Category Archives: Health Care

Stop being nice to America-destroying Left

Conservatives, including me, like to blame Obama for everything that’s wrong with America.

But the truth is he wouldn’t be in the White House, ignoring and bypassing Congress by signing more executive orders and memoranda than any U.S. president in history:

  • without MILLIONS of Americans voting him into power, twice!
  • without the willful complicity of the establishment media
  • without the gutless spineless Republicans, and
  • without the approval of MILLIONS of Americans (50% of adults, according to Gallup Poll, still!), despite or because of everything he’s done.

To quote 18th century French diplomat Count Joseph Marie Maistre (1763-1821), “Every nation has the government it deserves.”

In the following op/ed by Michael Cummings for Clash Daily, he perfectly articulates my sentiments.

america_divided

Tired of Losing: No More ‘Benefit of the Doubt’, Decorum for America-Destroying Leftists

Ben Shapiro, attorney, author of Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America, and Brietbart.com editor-at-large, said in a recent column:

“If someone calls you a racist, and you respond by stating that they are a reasonable human being with policy differences, you grant their premise: A reasonable person has called you a racist, which means it is reasonable to call you racist. You lose.”

I am tired of losing.

I am tired of giving people on the Left the benefit of the doubt. Is it not clear they do not mean well? Is it not clear they don’t want the same things as we? Is it not clear they do not wish to arrive at the same destination via a different path? These people are not on our side, and were I in Congress I would not call any member of the opposition party “My honorable friend” or “esteemed colleague.” Decorum be damned.

In the last week we’ve seen former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani get criticized on every news show over his statement that he didn’t think Barack Obama loves America. True Americans cheered as Giuliani didn’t back down when challenged over the days that followed. Even Scott Walker, when asked about what Rudy said of Obama, essentially said, “Ask Obama.” Well done, both of you.

We need more of this, more of calling these people out.

And why shouldn’t we? Barack Obama has done more damage to this country than any president or elected official. We need to tell the truth.

  • He and his perpetually angry wife criticized our country during the 2008 campaign.
  • He began his administration with a trip around the world to apologize for every wrongdoing he believes America has committed.
  • He destroyed the best health care system in the world.
  • He pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving a gaping hole the Islamic State is only happy to fill with the blood and body parts of Jews, Christians, and not-the-right-kind-of-Muslims.
  • He traded five, high value terrorists for a proven Army deserter, some of whose fellow soldiers died looking for him.
  • He has spent more than all other presidents combined.
  • He vetoed a bipartisan bill that would allow the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline, bringing more energy independence and jobs to our nation.
  • He pushed the FCC to treat the Internet as a public utility, paving the way not just for speed but content restriction.
  • He granted de facto amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, and set processes in place to provide them tax credits and Social Security.

We know how long this list could get.

Note: Cummings left out Obama abandoning 4 Americans to die in Benghazi; the IRS singling out conservatives for extra scrutiny; the NSA spying on our every email, phonecall, and credit transaction; targeting right-wing Americans as extremist terrorists; promoting sodomy as U.S. foreign policy; imposing gun control via banning bullets by executive action; and much much more. See our “The Obama Chronicles” page.

In every facet of our lives, Barack Obama and people like him on the Left want to control us — never asking if we want to be controlled nor checking with the Constitution on the legality of their actions. Free enterprise, health care, freedom of religion, free Internet, strong military — they destroy everything they touch. In protecting America or our allies from danger, these people have made it clear they want chaos to reign.

I don’t know what else to say other than this: I hate Barack Obama. You can’t call me racist because I hate Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, too. You can’t call me sexist because I hate Harry Reid and Dick Durbin. You can’t call me anti-pervert because I hate Joe Biden.

Do I hate these people personally? No. How could I? I know none of them. But I hate anyone who becomes part of the 1% off the freedoms of the best country this world will ever know, but with every breath they take seek to fundamentally transform it.

Do I hate these people more than the Islamic State? No, but I hold them responsible for the bloodshed painting the entire Middle East.

