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Archive for the ‘Health Care Reform’ Category

The FDA has added so many regulations to pamper the pharmaceutical companies it is not funny.  Quinine Sulfate was over the counter for 30 years, but when big pharma came out with a new drug for Restless Leg Syndrome, Quinine Sulfate became prescription only. Gee….   Unfortunately I need it for another species of the animal kingdom, and I’m having issues laying hands on it. 38 people were harmed by quinine sulfate, and 2 died, of kidney or  blood-related disorders between April 2005 and October 2008, prompting this change.

I watched a pharmaceutical rep drop off Celebrex samples in a doctor’s office 2 weeks ago. How many people have died of Celebrex? Since Celebrex is still on the market, that number seems to be suppressed. I found 10 deaths in Canada, from an online Canadian paper, but no searching produced a U.S. number.

The FDA Estimates Vioxx Caused 27,785 Deaths … The estimate is based on the number of prescriptions…

I expect 2011 to bring irradiated eggs to market. More homeophatic and organic remedies will disappear. Some people will die for lack of insurance and access to supplements, vitamins and those organic remedies. Some will fork over the cash and spend hundreds each month either on insurance, or the prescription cost of new patented drugs, many with harmful side effects, to keep the pharmaceutical boat afloat.

At the same time, our economy will be taking its second dip into recession.  The cost of the Deepwater Horizon is already on gas pumps, and prices will continue to climb in an effort to force the U.S. government to allow offshore drilling again. Will BP pay for the spill – they may hand over some cash, but we will all, in Louisiana or out of it, be paying BP and the rest of the industry back. Just in case you thought they were taking responsibility.

Nothing is about responsibility. Everything is about profit.

I watched PBS last night, “Secrets Beneath the Ice”. The image of  our globe if Antarctica melts is radically different. Fortunately I live very far inland. Those oil magnates busy disputing global warming, well let’s just say I hope they own beach front property. We have only to look at Greenland, and the loss of the Larsen Ice Shelf in January 2002, to see how this is going to play out.  Massive population reduction if we can’t turn it around.

But then, we can’t reduce Earth’s population any other way, can we?  If we talk about birth control and limiting population growth, the American conservative movement would have a field day saying we’re talking about state-mandated abortion, or death panels.

So I say, make more babies, burn more oil, and drill baby drill.  We should lose 5 or 6 million people in the first wave, and boating could become fashionable in some previously dry parts of the world.  I give up.

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Prenatal care and basic delivery. $6000.00
Shots and well-child visits first year. $1200.00
Shots and well child visits through age 18. 17 x $300 = $5100
Doctor visits for colds, flu, broken bones, average about 2 per year. 17 x $300 = $5100 based upon the $150 I spent getting my neglected cold / walking pneumonia treated 3 days ago, $150 per event.
Specialist referrals for complex stuff, avg cost to age 18 at 1 per person $4000
Well Woman w pap, std, cholestorol testing on single payer, once a yr, 19 – 55 $600 x 36 years = $21600
Well Man w prostate, std, cholesterol testing on single payer, once a yr, 19 – 55 $400 x 36 years = $14400

Basic single payer health care costs for a woman from prenatal to age 55 $43,000

Basic single payer health care costs for a man from prenatal to age 55 $35,800

Average basic single payer health care costs between genders. $39,400 for 55 years of care.

55 years x 12 months = 660 months. $59.69 per month.

But what about those very serious ailments like cancer and diabetes, etc.
What is the percentage rate of people that develop them?
Will preventative health care from pre-natal forward help to reduce those rates?
Would a plan priced at this level from prenatal forward and covering every person in the US, healthy or not, have adequate reserves to deal with those with very expensive illnesses.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Also – this is health care. This is not dental or optical. I don’t have current numbers for either, although I should have the optical as I’m 2 years past due for a checkup.

I could see a basic health care premium of $100 a month per person in my budget.

And with ZERO government restrictions on supplemental policies for everything from abortion to cosmetic surgery to – tattoos if the insurer and insured agreed upon it, no one is left out in the cold. It turns the optional medical market into a free market economy.

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Well, the bare bones of health care were in yesterday’s blog. and the most persistent commenter insists that basic birth control, the morning after pill, and abortion for medical reasons have to be covered.

I’m thinking NOT. Not because I’m an avid pro-lifer. I have 3 daughters I raised pro-choice, and they are pro-life enough for all of us. They are also intelligent young women who occasionally inspire me.

