Friday, August 22, 2014

My Dear Girl… Please Remember


Cycle of Life

AARP  -  January 9, 2013

My dear girl, the day you see I'm getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I'm going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don't interrupt to say: "You said the same thing a minute ago"... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don't want to take a bath, don't be mad and don't embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?
When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don't look at me that way ... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life's issues every day... the day you see I'm getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I'm going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we're talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can't, don't be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.

And when my old, tired legs don't let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don't feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I'll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I've always had for you, I just want to say, I love you ... my darling daughter.

Original text in Spanish and photo by Guillermo Peña.  Translation to English by Sergio Cadena

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Depression and Suicide Re-Visited in the Aftermath of the Death of Robin Williams

Robin Williams… Humble Hero and Comic Virtuoso Dead at 63

Goodbye Robin Williams… May you rest in peace!!  Thank you for all the joy and laughter you brought into all our lives!!  For the talent you shared and for all your good works!!  May you find the joy, peace and laughter that you were looking for in the next life!!  Read more here

Robin Williams 

By Marion Algier  -  True Health Is True Wealth (THITW)  -  Cross-Posted at AskMarion

The world was shocked to hear of the death of Robin Williams and even more shocked to hear about the details of his death… his suicide after a life of depression.

Two movies that Williams made come to mind when thinking about the events surrounding his death: Dead Poets Society and What Dreams May Come.

How the lessons of ‘Dead Poets Society’ can help us understand suicide and depression:

By Alyssa Rosenberg – Washington Post: As we have absorbed the news that Robin Williams committed suicide at the age of 63, the conversation about his life and legacy has starfished in any number of directions, some of them outrageously ghoulish, many of them thoughtful. I have been struck by many of the pieces that focus on two ideas: the greatness of Williams’ performance in the period private school drama “Dead Poets Society” and attempts to render suicide and depression more comprehensible.

(Credit: Buena Vista Pictures)
(Buena Vista Pictures)

“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way,” John Keating (Williams) told the boys in his high school English class in “Dead Poets Society.”

But poetry does more than give us unique perspectives on familiar subjects. It can be a powerful pathway into the mind-sets of profound depression and suicidal ideation that are difficult to render rational to people who are trying to understand them from the outside, and that are flattened by all but the most incandescent prose writers. If we are to truly take Keating’s advice, we ought to examine the same medium that explains to us why we live for insight into why some people choose to die.

Keating teaches his boys Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” with its injunction from the Greek hero, “How dull it is to pause, to make an end, / To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!”

He might have reached back to Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” and the story of Ajax’s suicide. In Sir Samuel Garth and John Dryden’s translation, the mighty fighter, furious that Odysseus has been awarded a prize that Ajax believed rightly his, and unable to understand the logic that permits such a decision, commits suicide. “He who cou’d often, and alone, withstand / The foe, the fire, and Jove’s own partial hand,  / Now cannot his unmaster’d grief sustain, / But yields to rage, to madness, and disdain.”

Or what about the “Aeneid,” which gains so much of its power from a seeming contradiction. When Aeneas meets Queen Dido, he is in awe of her. In Robert Fitzgerald’s marvelous translation, Aeneas marvels “What age so happy / Brought you to birth? How splendid were your parents / To have conceived a being like yourself!”

But Aeneas’s hope that “your name and your distinction / Go with me, whatever lands may call me” carries with it the promise that he will leave. When he does, Dido’s understanding of the laws that are meant to govern gods and men cracks and she becomes fixated on a vision of her own death. Virgil captures the moment before her suicide in stunning verse: “Dido’s heart / Beat wildly at the enormous thing afoot. / She rolled her bloodshot eyes, her quivering cheeks / Were flecked with red as her sick pallor grew / Before her coming death. Into the court / She burst her way, then at her passion’s height / She climbed the pyre and bared the Dardan sword– / A gift desired once, for no such need.”

I sometimes wonder if Keating read the work of Weldon Kees, who disappeared in 1955. Kees’s fate is a mystery, but even if he did not kill himself, his vanishing act is a kind of self-murder.

Kees’s work captures the flatness of depression beautifully. In a series of poems about a character named Robinson, Kees describes the man’s “sad and usual heart, dry as a winter leaf.” Ultimately, Robinson vanishes, his absence throwing a pall over the world: “The mirror from Mexico, stuck to the wall,” Kees writes, “Reflects nothing at all. The glass is black.  / Robinson alone provides the image Robinsonian.”

Many of Kees’s other poems seem to suffer from infections similar to the ones that ravage Robinson’s spirit.

In “For My Daughter,” he darkly speculates about the fates that a woman can meet, “Parched years that I have seen  / That may be hers appear: foul, lingering  / Death in certain war, the slim legs green. / Or, fed on hate, she relishes the sting  / Of others’ agony; perhaps the cruel / Bride of a syphilitic or a fool.” The poem ends in a surprising place. “These speculations sour in the sun,” Kees admits. “I have no daughter. I desire none.”

In “The Upstairs Room,” he uses that same sense of surprise to talk cruelly about “The floor my father stained,” not with varnish but with “The new blood streaming from his head.” The characters in “Five Villanelles” are paralyzed, prevented even from acting to protect themselves: “Here in the kitchen, drinking gin, / We can accept the damndest laws. / We must remain until the roof falls in.”

“Dead Poets Society” is set in 1959, at the same moment that the confessional poets were emerging as a significant force in American letters.

If Keating’s teaching took, I can imagine the young men of that film encountering Anne Sexton’s sharp observation in “Wanting to Die” that “But suicides have a special language. / Like carpenters they want to know which tools. / They never ask why build.” Or maybe they would be touched by Robert Lowell’s report of his stay in a mental health facility in “Waking in the Blue” that “We are all old-timers, / each of us holds a locked razor.” Lowell himself recalled Dido in “Falling Asleep over the Aeneid.” His character dreams that he is Aeneas, holding the sword that Dido used to kill herself, when he is visited by a bird who counsels him “Brother, try, / O Child of Aphrodite, try to die: / To die is life.”

Sexton and Sylvia Plath captured the grinding drive towards annihilation in “The Double Image” and “Lady Lazarus.” In the former, Sexton watches leaves fall off the trees with the daughter she has failed to parent because of her suicide attempts and stays in institutions. “I tell you what you’ll never really know,” she tells the little girl, “all the medical hypothesis / that explained my brain will never be as true as these / struck leaves letting go.”

“This is Number Three.  / What a trash / To annihilate each decade,” Plath writes in an expression of extreme weariness.

In Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” she counsels readers that ” It’s evident / the art of losing’s not too hard to master / though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.” It is good advice. But poetry can help us see that while we are supposed to recover from losses like Bishop’s, or John Keating’s loss of a student and a job, not all of our brains work the same way.

What Dreams May Come also deals with depression, death and suicide and attacks the religious stance that there is not escape from suicide, that once you go down that path you will spend all eternity in Hell.

What Dreams May Come - Special Edition

There is such a profound sense of drama, magic and emotion behind the story in "What Dreams May Come," a film based on the novel by Richard Matheson. There is a strong story with which anyone who loves someone else can identify, as well as an ostentatious and elegant scope of visual and auditory imagery that jumps right for your eyes onscreen. Matheson's visions of heaven and hell are magnificently realized here, as well as the love between two people that is unbreakable, even after death. 