My hatred is bipartisan. You would like to think that since, for the moment, we still have elections, we could vote these people out and put in place principled and courageous leaders who will keep their multiple and fervent promises to stop Obama. And in 2010 and 2014 we set decades old records in political power shifting by handing Republicans the keys to Congress. Since then, Republicans have taken impeachment and funding (shutdowns) off the table. Please tell me where our negotiating power resides other than at the bottom of the pit in the movie “300.” Save for a few, patriotic stalwarts, I hate the Republicans too.

But I love God, Jesus, and the American people, and with faith in all of these I remain optimistic that while we’re in a really dark part of history, we will see the light.

Armor of God I can do all things through Christ

See also:

~Éowyn

States that restrict abortion have lower maternal mortality rates: Mexican study

unborn baby

LifeSiteNews: An international team of medical researchers comparing maternal mortality rates and abortion laws in 32 Mexican states claims it has disproven the claim of abortion promoters that easy access to abortion will reduce maternal deaths.

Comparing 14 states with constitutional protection for the unborn with 18 states with varying degrees of permissiveness over 10 years, the Chilean-Mexican-American team found that the less permissive states had a maternal mortality rate 23% lower, and a post-abortive mortality rate “up to” 47% lower.

Team member Dr. John Thorp of the University of North Carolina medical school said in a video released along with the study that it “pretty much refutes the conventional wisdom” that freer access to abortion will reduce maternal fatalities because abortions will be done in safe conditions.

The research director, Dr. Elard Koch, director of the sponsoring MELISA Institute and an associate researcher with the University of Chile’s faculty of medicine, said in the same video that the study does not show “making abortion laws less permissive will automatically decrease maternal deaths.”

But what it does show is that more difficult access to abortion has none of the negative impact on death rates claimed by organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute.

At the same time, the study shows that states with more permissive laws had higher rates of violence against women. Meanwhile, those states with less permissive laws regarding abortion provided better prenatal care, more skilled maternity staff, and better emergency obstetrics.

Out of 10 factors examined, the one bearing the strongest relationship with reduced maternal mortality rate (MMR) was the mother’s literacy and education levels, which bring knowledge about pre-birth health and hygiene and dispel counter-productive folk “wisdom.” Less permissive states had better literacy rates.

Thorp said the results were not a surprise.  A similar study tracking Chilean MMR through several changes back and forth in abortion laws showed the same factors correlating strongly with a reduced MMR, especially female literacy maternal and access to modern medicine. It also showed that legal abortion access had little to no relevance.  Thorp also noted a study comparing abortion laws and the rate of complications arising from abortions in 23 U.S. states also showed that tighter abortion laws went with fewer complications.

Other factors the study found to be related to higher maternal death rates were “Poverty, malnutrition, and exposure to infectious diseases during the fertile age of women increase the risk of maternal death,” according to Sebastián Haddad, MD, a researcher at the Universidad de Anáhuac in Mexico.

DCG

Billing blunder: 13,000 in Washington State overbilled for health insurance

obamacare

KOMO: Nearly 13,000 people across Washington State experienced sticker shock this week after being billed three times their normal amount for health insurance.

A spokesman for Washington Healthplanfinder said the incorrect totals were withdrawn from bank accounts during the monthly payment process. The glitch meant hundreds of dollars were automatically deducted from customers’ accounts statewide. 

“We’re very upset about this issue and apologize to impacted customers,” said Michael Marchand, Director of Communications for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “We’re very concerned about this and we want to make sure that we’re able to provide remedies for those individuals.” The state expected to be able to reverse the incorrect withdrawals within the next 48 hours.

The glitch meant customers like Jim West were scrambling to get to the bank Tuesday morning to make sure accounts weren’t overdrawn. “For us it wasn’t a huge issue but a lot of seniors are on fixed incomes,” said West, of Lake Stevens. “I’ve seen one lady on Facebook that they’d taken an extra $800 out of her bank account. That can affect real people who are in need.”

