Monday, July 25, 2005
The state's Republican Party is insisting that Pearcy's painting should be removed. The painting, says a state party spokeswoman, is "blatantly offensive to people who think that America does not belong in the toilet."
The delicious part is that Pearcy himself is a Republican.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is refusing to remove the painting.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jul 12 – Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is nearly twice as costly in the United States as in Canada, although the clinical outcomes are no different and average length of stay is shorter in the U.S., a new study shows.
"I think that adds some fuel to the fire for a single payer system in the U.S., which would substantially reduce costs," the study's lead author, Dr. Mark J. Eisenberg of Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, told Reuters Health.
The researchers compared the cost and outcomes for 12,017 consecutive CABG patients treated at five U.S. and four Canadian hospitals. The group included 4,698 U.S. patients and 7,319 Canadian patients, and all of the hospitals were using the same cost accounting system.
Mean U.S. in-hospital costs were $20,673, compared to $10,373 for Canadian patients, Dr. Eisenberg and his team report in the July 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Length of stay was 16.8% longer for the Canadian patients. After the researchers controlled for clinical and demographic factors, they found U.S. CABG treatment was 82.5% more expensive. . . ." [emphasis mine]
Did the Canadians in the study have to wait longer than the Americans to have the surgery? (All of you USians have heard of Canadian waiting lists for expensive procedures, haven't you?)
In the original research article in Archives of Internal Medicine* on which the news story is based, the researchers do mention waiting lists. To control for the chance that having waiting lists reduces health care costs, the researchers gathered data for patients in both Canada and the United States for whom bypass was elective (had to wait) and those for whom it was an emergency. Canada still came out with much lower surgery costs. After all confounding factors were controlled for, the procedure still cost 74.8% more in the United States than in Canada. This was because, the researchers said, the costs of the procedure and all supplies are spread throughout Canada, which is not the case in the United States. Quality of patient care during the procedure and hospitalization was pretty much equivalent, they said.
So when is this conversion from our train wreck of a health care system to a single-payer system going to happen, and why doesn't it seem to be on any politician's agenda?
It will happen sometime in the nebulous future after Bush is no longer president, and it's not on politicians' agenda because (1) they're all covered by a cushy government-sponsored insurance policy (check out your senators' and representatives' premiums here) and (2) they're given high enough salaries that they experience out-of-pocket health care expenses as chump change.
If the spousal unit and I didn't have to pay just over $900 a month in health care policy premiums (family rate, whether 2 people or 9), we could
Afford to make payments on two brand-new cars (not that we want them) or
Stop requiring my in-laws (who live in a small apartment within our home) to pay us rent or
- Afford to do a home remodel that includes replacing the 35-plus-year-old upstairs bathroom (nothing fancy, mind you—we just need to replace what's falling apart, which is everything), build a small addition that would allow me to have my very own office (I'm working editing miracles at a tiny kitchen table, dammit!), and replace the 35-plus-year-old rough-hewn cedar shingles and asbestos (!) shingles on the outside of the entire house with vinyl siding.
I suppose I shouldn't gripe; at least we already have a home, even if it does need a lot of expensive work. But damn! I should've been a CEO of a health care plan.
Then again, maybe not. I wouldn't want to be one of America's most hated.
*Eisenberg MJ, Filion KB, Azoulay A, et al: Outcomes and cost of coronary artery bypass graft surgery in the United States and Canada. Arch Intern Med 2005;165;1506–1513. [The article was published July 11, 2005.]
Monday, July 11, 2005
Friday, July 08, 2005
Please . . . mother the world with me. Stop the madness. Impeach Bush now!
impeach Bush impeach Bush Iraq
Stop the madness: impeach Bush now!
impeach Bush impeach Bush Iraq
Thursday, July 07, 2005
I am quite afraid that Bush and Blair, who wanted to invade Iraq and molded intelligence to "prove" the need to do so, will see the London bombings as "proof" that they were right and will up the ante in Iraq and take on other nations they deem part of the "axis of evil."
Before Bush stole office the first time, I predicted to my spousal unit that the man would end up starting World War III before he left the White House. I'd hate to be proven right.
9:40 p.m. update: Read Dr. Peter Fallon's excellent analysis of how the U.S. got into the mess it's in.
London terrorism Bush Iraq Blair
Monday, July 04, 2005
Meanwhile, the United Church of Christ has dared to do something that no other entity, religious or secular, in the United States has dared to do: say that all love is created equal. The General Synod, the UCC rule-making body, overwhelmingly approved a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage. The UCC knows what most other U.S. Christian denominations do not—that God does not discriminate.
As we celebrate freedom today in the United States, let us take heart that one day, that freedom will extend to every person in the country, regardless of
July 8 update, 8:05 p.m.: A reader I greatly respect made this comment: "Thanks for this column. I would, however, like to see sexual orientation or even gender orientation instead of sexual preference. I don't just 'prefer' to love Janice, as in choosing to love her instead of a man. Too many folks say it's a choice and we could choose otherwise if we wanted to. I don't agree. I don't think you do either, but words are powerful."
She's right, and I thank her for cogent point. I have corrected my terminology above.GLBT gay human rights
Friday, July 01, 2005
Conyers and 51 Members File FOIA Request on Downing Street Minutes; Members Formally Seek Hearings in House
Representative John Conyers, Jr., (D-MI) House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, along with 51 other Members today, submitted a broad and comprehensive FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request to the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State seeking any and all documents and materials concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the lead up to the Iraq war, RAW STORY has learned.
In addition, the Members also formally requested that the House Committees on Judiciary, Armed Services, International Relations, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence commence hearings on the Downing Street Minutes.
"This is the next stage of the Downing Street investigation and brings the investigation to a new more and more aggressive stage," one Democratic Judiciary aide said.
You can see a copy of the FOIA request at Raw Story. Can I have Rep. Conyers move from Michigan to New York State? We could really use his talents here. If he were ever to run for president, I think I'd back him.
impeach Bush impeach Bush Iraq