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Author Topic: Corporate Profits over Patient in the Health Care Field  (Read 1605 times)

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AGelbert

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Ghost  in the Machine, Part 2 — Success Breeds Greed That Gets in the Way of Ethics, Common Sense and Caution

December 28, 2017 • 115,166 views

Story at-a-glance


֍ Direct-to-consumer drug advertising has led to wider use of prescription drugs by American adults and children

֍ FDA conflicts of interest result in approvals of increasingly dangerous drugs

֍ Pharma defends high drug prices with high-priced PR campaigns and patient front groups

Full article:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/12/28/dtc-drug-advertising.aspx

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AGelbert

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Ghost in the Machine, Part 1 — Drug Safety and Media Shaped by Big Pharma
2.2K       
December 27, 2017 • 78,620 views

Story at-a-glance

֍ Drug industry representatives sit on the boards of major TV and print news outlets, shaping and sometimes blocking reporting about drug safety and effectiveness

֍ Academic institutions, many government agencies and NGOs are financially beholden to Big Pharma, and most academic medical centers have drug company reps on their boards

֍ Sponsored content,” also called branded or native content, is now the prevailing online advertising model making drug advertisements and Pharma messages look like real news

Full article:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/12/27/drug-safety-media-shaped-by-big-pharma.aspx
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AGelbert

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Ghost in the Machine, Part 4 — The War on Supplements, Essential Oils and Homeopathy
 
December 30, 2017 • 94,143 views

֍ As supplements and alternative therapies become more popular, Pharma is calling them ineffective and possibly harmful

֍ The drug industry accuses the supplement industry of false claims and manufacturing irregularities — the same problems which afflict Pharma

֍ Even as Big Pharma discredits supplements, many drug companies market their own vitamins and supplements

SNIPPET:
Examples of Supplements, Essential Oils and Homeopathy Therapy at Work

The medical literature includes notable examples of supplements and natural remedies that function as valuable medicines. Why do we so rarely, if ever, hear of them on health news sites or TV? Supplements and natural substances cannot be patented and hence present no profit potential for Pharma no matter how dramatic their actions. Here are some supplements for which there is promising evidence of effectiveness:

Folic acid, when added to enalapril (an ACE inhibitor used to treat high blood pressure, diabetic kidney disease and heart failure) produced a significant reduction in stroke occurrence in 2015 JAMA research.20

Oregano might be effective against the norovirus, say investigators at the University of Arizona.21

High doses of vitamin C may be useful in the treatment of ovarian cancer, boost the power of chemotherapy and ward off stroke, research indicates.22,23,24

Multivitamins and olive oil are under investigation for their roles in managing breast cancer.25,26

A compound found in a Japanese mushroom could be a cure for the currently untreatable human papilloma virus.27

Vitamin E likely plays an important role in deterring miscarriage.28

Preliminary evidence even suggests that micronutrients could be beneficial in treating adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to 2014 research published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.29

When children with ADHD inhaled vetiver essential oil three times a day for 30 days they had improved brain wave patterns and behavior and did better in school.

In patients with allergies, those using homeopathy reported improvements in nasal airflow compared with a placebo group and researchers described a "clear, significant and clinically relevant improvement in nasal inspiratory peak flow, similar to that found with topical steroids."

Don't Rule Out Vitamin D

In the past few years, vitamin D has gone from a vitamin "hero" whose deficiency potentially explained many maladies, to VNG (Vitamin Non Grata).30,31 The same flip-flop has been seen with calcium, once a good guy, now potentially another supplemental bad guy.32 In fact, vitamin D has been so demonized, the pro-Pharma Forbes site actually writes:33

"Vitamin D supplements, to put it plainly, are a waste of money. (For those concerned about osteoporosis, the widely used drug alendronate (Fosamax®), has been shown to increase bone density by about 5 percent, as explained in a 2011 article by Dr. Sundeep Khosia. But Fosamax has side effects.)"

The "side effects" mentioned by Forbes are an understatement. Bisphosphonate bone drugs such as Fosamax and Boniva have been linked to esophageal cancer, jawbone death, heart problems, intractable pain and the very fractures they are supposed to prevent.34 They are one of the most dangerous drug classes ever marketed.

