instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Fading Out: Aging and Beyond RSS feed

Talking points about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Often called Obamacare, originally by its opponents), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. It is often described as comprehensive health reform, but as health writer Eileen Beal has pointed out
The ACA is health care insurance, not health care
•  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Home remedies for alleviating sciatica pain

Updated 1-15-2020.

When friends report being crippled by pain from sciatica, I pull out my "notes for friends with sciatica." This is not medical advice; I am not a doctor. I do not have medical training. But these links may provide some relief until you get to a doctor. They're culled from years of hearing what worked from friends who've been  Read More 

4 Comments
Post a comment

Exposing abuse and neglect in a chain of brain injury rehab centers

A Mountain of Misconduct (Reveal, Nov. 7, 2015 ) Listen to this fascinating and shocking public radio series. "New Hampshire Public Radio reporter Jack Rodolico spent a year uncovering allegations of patient abuse and fraudulent billing practices at Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center – like charging Medicaid for changing channels on a TV.  Read More 
Post a comment

The Lead Wars and the Fate of Children

"Flint, Mich., isn't the only American city with a lead problem. Though the health crisis in Flint has highlighted the use of lead in water pipes, author David Rosner tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that lead, which is a neurotoxin, can be found throughout the U.S. on walls, in soil and in Read More 
Be the first to comment

Drugs, Big Pharma, conflicts of interest, and why U.S. patients pay too much for medication

by Pat McNees (Updated 9-16-19--further updates posted in Comments)
Highlights from below:
• "Republican candidates blame skyrocketing drug costs on over-regulation and a few drug companies' 'pure profiteering,' but don't say that Medicare should negotiate drug prices or that the government should limit drug maker’s profits, steps that might dramatically shake up the marketplace....they’re not even making modest suggestions to stem rising costs, focusing instead on hammering a few headline-making companies that they portray as bad actors. "
Price of Snakebite Drug Is Sky High, But New Competitor Unlikely to Lower Costs (Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, KHN, 8-8-19) In a case reported by Kaiser Health News and NPR (a 9-year-old hiker snakebitten at dusk on a nature trail), an Indiana hospital last summer charged nearly $68,000 for four vials of CroFab. CroFab faces competition from a snake antivenin called Anavip. But few experts who study drug laws and drug prices expect this competition to reduce the cost for patients. Legal wrangling, the advantageous use of the patent system and the regulatory hurdles in creating cheaper alternative drugs stymie any serious price competition. Indeed, the antivenin is a case study of why drug prices are so high. Head-to-head competition between brand-name medicines may not meaningfully reduce prices. “When we allow a system of perverse incentives to flourish, this is the result we get,” said Robin Feldman, a professor at the UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco who specializes in pharmacy law.
• "High cancer drug prices are harming patients because either you come up with the money, or you die."
• Polls show high drug costs as "voters' No. 1 health concern," but the candidates are "caught in the box of Republican free market orthodoxy — and also, of long-standing relationships with the pharmaceutical industry, a lobbying powerhouse on the Hill."
• In response to legislation requiring pharmaceutical sales reps promoting medicines at doctors’ offices simply to reveal a price, pharma lobbyists were brought in to fight legislation requiring price transparency.
• It doesn't matter if a cheaper (often generic) version may be available if doctors don't pay attention to costs and consumers believe the more expensive drug is probably more effective. Moreover, doctors who do pay attention to costs have an incentive to prescribe the more expensive version of a drug, not the generic version. And pharmacies don't always pass along the declining cost of generic drugs to consumers.
• Provide "greater transparency in how drugs are priced, and how the money flows through the system. Pharmacy benefit managers have outsized power and take too much money from the system."
• Step therapy ('fail-first" drug policies allow health insurance to practice medicine. Designed to keep insurance costs down, step therapy ("fail first") protocols insist that a patient start with a traditional lower-cost drug and advance to a newer, more expensive drug only if the first drug fails to produce the desired results. For new drugs that are clearly more effective, this means doctors and patients have to jump through hoops to get patient to the more effective drug, in order to get insurance coverage."
• 'It’s sort of embedded in the health care system that the price is never the price, unless you’re a cash-paying customer,' Mr. Fein said. 'And in that case, we soak the poor.'”'
• A Pro Publica investigation shows that many doctors are being paid by the same drug companies whose medicines they prescribe.
• The public ranks the pharmaceutical industry right between the oil industry and insurance companies in overall favorability."
• Why do drug companies charge so much? Because they can. Because they've got the politicians wrapped around their little fingers. Read More 

18 Comments
Post a comment

We are what we eat? Read this, get healthy, feel better! (Part 2 of 2)

More stories on healthful eating (and tell me if I've missed anything!)
Reviving An Heirloom Corn That Packs More Flavor And Nutrition (Allison Aubrey interviews chef Dan Barber of the famed Blue Hill restaurant--this makes you want to grow heirloom corn, which packs more protein, less sugar Read More 
8 Comments
Post a comment

We are what we eat? Read this, get healthy, feel better! (Part 1 of 2)

Here below are some of my favorite articles and cookbooks for healthier living. Bottom line: Shop the periphery of the supermarket. All the natural foods are there. The center of the market is full of the processed foods that are stripped of some nutrients and loaded with garbage that increases profits for stores and manufacturers while burdening you with extra fat, sugar, salt, calories, and weight. Also: Don't rely on supplements -- try getting your vitamins through whole foods.
" You are what what you eat eats."  Read More 
7 Comments
Post a comment

Sharing life stories with your family

by Pat McNees
"The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative," writes Bruce Feiler in The Stories That Bind Us (NY Times, 3-15-13). He got the idea from Marshall Duke, a sociologist at Emory University, who was asked "to help explore myth and ritual in American families." Duke's wife, Sara, a psychologist who works with children with learning disabilities, said "“The ones who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges." To test that hypothesis he and colleague Robyn Fivush developed a measure they call the "Do You Know" scale, which asks children to answer twenty questions  Read More 
3 Comments
Post a comment

Organizations serious about improving U.S. health care

Here are links to organizations that may be helpful as you seek better knowledge of health care options, practices, insurance, and policy. Some are watchdog organizations, some provide reliable information and/or support, some provide systematic review of health care research results, some lobby for effective health policy (e.g., protecting the integrity of the medical review process), and a few publish "scorecards" or the equivalent for medical practitioners or procedures.
Alliance for Health Care Reform provides tools for  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Preventing fraud, elder abuse, guardianship problems and romance scams

by Pat McNees (updated 8-06-19)

Gathered here are links to helpful articles about the many kinds of abuse elders may be subject to (including physical, sexual, and financial abuse) and steps they can take to avoid fraud and scams. Sadly, their abusers may be friends, family, caregivers, and professional advisors. Do your homework and protect yourself and those you care about. Click on: Elder fraud and abuse, generally ***Housing and financial fraud ***Home improvement scams ***Telemarketing and phone fraud, including IRS scams ***ATM and tax fraud and identity theft ***Elder abuse *** Fraud, abuse, neglect in elder guardianship system ***Where to monitor credit reports, check a charity's status ***Where to file a complaint if you've been scammed, defrauded, hacked, abused, cheated, etc.  Read More 

Post a comment