The movie begins with the chance meeting of two American tourists traveling in Switzerland. Soon after, Chris and Annie become inseparable, and after their wedding, they bear two children. Many years later, Ian and Marie are killed in a car collision, leaving their parents distraught yet overcoming. Another couple of years later, Chris dies in a car accident as well, on his way to celebrate the "Double D" anniversary of his wife's emotional recovery from their childrens' deaths. This begins his trip into heaven, which is rocky at first during his attempts to console his living wife, then graduating into his acceptance of his immortality and ascemding into heaven, which turns out to be the creation of his own thoughts and settings. When he realizes that he is not completely happy without Annie, he becomes depressed, so it is no surprise that when Annie commits suicide and is sent to hell, he readies himself to rescue his wife from her emotional confines that keep her in her prison of eternal darkness.

The story for this movie is very ambitious, as are the filmmakers who bring it to life. There is an abundance of vivid memories in the form of flashbacks, many of which are precisely used to move the plot along and keep the story moving. Instead of becoming bored with the ongoing story of Annie and Chris's married and parental life, I found myself becoming more and more entranced as their lives unfolded, and say what you will, but the only way to tell a story like this is through flashbacks. If you were to take all of the memories and place them in order at the beginning of the movie, the audience would forget about the important moments that have an effects on the actions and events that take place in later instances of the film. Each one is a separate piece of the puzzle, and they all fit together quite well.

This film is one of those movies that showcases the possibilities for filmmaking in the future. Really, when you think about it, there is no way that the movie could have been made thirty years ago and still have the same impact as it does now. The settings and scenery play the most important role of the movie, for they provide the reason for the emotion and action that affects our characters. The beginning shots in Switzerland show us beautiful vistas of mountains and lakes, which will later become the inspiration for Chris's heaven, as well as many of the paintings Annie creates. Their home bursts forth with color and brightness, proving that color plays a big role in the film. When everyone is alive, everything seems light and airy. After Chris's death, all is dark, and the walls of the home seem dismal and gray. One scene in particular is a scene in which Chris watches his children being driven away in their van down a long line of lilac trees, a slight fog covering the scene. Their is that brilliance of color, yet the dark fog makes us uneasy, hence the accident that kills their children.

Heaven is elegantly portrayed in this film, and is done so with a new twist: that each person has their own private heaven created in the image of their own personal desires and thoughts. Chris's heaven is based on the paintings of his wife, from the mountains of Switzerland to a small island in the middle of a mountain lake with an opulent, airy house. The filmmakers give each scene the precise look of a painting, even after the special effects fade, using vivid colors, lots of flowers and mountainous backdrops, to transport us into Chris's new world. This is one of the most incredible film achievements ever, taking us to a special place that is warm, inviting, and personifies every thought we, as an audience, have ever had for beauty and vision.

Hell is given a truly horrifying and intense treatment, displaying visions of suffering as well as the personal and emotional pain of life that haunts us all. Somewhat like the way in which Heaven is created, Hell is seen as a persons's "life gone wrong," which allows for the creation of their pain-driven eternity. The gateway to hell is a stunning visual image, a vast, smoky graveyard of smoldering shipwrecks that creak and groan. There is also a dismal, endless sea of decrepit faces of hell's inhabitants, that groan and scream at one another. The most striking of all the settings is the overturned cathedral, where Annie resides. The columns rise from the ceiling and go on forever into the darkness, which gives the whole place a sense of the neverending.

There is a unique chemistry between the two leads that carries on the film's emotion and power. Robin Williams is charming, humorous and bold as Chris Nielsen, and through his acting and talent, he is able to make us believe in the love that Chris holds for Annie. Annabella Sciorra is moving as Annie, embodying all of the emotions and grief that set the stage for the second half of the story. When the two are together onscreen, they are happy and in love, and we buy it because they make it appear very authentic. Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays the angel that brings Chris to heaven, doing well in his performance of helping Chris through his struggle to realize his death. Max von Sydow, whose part is not as big as others he has had, is the tracker who takes them all to hell, and his words of wisdom keep the film's informative angle moving.

"What Dreams May Come" will go down in history as one of the most innovative and spectacular films ever made, full of ambition and inspiration. In its story, we are taken on a journey of the human heart, as well as a striking vision of what may lie in store for everyone under God's eye.

When I hear ridiculous statements from people like '”Robin Williams’ suicide or any suicide was a cowardly act,” it shows me how little progress we have made in this realm and how uninformed people really are.

I lost my Mother to suicide after a long bout with depression that also involved the shooting of My 21-year-old brother; all ultimately caused by the untimely death of my father from colon cancer and the events that followed.  It is a story for another time.  But as Dennis Miller said on the O’Reilly Factor, “If a gentle and cool cat like Robin Williams could be lost to this disease, we all can!” 

Who should you be calling today that can use your help?

Depression: Approximately 21.5 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a depressive disorder. Nearly twice as many women (12.0 percent) as men (6.6 percent) are affected by a depressive disorder each year. These figures translate to 13.7 million women and 7.8 million men in the U.S.

  • Pre-schoolers represent the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers—more than one million—are clinically depressed.
  • The rate of increase of depression among children is 23%.
  • In most developed countries, 15% of the population suffers from severe depression.
  • An estimated 30% of women are depressed.
  • 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
  • 80% of depressed people are not currently receiving any treatment.
  • An estimated 15% of depressed people commit suicide.
  • By 2020, depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease. Furthermore, studies indicate that depression is a contributing factor to fatal coronary disease.

340 million people in the world suffer from depression and rising. 1 in 4 women will suffer from depression. Postnatal depression affects 14 per cent of new mothers. 1 in 10 men will suffer from depression (this statistic is not absolutely correct because more women are apt to see their doctor for depression than men do.) Depression strikes all races, rich and poor.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 121 million people worldwide have some form of depression, although less than 25 percent have access to effective treatment [source: WHO]. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 14.8 million adult Americans experience clinical depression in any given year — or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population over 18 [source: NIH Depressive]. Women are more likely to have major depression than are men, and the average age for a bout of clinical depression to set in is 32 years old. Older adults also are depressed, however. In fact, people 65 years and older commit suicide at a higher rate than the national average [source: Senior Health]. The good news is that NIH statistics show that the percentage of all adults in the U.S. who are depressed went down a full percentage point from 2007 to 2008… but something tells me that the figures from 2008 to 2014 will have gone in the other direction!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Obama Administration Lied About Insurance Company Bailouts

A Damning Report

By: Dan McLaughlin (Diary)  |  August 5th, 2014 at 02:00 PM – RedState

Ocare Age Mix

It can be difficult to keep track of all the untruths the Obama Administration has told in the process of selling Obamacare to a disbelieving public, and it is tempting to write these all off as history, more than four years later. But the untruths have never stopped coming. A House oversight report released last week reveals that the Administration has been misleading the public about the likelihood that it will have to bail out insurance companies that sold policies under Obamacare. I highly recommend you read both the report and Jeffrey Anderson’s excellent story in the Weekly Standard summarizing it, as well as Phil Kerpen’s blow-by-blow of the emails over at The Federalist. The upshot is that, even after the Administration’s hard sell and coercive mandates forced millions of Americans to buy policies from the big health insurance companies, we should expect a billion-dollar bailout of those companies because the mix of people buying them is older and sicker than projected (unexpectedly!), and we should expect going forward to face a choice between premium increases and even bigger bailouts.

