The name John Gorrie is little known today, though a sculpture commemorating his contributions to the lives of every American stands in National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. He is the father of refrigeration and air conditioning, and by virtue of that title can also be considered one of the founding fathers of our modern industrial economy.
Gorrie was born 208 years ago today on an island in the Caribbean and grew up in South Carolina. He went on to earn a medical degree in New York. But it was on the Gulf Coast of Florida where he settled in 1833 that his medical research evolved into a life-long quest to combat the effects of temperature and climate on disease. He saw his patients at the U.S. Marine hospital in Apalachicola suffering from malaria and yellow fever. Popular thought at the time attributed such tropical diseases to bad air. (The word malaria means "bad air disease.")
He set up a primitive cooling system in the sickroom with ice-filled basins suspended from the ceiling. When his supply of ice was interrupted by regional trade disputes, he concocted the first patented ice-making machine in history. Gorrie also had the foresight to drain area swamps and use mosquito netting in the hospital long before the protozoan source of malaria was discovered.
When one considers viewing a movie that explores in depth the difficulties of coping with terminal illness, and depicts the full range of agonizing and grievous emotions, one would not expect the fim to include Seth Rogen, who is better known for his roles in foolish films such as Pineapple Express and Superbad. Yet in 50/50 Rogen proves that Rogen is a multi-faceted performer.
The film is inspired by the true story of 27-year-old screenwriter Will Reiser, Rogen's friend in real life (known a Adam Lerner in the film and played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. When Adam learns that the survival rate of the disease is only 50 percent, he undergoes a crisis that provokes him to reflect on his life and the relationships that have shaped his existence.
50/50 does the unthinkable by actually making light of a dark and disturbing topic. In fact, there is a great deal of levity in the two-hour film, inspired by the adept writing of Will Reiser, who sharply manages to capture his own personal experiences. The script features lively, witty, and at times hilarious banter, while managing to shift moods rather smoothly to serious discussions of life and death.
Although I’ve never been one to demonize the rich, there is something particularly irritating about a busybody billionaire who confuses his bankroll with his I.Q. And the busiest of this species seems to be NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose latest patrician effort involves convincing governments worldwide to control what the peons eat.
Reporting on the story, CNSNews.com writes:
During a United Nations General Assembly summit on non-communicable diseases — a discussion that included diet and eating habits — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option.…There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty.”
“Government’s highest duty…” My, that sounds almost … religious, Bloomie. But this billionaire really does care — far and wide and everywhere.
In what is likely to be their only point of agreement, both sides in a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) petitioned the Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear their appeals and rule on the law’s constitutionality as soon as possible. Both are appealing a ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that the ObamaCare individual mandate is unconstitutional but the rest of the law is not.
The Obama administration, which (as The New American reported Tuesday) allowed a deadline for requesting a review of the ruling by the full circuit court to pass, appealed to the Supreme Court to uphold the entire law. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., “said the justices should defer to ‘the considered judgment of the elected branches of government on how to address a crisis in the national healthcare market,’” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The plaintiffs — 26 state Attorneys General plus the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) — are, on the other hand, asking the court to strike down the whole law, not just the individual mandate.
Health insurance costs continue to rise as President Obama’s healthcare overhaul begins to affect Americans’ insurance premiums, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET). Leaders in health policy analysis and communication, Kaiser and HRET found that annual family insurance premiums have spiked this year at a rate three times higher than in 2010, significantly outpacing wage increases and general inflation.
In a survey administered from January through May 2011, Kaiser and HRET interviewed 2,088 public and private employers asking questions about enrollment numbers, average firm and worker premium contributions, total premiums for single and family coverage, and insurance changes relating to coverage and benefits. In summary, the study concluded:
The average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2011 are $5,429 for single coverage and $15,073 for family coverage. Compared to 2010, premiums for single coverage are 8% higher and premiums for family coverage are 9% higher. The 9% growth rate in family premiums for 2011 is significantly higher than the 3% growth rate in 2010. Since 2001, average premiums for family coverage have increased 113%. Average premiums for family coverage are lower for workers in small firms (3–199 workers) than for workers in large firms (200 or more workers) ($14,098 vs. $15,520). Average premiums for high deductible health plans with a savings option (HDHP/SOs) are lower than the overall average for all plan types for both single and family coverage.
