Trump doesn’t give a rat’s ass worth of concern about healthcare

By Simon F. Haeder

The Trump administration recently released its budget blueprint for the 2021 fiscal year, the first steps in the complex budgetary process…

However, budget drafts by presidential administrations are not meaningless pages of paper. They are important policy documents highlighting goals, priorities and visions for the future of the country.

As a health policy expert, I find the vision brought forward by the Trump administration deeply concerning. Cuts to virtually all important health-related programs bode ill for nations future. To make things worse, ancillary programs that are crucial for good health are also on the chopping block. To be sure, most of the proposed damage will find it hard to pass muster with Congress. Yet given the nation’s ever-growing debt Congress may soon be amenable to rolling back the nation’s health safety net…

To no one’s surprise, some of the biggest cuts in the proposed budget focus on health care programs. The budget document uses a number of terms to disguise its true intentions. Yet a closer look indicates that terms like “rightsizing government,” “advancing the President’s health reform vision,” “modernizing Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” and “reforming welfare programs” all come down to the same end result: cuts to the safety net.

One of the main targets remains the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. In 2017, after several failed attempts to repeal and replace the ACA, the Trump administration has scaled back its open hostility. Instead of asking directly to repeal the ACA, this year’s budget proposal calls for initiatives to “advance the president’s health reform vision,” by cutting more than half a trillion dollars from the budget.

First off, RTFA. The point of posting the opening bits and pieces articles I found relevant to healthful and [more or less] sane living is to give you an idea of the content I found useful. You may not. Your choice.

Second, time to mention this comes from one of my favorite new sources, The Conversation. A newsletter that addresses damned near everything that tempts intellectual curiosity.

Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance

❝ According to the report, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. In addition, 223,900 cases of Clostridioides difficile occurred in 2017 and at least 12,800 people died.

Dedicated prevention and infection control efforts in the U.S. are working to reduce the number of infections and deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant germs, but the number of people facing antibiotic resistance is still too high. More action is needed to fully protect people…

❝ The report lists 18 antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi into three categories based on level of concern to human health—urgent, serious, and concerning—and highlights…

❝ The report also includes a Watch List with three threats that have not spread resistance widely in the U.S. but could become common without a continued aggressive approach.

Your family doctor is probably hip to all this. Not so much heard from our politicians, whether local or some big deal in Washington, DC.. But, they’re the ones who get to move money around…decide whether grants go to corporate gladhanders…or to not-for-profit research.

RTFA. Think about it. Who do you trust to get something done?

GOP or Dems in charge — Americans still get less healthcare, shorter lifespan, for our dollar$

❝ “The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care—you watch,” President Donald Trump declared in March. “We’re coming up with plans.” Alas, like many of Mr Trump’s claims, this one proved untrue…

Republican reluctance to embrace health care, despite the president’s best efforts, is understandable. On the one hand, America’s health-care system is woefully dysfunctional: the country spends about twice as much on health care as other rich countries but has the highest infant-mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy (see chart). Some 30m people, including 6m non-citizens, remain uninsured. And yet, though costs remain a major concern—out-of-pocket spending on insurance continues to rise—Americans say they are generally satisfied with their own health care. Eight in ten rate the quality of their care as “good” or “excellent”. Few are in favour of dramatic reform.

Yes, Americans are as ignorant about disposition of their tax dollars as they are about, say, healthful living in general. I doubt that most have any idea about how US healthcare stacks up against our peers. Poisonally, both topics are important to me. They will count towards how I vote in 2020.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz

Trump’s flunkies are purging Chinese-Americans from cancer fresearch


Xifeng Wu, MD, PhD, Epidemiologist

The NIH and the FBI are targeting ethnic Chinese scientists, including U.S. citizens, searching for a cancer cure. Here’s the first account of what happened to Xifeng Wu.

❝ In recent decades, cancer research has become increasingly globalized, with scientists around the world pooling data and ideas to jointly study a disease that kills almost 10 million people a year. International collaborations are an intrinsic part of the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Moonshot program, the government’s $1 billion blitz to double the pace of treatment discoveries by 2022. One of the program’s tag lines: “Cancer knows no borders.”

❝ Except, it turns out, the borders around China. In January, Wu, an award-winning epidemiologist and naturalized American citizen, quietly stepped down as director of the Center for Public Health and Translational Genomics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center after a three-month investigation into her professional ties in China. Her resignation, and the departures in recent months of three other top Chinese American scientists from Houston-based MD Anderson, stem from a Trump administration drive to counter Chinese influence at U.S. research institutions. The aim is to stanch China’s well-documented and costly theft of U.S. innovation and know-how. The collateral effect, however, is to stymie basic science, the foundational research that underlies new medical treatments. Everything is commodified in the economic cold war with China, including the struggle to find a cure for cancer.

I confronted this crap for over twenty-five years. Nothing as sensational as cancer research; but, still, working for American firms that relied on Asian design improvements and production smarts you get the party line on intellectual “theft” forever. It ain’t theft if you’re willing to sign a contract handing over whatever technology concerned because you’re out to make a buck like every one of your competitors. No one twists your arm or holds your children hostage to sign a contract. “Here’s the terms! Want to do business or not?”

There’s always a quid pro quo in so-called “intellectual property theft” and it always comes down to the almighty dollar.

What we’re witnessing now is the inevitable resurgence of McCarthyism in all its racist stink. It’s always been part of populism American-style.