The Oversight Report covers a variety of close contacts between the Administration and the insurance companies, which in and of themselves are an eye-opening up-close look at corporatism in action and the sheer hypocrisy of an Administration that loves to bash insurers publicly while working hand in glove with them and catering to their needs behind the scenes – an Administration where, by President Obama’s own account, he commonly asks CEOs why they aren’t spending more of their shareholders’ money lobbying for his policies on immigration, the environment and education. The quid pro quo in that arrangement is that Administration carrot-and-stick control over the big insurers has kept many of them publicly on the reservation, parroting pro-Obamacare talking points and shying away from public criticism, all so that the Administration can tout their silence as proof the program’s critics are all wet. There’s only so much you can blame the insurers, who after all are for-profit companies that by now have no real choice but to do business with Leviathan. But we’ve come a long way from the idealistic “new politics” rhetoric of 2008 to the grubby details of bailing out big corporations from a mess entirely of this President’s own making.


The bailouts are at the heart of this web of deceit. Pre-Obamacare, insurers had to price their policies mainly by reference to market forces (albeit in an already heavily-regulated market): charge enough to cover the actuarial cost expected for each enrollee, but not too much to lose business. Guess wrong and you lost money. But under Obamacare, consumers no longer have the choice whether or not to buy policies, and insurance companies no longer face any risk of losing money, because they’ve been promised a bailout. Money will still be lost, but it will be taxpayer money, and you never run out of that, do you?


    Obamacare Enrollees Older and Sicker Than Projected

Obamacare has three separate programs (the “3Rs”) that make up this bailout: Reinsurance, which pays companies to subsidize particular policies; the Risk Corridor program, which taxes companies that end up with less-expensive mixes of policyholders and subsidizes those that have more-expensive mixes; and the Risk Adjustment program, which does the same at the insurance plan level. The mechanics of these are all more complex than that (but trust them, they have top men working on all these details), but the general idea is that, if Obamacare works as projected, the Reinsurance program will provide a subsidy of up to $20 billion over the next three years, but the other two programs will be budget-neutral. In other words, there will be an equal balance of winners and losers subsidizing their fellow comrades in glorious workers’ paradise without pestering the taxpayers.

But the data provided by the insurers – insurance companies and co-ops covering about 80% of the market, from which the overall numbers are extrapolated* – makes clear that the Administration’s public stance of no-net-bailouts is at odds with what those insurers expect and have been telling the White House:

As of May 2014, twelve of the 15 traditional health insurers expect to receive payments from the Risk Corridor program, one of the insurers expects to make payments into the Risk Corridor program, and two insurers expect no net payments. These 15 insurers project they will receive approximately $640 million in net payments through the Risk Corridor program for the 2014 plan year.

As of May 2014, of the 23 co-ops, seven expect to receive payments from the Risk Corridor program, two expect to make payments into the Risk Corridor program, and 14 expect no net payments. These 23 co-ops expect to receive approximately $86 million in net payments through the Risk Corridor program for the 2014 plan year.

Although the Risk Adjustment program is required to be budget neutral, many more insurers expect to receive payments than make payments. As of May 2014, the companies surveyed by the Committee expect net payments through the Risk Adjustment program of about $346 million. Moreover, insurers expect to receive nearly twice as much in net Risk Adjustment payments than they did on October 1, 2013. This provides additional evidence that insurers expect enrollees in ObamaCare-compliant plans to be less healthy than originally anticipated. In fact, enrollment information provided by insurers show that insurers enrolled a much older risk pool, on average, in their ObamaCare-compliant plans than they anticipated.

While the exchange plans were always susceptible to adverse selection because of how expensive the law made insurance for younger and healthier individuals, several delays and modifications to the law by the Obama Administration worsened the adverse selection problem….Insurers directly lobbied the White House for the Administration to make the 3R programs more generous to insurers, and the Administration obliged. Insurers and co-ops now expect a third more from the Risk Corridor taxpayer bailout than they did on October 1, 2013. It is impossible to know how much of the increase in the industries’ expectation for the size of the bailouts is the result of a less healthy exchange population than originally anticipated and how much of the increase is from the Administration’s rule changes to make the bailouts more generous…

This is, as the Oversight Report notes, dramatically different from the February 2014 CBO analysis that Democrats uniformly trumpeted as evidence that there would be no net bailout; the House went straight to the insurers because “the CBO estimates were inconsistent with widespread sentiment among actuaries and health policy experts”. The actual insurance company data paints a picture quite different from the CBO’s report, in part because (as set forth in the graph at the top of this post), the mix of enrollees has turned out to be older and likely sicker than projected, mainly due to a drastic shortfall in the enrollment of families with children (always a demographic overlooked by this Administration). In other words, as usual, reality has failed to conform to the assumptions provided to the CBO. As the report notes:

The large increase in insurers’ expectations for Risk Corridor payments and Risk Adjustment payments between October 1, 2013, and the present are consistent with recent media reports about a high degree of adverse selection in exchange plans. An April report from Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefits manager, showed that early exchange plan enrollees were spending much more money on drugs than individuals in group plans. On June 24, 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that exchange enrollees are about 70 percent more likely to have significant health issues than people enrolled in the individual market in 2013. According to an analysis of the early claims data, healthy individuals largely chose to keep their existing non-ObamaCare-compliant plans while those with greater health concerns have opted for exchange coverage. Patrick Getzen, chief actuary for Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina, told the Wall Street Journal, “[i]t’s even worse than what we thought. … We’re seeing more chronic conditions than we would have expected.”

The Committee has obtained two pieces of information that further demonstrate that people enrolled in exchange plans are significantly older and less healthy than initially expected by insurers. The first is that insurers anticipate much larger payments through ObamaCare’s Risk Adjustment program than they did on October 1, 2013. The second is that insurers have reported to the Committee that they have enrolled a substantially older population in their exchange plans than they projected prior to October 1, 2013.

    Obama White House Is Warned But Downplays The Risk

The Oversight Report details the communications between insurance company executives concerned about potential mounting losses and Valerie Jarrett and other White House officials who were eager to keep them singing from their script, and who eventually agreed to a more generous bailout package in order to tamp down pressure to raise rates even further than planned. Anderson summarizes a key exchange:

[T]he administration declared that the risk-corridor program would be budget-neutral. In reply, according to the Oversight report, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Chet Burrell emailed Jarrett and then talked on the phone with her later that same day. The next day, he emailed her again, attaching a memo that said, “Until very recently, the position of the Administration had been that the law requires the Federal government to fully fund the Risk Corridor payments if amounts paid in by the ‘winners’ turn out to be inadequate — as they likely will.’” Otherwise, he added, “carriers will have to increase rates substantially (i.e., as much as 20% or more beyond what they would otherwise file) to make sure that premiums adequately reflect expected costs.” In other words, the administration had a choice: provide a bailout, or face the unpleasant prospect of having insurers price their products honestly.

…Soon thereafter, the Obama administration abandoned the claim of budget-neutrality, writing in a release from Health and Human Services (HHS), “In the unlikely event of a shortfall for the 2015 program year, HHS recognizes that the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act requires the Secretary to make full payments to issuers. In that event, HHS will use other sources of funding for the risk corridors payments, subject to the availability of appropriations.”

