United Healthcare…..in it for the money

Not a big surprise

For those who thought insurance companies are in it to provide excellent healthcare……you were wrong.

“US Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero issued his decision Tuesday against United Behavioral Health, a unit of UnitedHealthcare, saying the insurer created internal policies that effectively discriminated against those seeking mental health and substance abuse treatment.”

“”It is well-established that effective treatment of mental health and substance use disorders includes treatment aimed at preventing relapse or deterioration of the patient’s condition and maintaining the patient’s level of functioning. UBH Guidelines deviate from that standard,” Spero said”

Medicynical notes: Given a choice between enhanced profits or funding excellent care, the private insurer’s policy was programmed to choose the former. After all it’s their their fiduciary responsibility.

Chaos Serves Putin well.

Thoughtful discussion be the former Ambassador to Russia William Burns. Read it,

“But in making that argument that everybody has been screwing us, the current president is just about punching back against people bilaterally and unilaterally. And not recognizing that what sets us apart from lonelier powers like China and Russia is our alliances, and our capacity to build coalitions. It’s our capacity to adapt the rules of existing institutions and develop rules of the road. It’s understanding that set of strengths.”

“I think this administration, and this president, have demonstrated almost willful ignorance of that set of strengths for the United States. Especially at this moment on the international landscape, that matters more than ever.”

Government for sale

Money corrupts every level of government.

“The answers became a bit clearer on Thursday as the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.”

Medicynical note: a little like campaign contributions whose purpose is to gain access and influence on a congressperson’s vote. Come to think about it, it’s a lot like that!

Private for profit colleges–education not the first priority

“Led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has reversed an Obama-era crackdown on troubled vocational and career schools and allowed new and less experienced entrants into the field.”


“Ms. DeVos, who invested in companies with ties to for-profit collegesbefore taking office, has made it an agency priority to unfetter for-profit schools by eliminating restrictions on them. She also allowed several for-profit schools to evade even those loosened rules by converting to nonprofits.”

Medicynical note: It’s a crap game for students. They assume that schools mean educational opportunity, when in reality to the school the student simply represents revenue. The first priority of these schools is anything but education.

Trump’s Legacy

Our Shame

“The Trump administration has identified nearly 500 parents deported from the U.S. without their children, according to a recent court filing in a lawsuit related to family separations at the border. Many were not given the option to reunify with their children.”

Medicynical note: Some day when the Trump era reaches it’s well deserved end it will be known for this. These kids will rival Argentina’s disappeared and in 20 years there will be movies and exposes of the immorality of the United States in the Trump administration.

Congrats Mr. President, you have the bragging rights

Nice going.

Here is a remarkable and yet entirely unremarkable story. The Commerce Department announced this morning that the country’s trade deficit last year was the biggest in US history. It’s $891 billion for merchandise, $621 billion when the service sector is added in, and $419 billion with China alone. Each is a record. The Post reports that the overall number tops the previous record of $838 billion in 2006, but it doesn’t seem like those numbers are adjusted for inflation or judged relative to the overall size of the economy. So possibly there should be an asterisk after biggest ever. (This Reuters article says biggest since 2008 when adjusted for inflation.) Still however you slice it, for all President Trump’s yakking and fairly disruptive trade wars, the problem has actually

Patents on the honor system……Theranos

Honor system and capitalism, really?

“The patent system is often explained as an exchange between inventors and the public. By filing for a patent, the inventor can get a period of exclusivity. In return, the public gets to see how the invention works. This is sometimes called the “patent bargain.” The Theranos story reveals that the system fails to live up to this ideal.”

“Early Theranos skeptics tended to be scientists who had heard the company’s extravagant claims and had asked the obvious question: does the tech really work? In 2014, a pathologist wrote that he was skeptical Theranos was using proprietary technology for many of its tests. Other scientists expressed frustration that Theranos had not shared its methods with the scientific community nor offered any evidence that the methods worked.”