Posts Tagged ‘legislative’

Wealth Inequality, Healthcare and the Economy

I post this new video because of the direct relationships between:

  • Special interest lobbying and policies resulting in a widening of income & wealth gaps,
  • Between the widening wealth gaps and poverty,
  • Between Poverty and obesity,
  • Between obesity and diabetes and other chronic illness,
  • Between chronic illness and rising healthcare costs, and
  • Between rising healthcare costs and our economic problems.

Highlights from the video

  • The Reality in this country is not at all what we think it is.
  • Our Perception of wealth distribution is far from our Ideal but not even close to Actual distribution.
  • The top 1% has more of the nation’s wealth than 90% of us think the top 20% Should have.
  • 1% has 40% of all of the nation’s wealth and takes home almost 25% of the annual income.
  • The top 1% own half the country’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
  • The bottom 50% own just 0.5% of stocks, meaning they live hand-to-mouth and don’t invest.
  • The bottom 80% of the nation has only 7% of the nation’s wealth between them.
  • Do CEOs really contribute 380 times more than the average worker (not lowest, but average)?
  • The Average worker needs to work more than a Month to make what the CEO makes in one Hour.

Inequality for All

In the interview below, Bill Moyers talks with economic analyst Robert Reich about the new film Inequality for All and describes it as “a game-changer” in our national discussion of income inequality. The video is nearly an hour long but well worth watching if you really want to understand the impact that inequality has had on the nation’s poor and middle-class and the economy in general. Reich deserves our respect regardless of political party since he served under three presidential administrations: Ford (R), Carter (D) and Clinton (D).

CEO Pensions are 1,200 times median workers, yet they want to cut social security

A Place at the Table – about Poverty, Hunger & Health

Spread the word today! This important documentary is coming to movie theaters, YouTube and on-demand on March 1.

A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social, health and cultural implications for our nation, and how the problem of hunger can be solved once and for all, with your help.

Now think about the dramatic role that a proper diet can play in decreasing obesity, diabetes, chronic illness, food allergies, and healthcare costs by improving the health of Americans.

As Dr. Wahls says in her TED video, “Hunter-Gatherer diet feeds Mitochondria & Brain Cells.”  “You’ll pay one way or another” – either pay now for a nutritious diet that improves your productivity and quality of life, or pay more later for medical intervention and long-term healthcare. This concept applies individually or nationally as portrayed in A Place at the Table.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why High Medical Bills Are Killing Us

TIME magazine coverIn his 38-page TIME magazine special report, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, Steven Brill dives into our health care system to understand why things cost so much, avoiding the more traditional question of who pays for what. What he found was both disturbing and telling. (His 3:38 min video introduction is at the end.)

His first story starts with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a nonprofit facility of the University of Texas, as he follows a patient who had to prepay $48,900 for six days of testing just to determine his cancer treatment regimen, which could easily run half a million dollars. An analysis of the itemized list of confusing charges showed that they were inflated as much as 100 times over retail prices, even before the hospital’s leveraged buying power. Those costs were also way higher than what Medicare would pay for the same tests, procedures and drugs.

MD Anderson, with its 19,000 employees, is one of the city’s top-10 employers, and its CEO last year was paid $1,845,000. Four other hospitals in the 1,300-acre Texas Medical Center are also in the top-10. Clearly, healthcare is a big business, but who’s making the money if it’s not doctors, nurses and technicians? It’s the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, equipment providers, and testing companies. Read the rest of this entry »

Where’s Real Reform in Health Care?

Money-Driven MedicineThe Patient Accountability and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a reasonable first step in health reform, but much more needs to be done. That’s primarily because Obamacare is still dependent on health insurance, which turned health care into an industry that profits from the perverse incentives of treating patients as paying customers. This health care industry  often works to keep patients as paying customers by treating their symptoms rather than providing real cures, and prescribing drugs, performing procedures, and doing unnecessary tests. Since that’s how practitioners are paid, it’s what they do.

The following videos explain how our money-driven system of medicine works, and what’s wrong with it. The video series then ends with an easy-to-understand animated explanation of Obamacare. Read the rest of this entry »

Nine States Deny The Poor Health Care

GOP Governors Deny The Poor Health Care
In Opposing Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion

 

Where states stand on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

By Peter S. Goodman and Jeffrey Young

RUSTON, La. — With no health insurance and not enough money for a doctor, Laura Johnson is long accustomed to treating her ailments with a self-written prescription: home remedies, prayer and denial.

