Capitalism Fuels Disease, Trauma and Addiction. How Can We Heal?

In an extended interview, acclaimed physician and author Dr. Gabor Maté discusses his new book, just out, called “The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture.” “The very values of a society are traumatizing for a lot of people,” says Maté, who argues in his book that “psychological trauma, woundedness, underlies much of what we call disease.” He says healing requires a reconnection between the mind and the body, which can be achieved through cultivating a sense of community, meaning, belonging and purpose. Maté also discusses how the healthcare system has harmfully promoted the “mechanization of…

Value-Based Payment Is the New For-Profit Health Care Industry

Over the last decade, a new industry has emerged that may eventually contribute as much to administrative waste as the insurance industry does today. This industry has no name. Because the participants in the industry all promote a new scheme known as “value-based payment,” and because they all make money off it, we propose to call the new industry the value-based payment (VBP) industry. Like the insurance industry, the VBP industry hovers over doctors and patients and seeks to influence (and in some cases, dictate) doctor-patient decision-making, and in the process diverts resources away from medical care. Unlike the insurance…

Biden Announces Hearing Aids Will Soon Be Able to Be Sold Over the Counter

Millions of Americans who need hearing aids will be able to purchase them over the counter as soon as this fall under a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that will likely also lower costs, the Biden administration has announced. The FDA finalized a rule on Tuesday that would create a new over-the-counter category for hearing aids, which the agency says will largely benefit those who experience mild to moderate hearing impairment. As soon as mid-October, those with hearing loss will be able to purchase aids online or in-store without a prescription or an appointment with a medical professional.…

Pharma Claims Drug Price Reform Hurts Innovation. Experts Say That’s “Bullshit.”

For decades, the drug industry has yelled bloody murder each time Congress considered a regulatory measure that threatened its profits. But the hyperbole reached a new pitch in recent weeks as the Senate moved to adopt modest drug pricing negotiation measures in the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill “could propel us light-years back into the dark ages of biomedical research,” Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, president of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, said last month. Venture capitalists and other opponents of the bill said that it “immediately will halt private funding of drug discovery and development.” Steve Ubl, leader of the ubiquitous Pharmaceutical…

Capitalism Is Making Us Sick and Sucking Us Dry

“Framing health as a personal responsibility doesn’t work. And it’s one of the greatest tricks that capitalism has ever pulled,” says author and podcaster Beatrice Adler-Bolton. In this episode of “Movement Memos” Adler-Bolton and host Kelly Hayes discuss the extractive nature of the U.S. health care system, the dominance of COVID nihilism, and why we cannot give up on universal health care. Music by ​Son Monarcas and Silver Maple TRANSCRIPT Note: This a rush transcript and has been lightly edited for clarity. Copy may not be in its final form. Kelly Hayes: Welcome to “Movement Memos,” a Truthout podcast about…

98 Million Skipped Treatment or Cut Back on Spending to Pay for Care This Year

As inflation hit a 40-year high this year, nearly 100 million Americans skipped care or cut back on necessities to cover the rising cost of medical treatment in a nation infamous for its for-profit system, according to polling results released this week. Inflation rose to 9.1% in June — and healthcare inflation was at 4.5% — when Gallup and West Health asked people across the country how they had handled higher healthcare costs over the past six months. As the groups revealed Thursday, 38% — representing an estimated 98 million people — reported doing one or more of the following:…

Republican Senators Reject Bill to Provide Veterans Care for Toxic Exposure

On Wednesday, Republicans in the Senate voted to block a bill that would have provided health care benefits to veterans who have been exposed to toxic burn pits and chemical agents during their time in the military. Only 55 senators voted to advance the bill, known as the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, failing to pass the 60-vote threshold to invoke cloture and overcome the filibuster. All 42 of the votes against advancing the bill came from Republicans; only seven GOP members voted to pass the proposal that advocates said would have been a life-saving victory for veterans.…

Newsom Announces California Is Going to Start Making Its Own Low-Cost Insulin

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday that California is going to begin making its own insulin, in an effort to expand access and ensure that the people who need the drug can still afford it. “California is going to make its own insulin. Nothing, nothing epitomizes market failures more than the cost of insulin,” Newsom said in his announcement, adding that some patients have to spend $300 to $500 per vial, which typically only last a patient about 30 days. The state will allocate $100 million to produce the drug “at a cheaper price, close to at cost, and to…

Manchin Is Pushing Even More Harmful Means Testing for Health Care

Having tanked his party’s effort to expand Medicare and close the Medicaid coverage gap, Sen. Joe Manchin is now dangling his support for an extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies as massive premium hikes loom for millions of people who buy insurance on the exchanges. Insider reported Wednesday that Manchin has “signaled he’s open to extending enhanced subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, a move that would help Democrats avert a huge political threat in the November midterms.” The American Rescue Plan — a Covid-19 relief package that President Joe Biden signed into law last year — included provisions that…

Tomorrow’s March on Washington Will Target Poverty, Voter Suppression, Climate

Image Credit: Facebook: @anewppc We speak with Bishop William Barber and Reverend Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign, about plans for Saturday’s Moral March on Washington and to the Polls to demand the government address key issues facing poor and low-income communities. The march will bring together thousands of people from diverse backgrounds to speak out against the country’s rising poverty rates, voter suppression in low-income communities and more. “To have this level of poverty that’s untalked about too often … is actually morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent, politically insensitive and economically insane,” says Barber. Theoharis says the lack…

Resident Physicians Are Unionizing. They Must Challenge For-Profit Health Care.

Resident physicians are unionizing around the country. Most recently, residents at University of Vermont Medical Center (UVM), Stanford Medical Center, and Keck School of Medicine of USC all voted to join the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), which is part of the larger Service Employees International Union (SEIU). These wins come despite ongoing pushback from the hospital bosses. This resistance is coming because hospitals know unionized resident physicians will be harder to exploit. More residents should fight to unionize to protect themselves and the care of patients, and in the process of winning unions, they should extend their fight…

Sanders Introduces Medicare for All as Solution to “Dysfunctional” Health System

For the first time since 2019, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) reintroduced his proposal to establish Medicare for All in the U.S., the only wealthy country in the world without universal health care. Sanders introduced the legislation with 14 cosponsors on Thursday “to guarantee health care in the United States as a fundamental human right to all,” according to his press release. The Medicare for All Act of 2022 would establish a universal health care system over the next four years, gradually broadening the existing Medicare system until all medical benefit areas and all members of the public are covered. Under…

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