Far from a waste of money, vitamin D made such a difference in a 2014 breast cancer survival study, an investigator said "There is no compelling reason to wait for further studies to incorporate vitamin D supplements into standard care regimens."35 Research suggests it may have a valuable role in multiple sclerosis management, diabetes and depression, chronic liver disease and diseases of older age.36,37,38,39

Pharma Is a Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Full article:



https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/12/30/war-on-supplements-essential-oils-homeopathy.aspx
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AGelbert

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Ghost in the Machine, Part 4 — The War on Supplements, Essential Oils and Homeopathy
 
December 30, 2017 • 94,143 views

֍ As supplements and alternative therapies become more popular, Pharma is calling them ineffective and possibly harmful

֍ The drug industry accuses the supplement industry of false claims and manufacturing irregularities — the same problems which afflict Pharma

֍ Even as Big Pharma discredits supplements, many drug companies market their own vitamins and supplements

SNIPPET:
Examples of Supplements, Essential Oils and Homeopathy Therapy at Work

The medical literature includes notable examples of supplements and natural remedies that function as valuable medicines. Why do we so rarely, if ever, hear of them on health news sites or TV? Supplements and natural substances cannot be patented and hence present no profit potential for Pharma no matter how dramatic their actions. Here are some supplements for which there is promising evidence of effectiveness:

Folic acid, when added to enalapril (an ACE inhibitor used to treat high blood pressure, diabetic kidney disease and heart failure) produced a significant reduction in stroke occurrence in 2015 JAMA research.20

Oregano might be effective against the norovirus, say investigators at the University of Arizona.21

High doses of vitamin C may be useful in the treatment of ovarian cancer, boost the power of chemotherapy and ward off stroke, research indicates.22,23,24

Multivitamins and olive oil are under investigation for their roles in managing breast cancer.25,26

A compound found in a Japanese mushroom could be a cure for the currently untreatable human papilloma virus.27

Vitamin E likely plays an important role in deterring miscarriage.28

Preliminary evidence even suggests that micronutrients could be beneficial in treating adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to 2014 research published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.29

When children with ADHD inhaled vetiver essential oil three times a day for 30 days they had improved brain wave patterns and behavior and did better in school.

In patients with allergies, those using homeopathy reported improvements in nasal airflow compared with a placebo group and researchers described a "clear, significant and clinically relevant improvement in nasal inspiratory peak flow, similar to that found with topical steroids."

Don't Rule Out Vitamin D

In the past few years, vitamin D has gone from a vitamin "hero" whose deficiency potentially explained many maladies, to VNG (Vitamin Non Grata).30,31 The same flip-flop has been seen with calcium, once a good guy, now potentially another supplemental bad guy.32 In fact, vitamin D has been so demonized, the pro-Pharma Forbes site actually writes:33

"Vitamin D supplements, to put it plainly, are a waste of money. (For those concerned about osteoporosis, the widely used drug alendronate (Fosamax®), has been shown to increase bone density by about 5 percent, as explained in a 2011 article by Dr. Sundeep Khosia. But Fosamax has side effects.)"

The "side effects" mentioned by Forbes are an understatement. Bisphosphonate bone drugs such as Fosamax and Boniva have been linked to esophageal cancer, jawbone death, heart problems, intractable pain and the very fractures they are supposed to prevent.34 They are one of the most dangerous drug classes ever marketed.

Far from a waste of money, vitamin D made such a difference in a 2014 breast cancer survival study, an investigator said "There is no compelling reason to wait for further studies to incorporate vitamin D supplements into standard care regimens."35 Research suggests it may have a valuable role in multiple sclerosis management, diabetes and depression, chronic liver disease and diseases of older age.36,37,38,39

Pharma Is a Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Full article:



https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/12/30/war-on-supplements-essential-oils-homeopathy.aspx

When my wife was being treated for Ovarian cancer we incorporated Mistletoe and Intravenous vitamin C , Medicinal THC and CBD as well as many supplements. I wish there was more research done to prove or disprove many of the claims made. There was decent research on mistletoe and Vitamin C , some on THC but a whole lot of unsubstantiated claims about countless alternatives. If you listened to everyone who supposedly had an easy answer to cancer you would go nuts. It was a very difficult path to navigate. Separating the glimmers of hope from the snake oil was a full time job.

True. That is why I listen to everything Dr. Mercola says. He does his homework and exposes snake oil baloney from everyone, not just the snake oil pushers in Big Pharma and the Medical Industrial complex.

My mom died of ovarian cancer. According to the doctors who treated her at the age of 74, the piece of ovary,that had been left there deliberately by the doctor who gave her a hysterectomy after her seventh child at the age of 35 (since my stupid old man refused to get a vasectomy), turned cancerous. This old procedure was done so women would not suffer from hormone problems when they no longer had ovaries. It was a mistake. They don't do that any more.

Dr. Mercola does not publish unsubtantiated claims. Are you implying that he does?

