How We Really Die – by Frank Bruni – NYT

“A friend of mine once said the way to stop smoking is to close your eyes, think about the person you dislike the most,” Bloomberg, 75, told me. “Now, do you want to be at their funeral or you want them to be at yours?”

Great op-ed.
Here is a good comment:
6 hours ago

We regularly give our children a substance we would never feed our animals; because it would be too detrimental to their health. A substance so addictive that in MRIs, it lights up the brain like cocaine; which makes it the ultimate gateway drug. A substance that causes chronic inflammation; which is the cause of modern scourges like cancer, metabolic syndrome, auto-immune diseases, and depression.
Our government subsidizes the production of this product which makes it so inexpensive it is added to 80% of our processed foods. 30% of us eat less than maximum recommended amount. But, the other 70% manage to bring our per capita consumption to an amount over double the recommended limit. Our consumption of this product mirrors obesity rates.
If we stopping subsidizing and over consuming this product, we would save millions of lives and billions of dollars.
The product, also known as high fructose corn syrup, is sugar.

Reply 175 Recommended

California Cautions Cell Phone Users: Keep Your Distance | EWG

“In human epidemiological studies, cell phone use has been linked to an increased risk of brain and salivary gland cancers. Studies from teams of scientists in several nations have raised troubling questions about possible associations between heavy cell phone use and altered brain metabolism, sleep disturbance, and even diminished sperm count and sperm damage. In 2011, the World Health Organization declared cell phone radiation a possible carcinogen.

Animal studies support the findings in people. A multi-year study from the U.S. National Toxicology Program found that male rats exposed to radio-frequency radiation from before birth through two years of age had a greater chance of being diagnosed with a brain cancer called malignant glioma, as well as developing a tumor found on the heart. The radiation levels to which the rats were exposed included levels that current cell phones are allowed to emit.”

Source: California Cautions Cell Phone Users: Keep Your Distance | EWG

No Wonder the Republicans Hid the Health Bill – The New York Times

“Republican House leaders have spent months dodging questions about how they would replace the Affordable Care Act with a better law, and went so far as to hide the draft of their plan from other lawmakers. No wonder. The bill they released on Monday would kick millions of people off the coverage they currently have. So much for President Trump’s big campaign promise: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody” — with coverage that would be “much less expensive and much better.”

More than 20 million Americans gained health care coverage under the A.C.A., or Obamacare. Health experts say most would lose that coverage under the proposal.”

Great editorial. I liked the statement, that the new bill returns $$600 Billion to tax payers who make over $200 million a year over ten years.

This comment below, explains to me for the first time, why a single payer system is the best solution, and in a civilized society, probably the only one.   Bruce Rosenblitz, wrote: “The real driver of costs is that the providers are a protected cartel with inelastic demand. Medicine is essentially a private sector entitlement that operates without supply/demand market controls. The free market only works when the customer can refuse to buy. It’s pay me or die. That’s not a market. It’s extortion.” This is the clearest explanation for the reason for a single health payer system I have ever heard. You can’t say no to health care, the way you can refuse an extra pair of shoes. Here is the whole comment.

Bruce Rozenblit is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 11 hours ago

“The sheer stupidity of this plan and its cruelty are beyond comprehension.

Increased competition between insurers will not lower prices. They all have about the same costs and overhead. All they can do is offer a slightly different batch of covered items.

My premiums at age 61 are $9,000. Without the subsidy of $5300, I’m out. Can’t afford it. This plan will raise my rates to at least $12,000 ($14,000?) and give me $4000 back. I still can’t do it. I’ll be living off of rice and beans.

I can’t save for an HSA if I’m tapped out on premiums. I still have to come up with a big deductible if I get sick. I’m not a pauper. I’m straight up middle class. IRA contributions? Forget it.

More choices won’t help because no one schedules getting sick or having an accident. Consequently, we don’t know what we may need in terms of coverage.

The real driver of costs is that the providers are a protected cartel with inelastic demand. Medicine is essentially a private sector entitlement that operates without supply/demand market controls. The free market only works when the customer can refuse to buy. It’s pay me or die. That’s not a market. It’s extortion.