Read the rest of this entry »

Texas Rankings Disappoint

Texas on the Brink: How Texas ranks among the 50 states (2011 version)
Click on the image to view:
“Texas on the Brink,” a 2001 report from the Texas Legislative Study Group that includes many more rankings and supporting statistics.
Not much has changed.

Texas near the Top:

Blessed with an abundance of land, rivers, oil and other natural resources, Texas pioneers built a great state, and even today, it seems that everything is bigger in Texas. I’ve lived in this “Great State of Texas” for most of my live, moving here from Arlington, VA in 1976, and I now live in the state capitol of Austin. So I call myself a Texan, but in many ways I’m not proud of my state. Here’s why. We relish in being #1 in many things, but not these:

  • Texas is #1 in the percent of population uninsured
    (as if that would be something to brag about).
  • We have the largest number of uninsured children (#1).
  • We have the most toxic chemicals released into water (#1).
  • We generate the most hazardous waste (#1).
  • We have the most carbon dioxide emissions (#1).
  • We also have the most executions (#1).
  • We have the second highest birth rate
    and are 4th in the number of kids living in poverty.
  • We have the second highest percent of population under 18.
  • We’re #2 in percent of population with food insecurity.
  • We’re #4 in percent of population living below poverty.

Read the rest of this entry »

Health Care Opportunities That Can Make a Real Impact

Refocusing on Health Care Opportunities That Can Make a Real Impact

Acute vs Chronic ConditionsBy Kenneth Thorpe, Chairman, The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (original on Huffington Post)

Now that the campaign smoke has cleared, we can expect a refocusing of the nation’s arguments from the question of who will get elected to what will be done about hot-button issues like health care. Expect pitched debates to begin imminently on battlegrounds including, but certainly not limited to, Medicare reform, revisiting the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board and medical device taxes.

The fact is though, the more time policymakers spend wrangling over these issues on which there are clear, and not easily bridged partisan divides, the more we’re missing the fundamental steps that can and must be taken if we’re going to contain health care costs without compromising the quality or accessibility of care.

It begins with acknowledging what we don’t know about improving health care, and what we need to do to broaden our knowledge base. And it has to do with the more than 75 million Americans who have not one, but multiple chronic illnesses. Our health care system in this country is quite adept at treating people who have a single disease. We don’t have an effective set of best practices, or an essential foundation of research, to know how to take care of those who are coping with more than one condition.

We have the opportunity to improve this situation, and it should begin with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI.org), the entity created by Congress to evaluate different prevention and treatment therapies and offer scientifically-supported evidence on how to provide patients with the most effective care.

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Obamacare Fact vs. Fiction (Now that you Voted)

voteBy Wendell Potter, Analyst at the Center for Public Integrity, author of Deadly Spin (original on Huffington Post, slightly modified after the election)

Wouldn’t it be great if our candidates had to take a dose of truth serum every morning before hitting the campaign trail? If they did, those of us who recently voted wouldn’t be nearly as confused about what Obamacare is and what it isn’t, what it will do and what it won’t.

Since there is no such truth serum requirement, I believe that many of us actually voted against our own best interests and for candidates who scared them into believing that Obamacare is a government takeover of health care that will bankrupt the country while slashing Medicare benefits. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media in Politics

Social Media In Politics - an InfographicI’ve posted several articles about social media in HEALTHCARE, including:

This article is about social media in POLITICS. While I try not to subject you to my own political views, they probably shows sometimes when I discuss things Obamacare, Medicare, regulatory oversight, and the future of medicine. But no matter what side of the issues you’re on, you may enjoy this infographic, because so many health-related issues are at stake in this year’s election. And if you feel  compelled to do so, share your thoughts below and justify your views to others.

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Understanding Obamacare

Healthcare became a hot potato during this political season, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Governor Romney wants to repeal “Obamacare,” but what’s actually in the law and why was introduced in the first place? To address these common questions, I’m reposting one of my first articles on the topic.

This article describes a great presentation by Dr. James Rohack on Health System Reform. Rohack is a practicing cardiologist and Director of Scott & White Center for Healthcare Policy. He is also a professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center and was the president of the American Medical Association from 2009 to 2010 during debates over Obama’s Healthcare Law.

The presentation was held in Sun City, a planned community north of Austin for retirees with active lifestyles. It didn’t include handouts, but I was able to find some of Rohack’s slides online and offer them below with my notes.

Read the rest of this entry »

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