Entries Tagged as 'Health'

Universal Healthcare is a Scary World

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 29:  Healthcare reform act...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Healthcare reform is a scary thing. Not that I don’t think that people shouldn’t have healthcare. It’s definitely a necessary evil. But forcing it upon everyone not only raises cost, but it becomes under regulations that usually are loopholed by corporations. Show me any law that eventually doesn’t have SIG play in it and I’ll laugh.

The entire thing from my personal opinion is ridiculous. Every single country that has ever done it does not have nearly the population or expanse to cover. And when is anyone going to learn that the countries that do have it, do also pay a lot more in taxation? Good luck in telling your average American that the taxation currently isn’t good enough and there will be more percentages coming down the pipe. Because if the government plays options, then someone has to pay for it. And that someone is usually the middle class.

Here’s another perspective. Sometimes, it might even be worthwhile to gamble a bit. If you’re the type of healthy individual that doesn’t get sick often, then perhaps premiums are not worth it for you. In an average family, you’re looking at anywhere between two hundred to four hundred dollars for an average policy. I’ve seen up to a thousand dollars in pretty pathetic policies for two people. But if you rarely go to the doctor for anything, that’s a lot of money that you save. Say that you only go once a year and need prescriptions with it. That would probably cost you the same amount as a single month’s premiums. Coverage itself really is for those scary emergency room bills or what not. But it does show why it might not even pay to have coverage.

Either way? I can’t understand why so many people push for universal coverage. If we’re required to have it, then it’s an extremely costly joke. If we are not, then it’s not universal. Either way, if it goes through it’s doomed to land on the shoulders of the middle class in some shape, form, or fashion. Cost is always passed onto the last man on the totem pole. It’s just the nature of business.

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The Cost of Universal Healthcare

A bitter pill?
Image by Jo Peattie via Flickr

Are we ready for healthcare reform?

I believe that we are not as far as the United States is concerned. There are several historical things that really go to show that it wouldn’t really work. Not to mention it would cost more than any other government’s implementation due to how our status quo for government hiring and quality stand.

While it probably doesn’t matter since most citizens that speak out really do not get a chance to make a difference in the big picture of things, there are several things that speak against universal healthcare. I do believe this is an ideal and obviously worthwhile if implemented correctly. But I don’t believe the US can do it due to current government spending and past program histories.

Both Medicare and Medicaid are a joke when it comes to cost. Yes, we pay for it, but anyone can tell you that if you have some sort of a condition, it takes a while for granting of the funds. Will we be going for basic medical care that is granted by the second largest agency in the U.S., the Veterans Affairs? Because if so, then might we posture the horror stories that come out of the VA medical? Or the fact that every social program seems to be bloated beyond belief because of red tape to actually function as it should and are not optimized to a point where it would actually not cost billions of dollars just to run the management of it?

So if cost is a factor and you cannot pay for it, and healthcare would suffer due just by viewing how current programs are being managed, we fail to even consider the fact that the burden is carried by the taxpayer. With the majority of middle-class bearing the weight of taxes currently, and with those that have been hit by economic downturn and job loss, the burden is then unfairly increased across the class. Will the government pick up the tab when their paychecks are drawn from these tax collections?

What’s amusing in all of this is that I believe that healthcare reform is an ideal that would greatly benefit this country. But not in its current state due to how it’s managed. Imagine having to create a new division just to manage all of the claims and the management that comes with it. Let’s not forget that DHS was also created less than a decade ago and there are several GAO reports of its mismanagement of funds. Healthcare will be any different in this sense? I think not.

All of this brings me back to the days of high school back in ’94 when the national debate topic was healthcare. Funny that I remember my school being National Champions that year and there wasn’t a time on the debate team that I remember us actually arguing for universal healthcare. It seemed that at the time, anyone that did would lose the arguments due to similar basic analysis as above.

So what’s different now? Haven’t really seen a thing yet. Universal healthcare? Ha. Why not get people jobs first, or you really want to make a difference with national programs, how about changing Social Security so that a person doesn’t pay for the older generations and instead pays for their own future. There are enough headaches to tackle as-is, and bringing one giant problem into the mess just makes you wonder if the entire system will falter at some point. It’s like for years, the foundation of this American house has been bearing more weight than it was designed to handle, and we’re looking to build a new wing on there instead of reinforcing the foundation. Just doesn’t seem like a bright move.

