Tag Archives: Health

Obamacare Turns 2

ObamacareOn March 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

“After a century of striving, after a year of debate, after a historic vote, health care reform is no longer an unmet promise. It is the law of the land.”
– President Barack Obama

The law and everything surrounding it is just way too vast and convoluted to go into here. Like many Americans, I’m not sure what’s in it or what it means to me. I do know this.

Health Care amounts to roughly 16% of the U.S. Economy. The idea that the Federal Government, with all its bureaucratic twists and turns could not effectively manage “Cash for Clunkers.”

Here was a simple rebate program designed to give citizens a financial incentive to buy new cars (our government just took over GM and wanted to sell some cars.) In the nine months of the active program the program cost three times the original government estimate. Lawmakers had to add over two billion in funding to cover the shortfall.

What happens to Obamacare if the cost estimates are low by the same differential? The Government Budget Office has already come out and said the original cost estimates were low by several hundred billion dollars.

You would think we would learn from our mistakes. When Medicare was passed in 1965 the federal government estimated it would cost $12 billion in 1990. Medicare actually cost $110 billion in 1990.

With the election battle in full bloom and Obamacare repeal efforts winding its way through the court system, there is no promise the health care reform will stand as is.

By the time Obamacare turns four we will finally know the truth… maybe.

Article from the Wall Street Journal – ObamaCare’s Costs are Soaring

The New Food Pyramid

The new food pyramidIn 2011 the Department of Agriculture and the FDA launched a snazzy new icon to represent the new food pyramid.

I’ve been to Giza. I’ve seen the pyramids. This looks more like a fruit and veggie pizza with a milk chaser. Oh it’s pretty and all but calling this a pyramid is like calling the Grand Canyon a soccer field. It’s not even close.

I liked the old pyramid. It was simple and easy to remember. It didn’t require a masters degree in nutrition. It was like a good friend, generous and always there.

The Old Food PyramidI spent my time near the ground where I had firm footing and lots of grainy choices.  I was assured by having anywhere from 6-11 servings of pasta and cereal I was getting a balanced diet.

I love pasta.

I counted French Fries as a veggie. Hey, if it comes out of the ground it’s got to be a veggie, right? If a potato is a fruit, I’m a stringbean.

What I missed about the whole French Fry/Veggie business is the cooking process. I stayed so close to the ground I couldn’t see that little point on top. The one that says, “Use fats, oils, and sweets sparingly.”

When you’re faced with a slice of four layer chocolate cake it’s nearly impossible to recall such an important fact. I love chocolate.

I like lettuce and tomato but they won’t do what a good piece of Red Velvet cake will do.

So over the years my belt kept trying to tell me I was working the pyramid wrong. My bread basket was turning into a food pantry. And then in 2002 I quit smoking and within months I was up fifty pounds. I had a beer belly built with pasta and pie.

To quote a fitness guru of years past I finally decided to “Stop the Madness!”

I’ve been doing a steady daily diet of fruits, veggies and protein. Since the beginning of October I’m down nearly forty pounds.

I miss pasta and chocolate cake. I don’t miss the pounds. I wish the new food pyramid did not look like a pizza. I wish grapefruit tasted like Red Velvet cake. I miss Red Velvet cake. Goodbye old friend.

FDA Goes for Shock and Awe

Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States. These warnings mark the first change in cigarette warnings in more than 25 years and are a significant advancement in communicating the dangers of smoking.

Now I don’t know about you but I think we all have heard the message. When I smoked I saw all the ugly lung pictures and heard the doctor’s warnings about smoking and it never phased me.

On their website the FDA says: “The introduction of these warnings is expected to have a significant public health impact by decreasing the number of smokers, resulting in lives saved, increased life expectancy, and lower medical costs.” I think that’s (cough)(cough)bullshit(cough). If the FDA thinks putting ugly pictures on cigarette packages is going to make a bit of difference to cigarette smokers then they are smoking something besides cigarettes.

