Summary of “Sky-High Deductibles Broke the U.S. Health Insurance System”

When Carla Jordan and her husband were hit with a cascade of serious medical issues, she knew that at least her family had health insurance through her job.
Health plans similar to the Jordans’ that put patients on the hook for many thousands of dollars are widespread and growing, but some employers are beginning to have second thoughts.
“Why did we design a health plan that has the ability to deliver a $1,000 surprise to employees?” Shawn Leavitt, a senior human resources executive at Comcast Corp., said at a conference in May. “That’s kind of stupid.” A handful of companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and CVS Health Corp., have recently announced plans to reduce deductibles or cover more care before workers are exposed to the cost.
Half of all workers now have health insurance with a deductible of at least $1,000 for an individual, up from 22 percent in 2009, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Carla’s job teaching computer science classes at a local high school gave them steady income and health benefits.
“I had one friend who was bankrupted with a health plan,” Gawande said at the Spotlight Health event in Aspen, Colorado, on Saturday.
About five years ago, CVS switched all of its 200,000 employees and their families to health-insurance plans with high deductibles.
She pointed out that health insurance companies’ stock prices, not to mention industry executive salaries, were both soaring, while the thousands of dollars in premiums she paid protected neither her family’s health nor its finances.

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Summary of “Is This the Hospital That Will Finally Push the Expensive U.S. Health Care System to Innovate?”

What if you could provide excellent care at ultra-low prices at a location close to the U.S.? That’s what Narayana Health did in 2014 by opening a hospital in the Cayman Islands – Health City Cayman Islands – which was close to America but outside its regulatory ambit.
As we explain in Reverse Innovation in Health Care, Narayana Health’s founder, Dr. Devi Shetty, wanted to disrupt U.S. health care with this venture, set up in partnership with America’s largest not-for-profit hospital network, Ascension.
Narayana Health brought innovative practices honed in India to HCCI to offer first-rate care for 25-40% of U.S. prices.
Despite low prices, HCCI’s outcomes were excellent with a mortality rate of zero – true value-based care.
Narayana Health leveraged relations with its suppliers in India, where it enjoyed lower prices because of volume discounts, to get similar advantages at HCCI. For instance, all FDA approved medicines were purchased at one-tenth the cost for the same medicines in the U.S. HCCI could buy equipment for one-third or half as much it would cost in the U.S. HCCI outsourced back-office operations – human resources, accounting, finance, medical transcription, radiology – to low-cost but high-skilled employees in India.
The HCCI model is potentially very disruptive to U.S. health care.
This is bound to change, especially as HCCI builds a track record and health care costs continue to soar in the U.S. A team of American doctors that visited HCCI came away with this warning: “The Cayman Health City might be one of the disruptors that finally pushes the overly expensive U.S. system to innovate.”
Bottom line: U.S. health care providers can afford to ignore experiments like HCCI at their own peril.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The science behind the Mediterranean diet might be flawed thanks to a retraction of a major study”

In 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published a landmark study that found that people put on a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower chance of heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease than people on a low-fat diet.
Yesterday the journal retracted the study-providing a new reason for skepticism about how effective the now-popular Mediterranean diet really is.
One was the 2013 NEJM article on the Mediterranean diet.
The study was supposed to randomly assign participants to either the Mediterranean diet with a minimum of four extra tablespoons of olive oil a day, the same diet but with at least an ounce of mixed nuts, or a low-fat diet.
The end result is that the study’s overall findings are still accurate in one sense: There is a correlation between the Mediterranean diet and better health outcomes.
In another sense, the paper was entirely wrong: the Mediterranean diet does not cause better health outcomes.
This retraction is another blow to the public perception of the Mediterranean diet as a touchstone for healthy eating, weight loss, longevity, and disease-risk mitigation.
A major study in 2017 found that if you adjusted for income, the diet doesn’t actually improve heart health: Only wealthy people get the cardiovascular benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Use This ‘Pain Scale’ to Assess Your Mental Health”

