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Healthcare Update 10-28-2013

Finally …

Now you can catch updates both here and on my other blog at EP Monthly.com

If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance … that is until the insurance company cancels the policy because it doesn’t meet the Obamacare requirements. Florida Blue is canceling about 80% of its individual policies and Blue shield of California is canceling 60% of its individual policies. Most of those cancellations will see their insurance premiums rise in new policies – if they can afford to purchase them.
Now there are reports that POTUS knew that whole “keep your insurance” statement was untrue from the start. How sad.

Want to know how much you’re going to pay once your insurance coverage gets dropped? Don’t go to healthcare.gov. According to this article, the prices quoted on the healthcare.gov site are wildly inaccurate. One patient found that the cost for a policy was 50% more than quoted on the site. Another patient reportedly was quoted a price of $394 on the government site when the actual cost of the policy was $634.
If private companies did this, it would be considered consumer fraud.

How export limitations and drug shortages affect executions. Interesting story.
Sodium thiopental supply has dried up. Then prison officials began to look at using propofol for lethal injections. That was the drug that reportedly killed Michael Jackson. However, most propofol is made and exported by a German company which is subject to EU regulations limiting export of drugs for use in capital punishment. If misused in the US, the EU could deny further exports of the drug. According to the article, US regulations “make propofol difficult to manufacture in the US.”
Now prisons are looking at using midazolam (Versed) as a substitute in lethal injections. The drug is made in the US, but it isn’t tested for executions. During one lethal injection, the prisoner was reportedly awake and blinking during his execution.
Do we go back to firing squads?

Speaking about Michael Jackson’s death … Conrad Murray was released from jail today after serving half of his four year sentence.
I was going to link to the story on ABCnews.com, but they have an annoying autostart video when you click on the story. So F them.

New research shows promise for hair growth. Researchers grow human hair papilla on a culture medium, then inject them into hairless areas. New hair follicles form. They know this because they were able to get hair to grow onto grafts of human foreskin. No, men aren’t going to have to shave their woo hoos … foreskin is hairless and they wanted to make sure that the procedure grew new hair follicles instead of affecting existing hair follicles.

University of Michigan study shows that 77% of parents want to be able to e-mail doctors about children’s health care problems. However, half of the parents think that they shouldn’t have to pay for e-mail medical consults. In other words, the parents want doctors to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a medical education, pay tens of thousands of dollars each year in licensing and insurance fees and then provide services at no cost. Sounds like a sustainable business plan to me.

Study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine shows that obese patients may not receive proper medication dose when using EpiPens. The needle length on the EpiPen is only 1.6 cm while the amount of fatty tissue in obese patient thighs was much more than that. About a third of patients were failure risks. Women were 6.4 times as likely to receive inadequate medication doses than were men.
Before giving the knee jerk response that the manufacturer should just make longer needles, what happens if a non-obese person uses a needle that is too long?

Interesting story and commentary about government run health care on Instapundit.com. Canadian government cuts number of surgeries it is willing to pay for. Patients scheduled for operations suddenly have their surgeries canceled.
Glenn’s conclusion: When the government runs health care, it gets worse, but more expensive.
Seconded. My addition: The government that has the power to provide everything to you also has the power to take everything away from you.
But at least their health care is free.

Man setting crab traps in Florida notices a “bug bite” on his leg. 28 hours later, he is dead. Cause of death was infection from vibrio vulnificus — an organism in the same genus of bacteria as the bug causing cholera.

Finally, a non-medical statistic that I find discouraging. More than 90 million Americans over age 16 are not in the workforce. The statistics are calculated using people who have sought a job in the past 4 weeks.  That number has increased by 10 million in the past 4 years.
There are only about 205 million citizens between 15 and 64 living in this country. I’m sure that a significant portion of those 205 million just haven’t bothered to look for work in the past 4 weeks.
I’m therefore having difficulty understanding how the news can report that the unemployment rate is 7.2%. If 90 million is 7.2% of our population, then the population in the US  has to be [90 x 13.9] or about 1.25 billion.
What am I missing?


  1. Regarding the unemployment rate: what you’re missing is that “unemployed” for that purpose is defined to mean not working but actively looking for work. In other words, when people leave the workforce entirely this reduces the so-called “unemployment rate” by decreasing both the numerator (those looking for work) and the denominator (those working or looking for work).

  2. Vibrio vulnicus is a very nasty infection. 2 friends and I got it from oysters in Biloxi, MS. I have also taken care of several septicemias from that organism including one patient that developed endocarditis.

  3. The 90 million not employed includes retirees, students and stay-at-home parents, as well as those who are in the underground economy. They don’t count as part of the unemployment rate. It’s a number which means something for economists trying to calculate what fraction of the employed income has to go to supporting those not employed, but handled differently than the number of those competing for a limited number of jobs.

  4. I don’t see why you say health care in Canada is more expensive. It’s waaaaay less expensive than in the US. The woman with the cataract will get her surgery, just not tomorrow. I don’t see the big deal (I have many friends and family who’ve had cataract surgery and they don’t mind booking it a few months out). In areas where the wait times are long, you have the option of travelling to a neighbouring area to get it done (and some people do). The vast majority of Canadians are very happy with our health care. I call you on your bias.

  5. why not just lethal inject with high dose potassium… or is that cruel because it might “burn their arm” and need the pharmacy to add lidocaine to the bag..
    oh wait, I’m sure the pharmacy isn’t 797 compliant and wont’ be allowed to.

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