Also, any therapy, no matter how efficacious it is proven to be by medical science, will have varying effectiveness on humans. All the scientific studies of all known therapies, therefore, are always presented in  statistical form.

It is sheeer folly to assume that modern medical practices and legal drug therapies are not tainted by the profit motive. That is the fact of life we must navigate as we decide what is best for us. Assuming that a medical doctor prescribing a drug is invariably doing it because he or she has "your best interests at heart" is  dangerously naive thinking.
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AGelbert

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I Had to Bury My 26-Year-Old Son Because He Couldn't Afford Insulin

Thursday, February 01, 2018

By Nicole Smith-Holt🕊 , Truthout | Op-Ed


SNIPPET:

As you would imagine, my family and I are still grieving. But I've decided that sharing our story may help prevent someone else from going through what Alec did. There are a lot of proposals to increase access to affordable health coverage and to lower the price of medicines, including forcing drug companies to be transparent about their research costs and profits, and allowing Medicare to negotiate down the price it pays for prescription drugs. To me, they all boil down to one theme: Access to insulin, and other life-essential medicines, is a human right.

The inventor of insulin, Frederick Banting, believed that. When he was asked why he gave away his patent for $1, he replied, "Because insulin does not belong to me. It belongs to the world."  That spirit is being violated today, where there are thousands of GoFundMe pages devoted to people like Alec, desperately trying to cobble together the money they need for their monthly insulin.

Full article:

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/43397-i-had-to-bury-my-26-year-old-son-because-he-couldn-t-afford-insulin
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AGelbert

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If Politicians Take Corporate Money They 🦀 Don't Represent You Anymore! (w/Guest Ebonie Land 🕊)



Simple Question, Do politicians represent you when they are taking money from the Morbidly Rich? No, they Represent the fascist corporate donors!

Thom Hartmann Feb. 28, 2018 3:00 pm


Resistance To Universal Healthcare is Futile with Michael Lighty


Michael Lighty joins Alex Lawson with a message, Resistance to Universal Healthcare by big money and the morbidly rich is futile!

Thom Hartmann Feb. 27, 2018 2:30 pm

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AGelbert

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The Deadly Inefficiency Of For Profit Healthcare and the Promise of Medicare for All




Andy Brodock and Alex Lawson bring us in human terms the deadly inefficiency of the for profit healthcare companies. These stories need to be kept in mind as we fight for medicare for all.

Thom Hartmann Mar. 2, 2018 3:00 pm


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AGelbert

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Nov 10, 2017 | 2,463 views | by The Harvard Law Forum

Quote
On November 9, 2017, health care expert, Jacobin writer and HEAVYxMEDICAL co-host Timothy Faust came to Harvard Law School and made the case for a single payer, Medicare for All health insurance...

Agelbert NOTE: Tim Faust's encyclopedic knowledge of our medical system, including the good, the bad and the REALLY ugly parts, as well as his detailed proposed solution to the deadly health harming problems in our corrupted and massively inefficient medical care system, makes him a compelling speaker.  The energy he projects is fantastic. I think he will be a force in bringing Medicare for All to the USA. 


To skip the introductory boilerplate, begin at 3:00.  8)

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AGelbert

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Agelbert NOTE: Great presentaton by Elisabeth Rosenthal about Corporate Profits over Patient in the Health Care Field.

Elisabeth Rosenthal, "An American Sickness"


Politics and Prose

Published on May 1, 2017

http://www.politics-prose.com/book/97...

In her first book, Rosenthal, editor in chief of Kaiser Health News as well as an M.D., takes a comprehensive look at the country’s ailing health care system. By breaking down the whole into its parts, she guides readers through a complicated tangle of hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers, focusing especially on the problems that have arisen in recent years as more hospitals are run by business executives and more research charities enter into profitable relationships with drug companies. Rosenthal shows how these arrangements harm patients and suggests ways we can heal the system.

Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics and Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.'s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics and  Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online. Visit them on the web at http://www.politics-prose.com/

Produced by Tom Warren
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https://www.thenation.com/article/american-decay/

America’s Dental Gap Has Left People Relying on Pliers, Chisels, and Whiskey
A free clinic fights decay in Tennessee.
By Zoë CarpenterTwitter
November 3, 2017


The dental gap is only partly mitigated by RAM’s pop-up clinics, which serve thousands of poor Americans each year. (Zoë Carpenter)

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September went out hot in East Tennessee. Caleb didn’t mind; he parked his lawn chair in a shallow pool of shade, clipped a small fan to its arm, lit a cigarette, and settled back to wait. It would be more than 12 hours before the free medical clinic opened its doors. Caleb had read about the clinic online, and that it was best to get there early. Hundreds of people were expected to show up.