If you’ve ever been in the hospital recovering from a surgery, you know the health care providers will ask you to “Rate” your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, so they can administer pain relief if you need it.
Assessing mental-health distress doesn’t have a simple 1-10 scale, because mental health isn’t as straightforward as physical pain.
People suffering from depression, anxiety, or other disorders might find it helpful to take a look at this “Mental health pain scale” to assess how they’re feeling from day to day.
Rori, the blogger behind The Graceful Patient, created one for herself when she felt like patients needed a shorthand to communicate the state of their mental health, from Level 1 to Level 10.How To Feed Yourself When You’re Depressed.
There are, as she points out, other mental-health assessment tools, like the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, which can help you and your health care provider determine how worrisome your symptoms are.
For a shorter, to-the-point communiqué, it might be easier to say “I’m at a Level 8.”.
Is this a day when you’re just a little frustrated, or is it a day when usually easy things are becoming difficult? Is this a day when you should reach out to your therapist or call a friend? Mental-health issues can have a “Frog in boiling water” aspect to them-sometimes you don’t know how bad things have gotten, and a clear assessment can help.
Here’s hoping for a good long stretch of Level 1..

The orginal article.

Summary of “Boost Your Retirement Fund With These Minor Lifestyle Changes”

Taking care of your health is an important part of your financial well-being-but you don’t need to make drastic changes to reap the benefits.
Turns out, simply following your doctor’s orders more closely could lead to a healthier retirement fund.
According to data recently analyzed by HealthyCapital, a 45-year-old man with a chronic condition like high blood pressure “Can save an average of $3,285 annually over his lifetime” by making adjustments like taking his medications as prescribed and cutting back on his sodium intake.
“To put this into perspective, if this person invested the annual savings into a typical retirement portfolio, he could generate an additional $100,348 for retirement by age 65,” the report finds.
A 45 year-old-man with diabetes who makes minor changes will save an estimated $2,788 a year in health care costs before retirement, totaling $86,117 if invested.
While the report uses a 45-year-old as the case study, it’s never too late to start taking better care of your health.
The report notes that “50 percent of Americans diagnosed with a chronic condition do not take their prescribed medication after six months,” which is especially true for people with high blood pressure because they may not physically notice results from taking their medication.
It may seem like common sense, but it drives home an important point: You have some control over your habits and your health, and simple changes can dramatically increase your standard of living.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Activists fight for single-payer health care in U.S.”

S the poor rankings of American health care compared to those of the rest of the developed world.
The event is a town hall sponsored by the Cleveland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America to explain Medicare f.or All, the proposed expansion to the rest of the population of the half-century-old system that pays for health care for people over 65.
Faust is one of the most prominent of a band of activists who have rallied to the cause of expanding health care, which for him means going beyond Obamacare to the kind of single-payer system – the single payer being the federal government – proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, in a bill he introduced last year.
Made him one of the left’s favorite health care activists.
Faust views single-payer care as the first step toward his desired goal of health justice.
Eighteen states are currently dealing with a “Medicaid gap,” in which their Republican state governments chose not to use the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provision, which provides federal funds to help low-income Americans get health care.
More.The campaign began last summer, when Emily Strizich, her husband, Garrett, and their friend Luke Mayville traveled the state in an old green RV – which they affectionately dubbed the Medicaid Mobile – talking to people about potential health care options.
The organization found success in Maine last fall, when 59 percent voted yes on a Medicaid expansion that would provide health care to an estimated 70,000 low-income residents.

