Fiddling While The World Burns–the triumph of ignorance

“It’s a sad reminder of where the world’s former leader on climate change now stands,” one critic said.

Medicynical Note: The former leader of the world abdicates.

Deregulation: Dangerous to your health

When oversight is removed providers of goods and services cut corners. After all their measure of quality and success is revenue. After all that’s what capitalism is about. So a few innocents die? All in a good cause………money.

“For years, the government had been handing over more responsibility to manufacturers as a way to reduce bureaucracy. But those paragraphs cemented the industry’s power, allowing manufacturers to challenge regulators over safety disputes and making it difficult for the government to usurp companies authority”

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American Values? in Action

“President Donald Trump has a consistent record of contempt for human life. He has endorsed violence against journalists, executions for nonlethal offenses, the use of poison gas, and the deliberate targeting of family members of suspected terrorists. Now Trump is offering a new argument for atrocities: Death and suffering in war are good for peace.”

“On Oct. 6, after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump announced that he was withdrawing American troops from Syria’s border with Turkey. This cleared the way for a Turkish invasion of land previously held by the Kurds—who, until Trump’s betrayal, were American allies in Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the invasion has killed scores of civilians and hundreds of combatants. It has produced a wave of arson, looting, kidnapping, and roadside executions. It has driven 300,000 people from their homes.”

Medicynical note: They’re not pretty. Are they republican values?

Syria: there is no policy

Donald has a brilliant idea one day to remove troops from Syria betraying our allies against ISIS, the Serbs.

Two days later Donald has another idea.

Medicynical note: Aside from the obvious ad hoc thoughtless nature of his policy decisions, Trump’s policies are not designed to do much of anything except serve monied interests. First and foremost he always considers his Trump Organization’s interests. Next he serves the interests of monied politically allied corporations, (in this case Conoco) who parenthetically were also one of the main beneficiaries of Trump’s disastrous tax cuts. They literally pay almost no income taxes ( https://psmag.com/economics/tax-bill-oil-company-bonanza) in the US and essentially get the services of the US government and in this case the US military for free. What a deal.

Who Pays: Opioid Drug Settlement

The drug companies want to settle for 50 billion dollars. Where will the money for the settlement come from? The Sacklers? Stock holders? Or most likely you and me in the form of price increases.

Medicynical note: To avoid the inevitable pass-through to consumers who of course are the victims, these companies’ future price increases should be limited. I would suggest no increases for 5 years and then at the level of inflation for the next 5. The punishment should reflect the heinous nature of the crime.

Medical Debt Court: Uniquely American

Welcome to Coffeyville, Kansas, where the judge has no law degree, debt collectors get a cut of the bail, and Americans are watching their lives — and liberty — disappear in the pursuit of medical debt collection.”

“ON THE LAST TUESDAY of July, Tres Biggs stepped into the courthouse in Coffeyville, Kansas, for medical debt collection day, a monthly ritual in this quiet city of 9,000, just over the Oklahoma border. He was one of 90 people who had been summoned, sued by the local hospital, or doctors, or an ambulance service over unpaid bills. Some wore eye patches and bandages; others limped to their seats by the wood-paneled walls. Biggs, who is 41, had to take a day off from work to be there. He knew from experience that if he didn’t show up, he could be put in jail.”

“Before the morning’s hearing, he listened as defendants traded stories. One woman recalled how, at four months pregnant, she had reported a money order scam to her local sheriff’s office only to discover that she had a warrant; she was arrested on the spot. A radiologist had sued her over a $230 bill, and she’d missed one hearing too many. Another woman said she watched, a decade ago, as a deputy came to the door for her diabetic aunt and took her to jail in her final years of life. Now here she was, dealing with her own debt, trying to head off the same fate.”

Medicynical note: Only in America does medical debt lead to bankruptcy and in this demented town’s experience, jail. Every other industrialized country has a national health scheme and pays half or less per-capita in health care.

Prelude to a Price Increase: Vincristine, Chemo Drug for Childhood Leukemia in Short Supply

What is more cynical than cutting production of a drug essential for the treatment of childhood leukemia. Nothing.

“Until earlier this year, there were two suppliers of vincristine: Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. In July, Teva made a “business decision to discontinue the drug,” according to the Food and Drug Administration. “

“Since then, Pfizer has been the sole supplier, and the company lately has experienced manufacturing troubles.”

Medicynical note: Big pharma has a long history of manipulating supplies of drugs to increase their price point. Nothing is below them whether it is pricing an older HIV drug at literally hundreds of times more than previously, to charging hundreds of dollars for a few pennies worth (if that) of epinephrine for asthma, to paying many millions of dollars to delay the release of generic drugs that would compete with their brand. So an ill considered stoppage of production of an essential chemo drug is more of the same in the money driven system of revenue generation that we call healthcare.