Caleb had driven up from Georgia to get a **** tooth pulled. He’s a lean, hard-looking man with a scar running vertically down from his lower lip, the result of a getting bitten by a dog. His teeth are yellowed, many of them dark brown at the gum line. A few years ago, Caleb paid more than $2,000 to have three teeth extracted by a professional, a price that he considered ridiculous. He works odd jobs but wanted me to know that he isn’t poor: He earns enough to own his house and car. “But there’s nothing in the back pocket,” he explained. Since then he’s resorted to pulling teeth on his own, with a pair of hog-ring pliers that he modified for the job. One time he messed up and crushed an aching tooth, leaving a jagged stump embedded in his jaw; he went after that with a chisel and a hammer. He saved a neighbor $300 recently, he claimed, by pulling a tooth for him. “You know what that cost him? Two and a half shots of Wild Turkey 101.”

On the ground beside Caleb sat Michael Sumers, a fellow Georgian with a long neck and wide, darting eyes. Sumers, who never saw a dentist as a child, hoped to get his remaining 14 teeth pulled. He’s only 46 years old. His mouth has hurt him almost constantly for the last five years, but he hasn’t been able to afford any help. Sumers lives on his disability check, and after paying $700 a month in rent, he doesn’t have much left. “I can’t eat steak without my teeth breaking,” he admitted.
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Chicken is what broke one of Jessica Taylor’s teeth. Another two were broken by her ex-husband’s fist, when he hit her in the mouth during a fight. I found Taylor sitting on the ground, her back to a tree, a pizza box beside her. “Now I’m here,” she said, explaining why she’d come to the clinic, “and he’s in hell.”

Over on the far side of the lot, a group of women sat around a small barbecue grill, smoking cigarettes and flipping burgers: Beverly, April, Darlene, and Donna, a woman with a thin face and gray hair scraped back into a ponytail. All of them hoped to get their teeth worked on the following morning when the clinic opened. Beverly smiled, showing me how her two front teeth overlapped. Her parents divorced when she was little, Beverly told me, “and forgot which one was supposed to take care of it.” April, her sister, read about the clinic on Facebook and had been the first to pull into the parking lot that morning. At 9 am, when the clinic staff arrived to set up rows of dental chairs, April was there in a pink T-shirt, waiting on the sidewalk.

Caleb has resorted to pulling teeth on his own, with a pair of hog-ring pliers adapted for the purpose.

Of the countless ways in which poverty eats at the body, one of the most visible, and painful, is in our mouths. Teeth betray age, but also wealth, if they’re pearly and straight, or the emptiness of our pockets, if they’re missing, broken, rotted out. The American health-care system treats routine dental care as a luxury available only to those with the means to pay for it, making it vastly more difficult for millions of Americans to take care of their teeth. And the consequences can be far more profound than just negative effects on one’s appearance. In fact, they can be deadly.

Wealthy Americans spend billions of dollars per year, collectively, to improve their smiles. Meanwhile, about a third of all people living in the United States struggle to pay for even basic dental care. The most common chronic illness in school-age children is tooth decay. Nearly a quarter of low-income children have decaying teeth, well above the national average; black and Hispanic children also experience higher rates of untreated decay. Neither Medicaid nor Medicare is required to cover dental procedures for adults, so coverage varies by state, and both the very poor and the elderly are often left to pay out of pocket. (Tennessee provides no dental coverage to anyone over 21.) In those states where Medicaid does cover dental care, benefits are limited. Even middle-class Americans can’t always afford necessary care, as private insurance often will not cover expensive procedures. Dental coverage improved modestly during the Obama administration, through an expansion of Medicaid and the state Children’s Health Insurance Program under the Affordable Care Act, but access remains patchy and wholly inadequate.   
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The situation is made more difficult by the dearth of dentists in low-income communities. Less than half of the country’s dentists will treat Medicaid patients. As one dentist tells journalist Mary Otto in her 2017 book Teeth, while his colleagues “once exclusively focused upon fillings and extractions,” they “are nowadays considered providers of beauty.” Offering cosmetic procedures in wealthy cities and suburbs is far more lucrative than treating people in rural areas and poor neighborhoods—whitening alone is an $11-billion-a-year industry. The result is a geographic imbalance, with dentists clustered around the money. Nearly 55 million people live in areas officially considered to have a shortage of dental-care providers. At the pediatric dental clinic at the University of Illinois at Chicago, there’s a two-year waiting list for children who need dental surgery that requires anesthesia.

