Upsetment
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A Hospital Crisis Is Killing Rural Communities. This State Is 'Ground Zero.'

A Hospital Crisis Is Killing Rural Communities. This State Is 'Ground Zero.' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Inside three Georgia counties that have struggled to keep their hospitals ― and futures ― alive.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When I was a kid, it was a stated goal of government to help small farmers. America still believed in her rural past even as people migrated to the cities. I was fortunate enough to grow up partly in both, urban Boston and rural Maine. I could see the advantages and disadvantages of both. However, one problem that the rural areas didn't have in those days was an absence of health care. Partly because providing care was less expensive—no such things as MRIs and PET-scans. Fewer specialists, too. Partly, though, because the rural areas were still thriving. Many counties could afford to have a small hospital and plenty of doctors wanted to live in those small towns. And—and this is a big difference—transportation was more of a problem so people tended to stay in smaller patches of the world. We, for example, were considered something of an oddity among our neighbors in Maine, people who actually lived in two places over 150 miles apart, as opposed to the fellow with a summer cabin by the lake and the old farm house twenty minutes away. 

In those days, counties were perhaps more important to the process of government and life. The importance of such local government was paramount in people's minds, which is one reason that town meetings were so important and well-attended. Today, only those who are in county government and "Reconstructionist Christians" give county government that emphasis. Most of us recognize that planning and spending are better done at a larger level, especially in rural areas. In places like Suffolk County in Massachusetts, which is dominated by Boston, or Maricopa in Arizona, which is mostly the metro-Phoenix area, county government actually can be more efficient than city, but that's a special if important distinction between rural and urban. 

Getting back to the folks in the country. More and more they are fewer, older, and poorer. Desperately trying to hold on to the quality of life of the past, they fight to keep schools, hospitals, and businesses from closing. Meanwhile, more and more of America is becoming the great territory of the fly-over. As this demographic change takes place, many in government want to walk away from the costs of services. For example, let's cut postal service and the number of post offices. Obviously, that will affect more country folks than urban. Let's not spend so much on road maintenance, again the urban roads and the throughways will be taken care of while those small "upstate" roads will deteriorate. 

I don't have simple answers as to what to do. There are some suggestions in terms of medical centers in this article that are worth considering, but over time, fewer and fewer people will be left in those small hamlets that once dotted America. The other day I saw that work is beginning on the interstate that will connect Phoenix and Las Vegas. Let's bring the cities together and make business easier; it's a no-brainer. Then I thought of the little unincorporated town of Wikieup. It's a neat little place on route 93 that pretty much exists to service people driving the current rather long route. It isn't that I love to stop in Wikieup, not even on the few times that I actually do drive between the two cities. Still, it made me think of my childhood in Maine and, well, the wonder of living in a place where everyone knows everyone and where people played checkers down at Maynard't store. 

If you'd like to read more about my Maine, try Broody New Englander. My guess is that you'll find yourself in love with a time and place. 
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Analysis | Nancy Pelosi’s claim that ‘seven million veterans will lose their tax credit’ under the GOP health bill

Analysis | Nancy Pelosi’s claim that ‘seven million veterans will lose their tax credit’ under the GOP health bill | Upsetment | Scoop.it
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi glossed over the nuances of this issue, so we explain the facts.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There is much wrong with the GOP revisions and replacement of Obamacare, just as Obamacare had is flaws. However, one thing that will not help is distortion and distraction. Absolutely, veterans deserve special consideration and the VA is not the only method to provide that consideration. The provision in question certainly has merit and did apparently help some veterans. However, as with way too many things and by far too many politicians, Rep. Pelosi has distorted the issues for political reasons rather than clarifying it so the American people can better understand what is going on. I'm sure this distortion will find its way to my mailbox as yet another reason I should send money to the DNC. Someday, perhaps, politicians will become more concerned with telling us the clear truth than with raising money. I have the feeling that the day after that revelation six horsemen will come a-riding. 
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Trump Economic Advisor Ducks Big Time When Coal Miner Hammers Him on His Healthcare: ‘I Don’t Know All the Facts’

