AARP, United Healthcare, and CVS Promote Higher Prescription Drug Prices for Seniors

Like type 1 diabetics, many type 2’s need insulin shots

From Washington Times:

Most folks think of the AARP as a membership organization that gives older Americans discounts on magazine subscriptions and cellphone plans. In fact, those business lines are secondary to AARP’s real source of income, a lucrative partnership with United Healthcare.

AARP partners with United Healthcare to offer health insurance plans to its membership. On its face, there’s nothing inappropriate about this type of affinity branding; the problem is that United Healthcare (and, frankly, other insurance companies) have made some decisions at the expense of seniors and the Medicare program, which should run counter to what a seniors-focused advocacy organization endorses. Recent actions by United Healthcare to limit seniors’ access to less expensive versions of Medicare drugs calls into question whether the AARP is looking out for older Americans or its own bottom line.

This is one of many reasons why healthcare is so expensive in the U.S. Spending on prescription drugs here accounts for nine to 9% of total healthcare cost. Annual pharmaceutical spending per capita is $1,443 compared to a range of $466 to $939 in other high-income countries.

We in the U.S. spent $334 billion on prescription drugs in 2017.

Source: AARP, United Healthcare and CVS keep prescription drug prices higher for seniors – Washington Times

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Reduce your healthcare costs by getting and staying as healthy as possible. Let me help….

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

What Happened to the Tomatoes of My Youth?

Chicken salad on a bed of greens plus tomatoes

From Appalachian Magazine:

Big, soft, juicy and sweet, America’s tomatoes of yesteryear were culinary delights that were as beloved as any candy.

Whether sliced and heavily salted, slapped betwixt two pieces of bread with mayonnaise, or eaten raw, these tomatoes were nothing short of pure ecstasy and children craved these garden treats!

Fast-forward a handful of generations and American school children are throwing away tomatoes faster than the lunchroom cafeteria workers can slap them onto a tray.

What happened?  Why have America’s youngest fallen out of love with what was once its beloved fruit?

The answer may not surprise you all that much: It’s not that our children have changed, it’s that tomatoes have changed.

Source: A Generation That’s Never Tasted a Real Tomato | Appalachian Magazine

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

ZDoggMD Ranting About Insurance Company Games and Lack of Price Transparency

I was glad to see this. The concept covered is one reason I’ve been working on my healthcare reform manifesto for months. Price transparency is a key component of fair and sane healthcare reform. Z  has a huge audience compared to mine.

Who Dies From #COVID19 #Coronavirus in the U.S.?

Artist’s rendition of Coronavirus

In July, the CDC published data on the characteristics of 50,000 U.S. residents who died of COVID-19 between mid-Feb and mid-May, 2020.

Some points:

  • 55% were male
  • 80% were aged ≥65 years
  • 14% were Hispanic/Latino (Hispanic)
  • 21% were black
  • 40% were white
  • 4% were Asian
  • 0.3% were American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN),
  • 3% were multiracial or other race
  • race/ethnicity was unknown for 18.0%
  • median decedent age was 78 years (median means half who died were over 78, half were under 78)

CDC didn’t have much clinical data on all 50,000 decedents. But they were able to collect supplementary data on close to 11,000 of them;

  • 61% were male
  • 75% were aged ≥65 years
  • 24% were Hispanic
  • 25% were black
  • 35% were white
  • 6% were Asian
  • 3% were multiracial or other race
  • race/ethnicity was unknown for 6%
  • decedent age varied by race and ethnicity; median age was 71 years among Hispanic decedents, 72 years among all nonwhite, non-Hispanic decedents, and 81 years among white decedents. The percentages of Hispanic (35%) and nonwhite (30%) decedents who were aged <65 years were more than twice those of white decedents (13%)

What about underlying conditions among these 11,000 decedents for whom supplementary data was available?

At least one underlying medical condition was reported for 8,134 (76%) of decedents for whom sup­plementary data were collected, including 83% of decedents aged <65 years. Overall, the most common underlying medical conditions were:

  • cardiovascular disease (61%)
  • diabetes mellitus (40%)
  • chronic kidney disease (21%)
  • chronic lung disease (19%)
  • among decedents aged <65 years, 83% had one or more underlying medical conditions
  • among decedents aged ≥85 years, 70% had one or more underlying medical conditions
  • diabetes was more common among decedents aged <65 years (50%) than among those aged ≥85 years (26%).

