Healthcare

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GP Bob Gill Outlines the US Corporate Takeover of the British NHS

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/10/2021 - 4:31am in

The British National Health Service (NHS) once stood as an internationally renowned example of a tax-funded health system that delivered public-health services to millions of British citizens, lifting a huge burden from the sick. However, the rise of neoliberal policies in the United Kingdom has targeted the NHS to become the latest victim of a U.S.-U.K. economic trade deal that would put health care services in the hands of private U.S. corporations.

This means that private U.S. healthcare corporations would capitalize on the taxpayer funded budget, “creating private insurance-style funding pools” similar to how healthcare is conducted in the U.S.

In this segment of The Watchdog, host Lowkey is joined by Bob Gill — family doctor, NHS campaigner and director of the film The Great NHS Heist — who argues that the NHS is heading towards becoming a ”two-tier system that will be lower quality, more expensive, bureaucratic, with perverse incentives that damage professionalism, patients, taxpayers and the privately insured, who risk claims being denied or capped, as we see clearly in America.”

Gill’s film makes clear parallels between the U.S. healthcare system and how it’s making its way into the NHS. For example, the film exposes how the transition of control of these budgets to insurance companies is now presided over by “Simon Stevens as Chief Executive of NHS England since 2014, formerly president of global expansion for UnitedHealth,” America’s largest private health insurance conglomerate.

This new system also puts the once-private patient data into the hands of Big Tech giants —  outsourced data-systems and pharmaceutical companies that will market their drugs to patients while incentivizing prescriptions for medical doctors.

The corporate takeover of the NHS is already having dire effects on an already economically struggling society, especially in the post-COVID era, with patients being forced to pay for more out-of-pocket costs that are handing major profits to U.S. healthcare and insurance companies.  “The comprehensive range of NHS services salami, sliced down to a remnant of poor standard emergency care in fewer locations. For non-urgent care the choices will be to go without treatment, pay out of pocket or buy top-up insurance,” Gill wrote in 2020.

The new MintPress podcast “The Watchdog,” hosted by British-Iraqi hip-hop artist Lowkey, closely examines organizations about which it is in the public interest to know — including intelligence, lobby and special-interest groups influencing policies that infringe on free speech and target dissent. The Watchdog goes against the grain by casting a light on stories largely ignored by the mainstream, corporate media. 

MintPress News is a fiercely independent, reader-supported outlet, with no billionaire owners or backers. You can support us by becoming a member on Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and by subscribing to our social media channels, including Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Also, be sure to check out the new Behind the Headlines channel on YouTube.

Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip-hop artist, academic, political campaigner, and a MintPress video and podcast host. As a musician, he has collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys, Wretch 32, Immortal Technique, and Akala. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Racial Justice Network, and The Peace and Justice Project founded by Jeremy Corbyn.

The post GP Bob Gill Outlines the US Corporate Takeover of the British NHS appeared first on MintPress News.

How the Pandemic Revealed the Real Health of Nations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/09/2021 - 9:42pm in

Tags 

UK, Healthcare, NHS

image/jpeg iconnhs-protest.jpg

As we noted in our last issue, a pandemic is as good as any event to demonstrate the efficacy, or not, of a social system. This one has generally found the capitalist mode of production wanting. By now most people will have forgotten the early failures.

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Why Does the Texas Legislature Believe That Embryos Have a Heartbeat?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/09/2021 - 10:00pm in

Image credit: Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons ____ The Texas statute that went into effect last week is one of many similar...

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How Banning Abortion Will Transform America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/09/2021 - 4:00am in

Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, 1976. Photo credit: Fototeca online a comunismului românesc, photo #LA380, 380/1976 (09/06/2021) / Wikimedia Commons _____...

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The Souls of the People

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/09/2021 - 5:07am in

Photo by Dorothea Lange, Edison, California, 1940: “Young migratory mother, originally from Texas. On the day before the photograph was made she and her husband traveled 35 miles each way to pick peas. They worked 5 hours each and together earned $2.25. They have two young children...Live in auto camp.” Bureau of Agricultural Economics series on agricultural "Community Stability and Instability." National Archives.

