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Member since: Sat Mar 20, 2004, 11:37 AM
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Since Republicans are suddenly so concerned about the national debt, here's something: "Odious debt"

In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that says that the national debt incurred by a despotic regime should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion. Whether or not it is possible to discharge debts in this manner is a matter of dispute.


Well, seeing as how about a whole quarter of our country's entire national debt was obtained during the term of the last president...


I propose that we discharge these debts by declaring Trump's presidency illegitimate.

Of course, to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, we'd have to do some "minor housekeeping things" in order to declare Trump's presidency being seen as illegitimate:
* We'd have to scrap laws passed by Trump
* We'd have to see judges he placed removed
* We'd have to see appointments removed
* Probably a ban on Trump and Trump administration people from seeking government positions in the future
* And to bolster the disputed claim of "odious debt", we'd have to support the claims of other countries that have said "We shouldn't pay this debt, the regime that got it was illegitimate"

I know, I know, it sounds rough, but these are small prices to pay for getting rid of our national debt by a very substantial amount. I think it merits further discussion and both parties can come together on reducing our national debt through this concept, right?

Well, I'm disappointed

The Supreme Court says it has been unable to identify "by a preponderance of the evidence" who leaked the Dobbs opinion last year.


In that leaked opinion, Samuel Alito cited Matthew Hale, a jurist who believed that dreams counted as evidence and had women executed for witchcraft as part of his legal reasoning.


So Michael Chertoff and the Supreme Court used:
* Formal interviews
* Follow-up interviews
* Looking at electronic data
* Searching of logs
* Collections of laptops and mobile devices

But nobody felt comfortable using spectral evidence to find the leaker? Nobody wanted to use what their dreams told them? Nobody felt right suspecting witchcraft?

Come on Chertoff; if that's what (poor) (minority) women have to deal with now, why not the Supreme Court, right?

MLK Also Said Something About Healthcare Day

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” These were the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights, 1966.

Let's take this day to remember this quote as well, to look back on the inequalities and injustices of our healthcare system on class, gender, and, yes, racial lines. We do not need these problems in our healthcare system. We should not have them. We must find ways to resist these disparities.

Maternal death rate isn't as bad if you don't count Black women, GOP senator says

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said that the state's poor maternal mortality rate is only an "outlier" because of the high proportion of Black women in the state, according to Politico. 

Cassidy's comment was featured in Politico's in-depth exploration of Louisiana's maternal death rates, which are among the worst in the country. The state ranks 47 out of 48 states assessed for maternal deaths, state officials said. 

Cassidy told the outlet that this is partly because "about a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality.

"So, if you correct our population for race, we're not as much of an outlier as it'd otherwise appear."


Maternal deaths in the U.S. are staggeringly common. Personal nurses could help

The country has long stood out for its high rate of maternal mortality among wealthy countries, an issue that disproportionately affects Black Americans. The coronavirus pandemic only pushed deaths higher.

Another gap is access to health care in general. In the U.S., people without health insurance qualify for Medicaid, government-subsidized health coverage, when they become pregnant and up to 60 days after birth. More than two dozen states have joined a Biden Administration program to extend that coverage up to one year postpartum. Across the country, Medicaid pays for 42% of all births.

But outside of that time period, thousands lack basic coverage. As of 2019, there were 800,000 women of childbearing age who made too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That puts them in the "coverage gap."

Expanding Medicaid coverage, and narrowing that gap, helps reduce maternal mortalities, according to a report from Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.



The Most Expensive Health Care in the World Is Far From the Best

It’s a fantasy world where none of the the byzantine, baffling, sometimes ruinous financing of US medical care exists — no insurance premiums, deductibles, copays, out-of-pocket limits, surprise bills, ambulance fees, payment plans, health savings accounts, coverage denials, coverage appeals, insulin costs, patient assistance charities, crowdfunding a,nd medical bankruptcies. Nice dream, right?

Then, back in the real world, you break your leg in one of the scores of countries with universal health insurance. You’re taken to an emergency room, where you receive X-rays. You’re seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner who confirms the diagnosis. You get a stabilizing boot and some crutches. And off you go, without so much as a parking fee.

That’s when reality comes crashing in. You thought you lived in the country with the finest health care in the world. You don’t. You live in the country with the world’s most expensive health care. A country where, 12 years after an enormous legislative effort to extend affordable coverage to the entire population, 8% still lack health insurance. Where half of adults are worried about medical costs that sometimes force them to delay or forgo care. Where life expectancy ranks 40th among all nations — that’s just better than Ecuador but behind Turkey, for those of you scoring at home — and newborn mortality ranks 33rd worldwide. 