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What health insurers don’t want you to know

I pretty much no nothing about the insurance business. I leave that to a buddy of mine, whom does it in his offline business. And even there, he doesn’t play in the health realm of things.
So when I ran across this bit by Health magazine, I was pretty floored on some of the things that I didn’t know. Definitely read the article since it goes into more details but here’s one of the ones that really drove it home for me.
Did you know that if your doctor (under your network plan) happens to do surgery on you, then he/she would work with an anesthesiologist. Say on the offhand that this anesthesiologist happens to be outside your network. The insurance company would bill you for using an out-of-coverage doctor and most people would just pay. But apparently not so! If you don’t have a say in it, then you’re not liable according to the article.
There are steps that you would have to take to achieve this and it’s not exactly one of those one phone call away type things. But it could save you some money, which is the brilliance of it all.
There’s a reason insurance is one of the largest industries out there and one of the most profitable. But tips like these help bring a little bit of what you might of paid to them for not knowing, back into your coffers. I would also assume that if you had a good insurance agent, that they would look after you in this fashion and keep you informed on these things.
In the end… who doesn’t like saving a little bit of money.
Photo Credit: (Nemo’s great uncle)

North Carolina again misses out on Child’s Play charity

childsplay-2007_01.jpg
This bugs the hell out of me. When the charity Child’s Play first started, I was so excited. Finally a charity for children that I could get involved with… especially being a gamer.
And a gamer at heart, I thought that it was tragic that we didn’t have anything similar at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital which is the closest Children’s Hospital to my area. So I contacted them. Again. and Again.
And again, this year it’s amazing that there’s not a single children’s hospital in North Carolina that is signed up with this charity. Gamer’s supported! There is absolutely no cost to the hospital. Yet, they just won’t take up the offer. And I don’t now why.
Sorry kids. I’m pretty beat. The first two years of absolutely no response basically has me canned. I’m hoping that someone else picks up this effort since there’s absolutely no reason to NOT SIGN UP. It’s an extra effort to help rehabilitation and those that are caught during the holiday seasons. Should there be any reason for the denials? And why? I never got a response either way so I assume that no one at Brenner’s cared at all since the first year, not even the lady in charge of these issues bothered to even return a call.
Pretty sad. A great charity that North Carolina gamers will once again miss out on supporting something close to home. So to you kids, I apologize on behalf of all NC gamers that no one in those hospital administration seems to really care if you’re stuck there.

Why universal healthcare is evil

As a young American, I hear all the time about how Social Security won’t exist by the time I’m old.
Why is that? Because middle class America would front the bill and it happens to be a flawed concept. Why should working individuals pay for healthcare of the elderly of society? Shouldn’t it be a “put it away for when you’re old” concept? In any case, we’re probably in it for the worst.
Now there’s all this talk about universal healthcare. Again.
First, let’s take a look at who benefits from this. The pharmaceutical industry along with the insurance industry. What better way to get people hooked on their products, than to mandate a universal policy. Big Pharma? Benefit. Big Insurance? Benefit. Illegal immigrants? Benefit. Low income? Benefit. Middle class? Eh. What benefit?
The fact is: you’ll be paying premiums that would probably double what you do now, for the same care. Mainly because there just isn’t enough money to go around so the biggest group of payers will pay the most. That’s us. Middle class America. And frankly with my premiums having raised in the last five years probably 50-75%, I’m not looking to shell out anymore to the insurance industry when there is no benefit to me at all. And to boot, I have probably one of the better corporate healthcare plans out there. I hate to see what others have been paying in the last five years.
So how is this any better than Social Security? I’m paying for other people that does not directly benefit me. In fact, it doesn’t even indirectly benefit me. It’s a very poorly thought out plan that on paper, is ideal and wonderful but in reality, has plenty of loopholes for big businesses to reap in billions.
I really can’t see this as a good platform to stand on for politics. It’s happened every four years, and I can’t see it ever happening here unless you want to destroy the middle class as we know it. Perhaps that’s the goal. Who knows. In any case, all I can say is that based on what I know and what I pay, there is no way I’d support anyone that campaigns for it.

Former Surgeon General says Bush administration watched his every move

hlogo.gif Former Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Pomona, has said that when he brought up the science behind medical research he was ignored by politicians and that he was told he couldn’t do or say certain things due to political families and agendas. I first heard about this on NPR and was shocked. Well, not really.

“I was blocked at every turn, told the decision had already been made. Stand down, don’t talk about it,” he said.
Carmona said that throughout his term, his speeches were edited and talking points were provided by political appointees. President Bush was to be mentioned at least three times per page for example.

Are we really surprised? Even by the three times per page thing? Not I. To think that science has anything to do with profits and political agendas would be insane. I’m sorry to see that the Surgeon General position being compromised to political whims. I really am, since most people usually respect that position unlike the one of the Attorney General (which recently seems to be also politicized completely).
But it’s not unlike politicians or even ex-politicians to run public relation campaigns in things that they just happen to also have some sort of financial gain in. A great example is Al Gore. If you take a look at which companies that he sits on as the Board of Directors for and where he has his money invested in, it’s not difficult to see that everything seems to come together. The rest of the politicians are the same. If you’re not a ‘yes man’ then they don’t want you in a position where you could go against them.
It’s the way of those that have any say in society and the power of politics. Unfortunate.

