Borders, Budgets, and the Rising Risk of Disease
Is there a perfect storm brewing along our nation’s southern border? Let’s take a look at the numbers in El Paso, Texas where I recently visited:
- There are 27 million crossings per year alone at the El Paso Point of Entry (POE)
- Cuts to federal funding including a 50% reduction in the Early Warning Infectious Disease Program as well as 12.5% cuts to critical preparedness and response funding;
- Texas is second in the nation for number of tuberculosis cases, the majority of which are found near the border and many of the cases involve tuberculosis strains that are drug resistant
- The bordering country, Mexico, was the source of the last global influenza pandemic
So is this a bad situation getting worse or a ticking bomb? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Public Health Matters Blog*
A new article published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that U.S., Canadian, and European insurance firms hold $1.88 billion of investments in fast food companies like Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s/Arby’s Groups. Both health insurers and life insurers have substantial holdings in these companies.
A person just needs to read “Fast Food Nation” or watch the documentary “Food, Inc.” to understand the negative impact of processed foods on the health of our country.
The evidence is so compelling that the new health reform legislation is requiring fast food and chain restaurants to disclose calorie counts on their menus. Ironically, the new legislation will also add millions of customers to the health insurers. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
We are a nation stricken with an epidemic of obesity, which contributes to the incidence of diabetes and heart disease. Each of these has been linked to consumption of sugar intake, and in particular, sugar-sweetened beverages.
There’s nothing evil about sugar — it’s just that too much of it in certain forms is bad for you. For the purpose of definition, sugar-sweetened beverages contain added, naturally-derived caloric sweeteners such as sucrose (table sugar), high-fructose corn syrup, or fruit juice concentrates. Read more »
This post, American Obesity And Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, was originally published on
Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..
… in national health care expenditures, that is. This, of course, is nothing new: spending on health care in the U.S. has long out-paced any other industrialized country. What is noteworthy is “the largest one-year increase in [health care's] GDP share since the federal government began keeping track in 1960″ blogs Chris Fleming, of Health Affairs. He writes that a new study shows that health care spending increased by an estimated 5.7 percent since 2008 despite a projected decline in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the same period.
The recession is having a big impact on respective roles of the public and private sectors. “Health spending by public payers is expected to have grown much faster in 2009 (8.7 percent growth, to $1.2 trillion) than that of private payers (3.0 percent growth, to $1.3 trillion)” Fleming writes, which is attributable to an increase in “projected growth in Medicaid enrollment (6.5 percent) and spending (9.9 percent) as a result of increasing unemployment related to the recession. Conversely, enrollment in private insurance is expected to have declined 1.2 percent in 2009, despite federal subsidies for Americans who have lost their jobs to extend their private insurance coverage via the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that increased participation in these plans.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*
Dr. Rich recently posted a 3-part series on the shortcomings of medicine’s new ethics. While I personally find Dr. Rich’s writing style both nuanced and entertaining, there is no doubt that his posts require some focused attention. And so I thought I’d provide a “Cliff’s Notes” version for my regular readers (since Google analytics tells me they are unlikely to spend more than 2 minutes here at a time).
Advances in science and technology have provided us with valuable new treatment options for many diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, these new drugs, devices, and procedures are so expensive that we cannot (as a country) afford to make them accessible to everyone who could benefit from them. Medical technology has outpaced our ability to pay for it. This leaves us with an ethical dilemma: how do we ration access to modern medicine? Read more »