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News - Part 2

VA Needs to be Supported not Undercut

In a report released to President Obama last Friday, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors found “a corrosive culture” and inadequate resources contributed to the Veteran Affairs health care scandal. The allegations that led to resignation of Eric Shinseki as VA Secretary has the potential to be more than just another political scandal. Rather, it is a devastating blow for proponents of universal health coverage in the US because…

Bringing Sexy back to the States

Healthcare.gov fixes may havemet its December 1st deadline for improving the online health-insurance marketplace, but the unrelentingly flow of criticisms over the glitches will continue to pester the Obama administration. However, what is often not mentioned in the “Obamacare narrative” is the Republican Party’s role in the bungled roll-out of the healthcare exchanges, or how well state-run exchanges are actually doing. Republican dominated states overwhelmingly opted to forgo the opportunity to…

Why I wish we all had Medicaid

Medicaid, a means-tested program designed to provide health insurance to the very poor, has been pejoratively been labeled as “welfare medicine.” The program was hastily constructed in 1965 as an afterthought to Medicare, whose mandate is to cover the costs of health care among older Americans, people age 65 and up,  who have paid into this social insurance system throughout their lives. The quality of Medicaid has consistently been criticized…

Health Equity: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential. But how do we get there? The how is often the debate, and health care access (and delivery) and the social determinants of health are seen as two sides of the health equity coin. Inspired by the “The Two Sides of the Health Equity Coin” blog post which focuses on two health foundation’s perspectives on…

Make Medicaid a Starting Point for Health Equity

I first got interested in health equity because of Medicaid. I applied for the Connecticut Health Foundation’s fellowship even though I didn’t know much about racial and ethnic disparities because I thought, I know about Medicaid and that’s a disparity in and of itself. I often disagree with other health equity thinkers because I’d rather not have the government try to fix complex problems because that often comes with negative…

Delay Marks The End Of Compromise

Please get mad that the Treasury Department is delaying the mandate that employer’s buy insurance for their employees (sometimes). While, I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act, more is at stake here. Our political system is built on the rule of law. Process matters more than policy. (If you doubt this, take a second to think about our unintelligible policies on immigration, punishing criminals and healthcare, to name just…

Seven tips for pitching your passion

Many passionate people are baffled by the media’s coverage of health disparities. Please know that ALL experts and EVERYONE who is passionate about a particular issue feel their topic is neglected. The first mistake you can make is that you are being singled out for poor treatment. Not so. When I used to edit a weekly newspaper, I often told people that my most frequent decision is to NOT put…

Two competing visions of America: Are we a leader or laggard in health?

Among the many issues over which liberals and conservatives in the U.S. disagree is how well the U.S. rates on certain key health indicators compared with other advanced industrial countries. That the U.S. is the greatest country in the world is a common meme propagated in conservative circles whereas among liberals, the fact that U.S. infant mortality rates and life expectancy are on par with many developing countries is yesterday’s…

Subverting Democracy for the Public Good: Defending Bloomberg’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Size Limitation (i.e., the soda ban)

With Mayor Michael Bloomberg leading the charge, NYC geared up last week to implement a bold new policy experiment to combat the obesity epidemic, banning the sale of certain sugar-sweetened beverages over 16 ounces. However, the move was dealt a death blow on Monday by a New York Supreme Court judge who concluded that the ban was “arbitrary and capricious” because of its unevenness in that it “applies to some…

Contextualizing Gun Violence: Suicide by Mass Murder in Newtown, CT

As part of a rising epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S., the horrific slaughter of children in Newtown, CT has rapidly turned into a political opening to advance long-standing gun-control legislation. At the same time, it has reinvigorated the age-old debate over whether guns kill people or people kill people. In reality, research on the social determinants of health would suggest that this is a false choice: the ease…