Got rBST? Dairy labeling and Governor Kathleen Sebelius

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has some important business before her in Kansas as she is preparing for a role on the federal scene as secretary of Health and Human Services, assuming she is confirmed.

You see, the Kansas legislature has bowed to pressure and passed a law that is intended to prevent dairy farmers who do not use growth hormones in their cows from letting the public have this information. In recent years the public has clearly voted against milk produced using Posilac / rBST / rBGH.

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A Resource for Health Care Policy Information

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law has announced a project related to national and international health law. Of the project, it says it is “building a diverse portfolio of health law projects . . . collaborative relationships with faculty who possess a diverse set of interests and expertise.”

Incidentally, and before getting into its projects, the O’Neill Institute has announcement of jobs and fellowships. Something to do while waiting out the economic storm . . . and to further health care.

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Privatizing Medical Research – Your Money and Your Life

Traditionally, medical research has been done at academic institutions with high levels of scrutiny and control over the entire process. Key to the system has been the Institutional Review Board (IRB) which has ensured that all aspects of the human subject testing process give participants notice of dangers and are performed in a way to minimize psychological and physical dangers where they cannot
be eliminated.

In recent years, however, private IRBs have come into existence. If you participate in studies in the future, perhaps you would like to know how they operate.
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Employers support current health care system?!

According to the headline of a press release on Watson Wyatt’s newest survey findings about employer views, you would think it is steady as she goes: “Companies Remain Confident in Future of Health Benefits, Watson Wyatt/National Business Group on Health Survey Finds,” claims the press release.

But if you actually check the data, the data seem to say employers are ready to bail out.

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Health and Wealth, part 3

To follow up on the prior two parts of this series on the status of our health system and terms of the debate, here are additional voices and links to studies and information related to healthcare in the US. Let’s start with the March 5, 2009 press briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

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Health and Wealth – The Whitehouse and Congress

A new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services predicts that, this year, growth in health care spending is expected to be higher than GDP. The report – Health Spending Through 2018: Recession Effects Add Uncertainty To The Outlook – finds:

The health share of GDP is anticipated to rise rapidly from 16.2 percent in 2007 to 17.6 percent in 2009, largely as a result of the recession, and then climb to 20.3 percent by 2018. Public payers are expected to become the largest source of funding for health care in 2016 and are projected to pay for more than half of all national health spending in 2018.

We know just how important an issue this is. Whitehouse healthcare reform now now has its own url. http://www.healthreform.gov/

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To those who mourn at the end of the year

As I write this, a friend’s parent is in hospice. Another has just had someone close to the family and to their young child die. And many people I do not know are in the same boat, stalked by sadness, fear, and mourning. There is something truly awful about being in this situation during a holiday as the rest of the world is celebrating. Forever after, that holiday can never be one of unalloyed joy.

Trust me on this. I know.

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