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Let me explain a social norm here. Maybe it isn’t a social norm anymore, but I happen to believe that saying someone should die is completely unacceptable. No matter who they are. People have been trying to cloak this in quasi-religious terms like “these are my core political beliefs.” And what if I said my core political belief was that your favorite person should get trampled by stampeding boars? Does that make it okay? No – saying you believe someone should die is never okay. Saying someone is a friend and in the same breath saying they should be left to die for lack of medical care is in fact, the same as saying you believe they should die.

See, without some sort of meaningful health care reform, which includes forcing insurers to do things they don’t want or gods forbid, actually fixing this completely broken “system,“ I WILL DIE. This is not “might die,” this is not “could die,” this is not “will die sooner.” I will suffer an excruciating, ugly, horrifying death I would not wish on my worst enemy. Full stop.

And it’s not just me. It’s millions of people. It’s some of my closest friends too. So, yeah, it’s personal. It’s always going to be personal for me. Because this is what I have to live with and worry about every day.

And to have the absolute gall to imply that this is a result of us “not working hard enough” or failing to “fix our situations” or blaming us in any way. That is the most insulting, most ignorant, most hateful, and most hurtful lie there is. It is complete bullshit, and shame on anyone who would spread this absolutely false information. And how dare anyone accuse us of not working hard enough. I work my ass off – far more than most people have probably ever done in their lives. I log on average 16 hours a day, working to get Tiger South launched. 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Prior to that? I couldn’t take a vacation for 12 YEARS and the last one I had was in 2008, excepting one day at VMworld in 2010.

When I apply for health insurance, do you know what happens? They say no. Do you know why they say no? Because I’m not profitable and because I require medical care. And still do. If I’m lucky I will get to pay >8x the premiums YOU do and continually have claims denied. So unless you’re in my boat, you most likely have absolutely no business saying one word about the problems with health care in America. Ever. Watching a bunch of talking heads on TV does not make you informed – it makes you a gullible idiot, their favorite audience. On both sides of the debate. There is no truth from either side – they’re all lying to score points with their quasi-religious political base.

This is not an issue where people “need to shut up and pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” It’s quasi-religious political rhetoric that caters to the ignorant extremist bases the politicians have cultivated. Again, on BOTH SIDES. There are no innocents here, just corrupt politicians lying to everyone. So you left-wingers need to take notice too.

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In which an acquaintance of mine makes the very personal case for why simply letting the free market sort out the systemic problems in US healthcare is unethical, unworkable and morally repugnant. Unless of course you see no problem with letting a lot of people die because it’s not profitable for insurance companies to cover them.

thenewrepublic:

Amid a struggling economic recovery comes more dampening news. More people in America fell below the poverty line last year, according to new data released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday.
According to the report, the number of Americans currently in poverty jumped to 15.1 percent in 2010, a 17 year high, reports the Washington Post. That’s 46.2 million people in poverty, or 1 in 6 Americans. According to the Post, the total number of people living in poverty — defined in 2010 as at or  below an income of $22,314 for a family of four — is now at the highest  level in the 52 years the statistic has been collected. An additional 2.6 million people fell below the poverty line last year, reports the New York Times.
The figure is reported to be up from 43.6 million, or 14.3 percent of the population in 2009. This is the highest poverty level experienced in the United States since 1993. The ranks of the uninsured grew significantly in the past year as well. 
The number of uninsured Americans grew steadily to 49.9 million, also a new all-time high after recent revisions to 2009 figures. The majority of losses in insurance coverage this year were due to working-age Americans who lost employer-provided insurance coverage.
All of this news, while not unexpected, is hot on the heels of a report recently released by the International Diabetes Federation showing that 368 million people worldwide currently suffer from Diabetes, a number so grim that it is drawing worldwide attention.
The disease kills every seven seconds, according to Bloomberg, a figure surely devastating to the overwhelmingly disproportionate number of uninsured afflicted by the disease.
Courtesy of CNNMoney

thenewrepublic:

Amid a struggling economic recovery comes more dampening news. More people in America fell below the poverty line last year, according to new data released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday.

