Why desperate Americans are driving to Canada in caravans for insulin | CBC News

From the article:

Nystrom, who has Type 1 diabetes, requires insulin to stay alive. She is on a type of fast-acting insulin called NovoLog, which costs about $300 US a vial. The Canadian equivalent, NovoRapid, is about $30 per vial. She was shocked to learn about the price difference.

Source: Why desperate Americans are driving to Canada in caravans for insulin | CBC News

How long a vial lasts is dependent on your needs. Sometimes a vial of insulin only lasts a week.

The very notion that diabetics have to caravan to Canada to buy insulin to literally stay fucking alive is so wrong.

Here’s another instance from the article:

Lija Greenseid, who organized the Caravan to Canada, lives in St. Paul, Minn. Her 13-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes and she and her husband buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Last year, she said they spent $13,000 US just to obtain health insurance — and then $14,000 US out of pocket before her daughter’s insulin was covered.

“It’s a huge amount of money for us. Because of that, we didn’t put any money into our kids’ college savings accounts or put anything into retirement for the year. We really just had to pay our health-care bills,” Greenseid said.

“So now you can see why we do crazy things like go across the border and buy insulin.”

This should not be happening. People should not being going through extraordinary measures just to keep their kids alive. It should not bankrupt people to life.

I used to be a nurse. In my first career I have seen what happens to people that ration their insulin. Nothing good.

This is just wrong.

Paula Radcliffe: Caster Semenya ruling could bring ‘death of women’s sport’ · PinkNews

From the article:

Under the regulations Semenya, who has naturally high testosterone levels, would be required to undergo hormone therapy for at least six months before any competition.

The UN has condemned such treatment as an “unnecessary, humiliating and harmful medical procedure.”

Source: Paula Radcliffe: Caster Semenya ruling could bring ‘death of women’s sport’ · PinkNews

This ruling was asinine from the beginning. There is no exact level for testosterone for cisgender women. High level athletes produce more testosterone. There is also a racist element to this targeting.

Semenya is challenging this ruling to force her to undergo HRT therapy to lite4rally change her hormonal makeup in order to compete.

They have already put her through unscientific gender verification where they had some quack literally inspect her genitals.

This is bullshit.

Is Dentistry a Science? – The Atlantic

From the article:

The Cochrane organization, a highly respected arbiter of evidence-based medicine, has conducted systematic reviews of oral-health studies since 1999. In these reviews, researchers analyze the scientific literature on a particular dental intervention, focusing on the most rigorous and well-designed studies. In some cases, the findings clearly justify a given procedure. For example, dental sealants—liquid plastics painted onto the pits and grooves of teeth like nail polish—reduce tooth decay in children and have no known risks. (Despite this, they are not widely used, possibly because they are too simple and inexpensive to earn dentists much money.) But most of the Cochrane reviews reach one of two disheartening conclusions: Either the available evidence fails to confirm the purported benefits of a given dental intervention, or there is simply not enough research to say anything substantive one way or another.

Source: Is Dentistry a Science? – The Atlantic

I started looking into this years ago with this article on the fact that there is no scientific evidence that flossing is necessary. (It’s a great website if you don’t read Harriet Hall’s anti-trans articles. . . )

This article inspired me. I decided to do my own unscientific trial. My dental hygienist at a questionable one dentist shop kept telling me I had to floss and that my gums depended on it. So I did. I flossed morning and night for 365 days in a row.

Then the next year’s cleaning, when she asked, I told her I wanted her to look at my teeth and tell me if I had flossed, and if she saw any improvement. She was caught off guard, and uncertain, and told me that I hadn’t, and gave me the exact same prognosis on my gums that I had heard for two previous years. Then I told her I had been flossing twice a day, and she didn’t believe me.

After that, I started to consider that this dental shop, which kept trying to balance bill us, was doing procedures that were unnecessary. My wife needs a lot of work, and I felt the work was questionable in skill and necessity.

It was at this time I started hearing more anecdotal stories about people being screwed over by dentists. I remember reading of a Native American that went to get a filling, and being told her insurance was already used up fort the year, because the dentist was committing insurance fraud saying they had given her fillings and pocketing the cash. That guy was busted.

There were billing frauds. There were extra work being ordered.

We have a good dentist now, that we travel an hour for, because we trust them with the billing and the work, but we went through quite a few.

I wish they’d loop dentistry into the rest of the medical system, and just be done with it.

Now that there is scant evidence that half this shit is necessary? Wow.

High-Deductible Insurance Linked To Delays In Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment : Shots – Health News : NPR

From the article:

Her employer offered only a high-deductible health plan; that meant she’d have to pay up to $6,000 out of pocket each year. Advocates for patients say this sort of underinsurance is snatching lives.

Source: High-Deductible Insurance Linked To Delays In Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment : Shots – Health News : NPR

I feel like I am constantly breaking down cost benefit analysis for my friends on these high-deductible plans that will literally get you killed if you have health issues.

First, some terminology.

  • Premium: The monthly amount you pay to have insurance.
  • Deductible: The total dollar amount you have to pay before your insurance wills tart covering you.
  • Out of Pocket: This is the dollar amount you pay yourself, like a co-payment, when you go to the doctor, even though you have insurance.
  • FSA/HSA: Flexible Spending Account/Health Savings Account. The are accounts that are taken from your paycheck that can only be used for healthcare. Some can be used in total on day 1, some cannot. It basically skims your paychecks for the money, and are often used in conjunction with higher deductible plans.

