Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

Straight, No Chaser: The Week In Review

Based on the response to this week’s posts, I’d say it was an informative week for you.  Remember to click the underlined topics to go to the mentioned post.  Let’s recap the week.
On Sunday, we reviewed night terrors and differentiated them from nightmares.  Remember, if your child develops these, it’s very important to protect them from harm during the episode, and try to identify the source of any increased stress.
On Monday, we reviewed the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comments on healthcare and its relevance today.  Injustice in healthcare is still shocking and inhuman, as health care disparities abound.  Monday also brought a review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.  As the time of implementation gets closer, I will revisit implementation of the ACA, particularly health care exchanges, what your options are, and what’s to be done with the 20 million Americans who will still be uninsured.  I will also be discussing how this blog and my national efforts will dovetail into these considerations.  Stay tuned.
On Tuesday, we began our series on toxins and detoxification.  The first post discussed the power our body naturally and normally has to detoxify and to defend us from harm.  The second post offered specific, natural Quick Tips to enhance your body’s capabilities.  Taken together, I strongly recommend you internalize this information (no put intended).  All the other exotic methods typically promoted are, at best, enhancements to what we already do unless disease limits us.  At worst, they can cause damage themselves.
On Wednesday, we looked at some of the environmentally toxic dangers to our bodies, focusing on various toxins affecting our lungs, skin, kidneys, liver and intestines.  If knowledge is power, your brain should be stuffed after reading that post.  Stop smoking (Yes, you.).  Wednesday also brought a review of detox diets.  My advice is simple.  Proceed with caution, and don’t expect any miracle cures.  In fact, the better course of action is to use any such efforts as a launch into a more modest long-term regimen of healthy diet and exercise.
On Thursday, we reviewed colon cleansing, looking at oral solutions and rectal colonics.  These were turbulent topics, to say the least.  Please consult your physician before starting any of these diets or cleansing programs.  They are not without risk and consequence in certain patients.  Thursday also brought a review and wrap-up of the toxin/detoxification series.  I enjoyed your questions, comments and thoughts.
On Friday, we reviewed insomnia.  Do you remember the difference between primary and secondary insomnia?  There are important treatment considerations attached to each, so consider reviewing.  I also gave you 10 Quick Tips to help your difficulty sleeping and answered your questions. 
On Saturday, we peeled back the brains of physicians and taught you how we decide if and when ankle x-rays are needed.  I really do want your feedback when you mention the Ottawa Ankle Rules to your physicians.  I’m sure you’ll have stories about hearing them muttering “Damn internet!” under their breath!  Saturday also brought a review of a normal calorie intake.  I think this is a pretty important topic for several reasons.  I hope you learned the different between sedentary, moderately active and active lifestyles.  Also, many of us have no idea how much we should be eating and how many calories we should have daily.  Also, this will serve as a nice launching pad for my review of obesity next week.
Speaking of the next two weeks, I will be focusing on revisiting some fundamental bread and butter topics (no pun intended).  I continue to hope you enjoy Straight, No Chaser and appreciate your supporting this blog, which has now reached readers in 60 countries around the world in every continent.  I’ll keep bringing the information, and you keep taking advantage of it.

Straight, No Chaser: A Dream of Equal Access to Health Care

This weekend marked the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the famous March on Washington. During this weekend’s remembrances, I couldn’t help but reflect back on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous comments on health care in America.

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.”

Why would he say such a thing? Injustice in health care has taken many forms and resulted in predictably poor outcomes for those affected. I will be frequently reviewing these considerations and addressing health care disparities in this blog. Today, I will address the inequity in insurance coverage that formed the premise for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2009-2010, 41% of low-income adults were uninsured, and 45% of poor adults were uninsured. Contrast this with the fact that only 6% of those who make four or more times the poverty rate were uninsured. This pretty clearly makes the case that health care is a desirable asset for Americans who can afford it, and a choice that too often can’t be afforded for others. Now consider that 14% percent of white Americans were uninsured, while 22% of African-Americans were uninsured, and 32% of Hispanic Americans were uninsured. Whether you believe this is just a correlation, coincidence or reflection of something more damning, it is a situation that screaming to be addressed and improved.
Even more recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a survey showing that more than 45 million U.S. residents didn’t have health insurance during the first nine months of last year. Still even more people, 57.5 million, were uninsured for at least part of the 12 months before being polled (Be reminded that the total U.S. population is just over 311 million.).
Please take a moment and ponder the enormity of the numbers just presented. It begs the question “How can such be allowed to exist?” Dr. King’s comment begged the same question. The answer of course lies in the fact that the American health care system isn’t built on producing equality of access or outcomes. You’ve heard me say before that the American health care system remains the only system among all the major industrialized nations on earth that doesn’t ensure access for all its citizens. The American health care system is a business enterprise that has captured over $2 trillion annually, representing over 1/6 (17%) of the gross domestic product, and all the while leaving more than 45 million Americans uninsured. We are number one in money spent on health care by a large margin; in fact, the U.S. spends more on people aged over 65 than any other other country spends on its entire population. The business of medicine in America is business first. It is largely expected that good health care outcomes will result from good business in the same way that good cars, computers, smartphones, etc. are produced (theoretically). It’s important to note that according to the World Health Organization (the monitor of such things), the U.S. health care system was ranked #38 in the last WHO ranking based on standard health outcomes produced.
President Barack Obama’s health care reform law aims to extend health insurance coverage to a large portion of the uninsured. According to the Congressional Budget Office, health care reform will reduce the number of uninsured people by 27 million between 2014 and 2023. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) targets its assistance to the poor and near-poor who are least likely to have health care coverage. The ACA will provide Medicaid coverage to those with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level ($15,282 for a single person this year) — unless their home state opts out of the Medicaid expansion. People who earn between the poverty level and four times that amount will be eligible for tax credits for private health insurance.
Access to health care is the beginning of the process by which health care disparities can be erased. As long as failure to have equal access exists to the extent that it does, the types of disparities in life expectancy, disease rates and disease survival will remain predictably dismal for certain populations. This afternoon I will revisit the Affordable Care Act and it’s efforts to improve the current system. I welcome any questions or comments.
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