All of this explains why Caleb and a few hundred other people slept in a parking lot overnight—in their cars, in tents, or out on the ground—and then gathered in the early-morning dark, waiting for the pop-up clinic to open its doors. Held at a sports arena outside Chattanooga, the clinic is one of dozens operated each year by the nonprofit organization Remote Area Medical.

Appalachia is RAM’s home territory, but the group now runs weekend clinics in medically underserved areas across the United States, from California and Texas to Florida and New York, providing basic medical, dental, and vision care—as well as veterinary services, occasionally—fully free of charge. Dozens of doctors and dentists from across the country volunteer their services.

The group’s founder, Stan Brock, was there to open the doors at 6 am. Brock is a tan, trim man of 81 with a clipped English accent; he is also a former wildlife-television star. (A quick search turns up photos of Brock holding a lion cub, a snake fatter than his arm, and a harpy eagle named Jezebel.)   
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The idea for RAM came about after Brock found himself badly injured in a horseback-riding accident in a part of Guyana that was weeks away—on foot—from the nearest doctor. Initially, his intent was to fly doctors and medical supplies into remote regions of the world’s poorest countries. Brock got his pilot’s license and a small plane, and started flying medical missions into Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Brazil. He founded RAM in 1985; a few years later, the mayor of Sneedville in northern Tennessee read about the group’s work in a newspaper. The local hospital had closed and the only dentist had left town, so the mayor asked Brock for help. Brock put a dental chair in the back of a pickup truck and drove to Sneedville, where more than 50 people lined up to have their teeth worked on. Ninety percent of RAM’s operations are now in the United States.

Little else has changed about the nature of Brock’s work in the two and a half decades since the Sneedville clinic, despite swings of the political pendulum and the passage of numerous health-care reform packages. When I asked Brock about common ailments among the thousands of people who attend RAM clinics each year, he said, “I can tell you that without any hesitation—it’s the same everywhere we go. They’re all there to see the dentist. They’re all there to see the eye doctor. They’re not there to see the medical doctor.” The health-care system treats the eyes and teeth as being distinct from the rest of the body—no matter that an infection that starts in the mouth can move quickly into the bloodstream and then throughout the body. Unlike many other acute physical problems, a **** tooth or the gradual blurring of vision cannot be fixed in an emergency room. Nevertheless, more than 2 million people show up in the nation’s emergency rooms with dental pain each year, though hospitals can usually do little besides prescribe antibiotics and painkillers.   

By the time the sky lightened, nearly 200 people had been ushered into the arena. Outside, the line still wrapped around the building. A woman at the back clutched a ticket numbered 631. Her teeth had been hurting her for a year and a half, but there was no guarantee she’d be seen. Inside, volunteers checked the patients in at rows of folding tables. Dental patients were sent to wait in the bleachers, which filled up quickly.

One by one, the people in the bleachers were summoned to a chair overseen by Dr. Joseph Gambacorta, a dean at the School of Dental Medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Gambacorta peered into their mouths to determine whether they needed fillings, a cleaning, or—as was most often the case—extractions. Thirty-six-year-old Jennifer Beard from Dayton, Tennessee, sat uneasily in the chair, her mouth open. She’d already lost all but eight of her teeth. “What do I need to do? I haven’t been to the dentist in a long time,” she admitted in an apologetic tone. “My mom and dad died, and I lost my job.” It took Gambacorta about 10 seconds to assess the damage: “I hate to tell you this, but you need them all out.”   

The intent was to fly doctors into the world’s poorest countries. Then he got a call from Tennessee.

Preventing tooth decay doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money: Toothbrushes and floss don’t cost very much, Gambacorta pointed out. But it does require constant attention, and neglect is serious. One dental student who has volunteered at several RAM clinics told me about a man who arrived with a mouthful of rotting teeth; asked how often he brushed them, he replied, “Well, doc, I don’t.” Diet and habits like smoking also hasten decay. But all these risk factors are amplified by limited access to professional care. When routine care is unaffordable and decay goes untreated, minor problems can become critical. What starts out as a toothache can become an infection in the jawbone, which can then spread to the bloodstream. In one now-famous case initially reported by Mary Otto, a 12-year-old Maryland boy named Deamonte Driver died from an abscessed tooth that would have cost $80 to pull. Driver’s family had lost their Medicaid coverage, and his mother was preoccupied with trying to find a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth. Driver died when the bacteria from his tooth spread to his brain—and after more than $200,000 in surgeries and six weeks in the hospital.

