Archive for healthcare reform

Helping the Homeless in Los Angeles Is an Under-discussed/funded Issue



Despite its status as one of the country's largest urban areas, the plight of the homeless in Los Angeles is a vastly under-discussed and under-addressed issue.

It was heartening to see Josè Díez-Balart, newly in the MSNBC morning lineup from 10-11 a.m. EST, host advocate Dr. Sophia Momand to get to the heart of the matter.

Her religious credo as a Muslim included a highly unusual promise she made when she became a doctor -- a very personal and unique oath to give care to all in her path, and give harm to none by choice.

A little further research on Dr. Momand proved edifying. From Southern California Public Radio, a bit more on that particular oath she swore more than twenty years ago. When homelessnessness was an equally large and looming plight.

Momand says she became a doctor because she enjoys helping people, "but it’s also part of my faith. I happen to be a Muslim, and part of our religion is that you have to be active helping humanity. For me it’s pretty easy, so it’s not like I’m giving up a whole lot of time, but whatever little I can help has really made a difference in their lives."

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So we have been hearing a deal from the popular Jesuit hippie Pope about caring for the poor, the homeless, the sick ... now Muslims are stepping up. Who is it that lags behind ... again?

Oh rihhght right right, the Religious Right.

The 'Turn Back Time' crowd.

They that listen to La Palin and worship at the feet of hate-mongorers extraordinaire Hannity and Limbaugh ... the station of Fvx Nation.

Apparently less free with their charity than other organized religious bodies of work.



As children suffer, meningitis cases confirm need for FDA reform



You may have read about meningitis outbreaks at college campuses, in some instances resulting in deaths . Today's guest post is by someone whose name you may very well recognize, Dr. Julianne Malveaux. She makes a good case for urgent FDA reform:

Meningitis Cases Confirm Need for FDA Reform
by Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.

It is virtually impossible to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on anything healthcare related these days. Even issues that everyone can agree on - like covering Americans with pre-existing conditions and keeping young adults on their parents' health plan - become political footballs.

But while Congress continues to debate healthcare policies, they are missing opportunities to genuinely effect Americans' health. There is common ground to be found, including ensuring our nation is properly expediting life-saving vaccines for a deadly disease.

Recent scares at Princeton University and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) have highlighted a sluggish, reactive approach to disease prevention and that the consequences of this leadership vacuum, particularly at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, could be deadly.

Last spring, a Princeton University student was diagnosed with Meningitis type B (MenB), a highly contagious and life-threatening bacterial infection known to strike college campuses. By November, officials made national headlines by confirming an eighth case.

Just as Princeton was taking steps to protect its students against this deadly disease, UCSB confirmed that MenB had stricken four of its students. One young man – a lacrosse player, Aaron Loy – had to have the lower portion of both legs amputated.

As a former college president, I can assure you that no university is prepared for this kind of crisis. This is particularly true because many college administrators believed they had protected their campuses by requiring incoming freshmen to be vaccinated against meningitis. But it turns out that immunizations cover every meningitis type except for MenB, which accounted for more than 30 percent of meningococcal cases last year.

Because FDA has not approved a MenB vaccine for use in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been scrambling to respond to public health crises like those at Princeton and UCSB. Rather than proactively immunizing susceptible college students before or immediately after a meningitis outbreak occurs, the CDC can only administer “Bexsero” – a MenB vaccine that is currently in use for all ages in European Union, Australia, and Canada – weeks after students have already fallen ill.

FDA’s ad hoc approval for Bexsero means that it takes months for the vaccine to reach college students, rather than days. In the case of Princeton, CDC and FDA launched a vaccination program more than two months after university officials requested special permission to administer the vaccine. Just last week UCSB began immunizing students, some three months after the first case of MenB was confirmed. As one CDC official told CNN, “You don't go online and order 10,000 doses and get next-day delivery of this vaccine. It takes time.”

That statement underscores the need for full U.S. approval of Bexsero -- quickly. A country that has long been the world leader in developing and deploying life-saving medicines should not have to depend on partners in the EU or Canada.

Moreover, other college campuses should be afforded the opportunity to vaccinate their students proactively, well before a disease like MenB strikes their campus. But this option for college administrators, state health officials, and parents is not possible so long as Bexsero remains unapproved in the U.S.

If Congress isn’t yet convinced that there is an urgent problem, perhaps they should listen to the parents of affected students.

"It's absolutely devastating to have Aaron, in the prime of his life, be stricken,” Mike Loy said. “We hope that Aaron's horrific illness brings increased awareness and rapid approval by the FDA of the vaccine.”

I've also heard one mother whose healthy daughter contracted MenB at college and she died within 30 hours of entering the hospital with a headache. She said the FDA would be moving a lot faster if they had to watch their children suffer the way she did.

Improving efficiency at FDA is an issue that should find bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Our system’s continued failure on the MenB vaccine is just one example that illustrates that there’s too much at stake for FDA reform to turn into the partisan fight du jour, or worse yet, be ignored by Congress altogether.


Assholes R Us


Crazy party

Tom Coburn suffers from delusional thinking. Just like the virus currently spreading through Walking Dead, you don't know you have it until it's too late.

How lonely it must be in the castle of the one-eyed king. Located somewhere in Oklahoma with a summer palace in Washington D.C., the King Crazy spreads his rule across the United States. The members of this blathering idiot's court are grand vizier, Rafael Cruz, court jester Mike Lee and of course the Florida Coconut himself, Marco Rubio. (all pretenders to the Dufus Throne)

With a mantra of the best defense is a strong offense, Kooky King Coburn has struck out at the leadership of his opponents. Putting aside the Congressional Rules of Civility, Dr. Tommy just publicly began the assault with a verbal attack. His target, the duly elected leader of the senate, is Harry Reid.

The boiling point was reached Monday when Tommy C. held nothing back when discussing his relationship with opposition leader Reid at a fundraiser in New York City, according to the New York Daily News.

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"There's no comity with Harry Reid. I think he's an absolute a--hole," Coburn said at a gala for the New York Young Republican Club, as quoted by the Daily News.

Asked about the level of civility in the Senate, Coburn reportedly listed other Democratic senators that have "great relationships" with him, including Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Three things wrong here. First, Coburn isn't bright enough to know, let alone properly use the word "comity." He probably meant comedy. We all know that when it comes to comedy stylings, Harry Reid is no Al Franken. So I'll have to give that one to Terrible Tommy.

And secondly, Chuck Schumer claims he's never been friendly with the late James Coburn, the equally late Charles Coburn or the acting late, Senator Tom Coburn. The closest that came to being was in the Senate washroom when King Tom was refused a hand shake by Schumer when Coburn hadn't washed before extending his hand.

And finally, "Asshole?" Really? This from an ordained Southern Baptist deacon? I bet Deacon Tom's sermons really were fire and brimstone oratories.

Maybe I'm just expecting too much. He's a doctor who votes against a woman's right to choose in her personal reproductive decisions, pushes for war in Syria, voices opposition to peace efforts with Iran, votes for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, votes against immigration reform, votes against health care reform, supports a government shutdown, declares there's no inherent harm in a debt ceiling default, and when all of those fail, he joins the fray in a chorus of name calling!

You go, Tom Terrific. Your insincerity ranks up there with the North Carolina voter official who's bigotry remarks were justified with "One of  my best friends is... Negro."

You can call Chuck Schumer or President Obama your friends, but the hollow sound of that proclamation is all your subjects are really hearing.

A-hole? That's the best you can do? Maybe it's time we start looking for a stronger King.