So, the Administration was continuing to call a bailout “unlikely” as insurance company CEOs were warning the White House that the industry believed it was in fact “likely,” and were pressuring the White House to guarantee a bailout precisely for that reason. As the Oversight Report details, the expected bailout has increased significantly since the October 2013 launch of Obamacare, and now tops $1 billion. And as Anderson details, there is no way Congress will appropriate money for such a bailout, and the Administration’s basis for claiming it can be funded without an appropriation is exceptionally shaky. But then, this White House won’t be stopped by such minutuae as Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution.

    Rate Hikes A-Comin’

All of this matters because rate hikes are on their way, and the bailout appears to be the only thing holding them back from getting even worse. We just saw the Florida insurance regulators project a 13% increase in premiums for 2015, some of which will hit policyholders and the rest of which will – like the bailout – be absorbed by taxpayers. This is in line with other states as well:

According to officials in the State of California, insurance premium increases in the first year of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, ranged from 22 percent to 88 percent….According to press reports, they will rise by an average of 15 percent in Indiana, 12 percent in New York, 11 percent or more in Arizona, 11 percent in Iowa, 5 percent in Delaware…by double digits in Tennessee and Louisiana, and as much as 15 percent in Virginia. More and more states are likely to announce rate increases in the weeks ahead.

The Administration’s fear of unpopular rate hikes seems to have motivated the bailout, as the insurers were pointedly warning Jarrett that she needed to move to reassure them on bailouts before the next set of deadlines for publicly filing their next year’s rates. There’s an election coming, after all.

As the Oversight Report notes, even with all of this governmental support, a number of the co-ops and at least a few insurance companies seem to be underpricing policies in a way that will be unsustainable and lead to ever-growing demands for bigger bailouts down the road, creating a fiscal death spiral for the program:

[T]axpayers appear to be on the hook for bailing out co-ops that significantly underpriced their plans in 2014. Moreover, policyholders with coverage through these co-ops should expect large premium increases in future years when the co-ops can no longer rely on taxpayers to heavily subsidize their revenues.

In addition to the co-ops, many other insurers also appear to have underpriced exchange plans for the 2014 plan year, likely due to their expectation of receiving a taxpayer bailout. The Committee has learned that, as of October 1, 2013, many large insurers expected to receive payments through the Risk Corridor program. Of the 15 insurers, six expected payments through the Risk Corridor program prior to the start of open enrollment while none expected to make payments into the Risk Corridor program.

Obamacare is the gift that keeps on giving – from you to a big industry that President Obama only pretends to hate.

* – The Oversight Report’s estimates are based on the White House’s frequently touted figure of seven million Obamacare enrollees, although it expresses skepticism about that as well, see page 15 of the Report.

Ebola – Don’t Panic But Don’t Underestimate The Virus

The Razor: Originally Posted: 4th August 2014, 05:39 pm

As someone who is married to a doctor who spends her vacations in Africa treating rural villagers I take Ebola very seriously, especially since quite a few medical personnel have died from the virus. Although this virus has been infecting people since the 1970s we know very little about it. In the past it has burned itself out by pretty much killing everyone who came into contact with it in the African bush. This time around it has made it to the cities, and news stories are circulating that it has left Africa and made it to Europe and perhaps the US.

The crazies are beginning to take notice. Michael Savage has slammed the CDC for bringing two Ebola victims, an American doctor and nurse, to the US for treatment. He asks, “Why have they brought an infected doctor and another patient from the area of contagion to Emory University in the U.S. when these individuals could treated just as well in Africa? Perhaps they are using these two patients as guinea pigs in a trial for a new vaccine from which billions are to be made if successful.”

Evidently Savage has never spent time in an African hospital. I have seen my share, and if your idea of a hospital is an American public high school nurse’s office except with fewer drugs, then you have a pretty good idea of what constitutes the average African hospital. They simply do not have the resources that Emory does. Could we bring Emory over there? Perhaps in a few months sure, but the Americans had hours to live. Was there a risk to bringing them here? Absolutely, but that risk had to be weighed against the likely outcomes for the two Americans. A few weeks ago someone found a stash of old smallpox vials that had been forgotten. We’ve been experimenting with dangerous biological organisms here in the US for decades; it’s not like this is the first time a virus as notorious as Ebola has been brought to US shores. So the risk was miniscule compared to the odds against the two Americans suffering from the virus. In my view it was the right decision. Oh, and Michael, the gist of your argument makes you sound as wackadoodle as the anti-corporate progressives.

Ebola is a frightening virus, but the way forward is to combat the virus with scientific research, not throwing up the walls and cowering in fear. And it certainly isn’t by using one’s favorite whipping boy to stifle a vaccine.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Absence of Obamacare Credits in Federal Exchanges WAS INTENTIONAL – Designed to Force Compliance

Health Care Exchange

By Tom White  –  VA Right  -  Cross-Posted at Ask Marion:Two recent court cases came to two different conclusions in the battle against Obamacare. The question was concerning the language of the bill when it comes to credits in Health Care Exchanges set up by the Federal Government when states decide not to set up State Health Care Exchanges.

The language is pretty clear in the fact that it does create credits for Exchanges set up by the states. These credits are substantial and are the only part of the entire Affordable Care Act that actually addresses affordability. Sadly, this is done by redistributing the wealth. By taxing the productive earners in order to subsidize non-productive earners.

Monthly premiums for silver plans – the standard insurance policy sold on the exchanges – cost an average of $345 a month this year for people who did not qualify for subsidies, a new analysis from the administration shows.  – See more at:

According to The Fiscal Times:

Monthly premiums for silver plans – the standard insurance policy sold on the exchanges – cost an average of $345 a month this year for people who did not qualify for subsidies, a new analysis from the administration shows.

However, for the overwhelming majority of Obamacare enrollees (87 percent) who did qualify for financial assistance, the average monthly premium on the silver plan costs about $69. That’s an average tax credit of about $276 a month, or $3,312 a year. The administration’s report broke down the average monthly premium for each of the four plans offered on the federal marketplace – before and after tax credits. It also detailed the percentage of enrollees selecting each plan, with or without tax credits. Data was not available for the state exchanges, which make up about one third of the total 8 million enrollees.

On average, monthly premiums after subsidies run about $69.00. But without the subsidy, $345.00. And 87% of enrollees qualify for these huge subsidies.

So with all the mandates for coverage, mandates on what must be covered and what can be charged, it is the subsidies and the subsidies alone that make the product affordable. Without them, the cost of Health Insurance rises considerably due to mandatory expanded coverages.

The Affordable Care Act depends on states setting up Exchanges as called for in the law. However, when much of the law was in the process of being written, it was done in secret. No one knew exactly what was going into the mix and the authors were as yet unaware of the massive resistance the bill was about to encounter. But they anticipated at least some token resistance from the rascally Republican controlled states. And this expected resistance was addressed in the bill with various sneaky political weapons and landmines designed to nudge resistive states into setting up the exchanges.

One political weapon the Democrats love to use is abortion. Republicans are outraged when tax dollars are confiscated to pay for a procedure they consider infanticide. So one of the booby traps the architects of Obamacare used was abortion. This would be the first of several “lesser of two evils” options resistive Republican states would face in deciding to implement Obamacare. You may recall the Stupak Amendment that extended the Hyde Amendment wording that prevents the Federal Government from paying for abortions. There was a big argument in House over abortion and several pro life Democrats insisted that the ACA not pay for abortions as a condition of casting their vote for the bill. However, that was the House Bill which was scrapped after Scott Brown’s victory effectively cut off the Democrat’s super majority in the Senate.

