Posted Sept. 15, 2011, at 6:44 p.m.The Bangor Daily News has given me the opportunity to write a monthly column about health care in America, with a particular focus on Maine. This is the first of those columns.A columnist, unlike a reporter, is allowed to express an opinion. It seems to me that readers have a right to know a little about columnists in order to judge whether they should care what a particular columnist thinks.http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/15/health/blogs-and-columns/one-expert’s-opinion-on-medical-care/print/
The Bangor Daily News has given me the opportunity to write a monthly column about health care in America, with a particular focus on Maine. This is the first of those columns.
A columnist, unlike a reporter, is allowed to express an opinion. It seems to me that readers have a right to know a little about columnists in order to judge whether they should care what a particular columnist thinks.
Posted Sept. 14, 2011, at 6:24 p.m.
While I appreciate Rep. Walter Kumiega’s Sept. 12 opinion piece on the new Republican health care “reform” bill (“Republican health care law already causing price spikes, fear”), I will confess to a somewhat cynical response given its clear, partisan bent. While my experience with the Legislature and legislators on both sides of the aisle has not shaken my conviction that our public servants, by and large, mean well, both parties have consistently failed Maine people when it comes to ensuring that we all enjoy access to comprehensive, affordable health insurance.
Posted Sept. 15, 2011, at 7:05 p.m.
Eric Russell’s story on the American Legislative Exchange Council (BDN, Sept. 14) leaves open more questions than it answers. Are our laws outsourced? Does it matter? Are our legislators taking their direction from deep-pocketed corporate interests? Does it matter that legislators’ travel and hotel costs are typically funded (all-expense-paid vacations) by ALEC to their national meetings? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
Free to Die
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Back in 1980, just as America was making its political turn to the right, Milton Friedman lent his voice to the change with the famous TV series “Free to Choose.” In episode after episode, the genial economist identified laissez-faire economics with personal choice and empowerment, an upbeat vision that would be echoed and amplified by Ronald Reagan.
But that was then. Today, “free to choose” has become “free to die.”
I’m referring, as you might guess, to what happened during Monday’s G.O.P. presidential debate. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”
And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!”
Belly Up to the BistroBy TIMOTHY EGAN
Timothy Egan on American politics and life, as seen from the West.
PARIS — You’re reminded hourly, even while walking along the slow-moving Seine or staring at sculpted marble bodies under the Louvre’s high ceilings, that the old continent is crumbling. They’re slouching toward a gerontocracy, these Europeans. Their banks are teetering. They can’t handle immigration. Greece is broke, and three other nations are not far behind. In a half-dozen languages, the papers shout: crisis!
If the euro fails, as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said, then Europe fails. That means a recession here, and a likely one at home, which will be blamed on President Obama, and then Rick Perry will get elected, and the leader of the free world will be somebody who thinks the earth is only a few thousand years old.
You see where it’s all going, this endless “whither the euro question.” So, you think of something else, the Parisian way. You think of what these people can eat on a given day: pain au chocolat for breakfast, soupe à l’oignon gratinée topped by melted gruyere for lunch and foie gras for dinner, as a starter.
Withdrawal of Database on Doctors Is Protested
By DUFF WILSON
Three journalism organizations on Thursday protested a decision by the Obama administration to remove a database of physician discipline and malpractice actions from the Web.
The National Practitioner Data Bank, created in 1986, is used by state medical boards, insurers and hospitals. The “public use file” of the data bank, with physician names and addresses deleted, has provided valuable information for many years to researchers and reporters investigating oversight of doctors, trends in disciplinary actions and malpractice awards.
Metal Hips Failing Fast, Report Says
By BARRY MEIER
In a troubling development for people with all-metal artificial hips, a registry that tracks orthopedic implants in Britain reported on Thursday that the failure rate of the devices was increasing.
The National Joint Registry for England and Wales said that an all-metal artificial hip once sold by Johnson & Johnson had failed in an estimated one-third of the patients who had been followed for the longest time. The device was recalled by the company last year.