Recently in Health care reform Category

$100 hemorrhoid foam & health care reform

Dr. Rob - on his Musings of a Distractible Mind blog - shares a moment from his clinical experience.

That quote comes from a Houston Chronicle story about "an ailing picture of health care in Texas." Excerpt:

The recent spate of national studies, sponsored by nonpartisan foundations and academic groups, portray Texas as a state where, paradoxically, most people lead healthy lives and some of the most advanced medical treatment in the nation is available - but where a large and growing number of residents are without basic medical services, preventive care or health insurance.

Hmmm. Before dinner last night I was talking with South African surgeon and blogger Neil Taverner about the two distinctly different health care systems for rich and poor in South Africa.

Any similarities?

A million dollars a day on health care reform TV ads


$110 million overall so far.

Read it and weep over what else that money could be spent on.

A challenge to journalism to improve coverage of health care reform

From Drew Altman, PhD, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Read the entire column, but here's an excerpt:

With so much of the media now configured for instant news and the relentless pursuit of controversy, stoked by spin and manufactured news by partisans on both sides, the many great journalists in the news business working hard to inform the public face a big challenge in explaining the complex issues in health reform. columnist David Brauer wonders why the Washington Post - and not a local news organization - asked tough questions about whether the Mayo Clinic is a replicable model for health care reform.

New data on unsustainable health care cost increases

Family health insurance premiums rose about 5 percent this year, which is much more than general inflation (which fell 0.7 percent during the same period), according to the benchmark 2009 Employer Health Benefits Survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

The report reminds us that since 1999, premiums have gone up a total of 131 percent, far more rapidly than workers' wages (up 38 percent since 1999) or inflation (up 28 percent since 1999).

UK doctors and patients respond to health care lies & myths


The BMJ has published a letter to Senator John Kerry from more than 100 British National Health Service professionals and patients "addressing head-on some of the myths that have been perpetuated about the UK's healthcare system."

The letter begins:

Dear Senator Kerry,

Your reported call for "lies" about health care reform to be refuted is essential and requires an urgent response. To that end, may we - British health professionals and patients - respectfully expose those "lies" which are about our National Health Service, a service which our experience shows to work successfully for the benefit of all in this country.

Continue reading to see the full letter.

Not enough talk about evidence-based medicine in current "debate"

In an editorial in the Sacramento Bee today, Shannon Brownlee and Michael Wilkes write:

"Why isn't the issue of medical evidence front and center in the health care debate? Maybe because doctors have not always been truthful in telling people what they know and don't know. Many physicians are either unwilling or unable to take the time needed to fully explain where uncertainty exists. As a result, 65 percent of California voters are under the mistaken impression that most or nearly all of the health care they receive is backed up by scientific studies."

This is a masterful example of how to face a crowd - a crowd you don't control - and have a rational, meaningful discussion on health care reform.

Maybe it's "Minnesota Nice" at play.

However, calling this setting "an angry mob" is like calling lutefisk a national treasure.

Read how a pioneering, caring, important health care initiative - in a town often called one of "the best places to live" - was converted into a monstrous myth. Nice job by the Washington Post.

Lots of US blogger and Tweeting attention to my column yesterday announcing that was not going to devote as much attention to reviews of network TV health news anymore.

But among mainstream US media, nary a whisper. Only an LA Times blog posting.

Meantime, two big Canadian radio voices were interested enough to interview me.

Manitoba news "superstation" CJOB interviewed me yesterday for their "Night Hawk" program. I'm not sure if that's aired yet.

And the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "As It Happens" program interviewed me tonight. (This is a .wmv file in which the interview covers the first 8 minutes.)

The CBC host wrapped up the interview by saying:

"We watch the debate that we see ever night - if I may say so for my fellow Canadians - with a mixture of shock and stupification and interest...I think your country needs your efforts so I hope you can continue them in whatever form they take."

He was referring to our efforts to improve the quality of health journalism because of its potential impact on the public's understanding of the health care reform debate.

Maybe I should move to Canada.

They have health insurance and they're still driven to debt


The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released a report - "The State of Health Insurance in California."

Highlights (or lowlights):

More than 2.2 million California adults report having medical debt, and two-thirds of those incurred the debt while insured.

In total, nearly one in seven non-elderly adults in California (13 percent) have some kind of medical debt, and more than 800,000 Californians have medical debt greater than $2,000.

Individuals with medical debt are twice as likely as those without debt to delay or forgo needed health care, the report found.

"That even insured people are forced to take on medical debt to pay for their health care is another glaring inadequacy in our current system of health insurance," said E. Richard Brown, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and lead author of the SHIC report. "Current policies either do not offer enough coverage or offer full-coverage at a cost that is too expensive for many people to bear."

Wendell Potter apologizes for cheating people out of health care reform

Former health insurance flack Wendell Potter - now the Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy - writes about a talk he gave in Oregon last weekend. The setting was a community rally for health care reform."

He said:

"I would like to begin by apologizing to all of you for the role I played 15 years ago in cheating you out of a reformed health care system. Had it not been for greedy insurance companies and other special interests, and their army of lobbyists and spin-doctors like I used to be, we wouldn't be here today.

I'm ashamed that I let myself get caught up in deceitful and dishonest PR campaigns that worked so well, hundreds of thousands of our citizens have died, and millions of others have lost their homes and been forced into bankruptcy, so that a very few corporate executives and their Wall Street masters could become obscenely rich."

You can read the entire talk online.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) thinks U.S. health-care system is best in the world, but the statistics say otherwise, reports Casey Selix of

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Health care reform category.

Health care journalism is the previous category.

Health care/research ethics is the next category.

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