“Six, eight, 10, 15, 16, and two,” Gambacorta said briskly to an assistant with a clipboard, naming the teeth that had to be extracted from the head of a fidgety 30-year-old who’d last seen a dentist nearly a decade ago, when he was in Navy boot camp. Gambacorta took a second look. “Are you sure you don’t want the bottom ones out, too?” he asked. “Put 18, 19, 31, and 32 on the list, too.”

While some patients’ teeth were so decayed that Gambacorta had no choice but to recommend their removal, he hesitates to turn people into “dental cripples” unnecessarily. “Everyone’s eager to get them all out, but they don’t know what that means for after,” he told me. People assume that having dentures is easier than dealing with their rotted teeth, particularly if they’ve been in pain. But dentures come with their own complications, including the fact that people who use them tend to eat softer, less nutritious foods.   
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On the main floor of the arena, behind a wall of green curtains, stood four parallel rows of dental chairs—50 in all. I found April, still wearing her pink shirt, waiting in chair 22, her gums already numbed. Caleb was in chair 13; he was quiet and nervous, with little of the nonchalance he’d projected the previous afternoon while describing his pliers. Later on, I found him smoking a cigarette in the parking lot, a new gap where his top left tooth had been. “It’s embarrassing,” he said of the gap. Still, he was grateful. He was getting free eyeglasses, too; he hadn’t realized how badly he needed them.

Donna grinned at me from chair 25 as a third-year dental student prepared to pull four of her teeth. The first three came out easily, in a matter of minutes. But the fourth was stuck. It took the oral surgeon who was overseeing things a few swings of his right elbow, as if he were flapping a wing, to yank it free. Donna whimpered in pain, but a few minutes later, her mouth stuffed with gauze, she gave me a thumbs-up. The incessant ache she’d lived with for so long had already started to fade.   
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Over the course of two days, more than 800 people received care from RAM. Sheila Barrow, a pretty woman of 55 with dimples and long blond hair, said it was the fourth RAM clinic she’d attended. This time, she was there to have one tooth filled and another pulled. Barrow has health insurance through Tennessee’s Medicaid program, but no dental or vision coverage. She worked for UPS, but after four knee surgeries, she’s now dependent on disability benefits. “They’ve been a lifesaver,” she said of the free clinics. “I don’t know what I’d do without them.”   

“RAM will be holding these events until kingdom come—instead of being where we should be, which is in the Third World.” —Stan Brock, founder of Remote Area Medical

And yet it was clear that free clinics like RAM’s barely paper over the yawning dental-care gap. On Saturday afternoon, I found Michael Sumers in the parking lot, waiting for a ride home. All of his top teeth were gone. He’d gotten four pulled, not the 14 he was hoping for—there wasn’t enough time. Up in the bleachers, Gambacorta and another volunteer had discussed how to triage patients as it became clear that the need was greater than the number of dentists. Treating everyone in line meant that some people would have to choose between getting a tooth pulled or another one filled.

It should be unnecessary to say that a system that requires people to spend the night in a parking lot to see a dentist, or to pull their own teeth with pliers, or that leaves an infected tooth to kill a child, is grotesquely broken. Yet there is no urgency for reform in Washington, particularly with the party in power more inclined toward cutting health benefits. Part of the fault belongs with dentists’ associations, which have fought proposals for a national health-care system as well as smaller-scale reforms, like giving hygienists more autonomy to provide preventive care in public schools. The fault also rests with the policy-makers who have ignored dental care entirely when debating overhauls to the health-insurance system. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings have repeatedly introduced legislation to expand dental coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and the Department of Veterans Affairs; the latest version, introduced in 2015, never received a committee vote in either chamber.

Unless something changes in Washington, Brock predicted, “Remote Area Medical will be holding these events from now until kingdom come—instead of being where we should be, which is the Third World.”


Everybody has their sob story, and their other story about how they got screwed by some dentist. They're lined up around the block though, when treatment is pro bono.

I could do free dentistry 24/7 and never stop. Too bad I have to pay rent and make a 30K payroll every month, not to mention a lot of other bills.

Dental problems are overwhelmingly preventable, especially the dental problems of kids and young adults. I spend a fair part of my time trying to help people, but a whole lot of them never do a damn thing to help themselves. When you live on Coca-cola, you end up with rotten teeth
.

