The people of Scandinavia have historically been among the healthiest in the world. Their diet includes a great deal of fish, which is good for the cardiovascular system and high in proteins. An outdoor life is also popular in northern Europe, and a disproportionate number of famous explorers come from this region. There are some serious health problems among these people — alcoholism is high — but by and large, the Scandinavians live long and healthy lives.
Now the government of Denmark has decided that some food choices made by Danes are bad for their health and, consequently, fair game in this socialist-leaning nation. On October 1 the average price of a half-pound of butter rose by the equivalent of $.45 and the average price of a pound of cheese increased by $.50. Lard went up $.70 per half pound. In fact, almost any spread for bread jumped in October because of the new “fat tax” imposed by the Danish government, which specifically targets saturated fats from animals, such as butter, cream, and meat.
The Supreme Court stands a good chance of ruling on the constitutionality of all or part of ObamaCare in 2012, as The New American reported September 29. Should the court strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, the implications are obvious: Everything that has been implemented under the law thus far would have to be scuttled. But what happens if the court strikes down only the individual mandate? Would it then be compelled to invalidate other, related portions of the law?
The lawsuit being appealed to the Supreme Court was brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business. The first judge to rule on the case, U.S. District Judge Roger K. Vinson, began by finding the individual mandate unconstitutional. Then, noting that Congress had not included a severability clause in the law, Vinson declared the whole act invalid. (A severability clause, which states that if one provision of a law is found unconstitutional, the rest still stands, was included in the House of Representatives’ version of the legislation but left out of the Senate’s version — and, as a result, from the final bill — as a political gambit by Democrats, according to Politico.) The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, upheld only Vinson’s finding with regard to the individual mandate. It reversed his decision with regard to severability, arguing that most of the law is not connected to the mandate and that the court could not determine whether Congress would have enacted the law in the absence of the mandate.
Ron Paul's new bill would get the FDA out of the business of monitoring health testimonials.
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.