Washington’s abuzz about health care, but why isn’t a single-payer plan an option on the table? Public Citizen’s Dr. Sidney Wolfe and Physicians for a National Health Program’s Dr. David Himmelstein on the political and logistical feasibility of health care reform.
Category Archives: United States
My daughter is immune deficient and has been anstudent for about 2 years. I think the best and most cost effective solution to improving the system is to build a hybrid that blends the best online education has to offer in a public school setting.
Here’s how it could work:
Each student is provided a laptop computer to work off of and they independently study digital, watch podcasts on subjects they are studying and complete assignments, all within an online learning environment.
At first blush it doesn’t sound earth shattering but consider these net impacts:
The use of podcasting would allow the US Dept of Education (DOE) to hire the worlds best and brightest educators to deliver the curriculum because the person doesn’t need to be in each classroom to teach students. (Imagine Stephen Hawking podcasting a high school physics course.) Such a change in the delivery of material would allow the US DOE to establish uniformity in the quality of instructors and instruction being provided to all schools EVERYWHERE regardless of the communities financial health. On site teaching staff can then focus on the students who are struggling and need additional instruction.
An education hybrid of public and online education would also allow the US DOE to offer a huge variety of courses to ALL schools everywhere regardless of who is available in that geographic location to. As a public school student my daughter could choose from a couple foreign languages, as an online student in rural Minnesota she studied Mandarin .
Even more important, these courses are self paced, students can move through coursework as quickly as they like or they can take the the time they need. Unlike the current industrial model of education, a 9th grader could work well above grade level while remaining grouped among his or her peers, students could even graduate early and or start college from the very same classroom environment. This would mean that the best and the brightest in our country would no longer have to wait for average learners to catch up and it can all be done within the confines of a single
Individual schools could allow rural students the option of attending in person or online cutting the need for additional space and busing. Students with health problems, like my daughter, could still attend their local school by attending online when they are sick. School districts could eliminate the need for home-bound tutors, substitute teachers and even snow days.
Digital textbooks are cheaper to produce than standard textbooks and easier to update without mowing down a forest. They are also hyperlinked to dictionaries and wikipedia’s should students needs more information to grasp a given concept. Whereas a standard textbook might have offered a photo of an Egyptian tomb, in online schooling teachers can podcast an actual tour inside a tomb where students can pan the interior of the tomb right from their computer.
As as a parent of an online student I can log on and see the teachers grade books, I can see how my student scored on each assignment and I can see how much time she is spending studying each subject. This allows me as a parent a clearer view of daughter’s education and more importantly, her work habits.
The post-industrial model I’m suggesting also relieves the pressure on overburdened instructors and quells the issue of classroom size by allowing the human resources within our education system to concentrate on the areas they are most needed. Even better, this model would allow the US to deliver the highest, most uniform standard of education to learners everywhere regardless of how wealthy or impoverished their community. Equal education could truly mean equal quality and an equal opportunity regardless of geography and its highly likely we’d save money doing it.
I haven’t read this in its entirety, I don’t always agree with the Wall Street Journal but it was one of the few publications that recently covered the issue of vaccine injury and the liability limits of the pharmaceutical industry. There are also limits established by government when an “epidemic” is formally announced, I’ll have to do some additional digging to find that information.
Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23, 2009
One of the little-noticed reasons that Wyeth was attractive enough to command a $68 billion price for rival Pfizer Inc.’s planned takeover sits in a building catty-corner from the White House across Pennsylvania Avenue. That is where a special “vaccines court” hears cases brought by parents who claim their children have been harmed by routine vaccinations.
The court — and the law that established it more than two decades ago — buffers Wyeth and other makers of childhood-disease vaccines from much of the litigation risk that dogs traditional pill manufacturers and is an important reason why the vaccine business has been transformed from a risky, low-profit venture in the 1970s to one of the pharmaceutical industry’s most attractive product lines today.
The legal shield, known as the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, was put into place in 1986 to encourage the development of vaccines, a mainstay of the nation’s public-health policy. A spate of lawsuits against vaccine makers in the 1970s and 1980s had caused dozens of companies to get out of the low-profit business, creating a public-health scare.
Often the fruits and vegetables sold in the supermarket carry a sticker with a PLU code, that code doesn’t just tell the cashier how to ring up your produce it tells you how the food was grown and whether or not it was genetically modified.
Produce that has been conventionally grown consists of 4 numbers and organically grown produce has 5 numbers prefaced with the number 9. The PLU code on produce that has been genetically modified also has five numbers but the number is prefaced with the number 8.
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I’ve followed the opinions of Dr. Mercola for over a decade, he does a good job of separating industry driven hype from consumer-centric need-to-know facts. Since I found the information helpful I’m passing the link on to you.
American health officials declared a public health emergency as cases of swine flu were confirmed in the U.S. Health officials across the world fear this could be the leading edge of a global pandemic emerging from Mexico, where seven people are confirmed dead as a result of the new virus.
On Wednesday April 29th, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its pandemic alert level to five on its six-level threat scale,1 which means they’ve determined that the virus is capable of human-to-human transmission. The initial outbreaks across North America reveal an infection already traveling at higher velocity than did the last official pandemic strain, the 1968 Hong Kong flu.
Phase 5 had never been declared since the warning system was introduced in 2005 in response to the avian influenza crisis. Phase 6 means a pandemic is under way.
Several nations have imposed travel bans, or made plans to quarantine air travelers2 that present symptoms of the swine flu despite the fact that WHO now openly states it is not possible to contain the spread of this infection and recommends mitigation measures, not restricting travel or closing borders.
***update 10.22.2009 There is no compensation for individuals injured by the current swine flu vaccine and you can’t sue your doctor even in instances of gross negligence.