Kathleen McLaughlin’s “AIDS Granny in Exile,” profiles the incredible gynecologist and activist Gao Yaojie, and offers a devastating look into how HIV spread through blood transfusions in 1990s rural China — a government-sanctioned crisis that Gao has dedicated her life to shedding light on.
Tyler Cowen had the opportunity to try out 23andMe, the genetic testing company that uses a swab of your saliva to tell you things like inherited traits, genealogy and possible congenital risk factors. It’s backed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and advertisements have been everywhere (you may have heard about it on a radio program, or on an internet ad). Cowen’s main reasons for turning down the opportunity were “worry cost” (worrying about potential negative information he’d receive), and some privacy concerns (allowing a privately held company to store information about his genetic data).
“Dilbert” creator Scott Adams wrote a polarizing post this weekend about how powerless he felt about his father’s end-of-life care, specifically, how neither he nor his father’s doctors could make the decision to end his father’s life. We’ve talked a little bit about having end-of-life discussions before, but Adams is talking specifically about “doctor-assisted suicide” here, and it’s not clear what his father was suffering from and whether there was a living will or a health care directive. Adams’s father passed away a few hours after the post went up.
St. Vincent’s ends up with the uninsured patients that a nearby hospital is legally required to stabilize but not treat. Many of these patients fall into the Medicaid coverage gap, a gap that is a million Texans strong and won’t be closing with the Affordable Care Act.
Larry Lake’s essay for Slate about his daughter’s mental illness and drug addiction is beautiful.
I got a letter in the mail from Blue Cross Blue Shield over the weekend that my $184/mo calamity health insurance (EmpireBlue Hospital Plus, to be exact) will no longer be offered in the new year.
I was initially disappointed to lose my sad compromise between paying $761/month for COBRA and going without the way I did when I was 22 (and 23, and 24), but I am taking its new prohibition under the Affordable Care Act as a sign that it is a complete rip-off. Mother Jones confirms my suspicions
I sit at a desk working for more than 10 hours a day, and I’ve always convinced myself that going running in the morning makes up for it in some way. According to a study reported in the Times’s Well blog, it may not be doing anything to counteract all that sitting—a person training for the marathon can also be a couch potato.
Kohn was able to find a better and cheaper plan on the health insurance exchange sites. Kohn’s lesson: Try the exchange, and look at the options that are available to you—it might surprise you.
Jess Stoner has a fascinating and cringe-inducing essay on The Morning News about dental insurance, or lack thereof. She talks a little about the history of dental care (ancient Egyptians! Keri Russell!), her own experiences with uninsured dental care, and how we’re all basically screwed:
“During my first appointment, there were 20 of us in one large room, like a field hospital. The days of a private space where I didn’t have to watch an elderly man’s dentures get refit while my own mouth was tended to seemed like a heady dream. Listening to the whimpers of pained strangers, I learned an incredibly important lesson I have never forgotten: We’re all fucked.
Or to rephrase: “Tooth decay is the province of the poor.” Or perhaps, to add an addendum to that rephrase: “Tooth decay is also the province of the somewhat privileged whose shallow pockets are filled with advances on school loans.”
Jess points out that the number of people without dental insurance is three times that of those without health insurance. It seems that I hear of more and more people who work full-time and have health benefits but not dental, so this doesn’t surprise me. When did dental benefits become a luxury?
“Medicare patients appeared particularly vulnerable to receiving inferior care.“
Elizabeth Rosenthal’s series in The New York Times on why the U.S. leads the world in health care expenditures has been really good—she’s previously tackled colonoscopies, pregnancies, and joint replacements—and her fourth story is on prescription drugs, namely, asthma medication. The high costs are due to patents, which have prevented generics from competing in the market, and, yes, lobbying from pharmaceutical companies.
How signing up for Obamacare is going, reported by John Dickerson at Slate.
A story on the homepage of the Times this morning is looking at how millions of poor people will be unable to afford insurance in states that have declined to participate in the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Did you listen to last week’s This American Life episode about how acetaminophen kills about 150 Americans every year due to accidental overdoses? The story, among many other things, showed the long, difficult, and frustrating process of getting warning labels onto acetaminophen bottles. The story, which took two years to report, was done by an investigative unit at ProPublica. Today, The Atlantic reports how much it cost to report the story: $750,000, which is an extraordinary amount of money dedicated to one story. That money went to pay: “reporters, news applications and web developers, editors, video production, social media and PR, travel, legal review, half of the public opinion poll etc.” The cost of producing the This American Life episode was a separate matter. Was it worth it? Peter Osnos writes: “…what price do you suppose a parent with a young, feverish child might put on these disclosures?”