People look at these high deductible insurance plans, and it’s attractive. The monthly premium payment is often a lot less.

However, high deductible plans are often filled with higher out of pocket amounts. For instance, you might not be covered 100% of a hospital visit. You might only be covered 50%. Specialist doctors might only be covered 80% for the visit and the testing. This is something you really have to look at. One accident, one set of testing, and you could blow all the money you are saving on the monthly premium’s and more. These high deductible plans always go hand in hand with crappy coverage if you actually need it.

The problem is that most FSA/HSA funds is that they are not big enough to cover these high deductibles, and the out of pocket costs that are usually associated with these plans.

Let’s break it down quick and dirty. This is not a real plan, but kind of what I’ve seen over the years, give or take. This is just to show you how it works.

Low Deductible Plan High Deductible Plan  Cost Per Visit
Monthly Premium 100 50
Deductible 500 5000
Copay 20 20%                   125
Specialist 30 20%                   200
Testing No Copay 20%                   800
Hospital stay 150 a day/maxes at 500 50%              10,000

Okay, now let’s say for the year you see the doctor 3 times, have one specialist visit, and testing procedure like an MRI/CAT etc. Then you have an in-hospital stay for a week.

I super low-balled the costs for each visit. Specialist visits can go up and up. Testing procedures can be in the thousands. Hospital stays for a week are probably never going to be that low in the US.

You pay
Low Deductible Plan High Deductible Plan
Premiums                               1,200                            600
Copay                                    60                              75
Specialist                                    30                              40
Testing                                     –                            160
Hospital                                  500                         5,000
Total                               1,790                         5,875
Add Deductible                                  500                         5,000
Total paid for year                               2,290                       10,875

This super simplistic example shows that you would end up paying $10,875 for the year of costs, versus $2,290 if you had a low deductible plan.

The problem is that people often think it will help them if if it’s catastrophic health care, which these plans don’t really help with because the coverage is usually shit on top of the high deductible.

Even worse, you can get knocked out of access to financial help because you actually have an insurance plan.

I hate these plans. They are a scam that do nothing for anyone.

Mentally Ill New Yorkers Seeking Independence Find Safety Net Has Holes, Report Finds — ProPublica

From the article:

An independent monitor has found that many of the city’s most vulnerable remain stuck in troubled adult homes too long and that the state loses track of them once they move out.

Source: Mentally Ill New Yorkers Seeking Independence Find Safety Net Has Holes, Report Finds — ProPublica

This is a problem in myself state as well. We have too few resources, and people are being left out. I routinely got patients in the facilities I used to nurse at that were struggling from homelessness, abuse, and health issues because they needed mental health care and did not get it until they ended up in the ER in an escalated crisis.

I never hated nursing because of the care I could give to my patients, but because of a system that just failed so many people so badly.

Wish us luck!

Medicare’s Uncapped Drug Costs Hit Elderly Hard : Shots – Health News : NPR

From the article:

Unlike many private health plans, Medicare has no cap on out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs in Part D. As the cost of specialty drugs rises, some Medicare patients owe thousands of dollars.

Source: Medicare’s Uncapped Drug Costs Hit Elderly Hard : Shots – Health News : NPR

I saw this first hand when Medicare started up its Part D when I was a nurse in 2003. I literally sat down with elderly patients, and we sorted the medications they could do without and not die, or be so uncomfortable they felt like dying.

It is a travesty built on the unregulated costs the pharmacological industry is able to raise in a predatory manner, and the reluctance of our political representatives to institute legislation to protect our most vulnerable populations.

They did close what is called the “donut hole” which was if you were sick enough, and needed enough meds, there would be a stop in coverage. After a few thousand dollars of medications, it was thought you should pay your own, until you were “really sick” because folks that used more meds should pay more. This belies the reality that folks on more meds are probably too sick to have many resources left.

So now, they just don’t have a cap on drug coverage like any other sane insurance plan. They still pay 25% of their meds, and with the way drug companies price things? Jesus, that can cost.

The article dicsucxcs a man taking Copaxone that costs $75,000 annually. The patient will have to pay $5100 before it drops to $295 a month. I mean, I guess if you have MS and the med helps, but are poor? You just do without.



Wireless vulns in Medtronic’s implanted defibrillators allow remote shocks, shutdown, denial-of-service battery attacks and data theft / Boing Boing

From the article:

Medtronic is the most notorious maker of insecure medical implants in America, with a long history of inserting computers into people’s bodies with insecure wireless interfaces, toolchains and update paths, and nothing has changed.

In a new CERT advisory — scoring 9.3/10 for severity! — we learn that remote attackers can hijack a Medtronic implanted defibrillator and administer potentially lethal shocks, shut down lifesaving features, and put the device into a high power-consumption mode that drains the battery. A separate attack allows attackers to steal sensitive patient data from the device.

Source: Wireless vulns in Medtronic’s implanted defibrillators allow remote shocks, shutdown, denial-of-service battery attacks and data theft / Boing Boing

Just what the ever-loving-fuck is this? You have to have a defibrillator put into your body because your health is so at risk that you need that safeguard, and the damn company is so bad at their job you can get remotely hacked and potentially killed by some random person.

This is criminal negligence.