Saturday, July 25, 2009

Who Are the Uninsured?

The administration and its allies in the health care debate keep reminding us of the urgency of extending health insurance coverage to the 47 million people in this country who don't have it, but who are these people who are uninsured?

It turns out that most of them could be covered under existing plans, and many of the rest are illegal aliens and shouldn't be covered anyway.

Ramirez breaks it down for us:

See here for more data on the uninsured.


Presidential Prayer

President Obama has admitted something (besides that he's a smoker) certain to win him the enmity of liberals everywhere. After all, it was just such an admission by George Bush that got him clobbered by the secular left, so we can expect that these folks'll be similarly dismayed and scornful of Mr. Obama:

President Barack Obama says he's gone from praying nightly before going to bed to praying all the time because he has a "lot of stuff" on his plate and needs "guidance all the time."

Obama made the comments in an interview to air Thursday on ABC's "Nightline."

Obama says he thinks every president has been humbled by the number of issues they have had to deal with. He says he thinks they are quickly cured of the illusion that one person can solve all those problems.

When George Bush acknowledged his dependence upon prayer he was mercilessly ridiculed by some in the lefty media for thinking he had God's ear and that God might actually give him guidance. Surely, the sense of fairness and objectivity prized by such people will lead them to begin directing the same sort of scoffing and jeering at President Obama any day now.

Why are you laughing?


Common Sense

Susan Estrich is a liberal Democrat who has managed Democrat campaigns and served as an advisor to President Clinton and other Democrat politicians. She certainly has no political axe to grind so it's interesting that she would write this column, not because it brings a needed dose of common sense to the health care debate but because it makes President Obama seem kind of, well, irresponsible. Here's an excerpt:

The president is "not familiar" with the bill. No one can explain how it will work yet, as Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., told a contentious town meeting. There are various plans, and negotiations are still in the early stages. But whatever it is, we should be for it.

Am I missing something?

We're only talking about our health and our kids' health, the things my mother, may she rest in peace, told me a thousand times are the only things worth caring about. If you have your health, you have everything. And if you don't, what in the world matters more than the best health care in the world, which is found right here?

Not by everybody, mind you, and not cheaply, for anybody. No one's suggesting for a moment that there aren't major problems with both access and cost. But the best health care in the world is still here, and before we take steps that could make things much worse, I'd like to be very certain that they will indeed make things much better.

Read the rest of her essay at the link.


Minimally Conscious State

Some people have been saying this along, but now there's solid evidence to back it up. Not everyone who is in a coma is completely unaware of what's happening to them. More significantly, some who are diagnosed as comatose are able to feel pain but unable to communicate that fact. New Scientist has the story. Here's part of it:

If there's one thing worse than being in a coma, it's people thinking you are in one when you aren't. Yet a new comparison of methods for detecting consciousness suggests that around 40 per cent of people diagnosed as being in a vegetative state are in fact "minimally conscious".

In the worst case scenario, such misdiagnoses could influence the decision to allow a patient to die, even though they have some vestiges of consciousness. But crucially it may deprive patients of treatments to make them more comfortable, more likely to recover, or to allow them to communicate with family, say researchers.

In a vegetative state (VS), reflexes are intact and the patient can breathe unaided, but there is no awareness. A minimally conscious state (MCS) is a sort of twilight zone, only recently recognised, in which people may feel some physical pain, experience some emotion, and communicate to some extent. However, because consciousness is intermittent and incomplete in MCS, it can be sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between the two.

Of the 44 patients diagnosed as being in a vegetative state by the clinicians, the researchers diagnosed 18, or 41 per cent, as being in a MCS according to the CRS-R.

"We may have become much too comfortable about our ability to detect consciousness," concludes Joseph Giacino who did the study at the JFK Rehabilitation Institute in New Jersey. "I think it's appropriate for there to be some level of alarm about this."

I think that's a considerable understatement. Remember the smug confidence bordering on arrogance of those who argued that Terry Schiavo could be starved and dehydrated to death without experiencing pain? I wonder what they're saying now.