The only category in which the US hold the undisputed lead is in measures of health spending — gross, per capita, and as a percentage of GDP.



Medical bills remain inaccessible for many visually impaired Americans

A Missouri man who is deaf and blind said a medical bill he didn't know existed was sent to debt collections, triggering an 11% rise in his home insurance premiums.

In a different case, from California, an insurer has suspended a blind woman's coverage every year since 2010 after mailing printed "verification of benefits" forms to her home that she cannot read, she said. The problems continued even after she got a lawyer involved.

And still another insurer kept sending a visually impaired Indiana woman bills she said she could not read, even after her complaint to the Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights led to corrective actions.

Across the U.S., health insurers and health care systems are breaking disability rights laws by sending inaccessible medical bills and notices, a KHN investigation has found. The practice hinders the ability of blind Americans to know what they owe, effectively creating a disability tax on their time and finances.



The US Spends Almost as Much on Healthcare as the Rest of the World Combined and Has One of the Worst Outcomes

Health can be a complicated matter within a society. For example, the United States spends almost as much as the entire world combined on health care, yet millions remain uninsured and drowning in medical debt. To help understand this, Scheer Intelligence host Robert Scheer welcomes Dr. Stephen Bezruchka, a former emergency physician, current scholar of the impact of economic inequity on health, and author of “Inequality Kills Us All: COVID-19’s Health Lessons for the World.”

Dr. Bezruchka’s journey through some of the country’s most elite universities including Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins landed him in a position to study medicine not only in the field but in the macroeconomic sense as well. In the 1970s, he worked as an emergency physician in the U.S. and taught medicine in Nepal, setting up a community health project there. Since then, he’s worked with Physicians for Social Responsibility, the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and drawing attention to socioeconomic factors affecting the health of societies.

He points out that in the 1950s, life expectancy in the U.S. was within the top five or ten healthiest countries in the world. But other countries began surpassing us. By 1970, the U.S. ranked 17th, dropping to 22nd by the early ‘90s, and more recent data has the U.S. ranked as 44th. “That is, among UN countries, which doesn’t include Taiwan and Monaco and other small populations, there are 43 countries where people live longer lives” he said.

His new book explores just how deadly inequality can be to humanity and explores how even the smallest of policy changes, like parental leave, can make a huge impact on the long-term health of an individual’s life. “Only two countries in the world with a population of a million or more don’t provide (paid) time off to parents after you have your baby. So that is really important. Why do we not have a paid parental leave act in this country?… And this is for the richest, most powerful country in world history,” Dr. Bezruchka said.



How banks and hospitals are cashing in when patients can't pay for health care

As Americans are overwhelmed with medical bills, patient financing is now a multibillion-dollar business, with private equity and big banks lined up to cash in when patients and their families can't pay for care. By one estimate from research firm IBISWorld, profit margins top 29% in the patient financing industry, seven times what is considered a solid hospital margin.

Hospitals and other providers, which historically put their patients in interest-free payment plans, have welcomed the financing, signing contracts with lenders and enrolling patients in financing plans with rosy promises about convenient bills and easy payments.

For patients, the payment plans often mean something more ominous: yet more debt.

For many patients, financing arrangements can be confusing, resulting in missed payments or higher interest rates than they anticipated. The loans can also deepen inequalities. Lower-income patients without the means to make large monthly payments can face higher interest rates, while wealthier patients able to shoulder bigger monthly bills can secure lower rates.



They want to buy medical debt and forgive it. Some hospitals are saying: "Pass"

After a local campaign erased nearly $41 million in medical debt for more than 36,000 Oklahomans, the fundraising is coming to an end. That’s not because debt isn’t rising; it’s just out of reach.

Tulsa couple Mona and Mark Whitmire started the effort in partnership with the national nonprofit RIP Medical Debt just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Oklahoma. It targets debt that has been sold by medical providers to debt collectors. The nonprofit buys the debt for pennies on each dollar owed and then cancels it.

“Unfortunately, we’ve struggled to get hospitals to engage with us and willing to participate,” RIP Medical Debt Executive Director Allison Sesso said. “A lot of hospitals hadn’t heard about us. A lot of hospitals think it’s too good to be true. Some prefer the collections agencies.”

Some hospitals have pushed back using the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, saying the selling of the debt violates patient confidentiality But, as Sesso points out, hospitals will sell the same information to for-profit collection agencies.



