From Pine View Farm

Health Care category archive

Critical Shortages 0

Uncle Sam, wearing a medical mask, in store with grocery cart staring at empty shelves labeled

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One Insure Thing 0

Wendell Potter, at one time a flack for CIGNA, reminds us that for profit insurance companies exist for profit. They don’t want you to get sick, and, if you do, they don’t want to take care of you. Here’s a bit (emphasis added):

One of the most-watched metrics for health insurance companies is called the “medical loss ratio.” The more insurers pay for care, the higher the ratio is. (It’s called the medical loss ratio because insurers consider it a loss when they pay a claim.) As part of Obamacare, insurers have to spend at least 80-85% of premiums on health care. So most try to keep the ratio right at those levels. If it creeps up significantly, shareholders run for the exits. Why? When insurers pay more in claims, that’s less more for insurer profits.


Viral Vigilantes 0

Civilization is a thin veneer indeed.


The Epidemiologist’s Apologist 0

A conservative right-wing* law professor tried his hand at sciencing and failed miserably.

In related news, The Roanoke Times’s Dan Casey, who is decidedly not an apologist for the Epidemiologist-in-Chief, responds to those who complain that his coverage of Donald Trump has been–er–less than even-handed.


*He’s with the Hoover Institute.


Held Heath Hostage 0



Last night, we watched an episode of Cheers, a sitcom from the ’80s, in which a subplot involved a $683.00 emergency room bill.

Good times.


Trial Separation 0

Caption:  Social Distancing We Should Try.  Image:  Donald Trump and podium, separated by a line labeled


Don’t Look! 0

You might see something.

This is a classic example of treating the symptom, not the cause.

Words fail me.


Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt 0

Two recent posts at Psychology Today Blogs offer insight into the intersection between political leanings and failure to take seriously–even to actively discount–the seriousness of the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Nassir Ghaemi offers a taxonomy of disease deniers:

. . . three kinds of deniers of a scientifically sound public health response to the coronavirus pandemic: a certain kind of political partisan, those who are medically uninformed, and those with a tendency to conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile, Nigel Barber identifies an irony:

Recent survey data show that Republicans are significantly less likely than Democrats to view the coronavirus as a serious threat. This is surprising because Republicans are generally focused on fear and more concerned about contamination.

Given the confused and chaotic–often self-contradictory–response to the coronavirus by the current Federal Administration and tendency of many to, say, confuse a Facebook frolic with a fact, I commend both pieces as being worth the few moments it will take to read them.


My grad school professor for early federal period history, Dr. Shade, was fond of saying that “history is irony.”

Far too often, history has proven him correct, as when the United States went from having its first black President to having the most racist President since Woodrow Wilson.


Nimble 0

Uncle Sam, carrying briefcase labeled

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The Epidemiologist Quacks Up 0

E. J. Montini warns us to get medical advice from persons who know what they are talking about.


A Tune for the Times 0

Warning: Some language.


The Art of the Con, Going Viral Dept. 0

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the epidemic of scams designed to feed on the fear of COVID-19. Here’s a bit about one of them; follow the link for the lengthy litany.

And while the ink isn’t even dry on a Senate proposal to issue relief checks to individual Americans as part of a broader stimulus action, the Federal Trade Commission is already warning against scammers seeking Social Security numbers, bank accounts, or credit card numbers in order to release the funds.

“It will seem legitimate to people who have heard in the news that those distributions might be coming,” said Jonathan Sasse, marketing executive at First Orion, an Arkansas company that builds scam protections for mobile-phone users. “And often times, where scammers are very successful is if they’re dealing with a too-good-to-be-true thing like an offer of funds in times of desperate financial conditions.”

As the saying goes, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.


Propagation 0

Title:  Coronavirus Spring Break.  Frame One, showing the virus holding a brew:  Virus says,

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Crisis Response, Florida Man Style 0

Brendan Kuty is–er–somewhat taken aback at the doings in the Florida Man state.


Crisis Response 0

At The American Scholar, Philip Alcabes argues that the coronavirus presents us with a crisis, but not as it is being portrayed. He suggests that actual crisis is manifest in three ways. Here’s one; follow the link for the other two.

Second, we face a crisis of leadership. The playbook for a public health approach to contagion is clear and well known, and it has been practiced often: test widely for infection, trace contacts of the infected to locate further cases, isolate cases so they don’t infect others, refer the sick for treatment. But that has not happened yet in the United States. It should have, but it didn’t.


Why this kind of stewardship didn’t happen is hard to know. Perhaps there’s no hope for such stewardship in an administration that has not so much created a vacuum of leadership as actively attacked it. For instance, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has often tried to take on the role of communicator, only to be undermined by the president. We are left with the present siege situation.


Epidemiology, Opening the Door Dept. 0

At the Portland Press-Herald, Herb Janick, makes the case that the Republican Party paved the way for the coronavirus through its failure to consider and protect the common good. He gives three examples of how it did so; follow the link for his discussion of each one:

      First, rather than recognize that the federal government has a critical role, the Republican Party has spent years denigrating and demonizing the government and its important role in society.
      Second, the Republican Party has sought to diminish the role of experts and science and replace them with ideology.
      Third, the Republican Party has supported a president who manifestly is not fit to lead.


Health Hostage 0


Contagion, Reprise 0

Speaking of said less than competent response, here’s a view from the trenches.


Uncoordinated 0

An interstate trucker draws on her own experience to talk with Thom about the need for a coordinated national response to COVID-19.


The Wall 0

At last, a theory about the TP frenzy . . . .

Man and woman behind high wall of toilet paper.  Man says,

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