Archive for the ‘Medicare’ Category

New Hope for Boy Scouts: Poison Ivy Vaccine

September 24, 2021

“Poison Ivy,” written by Lieber & Stoller, interpreted by Manfred Mann, 1966.

Each summer, 10 million to 50 million Americans get painful, itchy contact dermatitis skin rashes from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Things are about to get worse as the climate crisis makes poison ivy more toxic and expands its range. Higher levels of carbon dioxide make the plants produce a more allergenic form of urushiol, the oily sap resin responsible for the rash.

But there’s hope:

“Human research is proceeding with a compound called PDC-APB, which would be injected as a vaccine once every year or two to prevent poison ivy misery. Developed at the University of Mississippi, it is a synthetic version of urushiol’s active component. ‘We believe the shot will lead to desensitization and reduce or eliminate reactions to poison ivy, oak and sumac,’ says Ray Hage, CEO of Hapten Sciences, which has licensed the compound. It works well in guinea pigs …, passed initial safety testing in humans and is about to be evaluated in a small randomized controlled trial. People are beating down the door to try the vaccine, Hage reports: ‘Every March I start to get e-mails from people asking, ‘Where is the drug? Can I be in a trial?’”

— “A Vaccine against Poison Ivy Misery Is in the Works as Scientists Also Explore New Treatment Paths,” Claudia Wallis, Scientific American

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GOP Health Insurance: Ryancare

November 17, 2014

GOP Health Insurance: Ryancare
Hey oldsters! You voted GOP? Congratulations, seniors, here’s what you get:

“. . . GOP congressional leaders are promising to act immediately on their budget-slashing ideas when 2015 begins. High on their list, according to the New York Times, is implementing Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to ‘overhaul’ Medicare by replacing it with ‘premium support’ vouchers designed to privatize the system over the coming decades. They will also form a commission to examine ‘options’ for Social Security, which Ryan has also long favored privatizing.”

 — “Get ready for Ryancare, America! Why GOP’s all set to end Medicare as we know it,” Joan Walsh, Salon


“Yes, the Republican Obamacare Strategy Will Kill People,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine


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Photo by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,  Note: Product pictured is not made from hair.

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Ryan Tells His Medicare Plans to Oldsters. They Boo.

September 21, 2012

Ryan Tells His Medicare Plans to Oldsters. They Boo.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan spoke to the national AARP convention on Friday about his plans to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds,” he said. In response, the jolly gathering of grandparents booed the pompous little twerp. He went on to propose privatizing Medicare and giving seniors healthcare coupons. He was heckled by an audience old enough to remember the that same plan was pushed 12 years ago by another Republican financial genius, George W. Bush. You know, the GOP MBA President who crashed the world economy. Hey, Paul Ryan’s running mate is a Harvard MBA too!


Healthcare Reform on a Postcard

June 29, 2012

Healthcare Reform on a Postcard

The Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act yesterday. So what does that mean to you?

— No more lifetime coverage limits on your insurance.

— Annual insurance benefit caps eliminated by 2014.

— No more preexisting condition exclusion for kids.

— Adults with preexisting conditions get help finding coverage; after 2014, all insurers will have to cover everyone.

— Insurance companies can’t drop you when you get sick.

— Kids can stay on thier parents’ insurance until age 26.

 — Seniors get help with that “doughnut hole” in their prescription drug coverage.

— No more co-pays for preventative services in Medicare, and a free annual doctor visit to plan prevention.

— Small businesses get tax credits — up to 50 percent of premium costs—for offering workers health insurance.

— Insurers with excessive administrative costs must give rebates to customers, and all insurance companies must disclose overhead spending.

— Free birth control and other preventative services for women, unless they work for a faith-based organization that opposes it.

“10 Things You Get Now That Obamacare Survived,” Andy Kroll and Nick Baumann, Mother Jones

Want a second opinion? Take your pick:


The Healthcare Vote on a Postcard

March 22, 2010

The Healthcare Bill on a Postcard

“Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican rather than a New Deal foundation,” explains Robert Reich. “Ronald Reagan … picked up where Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover left off.”


Senate Passes Insurance Industry Aid Bill

December 24, 2009

Senate Passes Insurance Industry Aid Act

There must be mistletoe hanging in the Capitol dome. The U.S. Senate gave insurance companies a big,  juicy Christmas Eve kiss by passing the Health Insurance Enrichment Act by a vote of 60 to 39.  

The Republican public reaction: “Bah humbug.” Privately, the GOP and healthcare industry lobbyists probably slapped Joe Lieberman  (“The Grinch Who Stole Health Reform“) on the back, thanked him for his hypocrisy in eviscerating the bill, and wished Senator Joe and the entire Lieberman family a prosperous and happy Hanukkah.

President Obama fled DC ahead of an impending ice storm and the wrath of Public Option proponents.

And to all, a good night.


More here.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Healthcare USA — Nothing is Foreign

August 24, 2009

Healthcare USA -- Nothing is Foreign

T.R. Reid’s article “Five Myths About Health Care in the Rest of the World” appeared in Sunday’s Washington Post. He makes many interesting points, including this one:

In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really “foreign” to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we’re Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we’re Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we’re Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we’re Burundi or Burma: In the world’s poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can’t pay stay sick or die.

The fragmentation of U.S. healthcare creates a “costly bureaucratic mess,” writes Mr. Reid, costly in funds and lives. U.S. healthcare leads the developed world in cost and one uniquely American medical area: medical paupers — 700,000 families bankrupted by medical bills, and counting.


Note: T.R. Reid’s book The Healing of America was published today.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Newt Gingrich, Advance Directive Advocate

August 14, 2009

  Newt Gingrich, Advance Directive Advocate

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich defended former Governor Sarah Palin’s “Death Panel” claims  on TV last weekend. Yet just like Mrs. Palin, Mr. Gingrich has advocated advanced care directives, especially their adoption by entire healthcare communities. And unlike Mrs. Palin, his reasons for doing so were economic.

 As reporter Matt Taibbi points out, Mr. Gingrich has long been a vociferous proponent of advance planning for end-of-life care. As recently as July, Newt Gingrich wrote in the Washington Post:


Paula Abdul Appointed to Obama Death Panel

August 9, 2009

Paula Abdul Appointed to Obama Death Panel

Entertainer Paula Abdul has been named to the Death Panel mandated under the new U.S. Healthcare Reform bill. We have been unable to confirm either of the facts in that last sentence, but that hasn’t stopped anyone else from making statements on the healthcare reform issue, either, so we’re going with it.

“Ms. Abdul is the perfect choice for this job,” said an unidentified government source. “She is leaving her prior post on the American Idol panel at considerable sacrifice due to her strong personal commitment to public service.”

According to the well-known medico-legal authority Mrs. Sarah Palin of Wasilla, Alaska, the Obama Death Panel will decide how she will next exploit her own family for the sake of publicity which “special needs” children and senior citizens will live or die.  This will lower medical bills for surviving Americans. Cast members of “Survivor” were unavailable for comment.


Obama Wants to Kill your Grandma

August 7, 2009

Obama Wants to kill Your Grandma

Democrat health “reform” Nazis want to kill old people! It’s right there in their bill, Section 1233 of H.R. 3200. You want federal health care? Just sign off on your own compulsory euthanasia.

Who says? House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) in a joint statement. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said on the House floor that the bill would “force Seniors to be put to death by their government.”

Reality check: Section 1233 of HR 3200 allows doctors reimbursement for patient counseling once every five years on Advance Care Planning. It isn’t mandatory.