If we cannot have health care that supports a woman’s right to choose, at least let us have health care that leaves a woman enough money in her wallet to pay for her own condoms. (and yes there is a female condom that helps block the spread of stds).

If all basic health care is provided, the cost of birth control is simply not that much. Unless of course it is “the pill” in its new and varied forms. Many of those varied forms have been shown to cause breast cancer, stroke, heart attack and a host of other health problems, I’d say don’t cover it with basic single-payer insurance. Let the market pay cash and choose their poison. Or let the manufacturers police their product better.

As far as abortion coverage, just how many abortions per woman per year are we going to average here, that we must provide abortion coverage. Last I knew it took at least 6 weeks to figure out you were pregnant, and that is what, 1/9th of a year. Given the time to set an appointment and get in for an early term abortion, I wouldn’t think the quickest gal on the block could really pull off more than 4 a year. And if she is, I sure don’t want to pay for them.

Abortion is not supposed to be birth control. Never was intended to be birth control. The morning after pill will not stop the spread of HIV, herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, any form of hepatitis, hpv, and so many new ones have been invented I know I missed a few.

Perhaps the birth control offerings through a single payer health care plan should be limited to those that also stop the spread of disease – making HEALTH a first priority. I don’t know – the IUD was pretty solid birth control.

So while I am pro-choice, I am also pro women’s health. And I can definitely live with a basic health care reform single-payer policy that lets me choose my birth control and pay for it out of pocket. And let’s me choose a secondary health policy that will cover that birth control, abortion, viagra, a tummy tuck, or whatever my little heart desires.

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I have a lot to do today. But I wondered, if you (whoever happens to read this blog) and I were to design a minimalist health care package, single payer, what would it look like?

Just the basics:
From birth to death what would those be.
Prenatal care and basic delivery.
Shots and well-child visits.
Shots and well child visits through age 18.
Doctor visits for colds, flu, broken bones, those other ordinary mishaps of childhood.
Doctor visits that refer to a specialist for genetic disorders such as diabetes, etc.
Specialist care for actual medical disorders. (does not include prescriptions to thicken eyelashes & nonsense.)
Well woman visits at the appropriate age, including ob-gyn, blood pressure, cholesterol testing, std testing once annually.
Well man visits at the appropriate age, including prostate exam if needed, blood pressure, cholesterol testing, std testing once annually.
Doctor visits for colds, flu, broken bones, those other ordinary mishaps of adulthood.
Specialist care for actual medical disorders. (does not include prescriptions to thicken eyelashes, in-vitro fertilization and sterility treatments, viagra, boob jobs & nonsense.)
At or around age 40 – Initial cancer screening for breast / prostate cancers.
Continue with annual well man/well woman visits.
At or around age 50, Second cancer screening for breast / prostate cancers.
Doctor visits that refer to a specialist for actual medical problems that appear.
This looks pretty simple, and compared to the way we do things now, it doesn’t look too expensive. Preventative care is much cheaper than disaster management.
As a single payer entity for basics like vaccines, allergy medicines, bone-mending medicines, casts, testing whether for cholesterol or stds, the basic stuff, decent prices for the basic stuff can be negotiated downward.

One more thing.  In the bad old days the guideline for the emergency room was: “Are you bleeding? Broken bone?”  Separate trauma care from common cold turning into pneumonia. Small clinics modeled on Primacare could handle half of the load of the average emergency room on a Sunday. The cost of emergency room care is 10 to 100 times higher than a doctor visit for something as simple as bronchitis or a UTI. Don’t waste facilities on stuff that can be handled elsewhere.

Now for the tricky part:
We get older. We get fat. Knees give out, hips give out, heart valves give out. Replacement parts are very expensive. Start medicare at age 55, and negotiate as a single-payer with the manufacturers of the replacement parts. The cost of keeping someone over 55 healthy is reputed to be much higher than keeping a 20-something healthy. By the time I reach 55 I will have paid enough into medicare to offset some of the costs of keeping me going. In my case, probably most of the costs, I intend to stay very low maintenance and absolutely HATE going to the doctor.

Oh, and anyone that wants an abortion, in-vitro fertilization or fertility treatments, viagra, a designer drug to make their eyelashes grow, may either pay cash or take out an extended policy to pay for the little luxuries of life. No restrictions on that policy, no government money going into that policy, it is purely a secondary rider for the things that are not basics.

So, what do you think?  I’m looking for comments that fill in the blanks. When we get the plan designed then we can figure out what it costs and send it off to the White House and Congress. Maybe if we present a fait accompli they can get something done.

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