This isn’t the first time the state’s health benefit exchange has run into problems. In December, 6,000 accounts were accidentally canceled. One month earlier, the health care exchange shut down after problems with tax credit calculations.

Marchand said Tuesday that customers were notified of this most recent problem via phone and email.

“Yes, this is part of the growing pains of an organization moving forward, but really, we’re a long-term play,” he said. “We’ve essentially created a marketplace where one hasn’t existed before. We’re fourth in the nation with lowering the rate of the uninsured. We’ve covered almost 640,000 lives and we’re continuing to make changes and improve.”

West, who is semi-retired, said he and his wife would be fine but feared what might happen to customers with less flexibility in their finances. “I think a state agency should be a little more careful with what they’re doing,” he said.

DCG

Rescued pig and blind dog become best friends

St. Bonaventure called non-human animals “creatures without sin.”

Raffy and Henry, though entirely different species, forged a beautiful and loving friendship.

Henry the pig was rescued from a factory farm when he was just a few days old. He was born in a farrowing crate, weak and cold, where his mom couldn’t even move around, let alone take proper care of him.

Henry's mom in a crate

Henry would have died if he had not been rescued by Brightside Farm Sanctuary.

Henry the piglet

While still a piglet, Henry met Raffy, a Golden Retriever who was born blind. Raffy became little Henry’s “mum” and best friend. Pig and dog would sleep, play, and even go for walks together.

Raffy and Henry

Now, Henry the pig is sick and dying. But his faithful friend, Raffy, will remain by his side to the end.

If you don’t already, you should know that the pork you buy in stores most likely came from a factory farm where pigs, cows, and chicken live their entire wretched lives, from birth to death, in cramped cages, and fed food loaded with hormones and antibiotics.

God bless the good folks of Brightside Farm Sanctuary in Tasmania, Australia! Click here for their website.

H/t The I♥Dogs Site and FOTM’s josephbc69

~Éowyn

Antibiotics-resistant superbug kills 2, infects 180 in Los Angeles

It’s here.

The antibiotic-resistant superbug dubbed “nightmare bacteria” is now a fact of life in the United States.

nightmare bacteria

A year ago, PBS’s Frontline reported that the largest U.S. outbreak on record of a strain of “nightmare bacteria” that infected 44 people at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in suburban Chicago “is fueling alarm among public health officials about the spread of potentially lethal drug-resistant infections.” At the time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said just 96 cases of the infection had been reported to the agency since 2009.

The bacteria strain, known as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), is a form of superbug that lives in the gut and can carry a gene called NDM-1 that is resistant to practically all antibiotics on the market todayPerhaps more alarming, the gene can jump from bacteria to bacteria, making treatable infections untreatable.

Since the Chicago infection, the superbug has leapt across the continent to the west coast.

Chad Terhune reports for the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 18, 2015, that nearly 180 patients at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to the CRE “nightmare bacteria” from contaminated medical scopes, and two deaths have already been linked to the outbreak. UCLA declined to provide details on the two people who died, citing patient confidentiality. The number of CRE-infected patients may grow as more patients get tested.

UCLA said it discovered the outbreak late last month while running tests on a patient. This week, it began to notify 179 other patients who were treated from October to January and offer them medical tests. By some estimates, if the infection spreads to a person’s bloodstream, the bacteria can kill 40% to 50% of patients.

duodenoscope

At issue is a specialized endoscope inserted down the throats of about 500,000 patients annually to treat cancers, gallstones and other ailments of the digestive system, in a procedure called ERCP or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. These duodenoscopes are considered minimally invasive, and doctors credit them for saving lives through early detection and treatment.

But medical experts say some scopes can be difficult to disinfect through conventional cleaning because of their design, so bacteria are transmitted from patient to patient. The duodenoscopes typically involved in the CRE outbreaks have an “elevator channel” that doctors use to bend the device in tight spaces and allow for attachments such as catheters or guide wires. Experts suspect bacteria build up in that small area.