[Introduction to The Souls of the People, a forthcoming sixteen-part series on economics and inequality]

Introduction

Even in wealthy countries, notably the United States,1 the poor suffer much more than the wealthy from private debt,2 incarceration,3 the inability to pay for healthcare,4 access to- and outcomes of education,5 have little recourse to workplace bullying6 and sexual harassment,7 worse consequences from substance abuse,8 9 suffer more domestic abuse,10 depression and mental illness,11 suicide,12 homelessness,13 exposure to crime,14 exposure to pollution,15 insecurity, stress and pain,16 and related problems. Many of these problems are getting still worse for the poor, as well as for the middle class as some sink into poverty.17 18 19

Besides these life-changing issues the “little” things also build to weigh down the poor, again notably in the United States. The working poor, if hired,20 are nickel-and-dimed,21 suffer ever more small miseries22 that “like small debts, hit us in so many places, and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they want in weight, they make up in number” (Kipling; see for example Hard Work, Hard Lives23).

Fines and fees that are of little consequence to the wealthy are onerous to the poor, and essentially criminalize poverty. In 2019 “53 million Americans between the ages of 18 to 64—accounting for 44% of all workers—qualify as ‘low-wage.’ Their median hourly wages are $10.22, and median annual earnings are about $18,000.” (2019)24 Fines and fees can and do send these working poor into a downward spiral.25 26 27

The “spiral of inequality” that Paul Krugman could write about in 199628 has only gotten worse.29 The working poor are losing faith in the system.30 The middle class is indeed shrinking and upward mobility out of poverty decreasing.31 32 And all the while the wealthy hide their assets,33 use law to enrich themselves further,34 protected by the courts or better served by them,35 36 even by the supreme court.37 38

This sixteen-part series, The Souls of the People, will explore these issues and the ideas and economics behind them. The values, origins, economics and philosophy behind the call to “cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub” (Norquist). The creation of think tanks specifically to provide a pseudo-intellectual foundation for inequality, and that along with media convince the middle class to vote against their own interests. The rise, reasons for, and effect of beliefs that markets without law allow for full employment and that wage laws cause unemployment. That competition alone can bring about good working conditions. The rejection of progressive taxes, and of the right to avail ourselves of the power and resources of the country through organizing public goods. And most importantly, how all of these are maintained by laws that impoverish the powerless and enrich the powerful, and thus are self-perpetuating. Yet if the laws don’t change, inequality will worsen. If inequality worsens, the laws won’t change. It is hard to know where to start.

And all the while “in the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling.”

The souls of the people
The most fatal ailment
Ill fares the land

So long as you are happy
What we yearn to be
The sane and beautiful

The sum of what we have been
A little world made cunningly
Like a sinking star

The cries of the harvesters
The earth with its starkness
Written in blood

To do and die
In this fateful hour
So that we may fear less
The rags of time

_____________

Notes & References

Steinbeck’s 1939 The Grapes of Wrath took its title from Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” published in 1862:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on

which in turn is an allusion to The Book of Revelation 14:19-20:

So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God.

________

[1] America’s Poor Are Worse Off Than Elsewhere. 2021. Confrontingpoverty.org.

[2] The Private Debt Crisis. 2016. Richard Vague, Democracy, Fall, 42.

[3] Connections Among Poverty, Incarceration, And Inequality. 2020. Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisonsin-Madison.

[4] Americans Near Poverty Line Face Significant Gap in Health Care Coverage, May Forego Essential Health Care. 2021. Skylar Kenney. Pharmacy Times, April 9.

[5] The impact of poverty on educational outcomes for children. 2007. Ferguson, H., Bovaird, S., & Mueller, M. Paediatrics & child health, 12(8), 701–706.

[6] Low-Wage Workers and Bullying in the Workplace: How Current Workplace Harassment Law Makes the Most Vulnerable Invisible. 2017. E. Christine Reyes Loya, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, vol. 40 no. 2.