The Conservative Intelligence Briefing put it this way:

Recall that after the special election of Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., in January 2010, Democrats were suddenly deprived of the flexibility they had expected to have in drafting the law’s provisions. They had expected a House-Senate conference committee in which they could iron out the kinks in the law and then pass it again through both the House and Senate. But suddenly, after Brown won, they realized they would never be able to pass any version of Obamacare through the Senate again. They no longer had the 60 votes they needed.

So the Democrats did the only thing they could: They took the version of the law they had already passed through the Senate on Christmas Eve 2009, and rammed it back through the House, warts and all. There was no second chance to consider this issue or any others in detail. In any event, most members had only a vague idea of what the bill did anyway.

- See more at:

Recall that after the special election of Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., in January 2010, Democrats were suddenly deprived of the flexibility they had expected to have in drafting the law’s provisions. They had expected a House-Senate conference committee in which they could iron out the kinks in the law and then pass it again through both the House and Senate. But suddenly, after Brown won, they realized they would never be able to pass any version of Obamacare through the Senate again. They no longer had the 60 votes they needed.

So the Democrats did the only thing they could: They took the version of the law they had already passed through the Senate on Christmas Eve 2009, and rammed it back through the House, warts and all. There was no second chance to consider this issue or any others in detail. In any event, most members had only a vague idea of what the bill did anyway.

- See more at:

Recall that after the special election of Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., in January 2010, Democrats were suddenly deprived of the flexibility they had expected to have in drafting the law’s provisions. They had expected a House-Senate conference committee in which they could iron out the kinks in the law and then pass it again through both the House and Senate. But suddenly, after Brown won, they realized they would never be able to pass any version of Obamacare through the Senate again. They no longer had the 60 votes they needed.

So the Democrats did the only thing they could: They took the version of the law they had already passed through the Senate on Christmas Eve 2009, and rammed it back through the House, warts and all. There was no second chance to consider this issue or any others in detail. In any event, most members had only a vague idea of what the bill did anyway.

So the truth is, there is no language in the Senate Bill itself that prevents the Federal Government from paying for abortions. And in order to get the pro life Democrats to vote for the Senate version of Obamacare, Obama issues an executive order #13535 that pretends to forbid Federal payment of abortion. None of the pro life groups were fooled, nor were the voters in Stupak’s District in Michigan. Stupak “retired” and the voters put a Republican in the seat.

But according to Wiki, there are incentives to entice states into setting up these Exchanges:

Under the law, setting up an exchange gives a state partial discretion on standards and prices of insurance, aside from those specifics set-out in the ACA. For example, those administering the exchange will be able to determine which plans are sold on or excluded from the exchanges, and adjust (through limits on and negotiations with private insurers) the prices on offer. They will also be able to impose higher or state-specific coverage requirements—including whether plans offered in the state are prohibited from covering abortion (making the procedure an out-of-pocket expense) or mandated to cover abortions that a physician determines is medically necessary; in either case, federal subsidies are prohibited from being used to fund the procedure. If a state does not set up an exchange itself, they lose that discretion, and the responsibility to set up exchanges for such states defaults to the federal government, whereby the Department of Health and Human Services assumes the authority and legal obligation to operate all functions in these federally facilitated exchanges.

And if having more control and discretion on the policies offered in each state isn’t enough to convince states to implement Obamacare, the Democrats added a big hammer. The Federal Government will come in and run things, leaving the states no say in how health care policies are sold in the state. Take that, you Republicans.

This Youtube video is a recording of the chief architect of the Senate Obamacare bill. The guy who put the political plums and hemlock in the bill, Jonathan Gruber. It is clear from listening to him speak that the intent was to use the lack of subsidies in the Federally run Exchanges as a mechanism to force states into compliance.

Video: Jonathan Gruber Once Again Says Subsidies Are Tied to State-Based Exchanges

But Gruber said that this was a mistake. A speak-o (as opposed to a typo). The intent was always to have the Federally run Exchanges give out the subsidies!

There is a video here that is nearly an hour long that has been making the rounds on the internet. I edited the same video down to about 5 minutes with the important parts being about the first 2 minutes. The rest of this is some pretty revealing comments Gruber made on the longer version.

Video:  Jon Gruber Condense Version

So it is abundantly clear that the intent was to use the lack of subsidies in the Federally run exchanges to pressure states into compliance.

So in the two recent court decisions in direct opposition to one another as FoxNews explains:

WASHINGTON –  Two federal appeals court rulings put the issue of ObamaCare subsidies in limbo Tuesday, with one court invalidating some of them and the other upholding all of them.

The first decision came Tuesday morning from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The panel, in a major blow to the law, ruled 2-1 that the IRS went too far in extending subsidies to those who buy insurance through the federally run exchange, known as

A separate federal appeals court — the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals — hours later issued its own ruling on a similar case that upheld the subsidies in their entirety.

The conflicting rulings would typically fast-track the matter to the Supreme Court. However, it is likely that the administration will ask the D.C. appeals court to first convene all 11 judges to re-hear that case.

In both instances the government argued that it is obvious that the intent was to include federal subsidies in the Federally run Exchanges if the states refused to do so. But listening to the guy that wrote the bill, the exact opposite is the case. The subsidies were left out on Federally run Exchanges to use as a weapon to either force Republican governors to implement a state exchange or face the voters to explain why they are paying more for health insurance and get no subsidies. The hope of this Democratic bill was to force Republicans to do something they did not want to do.

Now one of the arguments I have not heard made is that on the issue of abortion on Federally run Exchanges. One of the incentives for the Liberal states to jump in and implement exchanges is the ability to mandate expanded coverages such as 100% payment for abortions. And if we follow the same logic the government argued in the two conflicting ruling cases, that the Federal Government steps in and is essentially considered the state for all intents and purposes – something I find preposterous – then what is to stop the Federal government who suddenly finds itself a surrogate for the state from mandating abortion coverage (from Wiki linked above):

Under the law, setting up an exchange gives a state partial discretion on standards and prices of insurance, aside from those specifics set-out in the ACA. For example, those administering the exchange will be able to determine which plans are sold on or excluded from the exchanges, and adjust (through limits on and negotiations with private insurers) the prices on offer. They will also be able to impose higher or state-specific coverage requirements—including whether plans offered in the state are prohibited from covering abortion (making the procedure an out-of-pocket expense) or mandated to cover abortions that a physician determines is medically necessary;

So if the federal government can come in and replace the state in every way, then the same argued consideration as far as subsidies would extend to the other areas of “partial discretion” of the states. And the law could then go around the Obama executive order prohibiting federal funds from paying for abortion.

This must go to the Supreme Court and the 36 states without state run subsidies must stop receiving federal subsidies.

And as Gruber says in the long version of the video, repeal is unlikely to get rid of Obamacare. But neglect in the form of non compliance will cause it to implode in on itself. He uses a 3 legged as an example. The legs are eliminate pre existing conditions, insurance mandates and subsidies. Take away one of the legs and the law collapses. No one is fighting the pre existing condition elimination and the horrific Supreme Court ruling that held the mandates were a tax (and thus constitutional) is gone as a possible tool to kill the law. The last remaining leg is the subsidies. Without them, the law cannot survive. And since 36 states refused to set up exchanges, this is a huge threat to Obamacare’s survival.

