Archive for the ‘healthcare’ Category

Here’s What $800 Billion Stimulus Means to America as We Knew It

February 1, 2009
The $800-billion bill that cleared the House last week brings back big government: to school buildings, worker paychecks, electric lines and more. Here’s a look at where the money would go.
By Janet Hook
Los Angeles Times
February 1, 2009
Reporting from Washington — With Congress moving toward passage of an $800-billion-plus economic stimulus plan, big government is back. Unabashed. With a vengeance.

The stimulus is bigger than the Pentagon’s entire budget. It’s more than the United States has spent on the war in Iraq. And its hundreds of provisions reach into almost every aspect of American life — including workers’ paychecks, local schools, digital television and modernizing medical records.

A bank employee counts US dollar bank notes. The euro fell sharply ...
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Perhaps not since the Great Depression has Congress set out to expand and redefine so dramatically the government’s role in the economy, all in one bewilderingly complex blueprint.

“The three-decade-long period where the default assumption was that government is the problem, not the solution, has clearly ended,” said Bill Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former aide to President Clinton.

If the enormous stimulus plan succeeds, it’s likely to mean a larger, more activist government for years to come. If the plan is judged a failure — whether because the economic crisis persists or the public becomes disenchanted — the idea of government as an active player in national life could be discredited anew.

Even as Senate Democrats and Republicans begin sparring over the bill, it remains a challenge just to understand what’s in the plan. The version passed by the House last week ran 647 pages; the Senate version, which may come to a vote this week, will probably be longer.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/was
hingtondc/la-na-stimulus1-2009feb01,0,3984
149.story

Related:
Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”

Dangerous drug combos pose risk for elderly

December 24, 2008

Older adults in the United States are popping prescription pills, over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements in record numbers, and in combinations that could be deadly, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

They said more than half of U.S. adults aged 57 to 85 are using five or more prescription or non-prescription drugs, and one in 25 are taking them in combinations that could cause dangerous drug interactions.

“Older adults in the United States use medicine and they use a lot of it,” said Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau of the University of Chicago Medical Center in Illinois, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“While medications are often beneficial, they are not always safe,” she said in a telephone interview.

By Julie Steenhuysen
Reuters

She noted a recent report that estimated U.S. adults over 65 make up more than 175,000 emergency department visits a year for adverse drug reactions, and commonly prescribed drugs accounted for a third of these visits.

For the study, Lindau teamed up with Dima Qato, a pharmacist and researcher at the University of Chicago. They used data from a national survey of adults aged 57 to 85 and interviews with nearly 3,000 people in their homes to get a read on the medications they used on a regular basis.

They analyzed potential interactions among the top 20 prescription and over-the-counter drugs and the top 20 dietary supplements, and found that 68 percent of adults surveyed who took prescription drugs also used over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements.

Men in the 75 to 85-year-old age group were at the highest risk, they said. “One in 10 men between the ages of 75 to 85 were at risk for a drug-to-drug interaction,” Qato said in a telephone interview.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081223/
hl_nm/us_usa_drugs_interaction

War Scars, Army Recruiting and Suicides Spark Investigation

December 23, 2008

Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Henderson, a strapping Iraq combat veteran, spent the last, miserable months of his life as an Army recruiter, cold-calling dozens of people a day from his strip-mall office and sitting in strangers’ living rooms, trying to sign up their sons and daughters for an unpopular war.

He put in 13-hour days, six days a week, often encountering abuse from young people or their parents. When he and other recruiters would gripe about the pressure to meet their quotas, their superiors would snarl that they ought to be grateful they were not in Iraq, according to his widow.

By MICHELLE ROBERTS, Associated Press

Less than a year into the job, Henderson — afflicted by flashbacks and sleeplessness after his tour of battle in Iraq — went into his backyard shed, slid the chain lock in place, and hanged himself with a dog chain.

He became, at age 35, the fourth member of the Army’s Houston Recruiting Battalion to commit suicide in the past three years — something Henderson’s widow and others blame on the psychological scars of combat, combined with the pressure-cooker job of trying to sell the war.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081222/ap_
on_re_us/recruiter_suicides

Police Giving Goodies, Condoms To Drunks, Party Makers

December 20, 2008

Police forces across the country have started to give “goodie bags” containing condoms, flip-flops and lollipops to drunk revellers to counter the ill-effects of binge drinking.

By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
The Telegraph (UK)
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Critics said the gifts, costing tens of thousands of pounds, appeared to “reward” people for drinking too much and causing anti-social behaviour in town centres.

Forces in North Wales, Sussex and West Yorkshire have already started to hand out the freebies to drunk revellers.