Trump Economic Advisor Ducks Big Time When Coal Miner Hammers Him on His Healthcare: ‘I Don’t Know All the Facts’ | Upsetment | Scoop.it
"Do you, sir, think that the U.S. government should honor the promises that were made?" Retired coal miner John Leach received a frustrating letter this week, informing him that his family's heath benefits would soon be terminated should the U.S. Congress fail to act by the end of April. "I've been a United Mine Worker member for over 30 years," he told CNN's Van Jones on "The Messy Truth" late Thursday. Jones was also joined by Wall Street Journal writer and former Donald Trump adviser Stephen Moore. 
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Golly, gosh, you mean folks in coal country are beginning to get it? Lots of Americans are going to be a hell of a lot worse off with the GOP and Trump in charge, people who have done their best to make America great. People who have done their best to care for one another. We're talking not just health issues but consumer protections and the environment. We're talking about greater concentration of wealth and less for essential services for the rest of us. We're talking about cutting FEMA and the Coast Guard in order to spend more on bombs and munitions. We're talking spending less on protecting the rights of everyone in order to keep out those who are in need and those who would contribute.  And I can't help wondering how many of the folks who will be hardest hit voted for the very people who will be pushing us into the slaughterhouse. I don't know whom Mr. Leach voted for, but I know a lot of people in coal country voted for the unfulfillable promise of resurrecting king coal instead of looking for the future of renewable energy. Some mornings, I want to weep for America. 
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Democrats’ misleading claim that Concerned Veterans for America wants to ‘privatize’ VA

Democrats’ misleading claim that Concerned Veterans for America wants to ‘privatize’ VA | Upsetment | Scoop.it
We dug into a popular Democratic talking point mischaracterizing a proposal to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
In the fake news from the left department, here is an example. The current GOP plans for the Veterans' Administration are not to privatize but to overhaul a system that has not been working. The worst part of this overhaul will be if veterans' healthcare through the new system is based on the lowest bid. We don't need to subsidize inadequate and undertrained doctors by giving them the care of our veterans as a sinecure. 
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How tens of thousands of patients who weren’t actually dying wound up on hospice care

How tens of thousands of patients who weren’t actually dying wound up on hospice care | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The number of patients who outlived hospice care in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren’t actually dying.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If hospice care will allow a person to get well without the use of curative interventions, then perhaps the medical profession should consider providing more palliative care and do less intervening. However, the corporate greed that leads to such misuse of resources and funds and to the miss-assignment of patients should not be tolerated. It is just one more piece of evidence that corporations by their nature are not trustworthy. Corporatism is about making profit not about providing quality of service or life. 
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The lingering health effects of the Civil War

The lingering health effects of the Civil War | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Could health disparities in the South be traced to the womb?
Kenneth Weene's insight:

If you are interested in healthcare, prenatal environment, and genetics, this is a fascinating article. 

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Costs for Dementia Care Far Exceeding Other Diseases, Study Finds

Costs for Dementia Care Far Exceeding Other Diseases, Study Finds | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An Annals of Internal Medicine paper reports that the money needed to treat dementia in a patient’s final five years is greater than for heart disease and cancer.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The financial, emotional, and even physical costs of caring for those with dementia points out the need not only for physician assisted suicide but for a process by which individuals can establish metrics for their own euthanization. I know that I don't want to live in a state of dementia in which I am no longer able to make rational and meaningful decisions about my own day to day life. Do others feel as I do?

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The crazy reason it costs $14,000 to treat a snakebite with $14 medicine

The crazy reason it costs $14,000 to treat a snakebite with $14 medicine | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An antivenom that costs 14,000 dollars in the U.S. could be bought for as little as 100 dollars in Mexico.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Now that we have the Affordable Care Act, perhaps it is time to move on to single payer healthcare. Making money should not be the value system by which our lives operate.

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Popular blood thinner causing deaths, injuries in nursing homes

Popular blood thinner causing deaths, injuries in nursing homes | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Some facilities fail to properly oversee Coumadin. Too much can cause bleeding; too little, clots.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Be it a nursing home, a psych hospital, or even an elementary school, institutions tend to become more about maintaining their system and less about the needs of the clients, patients, or students for whose welfare the institutions were first created. That is one of the themes running through my novel Memoirs From the Asylum as well as the point of this news story.

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50 hospitals charge uninsured more than 10 times cost of care, study finds

50 hospitals charge uninsured more than 10 times cost of care, study finds | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Researchers said the hospitals with the highest markups are not in pricey neighborhoods or big cities.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Hospitals in smaller cities, and especially those smaller cities with large populations of elderly, approximate monopolistic conditions. When there is no competition in the marketplace, there will be over charging. That they may offset some of those charges through assistance to the needy only makes them appear benevolent since it is a way to keep the poor from joining forces with the middle class to overthrow the system. The absence of effective competition requires the presence of supervisory government. Only the most foolish of political conservatives believe that this is the stuff of healthy capitalism. 

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Insurers Flout Rule Covering Birth Control, Studies Find

Insurers Flout Rule Covering Birth Control, Studies Find | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Two reports say that failure to follow provisions of the Affordable Care Act had left some women with significant cost barriers to birth control.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

If the proper goal is to reduce the number of abortions and reduce the number of unwanted children, then contraception and education are essential. Insurers cutting corners for short-term financial gain is unacceptable and a good example of the kind of thinking that makes me still support national healthcare. What the insurers are counting on is that if a woman becomes pregnant and has an unwanted child, she is likely to end up leaving her work and therefore her insurance plan and going on Medicaid or at least somebody else's dime.