With more and more information being unearthed every day about this bill, this is an important battle in the war on healthcare being prosecuted by the Obama Administration.


My theory is that if the Court rules that Federal Exchanges are essentially State Exchanges for the purpose of the subsidies, then the Feds are, essentially, the state. States are free to mandate abortion coverage, the Feds are not by Executive order. So if the Federal Government becomes a state for subsidies, then the Feds can mandate abortion coverage and also get around the Exec. Order.  Tom White

Monday, July 28, 2014

Carrier: warrant issued for possible illegal alien with deadly strain of tuberculosis

illegal alien with deadly strain of tuberculosisUSFinanceReport: Like a scene out of a Hollywood disaster movie, prosecutors in California have issued an arrest warrant for a possible illegal alien who may be carrying a strain of tuberculosis that is highly drug resistant and has the opportunity to affect large numbers of people.

Prosecutors with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office have said they are looking for 25 year old Eduardo Rosas Cruz, a transient who is known to have come from a part of Mexico that is known to be a possess a drug resistant strain of Tuberculosis. The disease is easily spread through the air whenever infected people cough or sneeze. Left untreated the disease can be deadly, however the drug resistant strains are even more deadlier.

According to prosecutors, Rosas was first diagnosed with the disease in March after he went to a hospital for a severe cough. He was instructed to remain in a motel room so a health care worker could bring him his medication and keep him away from the general public. However, Rosas has since disappeared.

Opponents of President’s Obama lack of enforcement towards border security have long sounded the alarm about the danger posted by illegal aliens allowed with impunity to walk among the American people without being screened for potentially fatal diseases.

Border Patrol agents and health care whistleblowers have been warning that the Obama administration has been shipping illegal aliens around the country without proper medical treatment or screening.

In the 20th century antibiotics were developed which resulted in the disease being virtually eradicated in America in the 1960s. However, in recent years the disease has been making a comeback with new strains that are resistant to most antibiotics.

Last year Los Angeles suffered from a persistent strain of tuberculosis that may have been exposed to over 4,500 people. Police officers were advised to wear protective masks while dealing with members of the public who may have been exposed to the disease.

Besides California and Florida, the states with the greatest number of multi-drug resistant TB are Texas and New York. All of these states have large numbers of illegal aliens within their borders. Florida was recently ranked as having the third largest illegal alien population by the Department of Homeland Security. Many of the illegals in Florida come from the Caribbean and other countries in the Southern hemisphere. Some of these countries have widespread problems with tuberculosis.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

VA Hospital Officials Placed on Leave

Story at-a-glance
  • Veterans Affair (VA) hospital patients are supposed to be seen by a physician within 14 days of their request for care, and waiting times any longer than this must be documented
  • VA hospitals in North Carolina, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado are being investigated amid allegations that some patients waited months for care while the wait times were intentionally covered up
  • At a Phoenix VA hospital, a whistleblower alleges the staff had a secret wait list intended to hide delays in care, and up to 40 patients may have died as a result… (and additional information is coming out showing in could be 1,000 around the country.)
  • Many of the same foundational flaws in health care – medical errors, poor care, fraud, and mismanagement – exist at both VA and private-sector hospitals

Health Care System

Dr. Mercola:

Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals across the US are supposed to provide quality health care for veterans who have served the country.

As the population, and especially the veteran population, ages, there has been an influx of people needing care, including veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, not to mention younger generations who have fought in wars during the last 10 years.

Increasingly, VA hospitals are struggling to keep up with the need for care, but instead of coming up with solutions to ensure patients receive timely health care there are allegations of poor oversight, secret waiting lists, and even falsification and destruction of appointment records at several VA hospitals.

VA Hospitals Under Investigation, Officials Placed on Leave Over Inappropriate Scheduling

There are 151 VA hospitals, and 820 clinics, in the US. Each is required to keep records of how long each patient waits to be seen by a doctor so that the Department of Veterans Affairs can monitor and ensure that timely health care is being given.

Generally, a VA patient is required to be seen by a physician within 14 days of their request for care, and waiting times any longer than this must be documented. However, VA hospitals in North Carolina, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado are being investigated amid allegations that some patients waited months for care and, in some cases, the wait times were intentionally covered up. So far:

  • In Durham, North Carolina, an employee came forward claiming that workers had falsified appointment records from 2009 to 2012. Four officials from the hospital have already been placed on leave while the delays in care are investigated.
  • In Phoenix, Arizona, a retired physician said a local VA hospital had a secret wait list intended to hide delays in care. He claimed that up to 40 patients may have died because they didn’t receive timely medical care. Three executives have been placed on leave amid allegations of corruption and unnecessary deaths.
  • In Wyoming, a VA employee was placed on leave following a leaked email in which he directed staff to “fix” the appointments system.1
  • At the San Antonio, Texas VA hospital, workers scheduling appointments said they were “cooking the books” at their bosses’ requests in order to hide wait times of several weeks or months.2

The widespread allegations of misconduct and poor care have prompted some groups, including the American Legion, to call for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down, but so far he has responded that he will take “swift and appropriate” action if the investigations find any wrongdoing has occurred.3

Are VA Hospitals Any Different from Private-Sector Hospitals?

VA hospitals and medical centers, which represent the largest health care system in the US, have long had a reputation for being the bottom-of-the-barrel for health care. In reality, customer-satisfaction surveys suggest that VA hospitals are on par with, if not better than, private-sector hospitals for patient satisfaction.4

Mortality rates are also similar, although VA hospitals have a longer average length of stay.5 Across the board, however, we see many of the same problems with health care at both VA hospitals and those in the private sector. For instance:

  • The VA consistently gives executives cash bonuses, even in the midst of allegations of poor patient care and preventable deaths6
  • The VA has been criticized for putting too much money toward administration at the expense of nursing and patient care. In one example, Dean Billik, former director of the VA in Charleston, South Carolina, allegedly spent $200,000 of taxpayer money to renovate his office and $1.8 million to renovate a building for his own offices after it had already been renovated for patient care7
  • Medical errors and poor practice abound at both VA and private-sector hospitals. At the VA, recent high-profile cases include mismanagement of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, patient overdoses and suicides, and the reuse of disposable insulin pens that infected at least 18 veterans with hepatitis8

Major Health Care Problems Persist in All Hospitals, VA or Otherwise

There's no shortage of evidence that the US health care system is in need of urgent reform, for veterans and civilians alike. It can be argued that medical errors are a leading cause of death in the US—higher than heart disease, higher than cancer.

The latest review shows that about 1,000 people die EVERY DAY from hospital mistakes alone.9 This equates to four jumbo jets' worth of passengers every week, but the death toll is largely ignored. Types of errors include inappropriate medical treatments, hospital-acquired infections, unnecessary surgeries, adverse drug reactions, and operating on the wrong body part—or even on the wrong patient!

One in four hospital patients are harmed by preventable medical mistakes in the US, and 800,000 people die every year as a result. Of those 800,000, 250,000 die as a result of medication errors.

In short, the US does not have a health care system. We have a disease-management system overly reliant on expensive drugs and invasive surgeries. It's a system with a mission to maximize profits, as opposed to helping people maintain or regain their health.

The Affordable Health Care Act is likely to make matters worse rather than better, as the Act does not include any illness-prevention strategies. Nor does it contain any measures to rein in out-of-control health care costs related to overcharges. Instead, it expands an already flawed model of "care" that is one of the leading causes of both death and bankruptcy for Americans.