I disagree with Eddie that these people needing dental and eye care are "sob story" people we should not take seriously. HELLO? Are we going to label everyone who cannot afford decent dental and eye care as "irresponsible"? Sure, a small percentage of them are irresponsible. But, the FACT that dental associatons fight tooth and nail to prevent dental assistants from performing extractions, fillings and crowns is inexcusable. There is a war by these Dentist Poobahs going on in Vermont. We already have physician assistants that can do just about anything a doctor does here. For the last year the fight has been to enable dental assistants to do most of what a dentist does without a dentist grabbing a piece of action. The dentists are fighting this because of MONEY, not becasue of some "care" sbout a dental assistant mangling sombody's teeth (as the Dental associations in Vermont are hysterically claiming).

There is a reason why Cubans do not have dental problems  ;D. Thom Hartmann was recently flabergasted by the LACK of missing teeth or any other obvious evidence of poor dentition in poor Cubans.

Eddie, I firmly believe you should NOT have to pay rent for an office or buy ANY of the chairs, drills. lazers, x-ray equipment, etc. you need to do your job. I firmly believe we-the-people should, and certainly CAN, fund ALL OF THAT for you once you have a license to prractice dental medicine. Furthermore, long before you or any other aspiring medical student gets to that point, the study of medicine should be 100% FREE to anyone with the brains to make it through the program.

Of course we will probably never have medicare, including eye and dental care, FOR ALL in this country.

But that doesn't mean it's not a good idea.  It is the most logical approach to health care that there is. As long as a health care professional doesn't have to fund his education or tools of the trade, there is no reason why they should be paid more than a middle class income, along with six weeks of paid vaction a year, in addition to time off for family leave (funerals, visit sick relatives or school field trips to motivate students or accompany their children). THAT is what a healthy soiciety that cares for its citizens does. It is as SOCIALIST as caring for the needs of your own children on a societal scale. I do NOT see a problem with that.

Health care professions should only attract those with a vocation to provide it. The Capitalist profit over patient system we have in the USA attracts too many people who are there to get rich, not to serve God and Country.

I know you do the best you can for your patients, Eddie. But do not tell me that we do not have a GIANT set of moral hazards from the getgo (expensive studies, expensive tools, high rent costs, medical association elitist fees, overly onerous and expensive licensing hurdles, ETC.) for those with the brains to study medicine.

You rightly condemn the propagandized fools who ruin their teeth with a high sugar drinks. Well, I suggest you need to add a HUGE percentage of American Dentists to that list BECAUSE, as I have personally witnessed, more than once, they provide "free" LOLYPOPS in their dental waiting rooms! I've seen hard candy too! Such "nice" little balls of teeth cracking and ruining multi-colored sweets provided "free" by your DENTIST! THese FUCKERS aren't just irresponsible, they are CRIMINAL! THEY BELONG IN PRISON! Those highlly educated (but VERY greedy) BASTARDS KNOW what sugar does to teeth  like NOBODY ELSE!

DON'T tell me the dental associations are doing all they can to educate the public on the FACT that a high sugar and processed food diet is the primary cause of poor dentition. They aren't. IN FACT, they, too often, see deliberate silence on sugar damage potential as GUARANTEED new customers. That is known as a moral hazard.

Just because you do not bullshit your clients does not mean that dental profession in the USA, as a whole, is entirely, and too conveniently, SILENT on the horrendous toll on dentition that simple carbohydrates and sugared drinks cause.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 06:55:33 pm by AGelbert »
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AGelbert

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So....for anyone who actually took time to read what I just wrote, which is probably nobody, there are a couple more points that should be covered.

A guy like me with 5 to 10 more years of his working life left has a huge incentive to sell out to one of these corporate entities, and that's happening like crazy at the moment. It's a retirement windfall. In the US, it's illegal for a corporation to own a dental practice outright. S they have to partner with some dentists to make it legal. Guys like me sell out and then hang around until the transition is accomplished smoothly and then take their golden parachute....well, no really golden like an insurance CEO....call it a silver parachute.

And for those private dentists who don't want to do that, it's a choice:

1. Spend a lot on making your office look very affluent, and don't take insurance at all. Try to run a "carriage trade" practice. (If Caleb wanders in the door, he's shocked by the fees and starts looking for the pliers.)

2. Try to work with the various kinds of insurance and treat working people and welfare kids, for a LOT less money...and if you're fast and good, like me, you still make a decent living. (but it's less than you used to make, most likely) and you do do a s h i t ton of work for the money.

And you get very pissed off when guys like RE post articles like the one that started this thread.

Thanks for reading. I think it's about time to board the puddle-jumper to fly over to Beef Island.



Eddie, I have read all your posts and respect your opinion. You are swimming in a system not of your creation. I get that.