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Texas Medical Panel Votes to Limit Telemedicine Practices in State

Texas Medical Panel Votes to Limit Telemedicine Practices in State | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The latest salvo in a four-year battle with Teladoc, a national company that provides telephone or video consultations with doctors.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Should medical services be available via phone or Internet, or should personal contact be required? On the face of it, that sounds like a no-brainer. You're sick, you go to a doctor, perhaps your primary care provider if you have one or an urgent care facility or, if there is no other option, an emergency room. Right? What if there are no physicians within miles? Then perhaps that doc-on-a-phone may be better than the no-doctor alternative. But if we allow such doc-on-a-phone treatments, what about people who don't want to bother going to a doctor's office or who would rather pay the cheaper fee for a phone consultation? How will that impact the economics of medicine and the quality of the care people actually obtain for themselves? The whole thing is a fascinating new area for professional care. Oh, and let's not forget psychotherapy by phone. Did Freud anticipate Skype? My best advice, have a good primary care physician and see him/her as seldom as healthfully possible.

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Undermining Children’s Insurance

Undermining Children’s Insurance | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Congressional Republicans are proposing changes to CHIP that could adversely affect over a million youngsters and end up costing the states.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Still people will say there is no difference between the two parties. How can a party that is so determined to stop abortions because of the right of innocent children to life but so consistently indifferent to the well-being of children who are alive. Meanwhile, how much money did the Republicans give to the wealthiest Americans this last year (often against Democratic opposition)? Their values just don't cut it for me.

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Uh Oh: O'Care Repeal Bill Counts The Same Pot Of Money Multiple Times

Uh Oh: O'Care Repeal Bill Counts The Same Pot Of Money Multiple Times | Upsetment | Scoop.it
GOP leaders unveiled the Senate’s revised health care bill on Thursday, and the updated legislation included a version of a controversial amendment drafte
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Lots of people complain about the new math, but I wonder if they catch this political math. At least Susan Collins, a GOP senator whom I admire—of course she comes from Maine, which helps—not only caught it but told the rest of us. Does anybody believe that the Republicans have come up with an improved plan for providing healthcare? I have one. It's called single payer. It's working in most of the developed countries of the world. Now, if Mr. Trump had discussed this with President Macron while they were watching that parade, I'd be happy. The French have one of the best single payer systems in the world. 
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Alabama congressman: “People who lead good lives” don’t have preexisting conditions

Alabama congressman: “People who lead good lives” don’t have preexisting conditions | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Mo Brooks says people without pre-existing conditions have "done things the right way" VIDEO
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I wonder if he would like to exempt the people in his district from that particular protection. That way, he could be sure to weed out the bad folks. Or, alternatively, perhaps this will make the voters there rethink what kind of asshole their congressman just might be. 
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The poor 'just don't want healthcare': Republican congressman faces backlash over comments

The poor 'just don't want healthcare': Republican congressman faces backlash over comments | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The first-term congressman spent three decades as a physician and is now part of a group of Republican doctors trying to roll back Obamacare.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Even in Sydney Australia people are reading about it. The GOP is making war on the people. There is no other way to explain such an incredibly stupid and hateful comment from this Kansas congressman. That he is a physician, an obstetrician to be exact, makes his comment all the more egregious and stupid. Seriously, America, is this what we want in our government? 
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Teen Wakes Up From Coma Speaking Fluent Spanish: ‘It Was Weird'

Teen Wakes Up From Coma Speaking Fluent Spanish: ‘It Was Weird' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A Georgia teenager who suffered a life-threatening head injury last month while playing soccer awoke from a coma speaking fluent Spanish.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The great news is that this young man is headed towards full recovery. The bad news is that recovery will likely mean that his sudden language skills will fade. Obviously, he is drawing on memories of others speaking, memories that would best be labeled unconscious. The worst news, that medical care is so prohibitively expensive. This young man's family are now $250,000 in debt because of an accident while playing sports. Another example of the need for single payer universal coverage. 
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Oklahoma Passes Bill That Would Subject Abortion Doctors to Felony Charges

Oklahoma Passes Bill That Would Subject Abortion Doctors to Felony Charges | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The State Senate measure, the first of its kind, would revoke such doctors’ medical licenses. The bill is on the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While I understand that there are many who consider all abortion a sin, taking time to pass bills like this that can only reduce the healthcare of women in Oklahoma and lead to expensive and usually failed court cases for the state government is an exercise in stupidity. If it is suppose to divert the attention of voters from the more important issues that face the state, such as the dangers of fracking and climate change, we can only hope that the "Sooners" will have better sense and will recognize that it is time to change their state's political complexion from red to purple. 
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$160-billion Pfizer-Allergan deal to create world's largest drug maker

$160-billion Pfizer-Allergan deal to create world's largest drug maker | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Pfizer and Allergan are joining in the biggest buyout of the year, a $160-billion stock deal that will create the world's largest drug maker, the companies said Monday.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

So many Americans are worrying about the sanctity of their guns and over refugees from other countries, but we should really be worried about the growth of giant businesses. Already we are paying the highest prices for medicines developed here; now we are going to have drug companies that are too big to be disciplined.