If they jettison the subsides, many millions of middle class will be forced to drop out. The young will walk away without mandates.

Health care is not like buying a TV or sofa. The only choice needed is to be taken care of when we get sick or injured. No market can do that. Single payer can.”

Reply 1088 Recommended

Surge In Mice Is A Harbinger For Lyme Disease : NPR

“”We’re anticipating 2017 to be a particularly risky year for Lyme,” Ostfeld says.Keesing and Ostfeld, who have studied Lyme for more than 20 years, have come up with an early warning system for the disease. They can predict how many cases there will be a year in advance by looking at one key measurement: Count the mice the year before.”

Source: Surge In Mice Is A Harbinger For Lyme Disease : Goats and Soda : NPR

Obamacare Sabotage – by Vikas Bajaj – The New York Times

“The Trump administration doesn’t have a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, but it’s already trying to sabotage the law. It has canceled advertisements meant to encourage people to pick insurance policies on ahead of the Jan. 31 sign-up deadline.

This is a shameless attempt to drive down enrollment, especially among young people, who tend to wait until the last minute to get insurance but who are essential to the program because they tend to be healthier than older people and thus help spread the cost. Lower enrollment gives President Trump more ammunition in his fight against what he calls “the failed Obamacare disaster.” “

Obamacare Hits a Bump, by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“More than two and a half years have gone by since the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, went fully into effect. Most of the news about health reform since then has been good, defying the dire predictions of right-wing doomsayers. But this week has brought some genuine bad news: The giant insurer Aetna announced that it would be pulling out of many of the “exchanges,” the special insurance markets the law established.

This doesn’t mean that the reform is about to collapse. But some real problems are cropping up. They’re problems that would be relatively easy to fix in a normal political system, one in which parties can compromise to make government work. But they won’t get resolved if we elect a clueless president (although he’d turn to terrific people, the best people, for advice, believe me. Not.). And they’ll be difficult to resolve even with a knowledgeable, competent president if she faces scorched-earth opposition from a hostile Congress.”

Source: Obamacare Hits a Bump – The New York Times

Health Reform Realities – Paul Krugman, The New York Times

“Health reform is the signature achievement of the Obama presidency. It was the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare was established in the 1960s. It more or less achieves a goal — access to health insurance for all Americans — that progressives have been trying to reach for three generations. And it is already producing dramatic results, with the percentage of uninsured Americans falling to record lows.Obamacare is, however, what engineers would call a kludge: a somewhat awkward, clumsy device with lots of moving parts. This makes it more expensive than it should be, and will probably always cause a significant number of people to fall through the cracks.The question for progressives — a question that is now central to the Democratic primary — is whether these failings mean that they should re-litigate their own biggest political success in almost half a century, and try for something better.My answer, as you might guess, is that they shouldn’t, that they should seek incremental change on health care (Bring back the public option!) and focus their main efforts on other issues — that is, that Bernie Sanders is wrong about this and Hillary Clinton is right. But the main point is that we should think clearly about why health reform looks the way it does.”

Source: Health Reform Realities – The New York Times

Alcohol’s Effect on Health: What the Science Says – Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics, The New York Times

“Over the past year, I’ve tried to clear up a lot of the misconceptions on food and drink: about salt, artificial sweeteners, among others, even water.From Our AdvertisersNow let me take on alcohol: wine, beer and cocktails. Although I have written about the dangerous effects of alcohol abuse and misuse, that doesn’t mean it’s always bad. A part of many complex and delicious adult beverages, alcohol is linked to a number of health benefits in medical studies.”

Source: Alcohol’s Effect on Health: What the Science Says – The New York Times

NYT: The Fight for Health Care Isn’t Over

NYT editorial last Sunday: “In light of these lines of attack, it is imperative that in 2016 voters elect people to Congress and the White House who will support health care reform. It is equally important that as many uninsured people as possible be reached and enrolled in private plans or Medicaid. The greater the number of people who benefit from the health reform law, the harder it will be to dismantle it.”

It is imperative that in 2016 voters elect people to Congress who will support health care reform.|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD