24 Aug

NYTimes.com – Its Gene Patents Upheld, Myriad Genetics Moves to Protect Its Secrets

Myriad Genetics retained its monopoly on a lucrative genetic test for breast cancer risk when a federal appeals court recently upheld the company’s patents on two human genes — and the validity of gene patents in general.

But it is only a matter of time before the company’s business faces severe challenges, some experts say, because that $3,340 test is technologically outmoded, incomplete and too costly.

“Science has moved beyond what these folks do,” said Mary-Claire King, a professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington. “It’s not good for the science and it’s not good for the patients and their clinicians if they cannot have the most complete, up-to-date information.”

via NYTimes.com – Its Gene Patents Upheld, Myriad Genetics Moves to Protect Its Secrets. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the idea of patents on genes, the fact that these patents are forcing patients to undergo a more expensive and less effective procedure should give anyone concern.

27 Feb

The Washington Monthly – How The Media Covers Health Care Rulings, Cont’d

To clarify a couple of things, it’s true the Washington Post print edition published literally nothing on the Kessler ruling. Politico, meanwhile, did run a 702-word piece, but it was largely about the broader health care fight, and only briefly mentioned this week’s Kessler ruling.

As a legal matter, none of these ruling is more important than the other — they’re all at the federal district level, they’re all dealing with the same law, and they’ll all be subjected to an appeal.

And yet, the discrepancy is overwhelming. In every instance, conservative rulings get more coverage, longer articles, and better placement.

via The Washington Monthly – How The Media Covers Health Care Rulings, Cont’d. The larger implication is how the public winds up perceiving each of these rulings, all again with the exact same legal implication.

16 Feb

NYTimes.com – Public Workers in Wisconsin Protest Plan to Cut Benefits

Behind closed doors, Scott Walker, the Republican who has been governor for about six weeks, calmly described his intent to forge ahead with the plans that had set off the uprising: He wants to require public workers to pay more for their health insurance and pensions, effectively cutting the take-home pay of many by around 7 percent.

He also wants to weaken most public-sector unions by sharply curtailing their collective bargaining rights, limiting talks to the subject of basic wages.

via NYTimes.com – Public Workers in Wisconsin Protest Plan to Cut Benefits. The second part doesn’t make a lot of sense as far as a partial solution to solving the deficit, the collective bargaining wouldn’t reduce any current state payments to employees. It seems more designed to just weaken the unions to hurt the workers more in the future but not actually solve a problem this year. The article goes on to cite other states considering similar bills, that weaken the collective bargaining powers of state employees.

28 Mar

The Rage Is Not About Health Care – NYTimes.com

But the bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas.

But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.

via Op-Ed Columnist – The Rage Is Not About Health Care – NYTimes.com. Frank Rich on the recent health care bill passage and the similarity between that and other bills that changed society.

19 Mar

Closing Arguments on Health Care – NYTimes.com

So what’s the answer? Americans overwhelmingly favor guaranteeing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions — but you can’t do that without pursuing broad-based reform. To make insurance affordable, you have to keep currently healthy people in the risk pool, which means requiring that everyone or almost everyone buy coverage. You can’t do that without financial aid to lower-income Americans so that they can pay the premiums. So you end up with a tripartite policy: elimination of medical discrimination, mandated coverage, and premium subsidies.

via Op-Ed Columnist – Closing Arguments on Health Care – NYTimes.com. Krugman making his “final” arguments for a national health care plan.

19 Mar

Memo to Bart Stupak: Listen to the Sisters – Huffington Post

Rep. Stupak and Catholic members of Congress, I have one question for you: Whom do you trust to speak for the Catholic faith? The bishops who covered up the sex scandal in the church, ignoring the cries of victims, while rewarding those with “habitually foul behavior” with ever-bigger parishes and positions in the hierarchy? Or the sisters — the women who nursed your sick grandparents, who taught your children to read, cooked meals for hungry people, who started schools on the prairies and established hospitals in far-away jungles? When it comes to being pro-life, you best listen to the ladies.

via Diana Butler Bass: Memo to Bart Stupak: Listen to the Sisters. That made me giggle a little.

15 Dec

Democrats May Drop Medicare Expansion

Well ok then to quote Marco who sums it up better that I ever could.

Democrats (in power): We want to pass this bill that makes a lot of sense. It would help a lot of people and it’s supported by the majority of the population.

Republicans: No. You need to compromise.

Democrats: OK. Well, I guess we can do without this huge part over here. How about now?

Republicans: No. You need to compromise.

Democrats: Fine, we’ll kill this section, even though it’s pretty much the point. Now?

Republicans: No. You need to compromise.

Democrats: OK. Sorry. We’ll take out the last part. I’m not even sure if I know what’s left. How about now?

Republicans: No. You need to compromise.