Taxpayers foot the bill for medical research, but companies profit. We're paying for drugs twice

Pharmaceutical companies often reap the rewards of public spending. In fact, in the U.S, every new drug approved by the FDA between 2010 and 2019 has relied on grants from the NIH. Meanwhile, the companies sometimes turn around and charge the public exorbitant prices for the same drugs their tax dollars helped create.

Part of the problem is an outdated licensing system that allows private companies to buy exclusive rights to use publicly funded research, with few strings attached. Many of these issues stem from the way intellectual property, or IP, is licensed in the U.S. and some other wealthy countries. Making changes to the way we fund research and license drugs could help treat millions of people, particularly in developing nations.

Typically, when a scientist conducts research at an institution, the IP — meaning any novel innovations they produce, such as a new drug — belongs to the institution, rather than the scientist who did the work or the funder who paid for it. This arrangement is in large part thanks to the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, which allows universities to patent inventions even when taxpayers funded the research. After the research is done, the institution can sell the IP to a corporation through a technology transfer agreement, and the company can bring it to market. After that point, as owners of the IP, companies have the freedom to set prices and make other key sales decisions.

This model has been championed as a way to encourage innovation, but those private companies are obliged to deliver the maximum return to shareholders rather than to ensure the greatest possible reduction in human suffering.



In Knoxville, the burden of medical debt reinforces a long history of segregation

In and around Knoxville, residents of predominantly Black neighborhoods are more than twice as likely as those in largely white neighborhoods to owe money for medical bills, Urban Institute credit bureau data shows — it's one of the widest racial disparities in the country.

That tracks with a disturbing national trend. Health care debt in the U.S. now affects more than 100 million people, a KHN-NPR investigation found. But the toll has been especially high on Black communities: 56% of Black adults owe money for a medical or dental bill, compared with 37% of white adults, according to a nationwide KFF poll conducted for this project.

The explanation for that startling disparity is deeply rooted. Decades of discrimination in housing, employment, and health care blocked generations of Black families from building wealth — savings and assets that are increasingly critical to accessing America's high-priced medical system.

Against that backdrop, patients suffer. People with debt avoid seeking care and become sicker with treatable chronic conditions like diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Worse still, hospitals and doctors sometimes won't see patients with medical debt — even those in the middle of treatment.



Re-victimization - Rape victims can face huge hospital bills if they seek help

A new study found uninsured survivors of sexual violence were charged an average of $3,673 for visiting the emergency room.

When victims of rape or sexual violence seek emergency medical assistance following an attack, they may be saddled with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medical bills, a new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine found.

These bills can further traumatize victims, the study authors warn, and deter others from seeking professional help. Only one-fifth of sexual violence victims are estimated to seek medical care following an attack.

Researchers affiliated with Harvard analyzed a nationwide data set of more than 35 million emergency room visits in 2019, the most recent year such information was available. They looked specifically at visits where doctors billed with codes related to care after sexual assault, and found more than 112,000 such patients. Nearly 90 percent of those patients were female, and 38 percent were children under 18.



Oh, THOSE 'different ideas'

“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said during a bill signing ceremony. “Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments. You have orthodoxies that are promoted, and other viewpoints are shunned or even suppressed.”

Read more: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/06/florida-students-faculty-will-declare-political-views-prevent-liberal-indoctrination

"Oh, so you mean like in sociology; you have functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory; and now they're only teaching one of those things and not even talking about the other two at all?"
"No, not like that."

"Oh! So in studies of evolution, you mean they're only teaching gradualism OR punctuated equilibrium and not having discussions of both, while they both have merit?"
"Uh... no, we're not talking about that."

"OH! You mean they're stifling the "is the universe explained by quantum mechanics or general relativity" debate in physics and have come down on the side of one and are refusing to talk about the other at all? Those jerks!"
"... no, no."

"OK, so in the college restrooms, they have now cruelly decided to put all the toilet paper under instead of over? Those totalitarians!"

"Oh... so by 'different ideas', you mean...

“Stop The Steal” organizer Ali Alexander, clad in body armor, released a video on the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol portraying himself and the insurrectionists as the real victims.

Andrew Torba declares that “any future political solution that doesn’t involve repealing (the 19th Amendment) is futile. Prepare for pain like this country has never seen before."

Andrew Anglin asserts that “the entire structure of the Western world is based around a compulsive desire of men to please women. The Taliban is a good model for healthy masculinity that Western men should emulate.”

Finally, Lance Wallnau passionately prays that God will raise up “one more bad boy billionaire” to join Elon Musk and Donald Trump in saving America, then asks God to have Trump experience “a Pentecostal encounter” that’ll make him “supernaturally sanctified.”

... right?"

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