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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

30 January 2007

Tuesday's Word: Single Payer Health Care

Today's post idea comes to us from the lovely and talented Alicia Morgan, author of Last Left Turn Before Hooterville.

From Families USA:

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are being promoted by President Bush and conservatives in Congress as a way to bring down spiraling health care costs. Only if consumers have "skin in the game," they argue, will Americans start to shop around for cheaper health care.

HSAs: The Next Big Non-Solution
Watch it now!

HSAs are tax sheltered savings accounts coupled with high-deductible health insurance policies, and they have serious drawbacks. For many health consumers, HSAs will increase out-of-pocket costs—and complexity.

And here's what they won't do: They won't bring down health care costs and they won't make a dent in the number of Americans without health insurance. This resource center pulls together a range of materials looking at the limitations of Health Savings Accounts.

From Families USA:
Six Reasons to Be Wary of High-Deductible HSA Plans (December 2006)

From Physicians for a National Health Program:
Single-Payer National Health Insurance

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($7,129 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 46 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.

The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.

Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, long-term care, mental health, dental vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.

A single-payer system would be financed by eliminating private insurers and recapturing their administrative waste. Modest new taxes would replace premiums and out-of-pocket payments currently paid by individuals and business. Costs would be controlled though negotiated fees, global budgeting and bulk purchasing.

PNHP Mission Statement

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) believes that access to high-quality health care is a right of all people and should be provided equitably as a public service rather than bought and sold as a commodity.

The mission of PNHP is therefore to educate physicians, other health workers, and the general public on the need for a comprehensive, high-quality, publicly-funded health care program, equitably-accessible to all residents of the United States.

Equitable accessibility requires, in the view of PNHP, removal of the barriers to adequate health care currently faced by the uninsured, the poor, minority populations and immigrants, both documented and undocumented.

PNHP views this campaign as part of the campaign for social justice in the United States. PNHP opposes for-profit control, and especially corporate control, of the health system and favors democratic control, public administration, and single-payer financing.

PNHP believes this program should be financed by truly progressive taxation. PNHP actively opposes current changes in the health care system that are designed to maximize the profits of investors and the incomes of high-level executives rather than to serve patients.

PNHP's goal is the restoration of what it views as the primary mission of physicians, acting as professional advocates for our patients.

PNHP is an independent, non-partisan, voluntary organization. PNHP's work is supported by our members' dues and contributions, and by grants from progressive foundations; it accepts no funding from pharmaceutical companies or other for-profit entities. PNHP organizes physicians, medical students, other health workers, and the public in support of this program and promotes discussion of health policy in the U.S. through conferences, lectures, articles, and other methods.

26 January 2007

Great Women of History

Bloggers, please submit the names of women whom you think influenced history and/or women in a positive way. This is for a dramatic presentation and cannot be a living person, else, I'd suggest the names of my Muses. I would prefer that the list be American women who would be good role models for the generation which will replace us. Thank you!

21 January 2007

Tagged by Misty!

The A to Z of me!

A. a is for apple
B. Boy or girl? XY chromosomes
C. Cake or pie? Baklava!
D. Drink of choice? Caffeine free, diet ginger ale
E. Essential item? Ab board
F. Favored color? Green
G. Gummi bears or worms? Ginger bread cookies
H. Hunger? Knowledge
I. Indulgence? Health
J. January or February? August
K. Kids and names? NA
L. Lefty or righty? Ambi
M. Marriage date? NA
N. Number of siblings? One
O. Oranges or apples? Kiwis
P. Phobias/fears? Chaos
Q. Favored quote: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Thomas Jefferson
R. Reason to smile? Blog Babe!
S. Season? Fall
T. Tag three peeps: the first 3 readers!
U. Unknown fact about me: once played tenor sax
V. Vegetable you hate: beets
W. Worst habit: poor spelling
X. X-rays I've had: dental and bones
Y. Your favored food? Shrimp lo mein
Z. Zodiac? Virgo
"Baby, it's cold outside!"

16 January 2007

Tuesday's Word: whole grains

Whole grains are cereal grains which retain the bran and germ as well as the endosperm, in contrast to refined grains which retain only the endosperm. Whole meal products are made from whole grain flour.