Even Non-Profit Hospitals Make Major Profits

Most people are aware that VA hospitals are funded with taxpayer money. But you may be under the mistaken impression that non-profit hospitals are somehow in the business of charity rather than profit. Don’t be misled, even non-profit hospitals are businesses interested in increasing their bottom line. For example, at Montefiore Medical Center, a large nonprofit hospital system in the Bronx, its chief executive has a salary of $4,065,000, the chief financial officer of the hospital makes $3,243,000, the executive vice president rakes in $2,220,000, and the head of the dental department makes a not-so-shabby $1,798,000 per year.

Similarly, 14 administrators at New York City’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are paid over $500,000 a year, including six who make over $1 million. Most hospitals end up receiving just 35 percent of what they bill, yet they still manage to make tens of millions of dollars in operating profits each year. Some hospitals, including Sloan-Kettering and MD Anderson, who are tougher in their negotiations with insurance companies, end up getting around 50 percent of their total billings, which quite literally amounts to a fortune.

Stamford Hospital reported $63 million in operating profits in 2011, even though about half of their patient base is highly discounted Medicare and Medicaid patients. The actual revenue received was $495 million. As reported by journalist and author Steven Brill:

“…there is the jaw-dropping difference between those list prices and the hospitals’ costs, which enables these ostensibly nonprofit institutions to produce high profits even after all the discounts,” Brill writes. “...[N]o matter how steep the discounts, the chargemaster prices are so high and so devoid of any calculation related to cost that the result is uniquely American: thousands of nonprofit institutions have morphed into high-profit, high-profile businesses that have the best of both worlds. They have become entities akin to low-risk, must-have public utilities that nonetheless pay their operators as if they were high-risk entrepreneurs.

As with the local electric company, customers must have the product and can’t go elsewhere to buy it. They are steered to a hospital by their insurance companies or doctors (whose practices may have a business alliance with the hospital or even be owned by it). Or they end up there because there isn’t any local competition. But unlike with the electric company, no regulator caps hospital profits.”

Stay Out of the Hospital by Taking Control of Your Health

If the idea of succumbing to a medical error, hospital-acquired infection, adverse drug reaction, surgery complication, or condition that progressed because you weren’t able to see a physician in a timely manner scares you, it should. Hundreds of thousands are killed by medical care itself, while others are walking around with far less than stellar health due to conventional treatments. Rates of chronic diseases are through the roof, and we're facing epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and other mental health problems, and too many others to list. As a whole, Americans are not healthy – they're tired, depressed, stressed out, and often in pain.

Out of sheer desperation, many people have taken their health into their own hands by abandoning this fatally flawed medical model and embracing natural modalities that address the cause of the disease, not merely the symptoms. It is through their many success stories that we can discern a clear way out of this flawed and outright deadly paradigm.

One of the reasons I am so passionate about sharing the information on this site about healthy eating, exercise, and stress management with you is because it can help keep you and your family OUT of the hospital. But if you do have to go there, you need to know how to play the game. My primary recommendation is to avoid hospitals unless it's an absolute emergency and you need life-saving medical attention. In such cases, it's advisable to bring a personal advocate -- a relative or friend who can speak up for you and ensure you're given proper care if you can't do so yourself. If you're having an elective medical procedure done, remember that this gives you greater leeway and personal choice—use it!

In the event you do need medical care, seek out a health care practitioner who will help you move toward complete wellness by helping you discover and understand the hidden causes of your health challenges, and create a customized and comprehensive – i.e. holistic – treatment plan for you. Knowing how to prevent disease so you can avoid hospitals in the first place is clearly your best bet, however. One of the best strategies toward that end is to optimize your diet, which you can learn how to do by reviewing my comprehensive Nutrition Plan.

The 10 Best Foods For Energy

The following ten super-charged foods will give you a lot of benefits to your overall health as well as temporary immediate energy.  Eating smaller healthier meals is also a key

10 best foods for energy:

  • Oatmeal: Don’t forget the oatmeal ever! Start your day with oatmeal. This is an excellent healthy food that not only makes digestion easier but also stabilizes blood glucose level (because of its complex carbohydrates and fibre content). Fiber content in the oatmeal helps you to get a steady stream of energy. Oats also contain Vitamin B which helps transform carbohydrates into usable energy.
  • Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and good source of fiber. The soluble fiber in peanut butter prevents dietary fat and helps to control blood glucose. Peanut butter also rich with the amino acid arginine that helps to relax blood vessels and better blood pressure control. (Peanuts and peanut butter do carry with them some perils.)
  • Avocado: Like peanut butter, avocado is also rich with unsaturated fats.  It also contains other nutrients such as Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and folate.  Avocado is also good for heart as it reduces the chances of heart attack. Avocadoes are very good for the skin as well.
  • Blueberries: Blueberries are high in manganese, fiber and Vitamin K. All these are great to reduce blood cholesterol level and improve condition of the heart. Blueberries are the number one antioxidants fruit. Antioxidants help to get rid of free radicals and balance the protein level.
  • Citrus Fruits: Vitamin C is extremely important for gaining energy.  Also, the minerals and dietary fibre that present in the citrus fruits are necessary for the growth of the body. Besides these, citrus fruits contain fructose, glucose and sucrose and citric acid.  Oranges, grapefruit and lemon are the best citrus fruits for good health. Although drinking OJ will give you a quick shot of energy, it is very high in sugar. Normally eating the fruits in moderation, rather than drinking juice, is the better option for overall health.
  • Watermelon: A refreshing fruit- contains fatigue fighters like, Vitamin C, lycopene, iron, and potassium. Great source of water that keeps you hydrated for a long time. ( Melon of all kinds should be eaten alone,  at least 15 minutes to half an hour before other foods.
  • Yogurt: A highly nutritious food which contains Vitamins B2, B5 and B12. Plus, a great source of protein, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, iodine. Yogurt is a very good health food, especially Greek-style yogurt.
  • Apples: Another great fruit, rich with Vitamin C and many antioxidant compounds. Apples are fantastic health food and benefit us in many ways. Another fruit that is good for energy boosting is banana. Rich with carbohydrate and potassium- it’s a great energizing snack.
  • Sardines: A lean protein food-contains an amino acid called tyrosine. This helps to improve mental function. Besides sardines, salmon (rich with omega 3 fatty acids) is also very good for health.
  • Spinach: Good source of Vitamin B and folic acid. It’s a high energy food along with sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus. Sweet potatoes are also very energy-boosting. Rich with copper, dietary fibre, iron, potassium, manganese. But that’s not all sweet potatoes are also good sources of Vitamin A, B6 and C. An excellent energy food rich with a lot of valuable nutrients.

Figs, beans, lentils etc. are also good energy-boosting foods. And don’t forget the coffee.

Vitamin B energy drinks can also be helpful, but should only be taken when really needed.

Carbs, sugar and gluten should be eaten in moderation.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Employers ordered to notify workers of cuts to birth-control coverage

Wake-Up people… once ObamaCare is really in effect, nobody is going to get half the services or free stuff they were promised!!!  There are no free rides in this world and all you have to do to verify that is ask anyone who has lived under socialized medicine, which is what ObamaCare is! 

This ‘order’ is just another ploy to make the Republicans look bad.