The plastic bags typically contain bottles of water, lollipops, flip-flops, and condoms, as well as tips on information on units of alcohol and a warning about the dangers of drink driving.

The latest campaign will see nearly 1,600 bags – split evenly between men and women and costing a total of over £2,000 – given out between now and New Year. It was launched on Friday night by Sussex police and is aimed at 18 to 24 year olds.

Holly Margetts, a violent crime reduction officer at Sussex Police, said: “We are encouraging people to drink responsibly and take some simple measures to ensure they stay safe.

“These goodie bags are our Christmas present to people enjoying nights out in the Horsham district.

“We hope that they’ll take note of the important messages and take some simple measures to ensure they stay safe.”

A number of police forces are now using gifts and presents to counter a rise in violence and anti-social behaviour after licensing rules were relaxed in November 2005.

In Llandudno, police are distributing bags containing personal safety alarms, condoms and bottles of water while in Huddersfield police have set up a van to sell flip-flops, condoms and sweets to revellers.

Last month, it emerged that another force, Devon & Cornwall, was giving flip-flops to women who may have trouble walking in high heels after a night out.

Police in Bolton have also started to hand out free orange and blue bubble blowers, which double as pens, to stop revellers picking fights as they pour out of pubs and bars.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawando
rder/3850898/Police-give-free-goodie-bags-containing-condo
ms-flip-flops-and-lollipops-to-drinkers.html

As Budgets, Economy Shrink; Little Money for Mental Illness

December 14, 2008

Sometimes it seems as though all Doreen Tiseo does is care for her 87-year-old father, who has memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease. She supervises him in the shower and gives him reminders, such as “pick up the soap” and “wash your face.” In the morning, she helps him dress and slips a handkerchief into his pocket. At night when he wanders, she tells him, “It’s dark out, time to sleep.”

 

By Robin Shulman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 14, 2008; Page A02

But during the day, she gets a respite to go to her job as her father attends a city-funded program. It offers people with dementia and Alzheimer’s art and music therapy, lunch, physical activities, and guided discussions and socializing — critical, Tiseo says, to keeping her father alert, happy and relatively healthy.

Now, because of a budget crisis, New York City plans to eliminate funding for all 12 of these adult day-care programs at the end of this month, saving $1.2 million before the next fiscal year begins in July. The programs, which receive most of their funding from the city, are facing immediate closure unless they can raise fees dramatically or find new donors — in a climate in which other government agencies, corporations and individuals are also cutting back. Even then, they may be able to remain open only a few days a week.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Tiseo, an office manager and single parent of 51 who also supports her 20-year-old son, a college student. She said she pays $40 a day for her father to attend the program and could not afford $15 an hour for in-home care. “If he was to stay home, he would spend all his time in front of the TV,” she said. “That would probably further the progression of the disease.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/13/AR2008121301773.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Change from Obama, Congress Turning Into “All Talk”?

December 14, 2008

We all voted for chage.  But change to what?  As time marches on we are getting glimmers of what this means.  And some of us are starting to think there might not be real change in our near future, brom Barack Obama or from  congress….

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A larger Democratic majority is unlikely to change the political nature of the House and Senate, which have just concluded a typically unimpressive year.
By Janet Hook
The Los Angeles Times
December 14, 2008
Reporting from Washington — The collapse of legislation to bail out the U.S. auto industry is a fitting end to this year in Congress — and a warning to President-elect Barack Obama that even larger Democratic majorities next year won’t guarantee smooth sailing for his ambitious agenda on economics and other issues.

Polarized, beset by crises, and preoccupied with ideological and regional politics, this Congress followed a pattern all too familiar in the past decade. It railed and wrangled over the nation’s toughest problems, but in the end failed to advance solutions.

From healthcare and costly dependence on foreign oil to the greatest economic crisis in more than half a century, the House and Senate have floundered into stalemate. Meanwhile, the economic woes have gone international.

The House and Senate this year did pass major legislation in response to the nation’s economic problems — but for the most part, they waited to act until a crisis could hardly be ignored. Each time, lawmakers had to struggle to reach agreement. Sometimes, as in the auto bailout, the legislation was not even approved.

Economists reviewing congressional efforts have not raved. The federal fund to subsidize affordable housing has had few takers. The $700-billion effort to shore up the financial services industry took a dramatic change in course — without congressional input and after about half of the money was spent. Skepticism about those efforts contributed mightily to the Senate’s rejection of the auto bailout bill.

President-elect Barack Obama, seen December 11 in Chicago, Illinois. ...

Related:
Obama’s Stimulus: Routine Repairs; No “Power to stir men’s souls”

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/w
ashingtondc/la-na-congress14-2008dec14,0,1735079.story