COVID: The Vaccine Works

In case you wondered:

Unvaccinated have 6 times the risk of dying if they contract COVID

Medicynical Note: The vaccine may decrease your chance of contracting COVID and does decrease your risk of death.

De-regulation’s Consequence— Arizona’s Water

When deregulation allows the payments to legislators and judges in various forms, and sale of literally everything including resources such as water,problems follow. (Psst, bribery everywhere else in the world)

“Arizona’s water is running worryingly low. Amid the worst drought in more than a millennium, which has left communities across the state with barren wells, the state is depleting what remains of its precious groundwater. Much of it goes to private companies nearly free, including Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy company.”

Medicynical Note: Over the years a segment of our country influenced by greed and a form of I’ll-conceived idealism became convinced that privatization would lead to efficiency and cost savings. After all, in capitalism, competition forces all players to compete and be ruthlessly efficient.

As we’ve watched this fantasy play out over the last 40 years (since Reagan) it’s fallacies have become obvious. We forgot that unstated goal of capitalists is not competition but monopoly. When services are privatized and unregulated, profits become more important than services. Short term revenue generation to stockholders takes precedence over the quality of outcomes, sustainability, or the well being of a local population or individual.

This thinking has led us to become an armed camp influenced by the NRA and gun manufacturers; a country in which health care is unaffordable and whose prices increase yearly by multiples of the inflation; a country in which resources are sold off to the highest bidder; and a country in which our legislators and judges are legally influenced by payments (made legal by those same judges).

Arizona is just one example.

Over the Counter Meds— Benadryl vs Diphenhydramine

Below are ads for the anti-allergy antihistamine and sleep aid diphenhydramine, perhaps better known as Benadryl, from the internet on Dec. 22, 2022. This allergy medication has been on the market for over 50 years. It’s been available as a generic for almost all that time and yet it’s still marketed under it’s brand name, Benadryl. It’s priced from around a penny (Costco in-store price under $5.00) or two (Walmart) / pill for the generic diphenhydramine versus ten cents to 20 or 30 cents/pill for the branded Benadryl pills. And everyone selling the medication makes a substantial profit. That the magic of capitalism.

Medicynic Note: The actual cost for the diphenhydramine must be a fraction of a penny/pill— Neither Costco nor Walmart sell this drug at a loss.

However the brand name version still outsells the generic, so it’s no wonder that drug and pharmacy companies still sell the brand name version but at 10-20 times their actual cost for the medication.

CVS and Rite-aid also show the brand name with their own CVS/Rite-aid label generic version…..usually at 50-75% of the branded prices above.

Guns Everywhere for Everyone……. Again

Every wonder why policemen oppose gun control?

Medicynical Note: I dunno.

Guns and fear of guns affect every aspect of our society. Cops run scared; Some become victims; Some make others victims; Mass shooting occur daily; Kids live in fear; Even the perpetrators, the Supreme Court, live in fear. Is this the civil society we want?

Healthcare in America: Income over Outcomes!

America has a system of revenue generation that it calls healthcare. Many of it’s “healthcare” corporations work more diligently to improve revenue and income than on improving patient access, affordability and outcomes. That’s American private healthcare even if the company involved is supposedly “non-profit.” This article documents some of the actions of a large non-profit church run hospital system. In reality it is a cash cow that launders hospital income into huge privately held investments.

As noted in the article “But The Times this year has documented how large chains of nonprofit hospitals have moved away from their charitable missions.”

“Some have skimped on free care for the poor, illegally saddling tens of thousands of patients with debts. Others have plowed resources into affluent suburbs while siphoning money from poorer areas.’

And: “Today, Ascension operates in 19 states, mostly in the South and the Midwest. It serves about six million patients.”

“By many measures, Ascension is rich.”

“In addition to its billions in cash, it runs an investment company that manages more than $41 billion. Last year it paid its chief executive, Joseph Impicciche, $13 million.”

“Because of its nonprofit status, Ascension avoids more than $1 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes, according to the Lown Institute, a health care think tank.”