But Dr. Alex Kallen, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, said he hasn’t found any breaches in cleaning protocol at hospital outbreaks he has investigated. He believes the problem probably is more complicated than just a design issue: “There isn’t an obviously easy solution to employ. There is action on a lot of different fronts.”

The duodenoscopes are not the same type used in more routine endoscopies and colonoscopies.

UCLA said it immediately notified public health authorities after discovering the CRE bacteria in one patient and tracing the problem to two of the duodenoscopes. Dale Tate, a university spokeswoman, said UCLA had been cleaning the scopes “according to standards stipulated by the manufacturer.” After the infections were discovered, “the two scopes involved with the infection were immediately removed and UCLA is now utilizing a decontamination process that goes above and beyond the manufacturer and national standards.”

The UCLA outbreak is the latest in a string of similar incidents across the country that has top health officials scrambling for a solution. State and federal officials are looking into the situation at UCLA as they wrestle with how to respond to the problem industrywide.

Since 2012, there have been about a half-dozen outbreaks affecting up to 150 patients in Illinois, Pennsylvania and most recently at a well-known Seattle medical center, according to experts. These outbreaks are raising questions about whether hospitals, medical-device companies and regulators are doing enough to protect patient safety. Some consumer advocates are also calling for greater disclosure to patients of the increased risks for infection before undergoing these procedures.

Lawrence Muscarella, a hospital-safety consultant and expert on endoscopes in Montgomeryville, Pa., said the recent number of cases is unprecedented: “These outbreaks at UCLA and other hospitals could collectively be the most significant instance of disease transmission ever linked to a contaminated reusable medical instrument.”

CDC officials said they were assisting the L.A. County Department of Public Health in its investigation of the UCLA infections. Dr. Alex Kallen said the outbreaks are serious given the high mortality rate of this superbug and how difficult it can be to treat. He warns that additional cases might be going undetected.

Last month, Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) in Seattle acknowledged that 32 patients were sickened by contaminated endoscopes from 2012 to 2014 with a bacterial strain similar to CRE. Eleven of those patients died. But VMMC said other factors may have contributed to their deaths because many of the patients were already critically ill. VMMC instituted a new quarantine process that sets the endoscopes aside for 48 hours so evidence of any bacterial growth can be found before reusing them. That has increased the time for equipment cleaning from a couple of hours to more than two days. VMMC said it had to purchase 20 additional endoscopes to compensate for that down time.

“There is either a design issue to be addressed or a change to the guidelines for the cleaning process,” said Dr. Andrew Ross, section chief of gastroenterology at VMMC. “It’s the role of the federal government to make some of those decisions.” Some patient-safety advocates say FDA regulators and industry officials have been too slow to respond.

A spokeswoman for the FDA said the agency was working to reduce the incidence of infections while maintaining access to a crucial medical tool by “actively engaged with the manufacturers of duodenoscopes used in the U.S. and with other government agencies such as the CDC to develop solutions to minimize patient risk associated with these issues.… The FDA believes the continued availability of these devices is in the best interest of the public health.”

Olympus Medical Systems Group, a major manufacturer of these endoscopes and UCLA’s supplier, said it was working with the FDA, physician groups and hospitals regarding these safety concerns and that all of its customers who purchase Olympus duodenoscopes “receive instruction and documentation to pay careful attention to cleaning.”

UCLA said it is notifying 179 patients and their primary-care doctors by phone and letter. UCLA offered to send patients a free home testing kit for a rectal swab, or they could come in to be tested.

Even before this incident, UCLA has struggled at times with patient safety. An influential healthcare quality organization gave the Ronald Reagan Medical Center a failing grade on patient safety in 2012. The hospital’s score improved to a C in the latest ratings from Leapfrog Group, a Washington nonprofit backed by large employers and leading medical experts.

Meanwhile, some doctors worry the outbreaks might deter patients from seeking care they need. “ERCP is a common and critical procedure in most hospitals today,” said Dr. Bret Petersen, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic’s division of gastroenterology and hepatology in Rochester, Minn. “It’s not a procedure we can allow to be constrained, so this is a serious issue we need to address.”