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He blew the whistle on the VA — and then was almost sacked for eating stale sandwiches

He blew the whistle on the VA — and then was almost sacked for eating stale sandwiches | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Investigators say there is a pattern in the VA where whistleblowers who disclose wrongdoing face trumped-up charges, but employees who put vets' health at risk go unpunished.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Nothing upsets me more than ongoing failure of the VA to clean its house. Our veterans deserve good and efficient healthcare in properly maintained facilities. In my opinion to do less is tantamount to going AWOL. There are those who would say we should privatize veteran health care; that is certainly an option, but I would prefer that we start paying the cost of hiring the physicians, nurses, and other professionals we need and the cost of support staff. Privatizing hides the real cost of war and worse it will interfere with the research needed to take proper care of vets. Then, too, it would mean discontinuous care for those coming home from the battlefield.

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Jeb: ‘Women’s Health’ Is Overfunded

Jeb: ‘Women’s Health’ Is Overfunded | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Says he “misspoke.”
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Sure people can make mistakes; I make them, too. But when we're talking about a key issue, something that is in the news every day for weeks and a dumb-dumb says something like this, please explain to me how any woman, any woman at all, can consider voting for him. As a man who cares, I couldn't vote for this turkey after this comment. Sadly, his attitude reflects the entire right wing of the GOP in their disregard for the people of our country, especially women. Can't the Republican Party do better? If not, perhaps it's time for a new political party, one that cares about the real America not just the corporations.

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Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016

Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016 | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The companies say new customers under the Affordable Care Act have been sicker than expected, while federal officials say they want the requests scaled back.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

A few observations: 1) This once again makes the case for single payer healthcare. 2) The insurance company actuaries didn't understand that many people who didn't have insurance were sick—wasn't that the whole point of the discussion of medical bankruptcies? 3) How much of the "direct subscriber benefits" is waste to gin up the costs so insurance companies can make higher absolute profits? For example, why does my local insurance coordinator offer WEI bowling? 4) And this is a biggie! How do we decide on what are and are not appropriate treatments and preventative measures? Including in this, to what extent can we cut medical care costs by making sure people have proper living conditions and nutrition. 5) To what extent will the large increase in demand for services smooth out once people have access to health care for a while? For example, will giving children more preventative care lower costs for those people down the road?

Finally, and this seems to me to be the crux: Should the cost of those requiring special and extensive care, such as cancer patients, be subsidized by the government with payments to the insurance companies? Is that a legitimate expense for the government in order to keep the rest of the marketplace stable and rational?

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U.S. Ranks Worst Developed Country for Maternal Health

U.S. Ranks Worst Developed Country for Maternal Health | Upsetment | Scoop.it
But there's plenty of room for improvement
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Is the U.S. slipping into the third world as the self-righteous and "christian-exclaiming" politicians yell, "We're Number One!" while ignoring the least among us?

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Double the N.I.H. Budget

Double the N.I.H. Budget | Upsetment | Scoop.it
It’s insane that we spend so much on health care and so little on research.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Unheard of you say, but it's true there are some things on which I agree with Newt Gingrich, and this is one of them. Of course, there are those who don't want medical research either from some bizarre political philosophy or because government sponsored research might get in the way of their making money, but I bet most of us agree that this is a reasonable way for the government to help all Americans. And, if in the process, the cost of healthcare falls thereby cutting future costs of government, that would be a wonderful added boon for the taxpayers. 

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Arizona Wants Doctors to Tell Patients that Abortions Can Be “Reversed”

Arizona Wants Doctors to Tell Patients that Abortions Can Be “Reversed” | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Doctors in Arizona might soon be required to tell women that abortions can be "reversed." As the Washington Post reports, the Arizona legislature just passed a bill that is the latest in state-based attempts to ban women from using their own health insurance to pay for abortion. What makes this bill...
Kenneth Weene's insight:

In Arizona, we are living in an asylum where the madness is called the Republican party. If this isn't enough for the women of this state (and all the rational men) to vote these bums out, I don't know what will be. The worst part is that when some woman falls prey to this deception and hasn't taken the second medication and it leads to severe complications for her health and this douche bag and his cohort will have not a scintilla of responsibility.

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