From the CDC report

Regional and state level efforts to examine the roles of these factors in SARS-CoV-2 transmission and COVID-19-associated deaths could lead to targeted, community-level, mortality prevention initiatives. Examples include health communication campaigns targeted towards Hispanics and nonwhite persons aged <65 years. These campaigns could encourage social distancing and the need for wearing cloth face coverings in public settings. In addition, health care providers should be encouraged to consider the possibility of disease progression, particularly in Hispanic and nonwhite persons aged <65 years and persons of any race/ethnicity, regardless of age, with underlying medical conditions, especially diabetes.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

 

 

Insurance Companies are to Blame for Surprise Medical Bills

From Townhall.com:

Private health insurance companies routinely deny legitimate medical claims. Most denied claims for doctors are for in-network (so-called “contracted”) services. In these cases, patients never see a bill, and the doctor must separately try to resolve the dispute with the insurance company. For out-of-network (“non-contracted”) claims, however, the doctor is required by law to send the patient a bill while trying to resolve the billing dispute. Most of these denied claims are for legitimate emergency services. They are simply routine claims, not exorbitant or outlier charges as some folks lobbying for the insurance industry would have you believe. Don’t take my word for it. Consider recent comments from former health insurance executive Wendell Potter, who spent more than 20 years working for the giant health insurance companies Humana and Cigna. He explains the real cause of surprise medical bills. According to Potter, “It’s because of a scheme quietly hatched by insurance companies like the ones I worked at, where they decide which hospitals and doctors to include in their networks. They make these choices based largely on what will maximize profits and minimize care.”

Source: Insurance Companies are to Blame for Surprise Medical Bills

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Avoid the medical-industrial complex by getting and staying as healthy as possible. Let me help.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

 

QOTD: Theodore Dalrymple on Self-Delusion

Practically everyone is brilliantly inventive when it comes to self-justification.

Theodore Dalrymple, 2020

#COVID-19 death rates reveal NY and NJ are #1 and #2

…Connecticut and Massachusetts didn’t do very well either.

Artist’s rendition of Coronavirus

From New York Post:

More than 32,000 New Yorkers have died from the coronavirus, a toll higher than any other state. New York also ranks second to the worst out of all 50 states, in deaths per million residents. Only New Jersey did worse.

You wouldn’t know it, listening to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who brags that his administration “tamed the beast.” Or the media that praise him and chide states with much, much lower death rates.

Cuomo is doing everything he can to coverup the errors. He’s stonewalling bipartisan efforts in Albany to investigate the deaths of thousands of elderly in nursing homes ravaged by the virus.

Legislators need to persevere, and in fact broaden their investigation to include the poor performance of many hospitals in the state. On March 2, one day after the first coronavirus case in New York was disclosed, Cuomo told New Yorkers not to worry because “we have the best health care system on the planet.” That’s a whopper. Patients treated for COVID-19 in hospitals here died at more than twice the national average.

Source: COVID-19 death rates reveal NY and NJ are states that failed the test

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

QOTD: Ever Heard of the Democrat-CIA-Media Axis of Evil? #COVID19 #Coronavirus

You’re too close!

For your consideration, from Mike Whitney:

Let’s assume that the events of the last five months are neither random nor unexpected. Let’s say they’re part of an ingenious plan to transform American democracy into a lockdown police state controlled by criminal elites and their puppet governors. And let’s say the media’s role is to fan the flames of mass hysteria by sensationalizing every gory detail, every ominous prediction and every slightest uptick in the death toll in order to exert greater control over the population. And let’s say the media used their power to craft a message of terror they’d repeat over and over again until finally, there was just one frightening storyline ringing-out from every soapbox and bullhorn, one group of governors from the same political party implementing the same destructive policies, and one small group of infectious disease experts –all incestuously related– issuing edicts in the form of “professional advice.”

Could such a thing happen in America?

Source: Covid-19: Phase 1 of the “Permanent Crisis”, by Mike Whitney – The Unz Review

Obesity is a risk factor for developing a more severe case of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus respiratory illness. Looks like the disease will be with us a while longer. Why not start working on that obesity problem today?

Not sure if you’re obese? Check your BMI.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

Yes: Does Legalization of Marijuana Increase Traffic Fatality Rates?

From JAMA Network:

By analyzing additional experimental states over a more recent time period, we have provided additional data that legalization of recreational marijuana is associated with increased traffic fatality rates. Applying these results to national driving statistics, nationwide legalization would be associated with 6800 (95% CI, 4200-9700) excess roadway deaths each year.

Source: Change in Traffic Fatality Rates in the First 4 States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana | Emergency Medicine | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

Overlooked Frontline Workers During this #COVID19 Pandemic: Food System Workers 

Are you tired of this pic yet?

From The Journal of Nutrition:

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses an occupational health risk to food system workers including farmers/producers, grocery store workers, emergency food system staff and volunteers (e.g., food pantry workers), and others. These food system workers have been pushed to the front-line of this pandemic, providing essential services that support food consumption for all Americans. Food system workers are some of the most economically vulnerable populations and are at risk of further financial disparities and contraction of COVID-19 during this pandemic. As we continue to grapple with the best strategies to support the food system and mitigate concerns around the spread of COVID-19, appropriate measures must be considered to better protect and support front-line food system workers that safeguard food access for all Americans.

Source: Food System Workers are the Unexpected but Under Protected COVID Heroes | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic

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