Common whole grain products include oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, whole wheat flour, sprouted grains and whole wheat bread. Common refined grain products include white rice, white bread, hominy and pasta (although whole-grain varieties of pasta are available in natural-food sections of stores).

1 Identifying whole grains products
2 Health benefits
3 References
4 See also
5 External links

Identifying whole grains products

Whole grain products can be identified by the ingredient list. Typically if the ingredient lists "whole wheat", "rolled oats", or "whole corn" as the first ingredient, the product is a whole grain food item. Another way to identify whole grains in the foods you eat is to look in the nutritional facts information and check if the food item contains dietary fiber. If it contains a significant amount, it most likely contains whole grains. "Wheat flour" is not a whole grain and therefore does not indicate a whole grain product. Many breads are colored brown (often with molasses) and made to look like whole grain, but are not. Additionally, some food manufacturers make foods with whole grain ingredients, but because whole grain ingredients are not the dominant ingredient, they are not whole grain products.

Whole grains are often more expensive than refined grains because their higher oil content is susceptible to rancidification, complicating processing, storage, and transport.
Similar to the distinction between whole and refined grains is that between whole pulses and refined dal.

From AACC (American Association of Cereal Chemist) definition: "Whole grains shall consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked caryopsis, whose principal anatomical components - the starchy endosperm, germ and bran - are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact caryopsis.”

Health benefits

Whole grains are believed to be nutritionally superior to refined grains, richer in dietary fiber, antioxidants, protein (and in particular the amino acid lysine), dietary minerals (including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium), and vitamins (including niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin E). Manufacturers are sometimes required by law to fortify refined grain products to make up for the loss of vitamins and minerals.

The greater amount of dietary fiber, as much as four times that found in refined grains, is likely the most important benefit, as it has been shown to reduce the incidence of some forms of cancer, digestive system diseases, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Some of these protective effects occur because carbohydrates from whole grains are digested and enter the bloodstream more slowly (as measured by the glycemic index).

Some store bought grains can be germinated and sprouted for additional nutritional benefits. Grains can generate toxic byproducts in the sprouting process. Make sure to rinse sprouts well before ingesting so as to avoid inducing toxicity.

Health tip o' the day!

11 January 2007

Thursday's Quote

"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."- Plato -

09 January 2007

Tuesday's Word: enterdrainment

Enterdrainment: Any passive form of entertainment that is so incredibly mind numbing that it sucks the intelligence from the listener or viewer; ultimately over time reducing (or limiting) them to a simplistic proto-human mental state, incapable of cognition or rational thought. Sports, Celebrity gossip, Country music, Talk radio, Call-in shows, Soap operas and Reality TV are considered by many to be enterdrainment.

To the extent that one participates or watches, I wish to play.


01 January 2007

Happy New Year!

January 1 marks the end of a period of remembrance of the passing year, especially on radio, television, and in newspapers, which usually starts right after Christmas Day. Publications often have year-end articles that review the changes during the past year. Common topics include politics, natural disasters, music and the arts, and the listing of significant individuals who died during the past year. Often there are also articles on planned or expected changes in the coming year, such as the description of new laws that often take effect on January 1.

This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the 1900s, has become an occasion for celebration the night of December 31, called New Year's Eve. There are often fireworks at midnight. Depending on the country, individuals may be allowed to burn fireworks, even if it is forbidden the rest of the year.

It is also a memorable occasion to make New Year's resolutions, which they hope to fulfill in the coming Year; the most popular ones in the western world include to stop tobacco smoking or drinking, or to lose weight or get physically fit.

In all countries that use the Gregorian calendar, with the exception of Israel, New Year's Day is a public holiday. For many of those countries, if January 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the Friday before or the Monday after will be a public holiday.


Originally observed on March 1 in the old Roman Calendar, New Year's Day first came to be fixed at January 1 in 153 BC, when the two Roman consuls, after whom - in the Roman calendar - years were named and numbered, began to be chosen on that date. However in AD 525, Dionysius Exiguus set the start of the Julian calendar at March 25 to commemorate the Annunciation of Jesus; a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages to mark the New Year, while calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December in the Roman fashion.

Among the 7th century druidic pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year, a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen, "[Do not] make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom]." The quote is from the vita of Eligius written by his companion Ouen.

Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year's Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. This is sometimes called Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the eighth day counting from 25 December.



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