According to the report, the number of Americans currently in poverty jumped to 15.1 percent in 2010, a 17 year high, reports the Washington Post. That’s 46.2 million people in poverty, or 1 in 6 Americans. According to the Post, the total number of people living in poverty — defined in 2010 as at or below an income of $22,314 for a family of four — is now at the highest level in the 52 years the statistic has been collected. An additional 2.6 million people fell below the poverty line last year, reports the New York Times.

The figure is reported to be up from 43.6 million, or 14.3 percent of the population in 2009. This is the highest poverty level experienced in the United States since 1993. The ranks of the uninsured grew significantly in the past year as well.

The number of uninsured Americans grew steadily to 49.9 million, also a new all-time high after recent revisions to 2009 figures. The majority of losses in insurance coverage this year were due to working-age Americans who lost employer-provided insurance coverage.

All of this news, while not unexpected, is hot on the heels of a report recently released by the International Diabetes Federation showing that 368 million people worldwide currently suffer from Diabetes, a number so grim that it is drawing worldwide attention.

The disease kills every seven seconds, according to Bloomberg, a figure surely devastating to the overwhelmingly disproportionate number of uninsured afflicted by the disease.

Courtesy of CNNMoney

jayparkinsonmd:

I bet celebrities and other VIPs (as they’re known in hospitals) get some of the worst healthcare in America. And, when I mean worst, I mean the most healthcare in America.
I did my residency in the West Village in NYC. There seemed to be a new celebrity in the ER every other day. “Oh my god, Lindsay Lohan is in bed 3!” I took care of my fair share of them— I won’t say who. But there was always this understanding from everyone in the hospital that “they were VIPs” and needed extra special treatment. 
The problem with extra-special treatment in our healthcare system is that it almost always means more care than anyone else would get. For example, celebrities often get every test imaginable done on them in order to rule absolutely everything out. A hospital doesn’t want to be known as the one that killed Lindsay Lohan. This of course leads to more tests and sometimes, more procedures. More procedures can often equal more complications. You get the deal. One hundred thousand people in America die every year due to medical mistakes, unnecessary surgeries, hospital-acquired infections, and drug complications. And they’re not VIPs.
Everyone in the health community is speculating on what happened to Steve Jobs, so here’s the rough timeline:
Some time in the second half of 2003: Jobs undergoes some sort of scan which finds an incidentaloma, which actually later that evening, it was biopsied and found out to be a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, a slow growing kind of pancreatic cancer.
The next nine months: Jobs tries a special diet hoping to kill or slow the cancer’s growth. Either it doesn’t work and the cancer grows or the doctors convince Steve that there’s more evidence for a Western medicine intervention than a special diet.
July 31, 2004: Jobs undergoes surgery to remove the tumor.
June 2009: Jobs undergoes a liver transplant. It’s unclear why.
August 24, 2011. Jobs steps down as Apple’s CEO because he is unfit for his duties.
As a physician, it’s our job to do something. We can prescribe pills or we can perform some sort of procedure on you. When we find something abnormal, it’s in our nature to do something about it. Sometimes, it’s in your best interest to actually not do anything about it. The problem is, we don’t know when we should not do something because we don’t always know how you and your body will handle something abnormal. All we have are stats from studies, an intuition, personal experience, and some labs or imaging. I learned from a professor in medical school that we all get cancer a few times a day. Out of tens of trillions of cells in our body, it makes sense that a few of them will go haywire occasionally. But, there are very elegant processes in our body that ensure these mutated cells actually kill themselves (see Knudson’s Hypothesis).
Steve Jobs’ had an incidentaloma. It may have taken this tumor 15 or 20 years to cause symptoms. However, it may have taken 1 month. We won’t ever know. We do know that some incidentalomas simply go away without rhyme or reason. And we do know that, in Jobs’ case, the doctors intervened with two major surgeries and, now, 8 years later, his health is severely compromised. Maybe if his doctors actually did nothing for him, he’d still be just fine today. There’s no real way to know. I do think that his docs did the right thing as competent doctors, but, again, there’s no way to know if they were competent in Steve Jobs’ case nor will we ever know that if they just left him alone, he would have been just fine. He probably doesn’t have many years, if not months, to live. And that makes me very, very sad. He was one of our heroes. But I’ve got to wonder to myself, how were his doctors affected by the fact that they had Steve Jobs as a patient. We’ll, of course, never know. But I surely wouldn’t want to be his doctor.
For further reading, please read The Atlantic article, How American Healthcare Killed My Father.

sometimes the art is in knowing not just what to do, but when *not* to do it.

jayparkinsonmd:

I bet celebrities and other VIPs (as they’re known in hospitals) get some of the worst healthcare in America. And, when I mean worst, I mean the most healthcare in America.

