June 01, 2005

Why We'll Be Living Shorter

Now that all of us in developed countries have benefitted from the type of public health measures that improve life expectancies across the board, our corporate overlords immediately set to work to take advantage of this situation by figuring that no one would notice a few extra bites taken out of our extended lifespans. They might not have intended it that way when they started out, but they sure don't want to let go of a good thing now.

For instance, if you're an African American woman with osteoporosis, our medical establishment as a group doesn't seem to care much:

Older African American women with arthritis and a high risk for fractures receive less osteoporosis-related healthcare than their white counterparts, according to a report by researchers in Nebraska and Alabama.

... Among 251 women who had previously suffered a fracture, African Americans were less than half as likely to have received an X-ray test to measure bone density, or a prescription for osteoporosis medicine than were Caucasians, the team reports in the Journal of Rheumatology.

African American women were also less likely than Caucasians to have been given calcium and/or vitamin D supplements, the report indicates. ...

When it comes to patients in general, the medical profession that's charged with taking care of our individual health care is freaking out about rising awards in medical malpractice claims, which happen when one of them injures a patient. But the skyrocketing costs of malpractice insurance aren't actually caused by rising claims, and appear tied more closely to fast rising healthcare costs. Yet they order wasteful tests out of an irrational fear, anyway. The AMA doesn't want you to look at the numbers behind the curtain or suggest that they revoke the licenses of the worst repeat offenders, and are instead frantically pointing at the evils of the malpractice system that allows injured patients to cover their damages. They certainly don't want doctors and patients alike to decide to get rid of private sector insurance altogether and nationalize our healthcare system.

Also, for years our chemical industry has been pouring all kinds of nasty stuff into our water, belching it into our air, and mixing it into our soil. Now, new evidence indicates that exposure to hormones as a baby can predispose people to cancer later in life. The scientists involved in the study suggest that their results may explain why some people with a genetic susceptibility to cancer get it and others don't. This particular study investigated the effects of estrogen. You have three tries to guess which hormone a vast number of our free range persistent organic pollutants imitate. Now it's true that we're getting better at treating cancer, presuming that you're rich enough to afford it, but that's really no excuse.

Finally, the fine officials of the state of Indiana are trying to scare young women away from health care providers by asking Indiana Planned Parenthood if they can take a fishing expedition through the medical records of patients 14 and younger. If they win the appeal as well as this Superior Court decision, there are going to be young women all over the country who decide not to seek medical help when they should. Why didn't they subpeona records from regular hospitals in their quest to determine if any minors had been abused? My guess is that regular hospitals have been paying off the right politicians.

Posted by natasha at June 1, 2005 01:59 AM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Wouldn't the results of the study about osteo treatment have more to do with income/medical coverage than race? As a cause, I mean.

We all know that race/gender already puts you behind in that regard...

Posted by: Crissa at June 1, 2005 01:30 PM

Good thing the drug industry is hard at work solving the world's great medical mysteries, like baldness! erectile disfunction! cholesterol control (go ahead, eat that cheeseburger!)!

Posted by: Horatio at June 2, 2005 11:20 AM