By Tom Howell Jr.  -  The Washington Times

The Obama administration ordered employers Thursday to notify their workers if they plan to cut birth-control coverage from their health plans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” decision.

Labor Department officials announced the policy just a day after Senate Republicans filibustered a bill that would have overturned the justices’ ruling, which said closely held corporations can refuse to insure contraceptives they object to on moral grounds.

Congressional Democrats cheered the administration’s move as an important step to give workers a chance to know what obstacles they may face in obtaining free contraception.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, introduced a bill to go even further and require for-profit companies to disclose their policies to job applicants, too.

“Workers should be informed if their employers are restricting the availability of coverage for contraception or any other health care service guaranteed under law,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat.

The Labor Department’s move marked a quiet change in course for Democrats who are trying to use the court-mandated change to Obamacare to their political advantage.

“For plans that reduce or eliminate coverage of contraceptive services after having provided such coverage, expedited disclosure requirements for material reductions in covered services or benefits apply,” the Labor Department said in its posting.

The contraception debate stems from an administrative rule that mandated for-profit companies to cover 20 forms of birth control as part of their company health plans. Dozens of employers objected on religious grounds, particularly to morning-after pills they equate with abortion, resulting in litigation.

Houses of worship are exempt from the mandate, and the administration extended a compromise to faith-based nonprofits that would allow them to waive responsibility for covering contraception. The accommodation has been rejected by some religious colleges and charities and is being contested in court.

Hobby Lobby’s employee health coverage includes 16 of the 20 birth-control methods mandated under Obamacare, including both female and male condoms, along with birth-control pills, diaphragms and spermicides.

Republicans welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision last month to let for-profit employers duck the contraception mandate tied to Obamacare, calling it a win for religious liberty.

But Democrats seized on the adverse ruling to raise campaign funds and whip up progressive fervor ahead of November’s congressional elections. Their efforts seemed to stall Wednesday, when a Senate bill that would require corporations to cover contraception failed to get the 60 votes need to overcome a procedural hurdle.

Sen. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, authored the bill to reverse the ruling and is using the issue in his race against his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner. Mr. Gardner has said contraceptives should be offered without a prescription, and Senate Republicans have proposed a bill to study over-the-counter birth control.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said Thursday it strongly supports Obamacare’s approach because it provides birth control without cost-sharing, while over-the-counter contraceptives may remain out of reach for many women.

“Cost is a major factor in a woman’s consistent use of contraception,” the group said, “and many women simply cannot afford the out of pocket costs of contraceptives without health insurance coverage.”

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora UNFRIENDLY

How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora UNFRIENDLY

Two studies published in the past six months reveal a disturbing finding: glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® appear to suppress the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, leading to the overgrowth of extremely pathogenic bacteria.

Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder  -  Originally Posted:  Thursday, March 28th 2013 at 5:00 am at GreenMedInfo

Late last year, in an article titled Roundup Herbicide Linked to Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria, we reported on new research indicating that glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® may be contributing to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, both in GM-produced food and our own bodies.  By suppressing the growth of beneficial bacteria and encouraging the growth of pathogenic ones, including deadly botulism-associated Clostridum botulinum, GM agriculture may be contributing to the alarming increase, wordwide, in infectious diseases that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which the CDC's director recently termed a 'nightmare bacteria.'

GMO Herbicides May Lead To The Overgrowth of Harmful Bacteria, Including Deadly Clostridum Botulinum

Now a new study published in the journal Anaerobe titled, "Glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. On Clostridum botulinum," confirms this herbicide's ability to adversely affect gut bacteria populations (i.e. generate dysbios).[i]  In an attempt to explain why Clostridum botulinum associated diseases in cattle have increased during the last 10-15 years in German cattle, researchers theorized that since normal intestinal flora is a critical factor in preventing Clostridum botulinum colonization in conditions such as infantile botulism perhaps the ingestion of strong biocides such as glyphosate found in GM cattle feed could reduce their natural, lactic acid bacteria dependent immune defenses as pathogenic microbes.

They reported on the toxicity of glyphosate to Enteroccocus, the most prevalent lactic acid bacteria species in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle, and concluded "Ingestion of this herbicide could be a significant predisposing factor that is associated with the increase in C. botulinum mediated diseases in cattle."

Of course, the implications of this finding extend beyond the health of cattle or poultry. The majority of American consumers who don't even have the legal right to know through truthful labeling if they are eating GMOs, are consuming non-organic, Roundup Ready soy, canola, cottonseed or soy on a daily basis, and therefore are being exposed to glyphosate residues year round; additionally, animals fed Roundup sprayed GMO plants will bioaccumulate glyphosate and/or glyphosate metabolites, adding to the consumer's bodily burden of these gut flora-altering, highly toxic chemicals.  

GMO Herbicides Kill More Than 'Weeds,' Are Broad-Spectrum Biocides

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum biocide. It does not discriminate by killing only the "weeds" that compete with the genetically modified plants resistant to it. In fact, it has been found to be toxic to human DNA at concentrations 450-fold lower than presently used in agricultural applications.[ii] When combined with adjuvants and other so-called 'inactive' ingredients, the glyphosate-formulations are far more toxic than their component ingredients taken in isolation.[iii] Nor are the toxic effects limited to plants. A 2012 study published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment found that Roundup herbicide has DNA-damaging effects to fish after short-term, environmentally low concentration exposures (6.67 μg/L, or, 6.67 micrograms per Liter).[iv]  For a comprehensive list of the toxic effects of Roundup and glyphosate visit our research page on the topic: Glyphosate formulations.

One of the most concerning adverse effects of glyphosate most relevant to the topic of this article is its destructive effects on the fertility of soil itself. In an earlier expose titled, Un-Earthed: Is Monsanto's Glyphosate Destroying the Soil?, concerning findings published in the journal Current Microbiology were discussed showing that Roundup® herbicide is having a negative impact on the microbiodiversity of the soil, including microorganisms of food interest, and specifically those found in raw and fermented foods.[v]

One of the key implications of this finding is that since many of the beneficial bacteria that make up the 100 trillion bacteria in our gut necessary for health come from our food, and these bacteria-rich foods nourish and help maintain the flora in our gut, the removal of key beneficial microorganisms from the  soil will likely result in profoundly disrupting the bacteria-mediated infrastructure of our health.


We Must Reject GMO Farming Practices Or Face Dire Consequences

We must, of course, consider carefully the origin of our food. Conventionally produced produce and animal products are often grown or fed from farming practices that involve the use of factory-farmed manure and raw human sewage. Animal and human excreta today is exceedingly toxic, and contains a wide range of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hormones and antibiotic resistant bacteria and related pathogens that.  contaminate our food and our bodies if we choose to eat it. It also causes us to employ 'food security' technologies like nuclear waste-based food irradiation and bacteriophage sprays try to disinfect inherently toxic food, only generating different and sometimes far more dangerous compounds as a result.

Instead of succumbing to the intellectually unsophisticated concept that disease is primarily caused by germs 'out there,' rather than viewing our risk of infection as primarily determined by immune susceptibility 'in here,' we must shift our understanding radically if we are to survive the wholesale destruction of our biosphere, also entirely refraining from supporting, buying, consuming food produced through GM-based farming practices.  Our body is literally woven from the  molecular fabric of the body of the Earth. And so, when we poison or genetically modify our environment, and we poison and genetically modify ourselves.