The only thing that is going to get cigarette smokers to quit is the cigarette smoker. You have to want to quit and I don’t mean you look in the mirror and say to yourself I want to quit — before lighting up the next one. I mean right down in the core, down in the addiction machine inside the smoker where you have to flip the quit switch. It’s there but most smokers have a tough time finding it. I know I did. (I’ve been cigarette free since Nov 2002.)

It wasn’t about the warning on the pack, the ugly lung picture or the thought that my second hand smoke was affecting someone else. It was simply “I wanted to be a non-smoker more than I wanted to be a smoker.” At the end of a smoke filled day it really has to come down to that.

For a rundown of all the new FDA photos go HERE.

Man Robs Bank of $1.00 to Get Health Care

Last week a North Carolina man walked into a branch of the RB&C Bank in Gastonia intent on robbery.

James Verone is not your typical bank robber. He was not armed. He didn’t wear a mask. He did have a note asking for $1.00. After getting the dollar he told the teller he would be waiting in the chair by the door.

In a simple act of desperation, 59 year-old Verone robbed the bank hoping the means would justify the end. Broke and needing medical attention he came up with a plan. It went something like this:

  1. Rob bank of $1.00.
  2. Serve 3 years for bank robbery.
  3. Get out at age 62 and file for Social Security.
  4. Move to Myrtle Beach and work on tan.

In some ways you have to admire his willingness to work the system. They make movies about guys like this.

The story behind this story is the one that really grabs me. We can put a man on the moon. We are the richest country on the planet. We arguably have the best colleges and universities putting out the brightest and the best.

And we can’t figure out how to get health care for the needy. Between the greedy insurance underwriters, lawyers and drug companies, we have created a medical behemoth that is strictly for the haves — the have nots be damned.

There might also be a fly in Mr. Verone’s ointment. Because he only took a dollar hs is not being charged with bank robbery, only larceny, so his sentence may fall way short of three years. Guess he might have to misbehave and hope for a tack on.

On a side note the prison doctor has accused Verone of manipulating the jail system. To that I would ask…. “Your point being?”


Eyeball update

It’s been almost three weeks since the surgery on my eye to remove a cataract. I thought it was time to give an update.

My old good eye is now my bad eye, although still pretty darn good. The surgery went well and I can see ten-times better. On my first post-op visit two weeks ago I was complaining about a slight double vision in the surgical eye. The surgeon gave it a good look and then offered a scenario where, because of the higher than normal pressure in that eye, I was probably having some swelling along the incisions. This would have the affect of giving some visual aberrations that should go away as the swelling goes down.

I think it’s safe to say she was right. Those doublings seem to have gone away.

So now I have lens inserted into both eyes. The old surgery (cataract surgery in 2008 on the right eye) is still in great shape. She said there is a slight bit of fogging on the old lens, but that can be taken care of by burning it off with a laser. That’s something they would do if the vision hits 20-25 in that eye.

I have one more post-op visit next month where they will do a full vision check and see if I need to be fitted for glasses. My distance vision is pretty darn good, but I need readers for computer work.

The miracles of modern surgery!

Do you remember my “Flu Battle” blog?

So for the nearly two weeks now the battle rages on.  I thought it was letting up yesterday, but during the night the cough came back with a vengeance.

For that very reason today’s blog is going to be short and to the point.

The point being, I don’t feel like blogging today, so this is all you are going to get.

Deal with it.

“I know certain actors are totally screwed up on drugs, yet it gets covered up. Why wasn’t I excused for ‘exhaustion’ or ‘the flu’?” ~Drew Barrymore

Goodbye Jack Lalanne

At 96 years old Jack Lalanne was in better physical condition than many people half his age. In spite of his general good health, he died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay on California’s central coast. According to his agent and friend, Rick Hersh, Lalanne ate healthy and exercised every day of his life, right up until the end.

As a child I remember watching my mother exercising in front of the television to the Jack Lalanne show in the late fifties or early sixties. Born in San Francisco, Calif. in 1914, LaLanne opened his own health spa in Oakland, Calif. in 1936. He hosted TV’s “The Jack LaLanne Show” from 1951-1985.