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Summary of “Young People Are Lonelier Than Their Elders”

Young People Are Lonelier Than Their Elders : Shots – Health News A nationwide survey by health insurer Cigna finds that loneliness is widespread in America.
Using one of the best-known tools for measuring loneliness – the UCLA Loneliness Scale – Cigna surveyed 20,000 adults online across the country.
People scoring 43 and above were considered lonely in the Cigna survey, with a higher score suggesting a greater level of loneliness and social isolation.
The survey found that the average loneliness score in America is 44, which suggests that “Most Americans are considered lonely,” according to the report released Tuesday by the health insurer.
The results are consistent with other previous research, says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University, who studies loneliness and its health effects.
Several studies in recent years, including ones by Holt-Lunstad, have documented the public health effect of loneliness.
The Greatest Generation, people ages 72 and above, had a score of 38.6 on the loneliness scale.
The Cigna survey didn’t find a correlation between social media use and feelings of loneliness.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Are G.M.O. Foods Safe?”

An analysis of 76 studies published in February in Scientific Reports by researchers in Pisa, Italy, found that genetically engineered corn has a significantly higher yield than non-genetically modified varieties and contains lower amounts of toxins commonly produced by fungi.
By engineering resistance to insect damage, farmers have been able to use fewer pesticides while increasing yields, which enhances safety for farmers and the environment while lowering the cost of food and increasing its availability.
Yields of corn, cotton and soybeans are said to have risen by 20 percent to 30 percent through the use of genetic engineering.
Wider adoption of genetic engineering, especially in African and Asian countries that still spurn the technology, could greatly increase the food supply in areas where climate change will increasingly require that crops can grow in dry and salty soils and tolerate temperature extremes.
Gene modification scientists are focusing increasingly on building health benefits into widely used foods.
In addition to pink pineapples containing the tomato-based antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes are being engineered to contain the antioxidant-rich purple pigment from blueberries.
The bottom line: Consumers concerned about the growing use of G.M.O.s in the foods they depend on might consider taking a more nuanced approach than blanket opposition.
Rather than wholesale rejection, take some time to learn about how genetic engineering works and the benefits it can offer now and in the future as climate change takes an ever greater toll on food supplies.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Just being outside can improve your psychological health, and maybe your physical health too”

Reason one: Just being in a wooded area boosts your immune system.
These cells provide rapid responses to virus-infected cells and respond to tumor formation, and are associated with immune system health and cancer prevention.
Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better-inhaling phytoncides seems to actually improve immune system function.
As we’ve come to understand better over the past decade of research, our immune system depends on the health of our gut microbiome-which in turn depends partly on how much of the natural world’s microbiome we let infiltrate our bodies.
Evidence is growing to suggest our immune system is linked to our brain, which means it’s likely that nature’s microbiome plays a big role in our mental health, too.
Exposure to the bacteria in soil, specifically, appears to be good for mental health, and is being investigated as a treatment for depression.
The more we learn about the health benefits of exposure to the outdoors, the more it seems like a good idea to spend more time in them.
Researchers have found that just looking at the sea or at trees can have health benefits.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Bill Of The Month: Hospital’s CT Scan Cost 33 Times An Imaging Center’s”

Bill Of The Month: Hospital’s CT Scan Cost 33 Times An Imaging Center’s : Shots – Health News Why is the price of a CT scan 33 times higher in a hospital emergency room than in an outpatient imaging center just down the street?
The doctor, John Ardesia, checked him out and referred him to a nearby imaging center for a CT scan, or CAT scan as it used to be called.
Medical procedure: A CT scan, which uses X-rays to create cross-sectional images of the body.
Hynden got his October scan at Summerlin Imaging Center, a stand-alone facility in Fort Myers that offers a range of diagnostic tests, including X-rays, MRI and CT scans.
Summerlin’s office manager, Kimberly Papiska, says the maximum the center ever bills for a CT scan is $1,200.
The rates insurance companies pay are usually less than $300. Hynden was shocked when he got the second CT scan in January, and the listed price was $8,897 – 33 times what he paid for the first test.
Healthcare Bluebook, an online pricing tool, says the range for an abdominal CT scan with contrast, like Hynden had, in Fort Myers is between $474 and about $3,700.
So Lee Health and other dominant hospital systems mark up most of their services on their master price lists – the list that prices a CT scan at Lee Health at $8,897.

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