I also understand why RE's posts put a burr under your saddle, so to speak. You probably know him better than I do, but I am certain that, while RE is methodically, and accurately, listing the high costs of dealing with the health care system, you, just like K-dog when discussing the poor, probably think that RE prioritizes costs in ways that demonize medical/dental sine qua non care costs while being quite willing to temporarily forget them by spending a lot of cash on a Solar Eclipse viewing adventure.

Health goes before fun, you say. Generally speaking that is, of course, true. "Irresponsible" people whine about health care costs but do not bat an eye at buying a carton of ciggarettes or going on an alchoholic bing from time to time. Generally speaking, that is also true.

With that rationale, one can brand EVERY person that cannot afford health care because of our greed based sytem as "irresponsible".

Well, I disagree. RE has made some very valid points. You do not have to take it personally. I really do not understand why you do not attack the dental poobahs that REFUSE, despite having the knowledge and the skills to do so, to engage in a class action suit against every sugar pimping corporation from Coca Cola to Marrs and Hershey bar makers.

The meth addicts that ruin their teeth are a drop in the bucket compared with the millions  propagandized 24/7 by the teeth destroying sugar crap.

Are dentists (AND the AMA too!) afraid of the corporate power in the courts? I say, NO, they are NOT! The AMA knows EXACTLY how much business they are guaranteed from  chronic (the magic word for repeat business!  ) sugar related diseases like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular problems. They are, like the Dental Poobahs in the USA, complicit in the overly expensive costs of health care, starting with the inflated education costs to other gate keeping functions that RE outlined.

Surly and I have some common ground in that my wife has had HUGE dental costs while I have had relatively few. I still have all my teeth at 70 plus years in the valley of tears.

As a retired Federal Employee, I have been there and done that with dental insurance for over 50 years. While I was actively employed, it covered just about everything. All that changed after I retired.

I have studied all the plans available to me as a Federal Retiree (which are a bit better than what is available to the average person out there). They are all, as RE pointed out in so many words, scams. A very brief study of what is covered and the limits per year of that coverage reveals that, even though these plans make a LOT of money because the pool of users is very large, they REFUSE to pass ANY of that onto the insured in lower costs or greater annual maximum coverage. SO, most people with two neurons to rub together look at the numbers and see that it is CHEAPER to NOT have the scam dental insurance than to have it.

Dental insurance costs are out of control. AND, as you said, what they pay the person who actually does the work, is also less than what it should be.

Yes, you and I are on the same page as far as recognizing that insurance corporations want to make the Dentist another wage slave.

Yes, that's why a lot of dentists don't take insurance and set up some VERY fancy offices that scare the poor away. At the  last dental "team" I had the misfortune to visit (they moved to a VERY fancy office shortly after I began to get care), they would not do ANY work on me or my wife (this was in 2008) until they had my credit card number, PERIOD. They had some nice pretty brochures in the waiting room with lots of neato ways to finance your dental care for only about 12% interest plus fees, of course 😇 😈. I do not finance dental care, period.

The deep scale root planing on me cost $800, in four sessions (one quarter of the mouth in each session) done by a dental technician. AFTER that, I got one filling (which fell out two years later and the molar NEVER stopped having hot and cold sensitivity until the filling fell out. LOL!).

My wife's work was about $7,000. It turned out that about $2,800 was covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield medical because the apictomy or whatever they call it was done by a maxilofacial surgeon. That was a VERY expensive year for me. I guess my wife and I are somewhat responsible for all our dental costs so I should not go the sob story route in relating our experience. Woe is us.

BUT, that does not mean that the Dental schools of medicine do not share in creating this untenable situation by gate keeping measures to keep the number of dentists down and charging 250K for the study of medicine. That is TOTAL HIGHWAY ROBBERY! If Germany can teach their doctors and dentists FREE, so can WE! Germany is certainly NOT a "socialist" country or one with medical training and certification standards "below" the USA, like you might claim Mexico has (though I think Mexican Dentists are well qualified).
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AGelbert

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Trump 🦀 Gives Finger to Americans with a Pre-existing Health Condition

Quote
Republicans were already worried that the nation’s health care woes could sink them in 2018. Now they feel like the Trump administration just tossed them an anvil.


Article that included the above video:

DC  BATTLE OVER OBAMACARE

GOP Fears Trump’s 🦀 War On Pre-Existing Condition Protections Will Backfire Bigly

By Alice Ollstein and Cameron Joseph | June 11, 2018 6:00 am

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/gop-fears-trumps-war-on-pre-existing-condition-protections-will-backfire-bigly



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