For Californians, see “How safe is your hospital? A look at California ratings“:

  • Kaiser Permanente hospitals consistently post some of the highest safety scores in California
  • UCLA Ronald Reagan hospital gets a C letter grade for safety; L.A. County-USC gets a D

See also:

~Éowyn

New study finds children of homosexual parents have more than twice the emotional problems as children of opposite-sex parents

gay parenting propaganda

Until recently, a long-standing conviction of sociologists is that children do better — as measured by their educational achievement, behavior problems, and emotional well-being — in married, heterosexual, two-parent households, when contrasted to single mothers, cohabiting couples, adoptive parents, divorced parents, and same-sex parents. As an example, in their 1994 book Growing Up With A Single Parent, sociologists Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur wrote, “If we were asked to design a system for making sure that children’s basic needs were met, we would probably come up with something quite similar to the two-parent ideal.” (Slate)

However, one of the arguments by supporters of same-sex marriage is that children of same-sex parents don’t do any worse than children of opposite-sex parents. Due to the Tyranny of Political Correctness, as well as flawed research methodology (e.g., small sample size), there’s been a scarcity of scientific data on how children of same-sex parents fare.

As Michael Cook points out in MercatorNet, Feb. 9, 2014, until recently nearly all studies of same-sex parenting were very small. One researcher found in a survey of 49 studies in 2010 that their mean sample size was only 39 children, and that only 4 of the 49 studies were random samples. The number of children being raised by same-sex couples is so small – 0.005% of American households with children — that capturing them in a random sample is like finding a needle in a haystack. The small and non-random samples, in turn, raise legitimate questions about the validity and generalizability of the studies.

But now, a study by Catholic University of America sociologist Donald Paul Sullins has overcome those methodological problems by employing more data than any previous study — a representative sample of 207,007 children, 512 of whom with same-sex parents, from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey.

Sullins writes in “Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition” in the peer-reviewed British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science. that the two groups of children (same-sex vs. opposite-sex parents) were compared using twelve measures of emotional problems, developmental problems, and affiliated service and treatment usage, with controls for age, sex, and race of child and parent education and income. Instruments included the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Kessler Scale of Psychological Distress (SPD).

Sullins found that “Emotional problems were over twice as prevalent (minimum risk ratio (RR) 2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7-3.0) for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents…. Joint biological parents are associated with the lowest rate of child emotional problems by a factor of 4 relative to same-sex parents, accounting for the bulk of the overall same-sex/opposite-sex difference.” The emotional problems included misbehavior, worrying, depression, poor relationships with peers and inability to concentrate.

In his study, Sullins examined whether other factors could explain the difference in the children’s emotional welfare, but concluded that none of them does. Those factors include:

  1. Instability: Children do not flourish in unstable environments. Gay and lesbian parents tend to rent rather than to own their own houses, which involves the trauma of pulling up stakes and resettling. Parental psychological distress is also associated with children’s increased risk of emotional problems. But Sullins found that neither renting nor parental psychological distress explains the differences in emotional well being of children.
  2. Homophobia: The most widely-accepted explanation of poor emotional and behavioral results amongst children in same-sex households is homophobia. Supporters of same-sex parenting attribute poor emotional well-being to stigmatization. These kids are damaged, it is said, because they have been singled out, teased and bullied. If their peers were less homophobic, things would be different. But Sullins dismisses this. “Contrary to the assumption underlying this hypothesis, children with opposite-sex parents are picked on and bullied more than those with same-sex parents.

Sullins concludes that “it is no longer accurate to claim that no study has found children in same-sex families to be disadvantaged relative to those in opposite-sex families.” As he puts it:

Joint biological parentage, the modal condition for opposite-sex parents but not possible for same-sex parents, sharply differentiates between the two groups on child emotional problem outcomes. The two groups are different by definition. Intact opposite-sex marriage ensures children of the persistent presence of their joint biological parents; same-sex marriage ensures the opposite. However, further work is needed to determine the mechanisms involved.

