin?

Should we be worried about Tom Smith? Maybe he’s kidding. He’s such a kidder.

Posted in Health Care | Leave a comment