Medicynical Note: In large areas of the country, because of the tax advantage from their non-profit and church related status, hospitals like Ascensions’ have become the only provider of health care, dominating both inpatient and outpatient services. Besides scrimping on staffing and services to maximize return they also enforce health care religious proscriptions on their non-practicing patients and staff.

In the end America has a revenue generating rather than a health generating system of care. It’s interest is more in income than outcomes. Sad but true.

Voting on Gay and Inter-racial Marriage— America’s Disgrace in Full View

There is not country in the world where people have to vote to assure the right of an inter-racial couple to marry……except in the good old U.S. of A.

Similarly, in most enlightened areas of the world gay marriage is an accepted reality as part of “freedom”. The exceptions are largely theocracies whose citizens are held to two thousand or year old credos.

In the U.S. our orthodox religionists (christian mainly) hold to the notion they should have unlimited “freedom” to dictate the rules of society according to their “beliefs.” As such they attempt to attach religious dictates to civil rule. Our Supreme Court has a majority of these dinosaurs and is inflicting untold damage on our democracy. Separation of Church and State is not in their vocabulary.

Of course no one forces any so-called true believer into gay marriage, or use of birth control, abortion or racial intermarriage.

Medicynical Note: The racist roots of our constitution is showing. Glad the bill passed but disappointed that it was necessary.

US Religious Police Emerge……as Iran Abolishes it’s….

With some irony it should be noted that Iran under public pressure is deemphasizing and maybe abolishing it’s religious police. Meanwhile in the U.S. our Supreme Court appears to be moving to enforce religious orthodoxy by declaring unlimited rights for believers at the expense of others freedoms.

Medicynical Note: Religious freedom used to include the freedom from religion. Now every “devout” person can be offended by the simple fact of non-believers and discriminate against them. This “right” seemingly has infinite applicability. Next up will be a suit against having to serve those of a different faith; different color; different national origin; who knows?

Sadly a the arbiters of this suit will be a reactionary Supreme Court majority. A majority that follow the beliefs of a religion that in many locales has bankrupted itself paying off victims of it’s priests’ immoral behavior. Ironic? Or Tragic?

Everything, Everyone……… for Sale

In a country that values money as speech and in which every elected representative is, arguably, for sale this comes as no surprise.

Medicynical Note: Given the politicization of the military it’s only a matter of time before we learn of active duty types being compromised by monied political types…… it may have happened already given the sordid Retired General Flynn’s track record.

Each of these generals has a retirement package from their thankful government that is better than that available for 99.9% of the U.S. public. They do not need the money. But in America it appears that everything and every one ……. is for sale. Including our feckless Supreme Court who made it all possible and is destroying America one ruling at a time.

Lying Huckster Can Invoke Bankruptcy Protection…. Federal Student Borrowers Can’t

Alex Jones after tormenting the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre was sued for defamation and calling the school shooting (26 victims) a hoax. He owes over a billion dollars.

He apparently can and has filed for bankruptcy debt relief (after allegedly hiding assets). Meanwhile students deeply in debt from college loans, some having been scammed by for profit “institutions” (sic) are barred from this way of satisfying overwhelming debt. Ironic, maybe, but that’s America.

Medicynical Comment: I’m speechless.

Election Fraud: Set a Thief to Catch a Thief?

Those paragon’s of virtue, Republican governors who spent the first two years of the 2020’s trying to game redistricting, spent millions of dollars this cycle on trying to find really real election fraud.

Medicynical Note: Since the Supreme Court, yes the conservative dominated one, abdicated on the oversight of fairness in elections, republican states have worked diligently to suppress the vote of and redistrict democratic opponents. These fraudulent democracy advocates are the so-called “fair”elections guys out there looking for voter fraud. Ironic…..or just tragic?

Once when working overseas I could feel secure in the legitimacy of American elections. But since the money=speech decision and the Supreme Court’s stepwise dismantling of the historic voting rights act, everything is open to question.