[7] Low-Wage Workers Aren’t Getting Justice for Sexual Harassment. 2017. Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, Dec. 27.

[8] Understanding the Relationship Between Poverty and Addiction. 2018. St. Joseph Institute for Addiction, June 18th.

[9] Addiction And Low-Income Americans. 2021. Addiction Center.

[10] Moving Families Out of Poverty: Domestic Violence and Poverty. 2001. Deborah Satyanathan and Anna Pollack, Michigan Family Impact Seminars Briefing Report No. 2001-2.

[11] Poverty, depression, and anxiety: Causal evidence and mechanisms. 2020. Matthew Ridley et al, Science Vol 370, Issue 6522.

[12] Poverty may have a greater effect on suicide rates than do unemployment or foreclosures. 2016. UCLA Newsroom, Nov. 16.

[13] HUD: Growth Of Homelessness During 2020 Was ‘Devastating,’ Even Before The Pandemic. 2021. Pam Fessler, NPR.

[14] Urban Poverty and Neighborhood Effects on Crime: Incorporating Spatial and Network Perspectives. 2014. Corina Graif, Andrew S. Gladfelter, Stephen A. Matthews, Sociology Compass Vol. 8, Issue 9 pp. 1140-1155.

[15] How and why are the poorest people most likely to have exposure to toxins? 2021. Medical News Today.

[16] The high costs of being poor in America: Stress, pain, and worry. 2015. Carol Graham, Brookings, February 19.

[17] The Pandemic Stalls Growth in the Global Middle Class, Pushes Poverty Up Sharply. 2021. Rakesh Kochhar, Pew Research Center.

[18] 8 Million Have Slipped Into Poverty Since May as Federal Aid Has Dried Up. 2020. Jason DeParle, New York Times, Oct. 15.

[19] Poverty In America: Economic Realities Of Struggling Families. 2019. Hearing Before The Committee On The Budget, House Of Representatives, June 19.

[20] Concentrated Poverty and the Disconnect Between Jobs and Workers. 2019. David Neumark, EconoFact- The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Jan. 22.

[21] Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. 2001. Barbara Ehrenreich. Metropolitan/Henry Holt.

[22] Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain. 2018. James Bloodworth, Atlantic Books.

[23] Hard Work, Hard Lives: Survey Exposes Harsh Reality Faced by Low-Wage Workers in the US. 2013. Oxfam America.

[24] Low-wage work is more pervasive than you think, and there aren’t enough “good jobs” to go around. 2019. Martha Ross and Nicole Bateman, Brookings, Nov. 21.

[25] The Steep Costs of Criminal Justice Fees and Fines. 2019. Noah Atchison and Michael Crowley, Brennan Center for Justice, Nov. 21.

[26] Fees and Fines: The Criminalization of Poverty. 2019. Kiren Jahangeer, American Bar Association.

[27] Fines and fees are a pound of flesh for poor people. 2021. Alexes Harris, Seattle Times, Feb. 25.

[28] The Spiral of Inequality. 1996. Paul Krugman, Mother Jones, Nov/Dec.

[29] Trends in income and wealth inequality. 2020. Juliana Menasce Horowitz, Ruth Igielnik and Rakesh Kochhar, Pew Research Center.

[30] Survey Shows People No Longer Believe Working Hard Will Lead To A Better Life. 2021. InsiderMag summary of the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020.

[31] The costs of inequality: Increasingly, it’s the rich and the rest. 2016. Christina Pazzanese, The Harvard Gazette, Feb, 8.

[32] Squeezing the middle class: Income trajectories from 1967 to 2016. 2020. Stephen Rose, Brookings, Aug, 10.

[33] How the Rich Hide Their Assets. Accessed August, 2021. Ad and discussion for Estate Street Partners, LLC.

[34] How Wealthy People Use the Government to Enrich Themselves. 2017. Jesse Singal, New York Magazine, Dec. 28.

[35] The rich get richer and the poor get prison : ideology, class, and criminal justice. 2010 (9th ed.). Jeffrey H Reiman and Paul Leighton, Allyn & Bacon.

