Posts Tagged ‘healthcare

26
Nov
09

Breast Intentions

So, I try to tread carefully these days on healthcare topics, given that I write on medical and healthcare topics. But as my work in this area is currently limited to pharmaceutical research and pharma business dealings, I think that saying a bit about the recent changes in recommendations to breast cancer screening are pretty safe. Because, I’m not writing about insurance payers and health coverage.

In short, I think the recommendations are questionable at best. In case you’ve missed the news, here’s a rundown:

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) made recommendations on Nov. 16, 2009 that routine screening mammograms start at age 50 (rather than age 40, which had been the standard) and be done less frequently (every 2 years, not annually as before). Also, the task force advised that physicians no longer teach women how to do breast self-examinations.

I realize that these recommendations are, in large part, based on scientific research. For example, it seems that later mammograms may not really increase rates of mortality or morbidity, and there is concern that when women have suspicious (but ultimately benign) findings, they undergo undue stress as a result.

None of this changes my opinion that the recommendations are totally wrongheaded.

The fact is that even with the chance of finding suspicious things that turn out to be harmless, we should aggressively go for prevention and early detection, particularly with diseases that are high on the list of killers. Breast cancer is a major killer of women. And even though breast self-exams may not be the most reliable thing in the world, it boggles my mind that someone would advise against teaching women to be more aware of their body and to check it.

Furthermore, the recommendations don’t really take into account things like higher rates of breast cancer in certain groups (like black women) and earlier onset of the disease in those same groups.

But, you may say, these are simply guidelines.

I would say, don’t be naive.

You see, guidelines have a nasty habit of becoming policy with regard to insurance companies. And if insurance companies use these guidelines to change their policies and save money (and they likely will…or most of them, anyway), that means physicians will not be doing the exams for many women, unless those women can pay out of their own pocket. They couldn’t afford to absorb the cost to their offices.

And let’s face it. If you support these guidelines as a way to reduce waste and spending, without considering the lives saved in the process, I would ask you: How would you feel if your wife, or sister, or mother, were to die of breast cancer because it wasn’t caught early.

Because some guidelines said it wasn’t worth it.

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19
Oct
09

A Thousands Words Indeed by Miz Pink

I know Deke is trying not to comment much on healthcare issues since he outed himself and he does healthcare and pharma writing and I’m a-gonna try to refrain as well ‘cuz of that, but the poster below certainly should engender some thought regardless of which side of the issue you sit on:

healthcare-reform-poster

I mean it can be argued convincingly that other nations have had problems with socialized medicine and we ain’t the only first world nation that goes on unnecessary warpaths but doesn’t it say something about us for being the lone holdout? I mean what’s up with that…and with us still rejecting the metric system too. Didn’t America learn how to play well with others in school?

Big, floppy pink hat tip to Kelly Belle at Ephatha blog (it’s in Deke’s sidebar over there on the right) for using the image so that I could go and spread it around here. Guess the original image came from a site called http://www.oldamericancentury.org which looks interesting.

21
Aug
09

Health Care Deform by Miz Pink

globe-stethescopeSo, I’m just wondering, as Barack Obama seems to get a little wimpy on the health care reform thang…and as all those folks who aren’t rich talk about socialized medicine being the final step toward a socialist dictatorship…how many of those yahoos that are mouthing off right now either have relatives who get Medicare or are bitter old twits on Medicare themselves?

And I wonder, what if the President just yanked Medicare away and told all those folks that they or their relatives would have to pay out of pocket now?

I figure they’d either be begging to have their “socialized medicine” back or they would be carrying even more guns around to shoot the Prez for taking away their “right” to healthcare in old age.

Either way, it would kinda prove the point wouldn’t it?

The government has been running Medicare for a long time. It ain’t perfect but it’s done a lot for the elderly to get care. It’s a system with flaws but one that works. So why is it so hard to think that getting the government involved in everyone’s health is such an evil idea?

Oh yeah…because they’re ignorant boobs who do whatever ole Rush or Glen or Annie “Get your guns” Coulter tell ’em to do…why use logic or have an idea of your own in your head when you can just follow the right-wing rulebook straight to the end of your life.

Don’t worry though. Without health care reform, you can all die in your 40s or 50s like your grand-daddies did so it wont be  a LONG life.

Pity that the rest of us who know better will be dying just as early.

Screw you.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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