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Deadly Delays (or, where baby-lovers should be spending their time and attention ...

... rather than forcing women to have birth who don't want to, aren't ready, or have a problem pregnancy)


Nov. 16, 2013

The baby in Arkansas seems healthy at birth. Warm, fuzzy skin. A normal weight. But Aiden Cooper can't keep down formula.

Don't worry, he's fine, doctors assure his mother as they leave the hospital. You're just a first-time mom.

Aiden goes home and sleeps in a bassinet beside his mother's bed. Soon his stomach becomes swollen, bulging with veins. He breaks out in a rash. He is limp, pale, won't eat.

In North Carolina, a baby is born with chubby cheeks and the same button-nose as his big brother. At 11 days old, Garrett Saine turns gray, stops breathing, then turns blue.

Blood pours from the nose and mouth of a newborn boy in Wisconsin. A baby girl in Indiana has seizures, then quits breathing.

In each instance, doctors frantically try to figure out why the baby is so sick. Routine blood samples taken shortly after birth have the answers. But the samples haven't been tested.

They should have been sent to a lab within 24 hours to be screened for disorders that can often be treated if caught early. But they weren't. Instead, samples sit at hospitals for a few days. A week. Some samples are lost.

Nearly every baby born in the United States has blood collected within a day or two of birth to be screened for dozens of genetic disorders. The entire premise of newborn screening is to detect disorders quickly so babies can be treated early, averting death and preventing or limiting brain damage, disability and a lifetime of costly medical care.

Yet one of newborn screening's most important metrics — speed — is ignored for tens of thousands of babies' tests each year, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis of nearly 3 million screening tests shows.

In Arkansas, it took 3½ weeks for Aiden's blood sample to be tested. Infection raged through his tiny body as he lay in neonatal intensive care in Little Rock.

<snip> ... the entire article is well worth reading.

Especially if you are planning to give birth to a child soon, anywhere in the United States.

Some people think that "babies" are only "murdered" by abortion ... but babies are killed by failures in the system that could be easily addressed.

I want to know when the so-called "pro-life" people will start protesting the incompetence at these hospitals that kills and injures actual babies, and leaves families devastated and with huge medical bills and possibly a brain-damaged child to support for life.

Questions about "cancelled plans" FACTS

I apologize is this has been discussed-to-death already and I somehow missed it. If that's the case, toss me a few links and let this one mercifully sink.

Ok, here goes.

My understanding was that the problem of health insurance plans allegedly being cancelled was actually a relatively small number. First of all, the large majority of people have health insurance through their employer, and this issue is irrelevant to them. Right? (for all the points I make here, if I'm mistaken, just kindly point that out, and then maybe things will start making sense to me.)

So let's call all the people who could possibly be affected, the pool.

Secondly, some people in the pool will see that they can get a better plan for less money or at least, not much more, and some of them will go for that, and not give a rat's patootie about their previous plan. This would include people who have just discovered that they've been eligible for Medicaid for awhile now and didn't even know it. Take all these people out of the pool. (Of course, thanks to healthcare.gov website woes, the number that gets dropped from the pool here is probably smaller than it should be.)

Third, some people in the pool have crappy health insurance plans that were actually grandfathered because their insurance company was too incompetent or not greedy enough to try to screw them over. Take them out of the pool. (I have no idea what that number is, and perhaps it's vanishingly small, but as I understand ACA it is at least a theoretical possibility).

There's probably a couple more things reducing the size of the "cancelled policy" pool. Anyway, we started with a fairly small percentage of total health insurance policies, and now we are down to some number less than that.

But on NPR this morning I heard that now some people from various corners, including our oh-so-competent Congress, and our oh-so-moral-and-concerned-for-public-welfare health insurance companies/cabals, that Obama's idea to let this SMALL number of people continue with these crappy policies for ONE YEAR, will TOTALLY FUCK UP the formula and make everyone's rates rise.

Pardon me, but it seems fair to say even without having exact numbers, but knowing that it's a relatively very small number, and only for one year, that makes no sense.

So, my question for the knowledgeable: what ARE the numbers we are talking about? How many "cancelled plans" that are being complained about? (remember, we don't care about someone's plan being cancelled if that someone doesn't care.) Out of a total number of how many insurance plans being issued in any manner nationwide?

Also please note, I'm not trying to pass judgment on the merits of the one-year extension here. I just don't get how it's all that big of a deal from a rate formula standpoint, and if it buys breathing room to fix some technical issues, I'm probably ok with it. For a year.

Expanding gambling and putting religion in schools - that goes together, right?

Disclaimer: I have no problems with friendly wagering between, you know, friends. However I am very opposed to the expansion of opportunities for profiteers to exploit those with addictions of any sort, and gambling is unfortunately an addictive behavior for many people.

It just strikes me a little ridiculous that on the one hand, the legislature in Harrisburg wants to put religious indoctrination in schools:


ACLU of Pennsylvania

Keep religion out of Pennsylvania's public schools

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is considering a bill to mandate all public schools to display “In God We Trust” somewhere on school property. Religious proselytizing has no place in Pennsylvania’s public schools.

A mandate of the type in HB 1728 fails to recognize that 21st century America is a diverse country with people of many faiths and no faith. It is not the place of the government to preach to our children. That job belongs to parents and communities of faith.

House Bill 1728 is also counter to a foundational principle of American jurisprudence. There is a wall of separation between the state and the church.

But on the other hand, they continually look for ways to expand for-profit gambling venues (remember the attempts at lottery privatization earlier this year also):


Pa. bill would let bars host gambling

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House gave approval yesterday to a bill that could allow thousands of bars to profit from gambling contests called small games of chance while flushing some of the profits into the state's cash-strapped coffers.

The Republican-controlled House voted 102-96, with Democrats largely opposed, to send the bill to the Senate, where final approval is expected next week. Gov. Corbett also has signed on to the concept, which would represent Pennsylvania's largest expansion of gambling since 2010, when table games were legalized in slot-machine casinos.

Under the bill, about 4,500 bars and taverns could seek licenses to conduct pull-tab games, daily drawings and tavern raffles. Individual prize limits would be $2,000 for a single game and $35,000 over seven days, while raffles would be limited to one a month. The state's budget analysts expect - based on the experience in Indiana - that about 2,000 bar owners will get licenses.

The bill passed over objections to the expansion of gambling, the lack of time to review amendments inserted Tuesday night and the competition it would create for veterans' organizations that raise funds through gambling and programs for the elderly that are traditionally underwritten by the Pennsylvania Lottery.

I realize not everyone shares my aversion to organized gambling. However I'm betting you see the incongruity of proclaiming religion on the one hand and supporting exploitation of the vulnerable on the other.
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