Still more AAFP – Coca-Cola fallout

Posted in Health Care Policy with tags , , , on November 11, 2009 by drbobbs

Coke2There is now a Facebook page entitled End the AAFP and Coca Cola Collaboration.

From the Associated Press: Family doctors group loses members over Coke deal.

And there’s an online petition: Family Doctors Against the AAFP-Coca-Cola Partnership.

Could failing to get health insurance make you a prisoner?

Posted in Health Care Policy, Medicolegal with tags , , on November 7, 2009 by drbobbs

ThePrisonerAccording to Michigan Republican Representative David Camp, the answer is yes:

When confronted with this same issue during its consideration of a similar individual mandate tax, the Senate Finance Committee worked on a bipartisan basis to include language in its bill that shielded Americans from civil and criminal penalties. The Pelosi bill, however, contains no similar language protecting American citizens from civil and criminal tax penalties that could include a $250,000 fine and five years in jail.

“The Senate Finance Committee had the good sense to eliminate the extreme penalty of incarceration. Speaker Pelosi’s decision to leave in the jail time provision is a threat to every family who cannot afford the $15,000 premium her plan creates.

Red flag rules implementation delayed again…again

Posted in Health Care Policy with tags on November 7, 2009 by drbobbs

RedFlag2This time it’s pushed back to 1 June 2010.

Here’s that AAFP Red Flag one-pager link again.

The Pause That Refreshes

Posted in Economics of Health Care, Health Care Policy with tags , , , on November 3, 2009 by drbobbs

HaveACokeThe American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) continues to be the target of criticism in both the blogosphere and conventional media outlets for its partnership with the Coca-Cola company.

From The Kansas City Star:

[T]he American Academy of Family Physicians…represents about 94,000 doctors who struggle to get their patients to shed excess pounds.

From across the room, Coca-Cola bats its eyelashes. The queen of carbonated drinks is fending off attacks that its sugar-sweetened products promote obesity and should be taxed.

The two organizations last month sealed a deal that had Coca-Cola giving the academy a grant in the mid six figures to come up with health messages for the public about beverages and sweeteners.

The academy and Coca-Cola said the information would be based on objective science.

But doctors, nutrition experts and consumer advocates charge that Coca-Cola is proffering the money just to improve its reputation and possibly to buy the academy’s silence.

In various toasts to our health, bedfellows of the strangest kind are everywhere and go back decades. The study of alcoholism owes much to the distilled-spirits industry, which teamed with Cornell University and the National Institute of Health on research as early as the 1940s.

Now an increasingly skeptical and health-conscious public, with so much information at its fingertips, isn’t sure whose advice to trust, said Shelly Rodgers, a University of Missouri researcher of strategic communications: “Consumers instantly see the conflict and go, ‘What? What?’ ”

From American Medical News:

The academy squandered its credibility by “taking tainted Coke cash,” said a statement from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group strongly critical of the food industry. In a letter to Dr. Henley, the group called on the academy to reject the deal.

Henry Blackburn, MD, who was one of 22 public health experts to sign the CSPI letter, said the deal is “just crazy.” Dr. Blackburn, professor emeritus in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said “no professional society should accept funding from such companies.”

And from the blogosphere:

coke and doctors, sitting in a tree . . .

Looking for health advice? Dr. Coca-Cola will see you now

Doctor’s Group Under Fire for Coke Partnership

A little bit of a bad thing (is still a bad thing)

An Embarrassing Conflict of Interests

Family Doctor Group Squanders Credibility by Taking Tainted Coke Cash

Perfect Harmony: AAFP and Coca-Cola Get Cozy

The problem here is not that the AAFP will necessarily become a mouthpiece for Coca-Cola.  AAFP members are not going to start telling their patients to have a Coke and a smile three times a day.  The problem is one of perception and credibility.  And you can’t buy back your credibility.  Not for six figures.  Not for any price.

Obamacare dead for 2009?

Posted in Economics of Health Care, Health Care Policy, Medicolegal with tags , , on November 3, 2009 by drbobbs

Is Obamacare, for the present at least, dead on arrival?  According to ABC News, it is:

Senior Congressional Democrats told ABC News today it is highly unlikely that a health care reform bill will be completed this year, just a week after President Barack Obama declared he was “absolutely confident” he’ll be able to sign one by then.

“Getting this done by the by the end of the year is a no-go,” a senior Democratic leadership aide told ABC News. Two other key Congressional Democrats also told ABC News the same thing.

This administration seems to have been totally unprepared for the resistance to their proposed health care reforms.  The town halls of this past summer will go down in American political history as the model of how not to sell an idea to the American people.  And the series of health care reform bills, culminating most recently in a 1,990 page behemoth that “runs more pages than War and Peace [and] has nearly five times as many words as the Torah,” are bloated and bureaucratic.  The $1.2 trillion price tag does little to inspire confidence that health care costs will in any way be lowered by it.

Of course, we don’t really seem to inclined to lower health care costs in the United States anyway.  Are fast food restaurants going out of business due to a lack of customers?  Is there a public outcry for loser pays medical malpractice reform?  Is there bipartisan support to allow individuals and groups to purchase health insurance across states lines to create a truly national health insurance market with competition and lower prices?  Are there any substantive steps to increase the number of primary care physicians in the country?

So far, the answer across the board appears to be “No.”

Why Trial Lawyers Will Love Democrat Health Reform Bill

Posted in Health Care Policy, Medicolegal with tags , , on October 31, 2009 by drbobbs

Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website reports that the Pelosi Health Care Bill Blows a Kiss to Trial Lawyers:

Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.

I guess I’ve got a different definition for “incentive”.

But I thought their healthcare was so much better than ours, Part 10

Posted in Economics of Health Care with tags , on October 22, 2009 by drbobbs

BardotA Russian coal miner with a lung disease is trying to sell his autographed photo of Brigitte Bardot to pay for his treatment.  The picture is said to be valued at about $45.

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