Health Reform

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It Would Not Be the End of Health Reform, Just a Chance to Get It Right

Rose Ann DeMoro, Huffington Post, June 4, 2012 If President Obama is now confiding to Democratic donors that he may have to "revisit" health care in a second term if the Supreme Court throws out his first attempt, as Bloomberg News reported June 1, maybe this time we can get it right. Instead of trying to dress up our broken private insurance-based system, or resuscitating elements of a convoluted plan the court may overturn, it's time to try something different. Fortunately, we have a well established, uniquely American model in place, one that meets the legal test. ... It

Since 1976, SiCKOs Endure to Fight On

Donna Smith, Mike & Friends Blog, June 3, 2012 Happy 36th Anniversary to my husband, Larry. June 3, 1976, to June 3, 2012. And happy anniversary to our dear extended family and friends who struggle with us for healthcare justice. It seems like it has been an instant and forever all at the same time. 

First, for my husband, it seems when we started out our lives together as a couple, no one said it would last. We both had kids from our previous marriages, and I wasn’t the sort of woman your family hoped you’d marry. I was barely 21 years old, and you were an “older” and better established gentleman of 31. We married in spite of what others thought we should do. ... Since

Fifty Shades of Obamacare

Joanna Weiss, Boston Globe, June 3, 2012 I had three separate “Fifty Shades of Grey” sightings last weekend - one in a nail salon, one in a rental car line, one on an airplane from Philadelphia to Boston. The readers were women of different ages and races, and what struck me was that all of them held paperbacks: No shame. When it first hit the public consciousness, “Fifty Shades” was described, not just as “mommy porn,” but also as the ultimate electronic reader fare. The bondage-lite tale of a virginal woman, courted by a billionaire who’s into whips and chains, was easy to hide from your husband or your mom ... Fifty

Chicago, Picasso, Bucket Lists: View From Outside the Ropes

Donna Smith, Protest In The USA, May 31, 2012 Thinking back to the 1967 controversy surrounding Picasso’s sculpture in Daley Plaza in Chicago, I am fascinated by the life moments punctuated by being in proximity to the landmark piece. And it was amazing hearing Grammy award-winning musician Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman, say that playing in the shadow of the Picasso was on his “bucket list” and he could cross that off after he played the May 18th National Nurses United rally for the Robin Hood Tax. I’ll admit I thought about my bucket list that day too as I gazed at the Picasso, but perhaps in a different way since the cancer struggle in which I am now engaged ... Chicago

Nurses, Patients Voice Frustration Over Avoidable Hospital Staffing Crisis

Michelle Chen, In These Times, May 30, 2012 It's a universal health care frustration: the emergency room. Endless waits and doctors who treat patients like products on an assembly line. A new study confirms the exasperation: A large portion of patients believe they’re being treated poorly by an overstretched system. According to the survey, conducted by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, about one in every three patients, who spent at least one night in a hospital in the past year, reported that “nurses weren't available when needed ... " Nurses

Single-payer health care would save billions for Massachusetts

David U. Himmelstein, MD & Steffie Woolhandler, MD, Boston Globe, May 30, 2012 The House and Senate health care proposals would set imaginary limits for spending growth enforced by secret “improvement plans” and wrist slaps for hospitals that overcharge; establish tiered payment schemes to consign the poor and middle class to second-tier hospitals and doctors; push most residents of the Commonwealth into HMOs (oops, we forgot, now they’re called “accountable care organizations,” or ACOs); and wipe out small doctor’s offices by “bundling” their pay into ACO payments. ... Single-payer

Legislation may enable states to offer universal healthcare

To make universal coverage work at the state level, you'd need to channel federal healthcare funds into the system. A bill being drafted by Representation Jim McDermott would allow that to happen. David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2012 Universal coverage, Medicare for all, single payer - call it what you will. It's clear that conservative forces are determined to prevent such a system from ever being introduced at the national level. So it's up to the states.

The catch is that to make universal coverage work at the state level, you'd need some way to channel Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare funds into the system. ... Legislation

Single-Payor Healthcare: What Could it Do on the National Stage?