Sullins emphasizes that it is not that all children in same-sex homes will be emotionally damaged — “Most children in most families achieve a level of psychosocial function that is not characterized by serious emotional problems.” However, even if most kids are all right, more of them are all right in intact marriages with their opposite-sex biological parents.

According to MercatorNet editor Michael Cook, Sullins’ defiant rebuttal of the “no difference” hypothesis is sure to stir up a hornet’s next as the Supreme Court prepares to trawl through arguments for and against same-sex marriage, because it will be impossible for critics to ignore Sullins’ research findings.

But Cook also warns that Sullins should be “ready to go all 15 rounds” because he surely will be besieged by detractors. Cook points out that when University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus attacked the “no difference” hypothesis, his career was almost destroyed by trolls who trashed his data, his competence and his integrity.

Please pray for Donald Paul Sullins, a married Catholic priest with three children (he used to be an Episcopalian), and Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

To send Professor Sullins a message of support, here’s his email address:

psullins@gmail.com

~Éowyn

Shocker, not: “I have to pay back my Obamacare subsidy”

 

healthcare

CNN Money: Janice Riddle got a nasty surprise when she filled out her tax return this year. The Los Angeles resident had applied for Obamacare in late 2013, when she was unemployed. She qualified for a hefty subsidy of $470 a month, leaving her with a monthly premium of $1 for the cheapest plan available.

Riddle landed a job in early 2014 at a life insurance agency, but since her new employer didn’t offer health benefits, she kept her Obamacare plan. However, she didn’t update her income with the California exchange, which she acknowledges was her mistake. Now, she has to pay back the entire subsidy, which is forcing her to dip into her savings.

Riddle: "Blindsided and shocked"...

Riddle: “Blindsided and shocked”…

“I was blindsided that the subsidy has to be paid back,” said Riddle, adding she didn’t even use the coverage, which she had until she qualified for Medicare in October. “I’m in shock…but I have no choice. Do I want to argue with the IRS or the Obama administration?”

Like Riddle, many Americans on the exchange will likely have to pay back some or all of their subsidies. Between 4.5 million and 7.5 million taxpayers received subsidies for insurance premiums when they signed up for coverage on Obamacare exchanges, federal officials said. These folks had to forecast their 2014 income when they applied. Those who underestimated their earnings either will receive smaller tax refunds or will owe the IRS money.

Some enrollees, however, had a change in circumstances — such as a raise, new job, marriage or baby — during the year that could affect their subsidy level. Obamacare enrollees were supposed to contact their exchange so it could revise their premium. Some people, however, did not know they had to notify the exchange or simply didn’t bother.

Also, just because someone qualified for a certain subsidy at the beginning of the year doesn’t mean they are ultimately entitled to it. It’s the total annual income that matters, so if an enrollee got a big raise mid-year, his entire subsidy may have to be repaid.

Early data is in from some tax preparers. Some 53% of Jackson Hewitt clients who received subsidies have to repay part or all of it, with the largest being $12,000, said Mark Steber, chief tax officer. The rest overestimated their income so they are getting even larger refunds. One taxpayer is collecting an additional $7,500.

Some Obamacare enrollees who have to pay back their subsidies are now thinking twice about enrolling for 2015.

obamacare

Erica Cherington, 32, was “very happy” to enroll in Obamacare last year so she could address some health issues. She only had to pay $89 a month for a Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, thanks to a $284 monthly subsidy. She let herself be automatically re-enrolled for 2015.

During 2014, however, the Newark, N.J., resident landed a new job with a higher salary. Now, she has to pay back $600 of her subsidy. To avoid this happening again, Cherington called the federal exchange to update her income, which she hadn’t done when she changed jobs. Her revised monthly premium: $156 a month.

A case manager who handles disability payments, Cherington is now considering dropping her coverage and paying the penalty instead. “It’s not really affordable,” she said of her new premium. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it.”

I don’t want to say “I told you so”, but we did:

DCG