[36] The Importance of Litigant Wealth. 2010. Albert Yoon,, 59 DePaul Law Review 59:2.

[37] How the Supreme Court Favors the Rich and Powerful. 2020. Adam Cohen. Time, March 3; adapted from Cohen’s Supreme Inequality (2020), Penguin Press.

[38] A Court for the One Percent: How the Supreme Court Contributes to Economic Inequality. 2014. Michele Gilman, Utah Law Review, vol. 2014 no. 3.

NHS pay dispute from below – Online newsletter no.2

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/08/2021 - 4:48pm in

Tags 

UK, Healthcare, NHS

image/png iconScreenshot 2021-08-17 at 12.32.10.png

Both government and union headquarters will say that this is not possible because this is a ‘pay dispute’ – but if many of us agree that not only pay, but also work stress is a major issue, they can’t stop us.

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How the System is Failing Young PeopleThere’s a narrative...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/08/2021 - 12:45pm in

How the System is Failing Young People

There’s a narrative out there that millennials and the Generation Zs behind them are lazy.

Well, that is just bunk.

The reason a lot of young people are not doing nearly as well as their parents at this stage is that they’re paying huge amounts – much more than their parents ever paid, as a proportion of their paychecks, for education, higher education or student debt, housing for rent, health care, even transportation. 

All of these costs have increased faster than inflation, and at the same time, jobs are not paying that much more. 

One in 10 college graduates are underemployed. By underemployed, we mean they are not spending 40 hours a week doing things that are challenging and taking advantage of their education. One out of 20 is unemployed.

In the post World War II era, we have never seen anything like this. We have always expected that we’re going to do better. Individuals and families are going to do better. They’re going to be trading upward, and their children are expected to do better than they have done. 

For the first time now, we see the pendulum moving in exactly the opposite direction. Today, your chance of getting ahead as a young person is hugely dependent on the parents you have and their income and their wealth.

Meanwhile, we are on the verge of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history. You’ve got 74 million baby boomers. They’ve never done so well, raking it in. This extra resource is going to be going to those small slice of Millennials and Generation Zs who have wealthy parents and grandparents.

If nothing changes, the two-tiered society we have now is going to become a chasm between the haves and the have nots.

The most important things America can do is make college free, make healthcare cheaper, and provide more affordable housing.

We cannot continue on the way we are right now.

Sitting in limbo

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/08/2021 - 1:16am in

Tags 

Healthcare

I’m in the UK now, having spent the last (lovely) six weeks in France, an EU member-state with a much more functional government than we have. When we left for France in mid-June, it was on the UK government’s “amber list” and had just started admitting visitors from the UK with proof of full vaccination and a negative COVID test. To get such a test in the UK we had to pay £80 to a private provider. We also had to pay for additional travel insurance to travel to a country that the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to, the advice having rendered our existing travel insurance inapplicable. All went swimmingly on the journey out apart from a 30-second hiccup when a French border guard thought a different set of rules applied to us, requiring urgent reasons for travel, but a colleague set him right.

Our plan had been to stay in France until the UK government moved it to an easier category not requiring quarantine. But the opposite happened. Ostensibly because of a surge in the Beta variant in France, the UK moved the country to an enhanced “amber plus” category, requiring 10 day quarantine even for the fully vaccinated. This measure against France was quite inexplicable, since there were other European countries with higher incidences of Beta, and becauce the French cases were actually overwhelmingly on French islands in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps there were other, more political, reasons behind the change, or perhaps the British government is bad at geography but couldn’t lose face by backing down once the error had been pointed out? Who knows? Rumour has it that France will be taken out of “amber plus” this week, and that the fully-vaccinated will be allowed quarantine-free admission to the UK from France this week, as visitors from the US and most of the EU are. That’s no good to us. (And note this is at a moment when nearly all internal restrictions have been lifted in the UK.)