Why bad electrosensitivity stories makes me laugh

Disclaimer: since I work in the cellular industry, and have worked as an RF engineer for a number of years… Below is my personal opinion on the whole subject matter of EMR and ES.
I have to laugh some at this article in the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom. It’s not that electrosensitivity is bogus. In actuality, electromagnetic wave radiation is very real and extreme exposure cannot be good for you in my personal opinion. There is even some studies that show that low-level magnetic fields over long time periods can cause DNA damage.
But when people claim WiFi as a source, I just have to smirk. The reason being that if you take an EMF meter to any of the electrical devices, your WiFi should be the least of your concerns (one of my older alarm clocks produce a ghastly amount of EMF). In fact, the article had the sensitive lady claiming that cellular “picture” phones sent messaging to the base station every nine minutes. This is where I almost burst out laughing. SS7 messaging along with paging messages for mobile phones are pretty much always on. It’s how base stations can determine where a phone is to make a connection. If it was messaging every nine minutes, then on a maximum time limit scale, that’s eight whole minutes that you could not receive a call since the base stations had no clue where your mobile was physically. Also, mobile phones have way more radiation since radiation is pretty much due to shielding and power levels. If you’re sending a signal to a base station that is about a mile or so away, it’s definitely going to be more than something that can barely hit 150 feet line-of-sight.
What’s even more interesting is that the older your devices and appliances are, the worse the radiation, especially in FCC’s Part 15. So even though the lady in the article is shielding through wallpaper and special film on the windows, the range of most radiation dissipates pretty quickly with distance. So the amount of exposure is still sourced within the house itself.
[sigh]
Like I said before. It’s not that electrosensitivity isn’t an issue, nor if magnetic fields are bad for you. The point is that she’s not blocking the one thing that she would be around the most and is still irradiating her. If she has a microwave, watch out.
Unfortunately, there is not much out there to link ES to EMR (electromagnetic radiation) medically. But just because there’s no clinical proof, doesn’t mean there isn’t a link. On the other hand, there’s also no need to take to the extremes that this lady has especially when some of the facts are a bit off. Reducing exposure will always give most people the best of both worlds (health and luxury). If you use a cellular phone a lot, then get a bluetooth headset. If you use the microwave a lot, step away from it after you punch in the buttons. There’s plenty of other things traveling through the air (such as VHF waves? FM? AM? ) that also travel through our bodies.
In the end, maybe the lady in the article has a point, even though there are some incorrect facts. But even so, most of civilized society needs to realize that if you start banning WiFi, then you better be ready to give up your mobile phone. If you are not, then don’t be making ridiculous demands that don’t follow logic.

Sometimes I wonder about the doctors….

Sometimes, I wonder about the doctors. Personal opinion, but I avoid most PAs like the plague. The fact that they didn’t go to medical school makes me question some of their judgments. Not that doctor judgments aren’t a dime a dozen and some around here are probably more interested in what your insurance can cover.
In my latest ordeal, there was a prescription of Omnicef. This antibiotic in my opinion is one of the strongest things I’ve ever taken in my life. It was also one of the most expensive. With insurance, it cost about thirty smackers. Side effects included me holding my stomach in constant pain. Maybe not everyone gets that, but it definitely wasn’t for me even though it was the first prescribed.
I had the doc call in a prescription direct to the pharmacy for amoxicillin. A more mild antibiotic, it cost under a dollar. Now call it paranoia, or whatever you wish, but why would they prescribe Omnicef if amoxicillin worked just fine? Sometimes you have to wonder.

Alzheimer could be a thing of the past…

University of Souther California’s Center for Neural Engineering has a team of brain hackers. Ted Berger and team are currently researching electronics implemented with brains that could turn lost memories into a thing of the past.
What’s interesting is that they’re currently determining the signal processing between the brain and how it fires off and how to recreate that with a chip and a slice of brain tissue. This leads the team to believe that they’re approximately four years away from animal testing and less than two decades from human trials.
Despite the great things that can arise from this and the no end of funding for such technology, there are some ethical bounds that this technology has and will face. What if you can implant other people’s memories as your own? Or destroy good memories with bad? Or erase someone’s identity completely with a fresh set of memories? Reminds us of Johnny Mneumonic or The Manchurian Candidate.
Either way, it’s a new age of medicine when we achieve such bionic type abilities by merging flesh with electronics.
Via PopularScience

Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

You know… the hippocratic oath. The one where doctors are supposed to uphold saving lives and helping patients with illnesses? The reason we ask is because somewhere along the lines, we as a modern society have strayed from the calling. At least from a patient perspective, it’s difficult enough to find a doctor that won’t try to shoosh you out of the room within record time, even though you’ve been waiting in the waiting room for thirty minutes to an hour.

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