I did my residency in the West Village in NYC. There seemed to be a new celebrity in the ER every other day. “Oh my god, Lindsay Lohan is in bed 3!” I took care of my fair share of them— I won’t say who. But there was always this understanding from everyone in the hospital that “they were VIPs” and needed extra special treatment. 

The problem with extra-special treatment in our healthcare system is that it almost always means more care than anyone else would get. For example, celebrities often get every test imaginable done on them in order to rule absolutely everything out. A hospital doesn’t want to be known as the one that killed Lindsay Lohan. This of course leads to more tests and sometimes, more procedures. More procedures can often equal more complications. You get the deal. One hundred thousand people in America die every year due to medical mistakes, unnecessary surgeries, hospital-acquired infections, and drug complications. And they’re not VIPs.

Everyone in the health community is speculating on what happened to Steve Jobs, so here’s the rough timeline:

  • Some time in the second half of 2003: Jobs undergoes some sort of scan which finds an incidentaloma, which actually later that evening, it was biopsied and found out to be a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, a slow growing kind of pancreatic cancer.
  • The next nine months: Jobs tries a special diet hoping to kill or slow the cancer’s growth. Either it doesn’t work and the cancer grows or the doctors convince Steve that there’s more evidence for a Western medicine intervention than a special diet.
  • July 31, 2004: Jobs undergoes surgery to remove the tumor.
  • June 2009: Jobs undergoes a liver transplant. It’s unclear why.
  • August 24, 2011. Jobs steps down as Apple’s CEO because he is unfit for his duties.

As a physician, it’s our job to do something. We can prescribe pills or we can perform some sort of procedure on you. When we find something abnormal, it’s in our nature to do something about it. Sometimes, it’s in your best interest to actually not do anything about it. The problem is, we don’t know when we should not do something because we don’t always know how you and your body will handle something abnormal. All we have are stats from studies, an intuition, personal experience, and some labs or imaging. I learned from a professor in medical school that we all get cancer a few times a day. Out of tens of trillions of cells in our body, it makes sense that a few of them will go haywire occasionally. But, there are very elegant processes in our body that ensure these mutated cells actually kill themselves (see Knudson’s Hypothesis).

Steve Jobs’ had an incidentaloma. It may have taken this tumor 15 or 20 years to cause symptoms. However, it may have taken 1 month. We won’t ever know. We do know that some incidentalomas simply go away without rhyme or reason. And we do know that, in Jobs’ case, the doctors intervened with two major surgeries and, now, 8 years later, his health is severely compromised. Maybe if his doctors actually did nothing for him, he’d still be just fine today. There’s no real way to know. I do think that his docs did the right thing as competent doctors, but, again, there’s no way to know if they were competent in Steve Jobs’ case nor will we ever know that if they just left him alone, he would have been just fine. He probably doesn’t have many years, if not months, to live. And that makes me very, very sad. He was one of our heroes. But I’ve got to wonder to myself, how were his doctors affected by the fact that they had Steve Jobs as a patient. We’ll, of course, never know. But I surely wouldn’t want to be his doctor.

For further reading, please read The Atlantic article, How American Healthcare Killed My Father.

sometimes the art is in knowing not just what to do, but when *not* to do it.

(via mikehudack)

irreverend:

Wes had started crying—bad dream or something—so I went to his room. Just as I leaned over the bed, his foot jerked upward, and in the dark I couldn’t see to blink. The force of the kick was impressive. I went into shock—passed out, threw up, passed out again. But after a while…

New Zealand’s health care system sounds better on pretty much every count; one wonders what the (inevitable) drawbacks are? Maybe it just won’t scale to 300 million people?

(Source: kimlisagor)

brilliant, fact-based, and very accessible breakdown of how insurance works, how we broke health insurance in the US back in World War II, made it worse with Medicare, and what we might be able to do to fix it. via @kennywyland