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Health & Environment

Health, Science & Environment

Health Care: The Disquieting Truth

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  • Tracking Medicine: A Researcher’s Quest to Understand Health Care 
by John E. Wennberg
Oxford University Press, 319 pp., $29.95
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  • Health Insurance costs going up, and reformers won’t admit it
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Arnold Relman, New York Review of Books

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Will Shapira

Joely Richardson and Dylan Walsh in the television series Nip/Tuck Warner Bros. Television/Everett Collection

Most experts agree that the central problem with the US health care system is its high cost. We can’t afford universal coverage unless there is much better control of medical expenditures, which are now reaching over $2.5 trillion per year. What’s more, without effective control of health costs the federal budget deficit and the national debt will continue to increase.

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Nevertheless, our political leaders have decided to expand and improve insurance coverage first, while deferring any serious attention to costs. Moreover, as I will discuss in the second part of this review, the book by John E. Wennberg demonstrates that in many parts of the US, costs are driven up by an excessive supply of medical services.

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In March, after more than a year of bitterly partisan congressional debate, a narrow majority of exclusively Democratic lawmakers passed the most extensive health care reform since Medicare and Medicaid were enacted forty-five years ago. As described by Jonathan Oberlander and Theodore Marmor in these pages, the main thrust of this extensive legislation is to provide federal aid for mandatory expansion of coverage by Medicaid and by private insurance plans, and to expand benefits under Medicare. It has also been promoted by its sponsors as a measure to control costs, but it is not. Oberlander and Marmor make very clear that there is little reason to expect it will do much in the near future to control the relentless rise in health expenditures—a task that must wait for future reforms.

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Related:

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Health Insurance costs going up, and reformers won’t admit it, E. Thomas McClanahan, Kansas City Star | KS

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  • Threat from Sebelius defies economic reality
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  • Steep rate hikes on way for individual health insurance
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Summary: Health Care Reform: Week of September 26

4 New Items including:

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  • 10 Major New Health Reform Benefits Take Effect Today (Sep 23)
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  • Health Insurance costs going up, and reformers won’t admit it
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Leroy Wright

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5 key health reforms you need to know, Constance Gustke, Bankrate.com
Highlights
•    Changes that do away with limits on lifetime caps can prevent bankruptcy.
•    There are welcome reform changes for kids with pre-existing conditions.
•    Some price increases are likely: Free preventive care can increase costs.

10 Major New Health Reform Benefits Take Effect Today (Sep 23), Rep. John B. Larson (D-CT), Huffington Post

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  • Major new health reform benefits take effect today to help keep health insurance companies accountable, lower health care costs, guarantee more health care choices, and enhance the quality of health care for all Americans.
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  • Starting today, insurers will be required to:
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Health Insurance costs going up, and reformers won’t admit it, E. Thomas McClanahan, Kansas City Star | KS

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  • Threat from Sebelius defies economic reality
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  • Steep rate hikes on way for individual health insurance
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Steep rate hikes on way for individual health insurance, Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times | WA
Double-digit rate increases are hitting most individual health-insurance plans in Washington state, hurting jobless workers and worrying insurance regulators.

The Corporate Fascists Are Coming For Our Food Supply And They Must Be Stopped

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S. 510, the so-called Food Safety Modernization Act, is very bad news and must be stopped.
Stop S. 510 Action Page

The Pen

In the aftermath of the massive recent Salmonella in eggs recall it is clear that 100 percent of the real problems with our food safety are the giant factory farms, where animals spend their entire wretched lives wallowing in their own filth in claustrophobic conditions. These CAFOs (we call them Concentrated Animal Filth Operations) are just mega breeding grounds for bacteria and deadly new viruses that end up not just in animal products but spread to
vegetable fields and even our water supply.

We need a scalpel, and a large one, to cut to the heart of these problems, but not a huge blunderbuss of a shotgun loaded with random bird shot. We need to keep onerous new bureaucratic regulation from driving out of business the small operations that are the bed rock of our real food supply safety. And most of all we don't need another
food czar who is just a corporate crony to wave through a massive invasion of genetically modified crops and animals and call it food safety modernization.

S. 510 is just a huge corporate takeover of our entire food supply, to our health detriment, and must be stopped at all costs.

This is just another example of why we need to break the death grip that corporate special interests now have around the throats of our wise public policy.

Stop S. 510 Action Page

Facebook Action Page

Twitter reply for this same action

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so here.

Lady Gaga a danger to the mental health of her fans?

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  • Pop music superstar Lady Gaga appears to have crossed the line into a world of necro-inspired insanity. Yet she's worshipped by children and teens (and quite a few adults) who listen to her music. Here's why she could be dangerous to their mental health.
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  • Seriously. This is the stuff your teenage kids are piping into their brains through their iPods, by the way.
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  • Lady Gaga: Pop Star for a Country and an Empire in Decline
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Mike Adams, NaturalNews.com

If you've ever wondered about the true mental sickness of the entertainment industry, look no further than Lady Gaga. She rose to fame and has become a teen favorite by pumping out tunes like "Love Game" where she belts out lines such as "Let's have some fun, this beat is sick, I wanna take a ride on your disco stick."

Seriously. This is the stuff your teenage kids are piping into their brains through their iPods, by the way.

And that's just the beginning: Lady Gaga is also largely responsible for the new craze of wearing "dilated pupil contact lenses" which make young girls appear to be either sexually aroused or stoned. These contact lenses are potentially dangerous, and they are being brought into the U.S. illegally, bypassing FDA approval. But thanks to Lady Gaga, young girls are increasingly interested in wearing them so they, too, can look "aroused and stoned" in order to arouse potential sex partners.

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Related:

Lady Gaga: Pop Star for a Country and an Empire in Decline, Sarah Jaffe,  AlterNet
We have made monsters out of others in order to kill them without fear. Gaga makes herself a monster to try to show us ourselves.

BP oil spill: US scientist retracts assurances over success of cleanup

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National Oceanic and Atmospherioc Administration's (NOAA's) Bill Lehr says three-quarters of the oil that gushed from the Deepwater Horizon rig is still in sea while scientists identify 22-mile plume in ocean depths.

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian | UK/Axis of Logic

Bill Lehr, a senior scientist at the NOAA, appeared before Congress to repudiate an earlier report he wrote, which suggested the majority of the oil had been captured. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Bill Lehr, a senior scientist at the NOAA, appeared before Congress to repudiate an earlier report he wrote, which suggested the majority of the oil had been captured. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 
White House claims that the worst of the BP oil spill was over were undermined yesterday when a senior government scientist said three-quarters of the oil was still in the Gulf and a research study detected a 22-mile plume of oil in the ocean depths.

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Bill Lehr, a senior scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) departed from an official report from two weeks ago which suggested the majority of the oil had been captured or broken down.

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