Thursday, December 27, 2007

Swampland - TIME

Swampland - TIME:

"Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion a year, but the GNP--if we should judge America by that--counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead...and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud to be Americans.--Robert F. Kennedy
March 18, 1968"

Thanks to Joe Klein!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Crooks and Liars » Nataline Sarkisyan passes away. Shame on Cigna!

Crooks and Liars » Nataline Sarkisyan passes away. Shame on Cigna!: "We [Crooks & Liars] posted this story yesterday with an update to the heartbreaking result. While battling CIGNA for a new liver, her family and friends fought and protested until CIGNA finally gave in, but it was too late—the seventeen-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan died."

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Democrats get infusion of campaign money from health care | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | National Politics

Democrats get infusion of campaign money from health care Dallas Morning News News for Dallas, Texas National Politics:

"Depending on who is elected, the role of government and employers could swing dramatically, from Democrat John Edwards' call to require all employers with five or more workers to provide coverage or contribute 6 percent of payroll toward a public program on one end of the spectrum, to Republican Fred Thompson's call to 'divorce [the] complete dependence people have on employment for their insurance.'

In Texas, health care executives have donated almost twice as much to presidential candidates in this campaign as they did in the last election. Doctors and hospitals have a vested interest in increasing the number of people who have insurance, since that ups their chances of getting paid. Meanwhile, insurers want to ensure that people and companies keep purchasing plans from private insurance companies, as opposed to switching to a government-run system.

So, perhaps it should not be surprising that, through September, Texans in areas ranging from surgery to medical supplies donated $934,000, up 75 percent from the $531,000 poured in during the same period of the 2004 campaign.

This time around, about as much of that money went to Democrats as Republicans. Democratic candidates raked in a total of $459,650, versus $474,234 for Republican presidential candidates.
On the national level, the Democrats actually beat the Republicans. Through September, Democratic candidates collected $6.5 million from the health care industry, compared with $4.8 million for Republican candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.-based campaign finance research group.

Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has been the biggest beneficiary from Texas health industry donations, with $237,000 through September; Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani came in second, with $223,000.

Next in line for Democratic contributions was Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, with $110,000 from Texas health care donors. Mr. Obama also collected the state's single-largest such donation, with $24,000 from the Dallas-based medical technology company T-System Inc., according to a study prepared for The Dallas Morning News by the Center for Responsive Politics. "

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Doctors endorse single-payer | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/04/2007

Doctors endorse single-payer Philadelphia Inquirer 12/04/2007:
"Because much of the growth in expense in the current system is in procedures performed by specialists or in increased use of technology like MRIs, doctors who work in those areas have the most to fear from a single-payer system, Getzen said. Internists, who serve as primary-care doctors for many people, have less to fear.

The ACP also called for better payments for primary-care doctors to help avert a shortage and for the creation of a uniform billing system and greater use of electronic health records to reduce administrative costs.

Dale said that some U.S. doctors and hospitals were better than their counterparts in other nations, but that this country's health system compares poorly. 'Part of our call is, 'Look around, guys, and see how other people are doing,' ' he said, 'and they're doing better than us.' "

Nicely done summary of where most of the tension in advocating for single payer lays.

The ACP position paper is here, and I believe free to anyone.


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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Draft Proposal for a Single Payer, Comparative Healthcare Wiki

Comparative Healthcare: Economic, Policy, Provider and Public Perspectives

Nation: General description/overview of system
Macroeconomic view
Per capita, GDP spending
Financing system
Cost to taxpayers
Cost to employers/employees
Microeconomic view
Business evaluation of efficiency
Citizen evaluation of efficiency
Provider evaluation of efficiency
Other facilities (SNF, surgery centers, testing/imaging)
Others: extenders/PT/OT/RT/ Pharmacists

Policy Considerations
Socialized/Single Payer/Hybrid
Private insurers/providers
Federal Perspectives
Perceived shortcomings
Percieved efficiencies
Things to include
Things to avoid
Political pitfalls

State/Province/Other Perspectives
Local Administration
Local Governanace

Provider Perspectives
Nurses and allied healthcare
Perspectives of Physicians
Practice Variation
Quality data
“High Tech” health care
End-of-Life Care
Autonomy of decision making
Access to data (quality)
Access to data (EHR)
Mental Health/substance abuse care

Physician Extenders
Other Allied healthworkers

Public Perspectives
Out-of-Pocket Costs
Spending/Cost to nation

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