Weekend Update 01-22-2011

This podcast lecture is a particularly good holistic look at the environment and spirituality through a Christian lens. It’s well worth the time spent listening to it.

In the latest salvo surrounding their health care reform repeal stunt, the Republicans extend their war on arithmetic into a war on logic. I remind everyone this is the party responsible for Politifact’s biggest lie of 2010, so there shouldn’t be any surprise.

I found this post about a recent study that found a high incidence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity among those with ADHD, ADD, and Schizophrenia interesting.

HEB, a regional supermarket, is now publishing a list of gluten free items available at their stores.

CNN’s Eatocracy has published a couple of decent posts on gluten and, this week,  celiac disease.

This lecture, Do Not React, Do Not Resent, Keep Inner Stillness, by Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA at a Lutheran Church is extremely good. You can watch the video or download and listen to the audio. I’ve listened to it twice already and will probably listen to it a few more times. I highly recommend it.

LaVonne Neff posted her 10 wishes for a health care policy. It’s a pretty good list. I’ve listened and read a number of complaints about the health care reform act. One of the biggest complaints seems to arise from the individual mandate to buy health insurance. Truthfully, even with the requirement for an 85% medical loss ratio, I’m not thrilled by a mandate that continues to fill the trough of a now largely for profit health insurance industry. (Everyone should recognize that’s a pretty recent change in the US. Up until the early 1990s, most health insurance companies were non-profit and operated with medical loss ratios typically running about 95%.) I would prefer that we either require that health insurance companies participating in any sort of insurance exchange be non-profit or fund and operate universal health coverage through the government by means of a payroll tax as we already do with Medicare. But if we’re going to stick with a private, for-profit insurance model, I would really like the critics to explain how they plan to make it work without an individual mandate? How can you simultaneously mandate that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions and cannot rescind coverage without mandating that everyone maintain coverage? We know from many studies that we are very bad at estimating personal risks like this one. The reality is that serious illness and injury are largely unpredictable, but we tend to be overly optimistic. What do people think will happen with those who decide they can do without insurance and are then struck by catastrophic illness or injury and only purchase coverage at that point? Easy. If we’ve mandated that insurance companies can’t deny coverage, those costs will be spread among all of us, inflating our health insurance premiums. Even if we allow them to be denied coverage, we’re still going to treat them in our hospitals as we do today. Yes, we typically don’t provide enough treatment to actually allow them to survive and recover as we do for those with insurance, but we still sink tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars into inadequate care for which they can’t pay. That cost is currently being redistributed to all of us. There are times I wish our nation would grow up and abandon magical thinking. This “debate” is certainly one of those times.

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