Confronting elements of President Obama’s healthcare legislation that are so restrictive of religious freedom that Jesus “would not qualify as ‘religious,’” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has taken a stand against the law's implementation in its current form.
The USCCB’s objections to the pervasive program of socialized healthcare commonly known as ObamaCare is based in the administration’s plan to coerce healthcare providers — including those operated by the Roman Catholic Church — into providing birth control, abortifacient drugs, and abortions. According to an article for the Catholic Review:
“The mandate directly conflicts with the religious beliefs of individuals and institutions who have a moral objection to such practices,” the bishops wrote, “and who do not believe that such ‘preventative services’ constitute legitimate health care.”
The bishops said the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had a “laudable goal” of “expanding access to genuine health care for all Americans, especially the poor.” They expressed concern, however, that the mandate “contradicts promises made to the American people that the new federal law would not include coverage for abortion.”
A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare appears to be headed for the Supreme Court, which could end up ruling on the case in 2012, just as President Barack Obama is running for reelection.
In August a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Florida judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. (The panel overturned his finding that the entire law is unconstitutional, however.) The Obama administration — the defendant in the case brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business — had the option of requesting a hearing by the entire 11th Circuit Court; but it chose not to do so by the September 26 deadline, which indicates that it is probably going to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
“If the court accepts the case before January,” observes Politico, “it is likely to be put on the calendar to be heard in the spring. A decision would likely be postponed until June.” That would, of course, put it smack in the middle of an election year in which the prime architect of the law is one of the candidates, raising the question of why the administration chose not to seek a ruling by the full 11th Circuit, which probably would have delayed a Supreme Court ruling until 2013.
A Louisiana woman suffering from cystic fibrosis is being hailed throughout the world for her decision to deliver three healthy triplets, rather than abort them as doctors had advised her. Identical triplets Dakota, Savannah, and Brooklyn recently celebrated their first birthday because their mother, 21-year-old Kandace Smith, refused to “terminate” them as she was counseled by her doctors, who told her “she was too small and weak to bear even one child, much less triplets,” reported Beliefnet.com.
Cystic fibrosis is a serious hereditary disorder that affects the lungs, making it difficult to breathe and often leading to early death. Smith was told that she would likely never be able to have children. “I couldn’t believe that I was actually pregnant,” she recalled to the British newspaper the Daily Mail, “and when the scan showed there were three heartbeats I nearly passed out. I didn’t actually believe it was possible — and there were three babies in my womb.”
Opponents of ObamaCare have long argued that the law poses a grave threat to Americans’ privacy. Although that argument was based on informed speculation, a new rule proposed by the Obama administration provides concrete evidence that privacy concerns were indeed well-founded.
The rule, proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), would require “insurance companies [to] submit detailed health care information about their patients,” according to a Washington Examiner op-ed by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.). If enacted, the rule would enable the government “to collect and aggregate confidential patient records for every one of us,” declares the Congressman. “This type of data collection is an egregious violation of patient-doctor confidentiality and business privacy,” he maintains, likening it to “J. Edgar Hoover in a lab coat.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under mandates established by ObamaCare, awarded $10 million dollars to “129 organizations across the country that would like to become community health centers. These funds, made available by the Affordable Care Act, support organizations’ development as a future health center.”
Nearly 10 percent of the total sum doled out was sent to the state of Florida. The Sunshine State received nearly $880,000.
This largesse was not surprising given that Florida reportedly has one of the highest rates of people without insurance in the country. According to a story published recently in the Florida Independent:
Recent information released from the U.S. Census Bureau reports that Florida had the third highest percentage of residents without insurance in 2010.
According to 2010 Census information (.xls), in a three-year average from 2008 to 2010, Florida’s percentage of uninsured people was 20.7 percent.