Bob Herman, Becker's Hospital Review, May 14, 2012 One of the biggest buzz words in healthcare today is "reform" - and to quote REO Speedwagon, "It's everywhere." Perhaps the biggest poster child of the term "reform" is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that President Barack Obama signed into law in March 2010. Some argue the law - which is currently being contested in the Supreme Court - overreached its bounds in reforming what most would say is a broken healthcare system, but many others believe the law did not go far enough, especially when it comes to providing maximum health coverage ... Single-Payor

Health care spending shows slowing trend

Behavior changes and recession key as costs taper off. Annie Lowrey, New York Times, April 29, 2012 Washington - The growth of health spending has slowed substantially in the last few years, surprising experts and offering some fuel for optimism about the federal government’s long-term fiscal performance. Much of the slowdown is because of the recession, and thus not unexpected, health experts say. But some of it seems to be due to changing behavior by consumers and providers of health care - meaning that the lower rates of growth might persist even as the economy picks up. ... Health

Use of antipsychotic drugs raises alarm

Federal data obtained by the Globe show many nursing homes make heavy use of antipsychotic drugs to pacify residents. Kay Lazar & Matt Carroll, Boston Globe, April 29, 2012 Rosanne Murphy was growing more agitated as she sank deeper into Alzheimer’s disease. Unable to bathe, dress, or feed herself, she would call her daughter in a panic many nights at bedtime, not remembering where she was. It was time, her daughter, Alison Weingartner, realized - time for her mother, then 80, to move to a nursing home. Over two months in early 2006, she visited 10 facilities ... Use

Health Systems Spending Billions to Prepare for the "Last Battle"

Dave Chase, Forbes, April 23, 2012 Matthew Herper‘s May 7th cover story reports on the billionaires at Cerner and Epic created by the HITECH Act. This was the $19 billion portion of the stimulus bill that is providing billions of subsidies for the adoption of electronic health records. When this kind of money is being spent, it begs the question whether health systems are making the best use of that investment in modernizing the US healthcare system. On the one hand, it’s hard to argue with modernizing the record-keeping in healthcare that isn’t far beyond how medicine was recorded in the time of Hippocrates. ... Health

Hospital bosses say PFI firm ‘putting lives at risk’

Shân Ross, The Scotsman, April 20, 2012 The controversial private management of health services was under fire last night after the company that runs one of Scotland’s largest hospitals was threatened with legal action for blunders that “put patients’ lives at risk”. Health chiefs at NHS Lothian said they could “no longer tolerate the repeated, serious and potentially life-threatening” problems at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI), which was built and is managed by the private firm Consort. In one incident, surgeons had to finish an operation by torchlight after maintenance workers cut power to the theatre. ... Hospital

No panacea for China's healthcare reform

Benjamin A Shobert, Asia Times, April 17, 2012 Not since the earliest days of Deng Xiaoping's reforms of the iron rice bowl in the 1980s has China faced as great a need for change as the leaders currently face. Then as now, the government in Beijing recognized a pressing need to reform the means by which social services were provided. But unlike then, today's reforms must occur in the midst of a society that has already experienced significant economic growth and has already gone through a painful opening of formerly public services to private competition. For most Chinese ... their access to healthcare has actually deteriorated ... No

Fairer and better healthcare for all

Cesar Chelala, China Daily, April 6, 2012 China's economy has developed significantly in the last decades, lifting millions of people out of poverty and improving their health. One of the consequences of the nation's economic progress has been the increase in life expectancy, to 72.5 in 2010. Despite this progress, however, many health issues remain unresolved. While the wealthier portion of the Chinese population has benefited from advanced health technologies, many among the poor do not have adequate access to even the most essential services. ... Fairer

Nursing home scarce for China's elderly

Zhang Ming'ai,, March 28, 2012 For Zhang Yinsheng, 90, the stairs leading to his home kept getting longer and steeper every day. It didn't always feel like this. Zhang recalled 20 years ago, when he often went to the market for vegetables in the morning and came home in the evening to cook with wife Li Yuzhen. The retired couple lived a very casual life, raising flowers and drawing pictures. "We are happy to live our lives like this," Zhang said. Living in a nursing home was the last thing in his mind. A couple of unfortunate incidents made him change his mind. First, he left the fire burning on the stove after cooking ... Nursing

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