To return, we had to fill out a “Passenger Locator Form” giving details of where we would be quarantining (at home), get a negative COVID test in France, and then book with a private provider in the UK for tests on days 2 and 8 of quarantine. We also had the option of an additional test to release from quarantine on day 5, which we have taken. The French test cost €25, the UK “package” cost £83, with an additional £43 for the early release scheme. (The private providers making these windfall profits may or may not be personal friends of senior Conservatives.)

Quarantine involves, obviously, sitting around at home. But “NHS Test and Trace” (actually provide provider Serco) has a contract to check up on you and to tell you what you may or may not do. On Day 1 we received a call. “I am standing outside your house, why are you not answering the door?” The answer was that the checker was standing outside the wrong house. Eventually he found us and asked for ID. He wasn’t able to tell us what power he has to ask for ID. We also each get a phone call from Serco every day (keep your mobile by you at all times). The person, reading from a script, asks us if we intend to abide by the law. Well, what would a non-law-abiding person say? When questioned about what the rules are, though, they aren’t very good at clarifying and sometime say things that are obviously false (asserting that there could be a financial penalty for not taking the voluntary day 5 test).

Given that the Serco man had not found the house, we were very anxious that our test kits would not be delivered to the right place by the private courier company with the contract, particularly since they have misdelivered ordinary packages in the past. But the courier came through, so yesterday we self-administered our Day 2 tests, sticking swabs down throats and up noses etc (French tests seem to be nose-only, incidentally). I was permitted to leave the house to deliver the test kits to a “drop box” to be flown to Northern Ireland. The drop box depicted on the company website was a shiny metal affair, but the reality was a man seated next to large cardboard boxes overflowing with test kits. Today we got the results, confirming that our COVID negative status is unchanged since last Friday’s visit to a French pharmacy! So, on to a few more days of sitting around and waiting for Serco to call.

(While away, we also acquired some experience of the French health system. A trip to “Urgences” was needed (British A&E, American ER). Seen within a few minutes and charged €30 for an x-ray (nothing broken) and then prescribed painkillers (and related meds) that came in at €10 for 3 boxes of tablets. In the UK you’d probably have waited at least 3 hours to be seen and the non-exempt would have been charged more in “prescription charges”. In the US, well …. )

Addendum/update: Yesterday the UK moved France to the amber category, so that from next Sunday morning, fully-vaxxed travelers will no longer need to quarantine. The odd effect of this is that people who arrived a week earlier (unless they’ve paid extra for test-to-release) will still be in quarantine for half a week when then new people are free to roam. The other thing I wanted to add to the above is the sense of discomfort I get from receiving the daily checking phone call together with the Serco employee’s demand that I assert my willingness to obey the law. I realise that the assumption that your government doesn’t trust you and that you may well be up to no good is something that less privileged citizens have to deal with all the time, but when it happens to you it is discombobulating.

Health Care & Public Health: Fadhel Kaboub & Wendell Potter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 2:31am in

Menu change: Medicare for All, under Nice Things We Can Have, is now Health Care & Public Health. Joining health care (personal/micro) to public health (public/macro) in policy conversations expands the space for creating sustainable solutions that improve individual well being and free resources for society wide improvement, including pandemic response. I’ll be watching for more on this perspective.

Today’s addition, added to Fadhel Kaboub and Health Care & Public Health renamed from “Medicare for All”

The Economics of Healthcare |
— Peter Hager (@Vote4Pedro2018) & Jen Perelman (@JENFL23) talk with Fadhel Kaboub (@FadhelKaboub) & Wendell Potter (@WendellPotter) JENerational Change July 24, 2021 (54:09)

4 priorities to reaffirm patient voice in the coming era of AI healthcare

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/06/2021 - 8:00pm in

Healthcare is becoming both increasingly data driven and automated. Drawing on a largescale review of artificial intelligence developments in the field of mental health and wellbeing, Elizabeth Morrow, Teodor Zidaru-Bărbulescu and Rich Stockley, find that opportunities for patients to influence and inform these future technologies are often lacking, which in turn may heighten disillusionment and … Continued

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