Let’s embrace real life to drive forward real food policy change

The first project I ever did on food policy – 20 years ago now – was on food poverty in the UK. Since then, food banks have become institutionialised as the prevalence of food insecurity

How to make an impact in science policy as a graduate student

0000-0002-8715-2896 With a lack of scientists in the Executive Branch and a growing national sentiment to include science in policymaking, now is better than ever to get involved with science policy as an early career

Equality is about protection, not love

Again and again I see the same-sex marriage (SSM) debate cast in terms of love. And while I agree that people should be free to love those they wish (if it is mutual, and freely given, and no minors are involved), that is not what the SSM debate is really about. Instead it is about Read More...

Phobosophy

As everyone knows, philosophy comes from the two Greek words philo and sophos, and means, roughly, the love of wisdom, although as everyone also knows, Socrates declared his wisdom was his knowledge that he knew nothing. In recent years (by which I mean increasingly since the 1970s), there has been a drop away from knowledge Read More...

An Open Letter to Senator Roy Blunt: Save Medical Research By Voting No on the BCRA

Dear Senator Blunt,

I am a geneticist in St. Louis, one of your constitutents, and I urge you to vote no on the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act. This act would not only make health care coverage unaffordable for 22 million Americans, as the CBO has estimated, but it would also sabotage medical progress itself through its impact on health care coverage for the millions of people with pre-existing conditions.

Here’s how this would happen. One of the main goals of biomedical scientists like myself is to use advances in genetics to make medical care more effective and less expensive. As we make progress, a growing number of young, seemingly healthy people will discover that they have a genetic risk for a serious disease. In terms of medical care, this is a good thing, because such people can often get treatment before serious symptoms develop.

However, one consequence of early testing to prevent disease is that a seemingly healthy person is suddenly labeled as someone with a pre-existing condition. Without robust insurance protections, those people are doomed to a lifetime of unaffordable health costs. Under the Senate plan, which allows states to waive the requirement that insurance companies cover a broad range of essential health benefits, people at risk for a genetic disease would face a terrible choice: Risk your affordable health coverage by getting a test that may save your life, or skip the test and hope you don’t get sick.

For example, consider a teenager who knows that a sometimes fatal genetic heart condition, such as Long QT syndrome, runs in her family. A genetic test, together with a few other medical tests, will tell her if she has the condition. If the tests are positive, she’ll begin taking a drug that will dramatically lower her risk of dying. But she would also, as someone with a diagnosis of a serious disease, be excluded from affordable health insurance for the rest of her life, if the Senate plan is enacted into law. This disincentive to seek early care harms not only those with genetic diseases, but also all of us, by making genetic medicine more difficult to develop and implement, and thereby undermining medical progress.

Senator, you have consistently been a strong supporter of medical research, and I and my Missouri colleagues are grateful for your support. We urge you to show your support for medical research again by voting no on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Sincerely,

Michael White, Ph.D.


Filed under: This Mortal Coil Tagged: healthcare, Politics

Oldest Homo sapiens a “nothingburger”? Plus US health care policy approaches The End

0000-0002-8715-2896 Oldest Homo sapiens a “nothingburger”? Plus top journos blast secrecy on health care law   Posted June 16, 2017 by Tabitha M. Powledge in Uncategorized post-info AddThis Sharing Buttons above OLDEST HOMO SAPIENS? It’s

Look over here – “terrorism”

The notion of terrorism is not well-defined.There are over 150 legal definitions in the US and more in international law. Here is the UN’s definition: Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a Read More...

Can US Cities, States Reduce Carbon Emissions without Feds? Coping with Trump and Climate Change

0000-0002-8715-2896 Lizards, microbes, and climate change after leaving the Paris accord   Posted June 9, 2017 by Tabitha M. Powledge in Uncategorized post-info AddThis Sharing Buttons above LIZARDS AND GLOBAL WARMING Been reading about how

Politics of religious leaders

Kevin Quealy for The Upshot looks at political party registration of religious leaders, along with their demographics. Some groups like Reform Judaism and Fundamental Baptist are predictable, whereas others (most) are mixed.

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The secret, hidden pricetag on your cola bottle

0000-0002-8715-28960000-0002-1767-4576 The line at the convenience store is three people deep. Standing in front of me is a 40-something man with a bottle of cola and a newspaper. In front of him, a mother paying