Jack Lalanne - January 1942

“I feel you have have three ages: your chronological age (your actual age), your physical age (how you feel today), and your psychological age (how your feel mentally),” LaLanne once wrote in his book “Revitalize Your Life After 50.” “Like wine, you should be able to improve with age.”

When interviewed by Katie Couric, then hosting NBC’s Today’s show, LaLanne said his two simple rules of nutrition are: “if man made it, don’t eat it”, and “if it tastes good, spit it out.” He often said, “I cannot afford to die, it will ruin my image.”

Jack Lalanne is survived by his wife of 51 years, Elaine Lalanne, who said, “I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for.”


“I don’t care how old I live; I just want to be LIVING while I am living!” ~Jack Lalanne

Hazards of 3D Television

Major electronics manufacturers are betting the farm on 3D as the next big technology breakthrough for the future of television.  This despite study after study citing hazards such as severe eye strain, massive headaches, and queasiness to viewers.

This is the dirty little secret of 3D TV – or is it? (a secret, that is)

Thee following paragraphs is the “Warning Label” on the Samsung website, re: Watching 3D TV. (For full text click HERE.)

Some viewers may experience an epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain television pictures or video games. If you or any of your family has a history of epilepsy or stroke, please consult with a medical specialist before using the 3D function.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, immediately stop watching 3D pictures and consult a medical specialist: (1) altered vision; (2) lightheadedness; (3) dizziness; (4) involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching; (5) confusion; (6) nausea; (7) loss of awareness; (8) convulsions; (9) cramps; and/or (10) disorientation. Parents should monitor and ask their children about the above symptoms as children and teenagers may be more likely to experience these symptoms than adults.

Viewing in 3D mode may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain, and decreased postural stability. It is recommended that users take frequent breaks to lessen the likelihood of these effects. If you have any of the above symptoms, immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume until the symptoms have subsided.

Makes you wonder what the manufacturer isn’t telling you, doesn’t it?

Now I love gadgets as much as the next guy, but something else that can make me go blind is the last thing I need. I’m reminded of the ‘Opti-Grab,’ the fictional invention of Navin R. Johnson in Steve Martin’s The Jerk. After making millions off his invention, it is discovered to have caused users of the product to become cross-eyed, resulting in millions of lawsuits. Is 3D TV the next Opti-Grab?


Navin R. Johnson (The Jerk): And that’s the only thing I need is *this*. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray… And this paddle game. – The ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need… And this remote control. – The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need… And these matches. – The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball… And this lamp. – The ashtray, this paddle game, and the remote control, and the lamp, and that’s all *I* need. And that’s *all* I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one… I need this. – The paddle game and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches for sure. Well what are you looking at? What do you think I’m some kind of a jerk or something! –
And this. That’s all I need.
[walking outside]
The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, and this magazine, and the chair.
[outside now] And I don’t need one other thing, except my dog.
[dog growls at him] I don’t need my dog.

Flu Battles Rage On

The battle lines have been drawn against flu and cold season, against sniffles and sneezes, stuffy nose and achy bones. The flu virus appears to be winning.

I did something this year I almost never do.  I got a flu shot. So as I have watched those around me fight on and on, day after miserable day, this is a personal thank you to the nurse that stuck me with that flu vaccine. So far… so good. Then again (cough, hack)

I’ll leave you with a humorous doctor story.

The patient went to his doctor because he had flu, and the doctor wrote out a prescription for him in his usual illegible writing. The patient put it in his pocket, but forgot to get the tablets from the pharmacy. Every morning, for two years, he showed it to the conductor as a railroad pass. Twice, it got him into the movies, once into the soccer stadium, and once into the symphony. He got a raise at work by showing it as a note from his boss. One day he mislaid it. His daughter picked it up, played it on the piano and won a scholarship to the conservatory of music.


“My dear doctor, I’m surprised to hear you say that I am coughing very badly, because I have been practicing all night.” ~John Philpot Curran