Just another day in Trump’s America. Your neighbors will be joining others in the food bank lines. Does this lead to a healthier America? Or are we heading to the Hunger Games?
UPDATE: The budget resolution passed by the House on Thursday will push millions of already struggling people off food stamps, leaving the neediest Americans—children and the elderly among them—without food.
The $4.1-trillion budget will take over $150 billion away from several poverty programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps low-income people keep food on the table, by giving them small amounts of supplemental money to spend on groceries—anywhere from $100 a month to $700 a month for a family of five, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Hope our local medical professionals can decide to take action on this. I know they are busy but they found time to do political endorsements.
Washington state leaders are fretting over the possibility Congress might not revive a program that provides health insurance to more than 60,000 low-income children in the state.
The headline says it all. And the tie in to our local Hospital District is that this is likely to push us financially from black ink to red. And what were our local physician’s medical society doing about such a looming crisis, with more to come in the Medicare and Medicaid cuts? Were they coming out and deciding they were going to sound the clarion call and warn the population of the looming crisis? Ask them to call their legislators to ‘save the children’? Nope. They were getting together to vote to endorse a man with no significant health care experience over a woman with a lifetime of policy and medical background. Just like the voters last year that voted for Trump, who is putting the local hospital in jeopardy by endorsing these cuts. Did these same physicians feel compelled to get together last year in the run up to the election to warn the population of the impending disaster that Trump likely would bring to healthcare at both the national and local scene? Nope. Have they ever endorsed a candidate before? Apparently not. But I digress, I’ll cover that tale of our local petty politics in another post at a later date. Here’s our latest medical fiasco on the national level.
Last Saturday, Congress failed to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), jeopardizing systems that provide low-cost insurance for almost 9 million kids and hundreds of thousands of pregnant women in families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but still need assistance. Legislators failed to renew other safety net programs as well. But missing the window on CHIP was a particularly egregious fumble, and one of the clearest signals to date of how desperate this Republican-led Congress is.
This in from Quackwatch. As someone who’s late wife was the victim of a stem cell scam, I am thrilled to hear this news. This is a very real scam, both here and in the Mexican border to southwest of Yuma, which unfortunately won’t be within the reach of the FDA.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., has announced that the FDA “ ill be stepping up enforcement actions against clinics that abuse the trust of patients and, more important, endanger their health with unsanitary conditions or by purporting to have treatments which may not provide any benefit.” [FDA warns US Stem Cell Clinic of significant deviations. FDA news release, Aug 28, 2017] The agency also posted a warning letter issued to US Stem Cell Clinic of Sunrise, Florida and its Chief Scientific Officer, Kristin Comella, for marketing unapproved stem cell products without FDA approval and for significant deviations from current good manufacturing practice requirements, including some that could impact the sterility of their products. A recent FDA inspection found that the clinic was processing stem cells derived from body fat and administering the product both intravenously or directly into the spinal cord of patients to treat Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and pulmonary fibrosis. In a parallel action, at the FDA’s request, U.S. Marshals seized five vials of live vaccinia virus vaccine that had been used or were awaiting use to create an unapproved stem cell product for cancer patients. The FDA’s announcement noted that this vaccine is reserved only for people at high risk for smallpox (such as some members of the military) and has considerable potential for harm. [FDA acts to remove unproven, potentially harmful treatment used in ‘stem cell’ centers targeting vulnerable patients. FDA news release, Aug 28, 2017]
This was sent out by the Jefferson Healthcare on their concerns to changes to the 340B program. This program has been used to theoretically fund low cost prescriptions. There are a variety of points of view about what the program has actually achieved, but the hospital is adamantly opposed to the cuts to it. We likely can discuss this more at the next Citizen’s Healthcare Access group meeting in September in Port Townsend.
340b letter PDF file. Here’s the first page so you can decide if you want to read the whole PDF.
The continued attack on our healthcare system.
The Trump administration has let funding for Obamacare’s $63 million in-person outreach program lapse, leading to layoffs and confusion among nonprofits that enroll vulnerable populations in coverage.
“I have delivered 10 layoff notices to staff members,” says Donna Friedsam, director of Covering Wisconsin. “We don’t have a funding flow anymore.”
Another downside to the options the Republicans are considering behind closed doors.
It’s well known that the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now making its way through the Senate would deny coverage to tens of millions of Americans. Less well known is that it would also hit the brakes on “delivery system reform,” the work of doctors and hospitals to improve quality and reduce costs. In other words, it would make quality of care worse.