Thursday , September 21 2023
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Bill Haskell

Articles by Bill Haskell

$Billions meant to help patients afford drugs are being diverted

1 day ago

This is the second part of the ABC 6 On Your Side web series on hidden reasons for high drug costs, we’ll show you why you may never see that aid. If you had time, you may have read Part One. It covered how Ohio HB 135 lingered till it died by not taking the bill up in the Senate Health Committee. A bill designed to cut drug prices for many Ohioans HB 135 won unanimous approval in the House last year. The  bipartisan passed measure with 60 co-sponsors seemed to be good bet to become law.

I rewrote much of this to make it easier to understand and also checked the links to see if what was said matched the links. It is a good piece and provides examples of how PBMs are gaming the system.

Part 2, Billions meant to help patients afford drugs being

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Seeking the reasons for the death for HB 135

2 days ago

This is Part 1 of a three-part story of how politics and delays backed by commercial interests and business sponsor groups delayed and eventually killed a bill meant to aid Ohio citizens. Kind of a forerunner to what may happen if Congress ever promotes a bill for healthcare-for-all. I will post the other two parts over the next two days,

We sought a cause of death for HB 135. We found it … and something far bigger, WSYX, Darrel Rowland

Part 1 of a 3-part investigation

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — When a bill designed to cut drug prices for many Ohioans won unanimous approval in the House last year, the bipartisan measure with 60 co-sponsors seemed a good bet to become law.

But House Bill 135 didn’t even get a hearing in the Senate until nearly

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United Auto Workers Go on Strike

5 days ago

The action by the United Auto Workers is part of a burst of labor activism attempting to reverse a decades-long trend. The trend as noted in the following graph.

How the Latest Labor Strikes Are Attempting to Reverse Decades-Long Trends, The New York Times, David Leonhardt.

(If you are having issues linking to this article to read the rest of it, you can subscribe to NYT and can read a few articles for free.)

Some of the story (you can read the rest on the NYT) . . .

The current burst of labor activism, in the auto industry, Hollywood, Amazon warehouses, Starbucks stores and elsewhere, is an attempt to reverse these trends. The United Auto Workers, for example, agreed to large pay cuts for new workers when the industry was near

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Being Polite

6 days ago

I am seeing issues with commenting. I want to touch on the topic a bit.

Being off topic.

Attacks on the poster rather than discussing the article.

Long copy and pastes to specific articles. Too many of them also. Open threads can be “reasonably” used for such.
Be polite in your comments.

Joel and I are open to comments. We do not critique how you write something, its wording, etc. We may agree or disagree. When a comment goes awry, off topic, attacks another or the author, or focuses on the blog owners or others; the comment is not acceptable. It does not help Angry Bear blog either.

You may end up in the trash.

Be kind to the authors. If you do not understand, ask a question. Do NOT critique the writing of the person.

We are

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REACHing” for Equity . . . Moving away from Regressive to Progressive Value-Based Payment

7 days ago

“REACHing” for Equity — Moving from Regressive toward Progressive Value-Based Payment, NEJM, Suhas Gondi, Karen Joynt Maddox, and Rishi K. Wadhera.

A pretty good take on Value Based Payment Programs and what are the issues. Keep in mind, who determines what the value is to the patient. What is the rub here. Who ascertains the degree of value or is it just the profit motive driving this program also. Just like Medicare Advantage . . . service and care with no foundation supporting it.

The movement toward value-based payment has been a defining feature of U.S. health care reform during the past decade. Despite substantial enthusiasm and investment, however, these efforts have been largely disappointing. Most Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

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Healthcare Debt Nearly Pushed Them On to the Streets

8 days ago

The article (example) is about one person suffering from an ailment at 19. Hospitalized at an out-of-network facility, the burden of costs for treatment were his responsibility due to insurance denial. A particular issue with commercial healthcare insurance not covering the costs of treatment because you went to the wrong doctor, etc. for care. More on his case after the intro.

There are more than 100 million people in America caught up in healthcare debt trap from which there is no escape. Of the 100 million, forty-one percent are adults. They are caught up in a debt-fee system holding them hostage to healthcare debt, becoming deeper as they attempt to pay it off over time. Credit cards are a feature of healthcare and its associated debt. Credit

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Gunning for More VA Privatization

9 days ago

I use the Veterans Administration also. I do not use it as widely as I could and I am ineligible for some of the care I really need. This does not mean it doesn’t offer the care I might need. I leave it for those who can not go elsewhere and maybe do not have insurance. I was based out of Lejuene and did drink and bath in the water. Been exposed and I believe it has had an impact on my blood. Just try and prove it though.

It is discouraging to see the Senator from AZ, Sinema working against veterans. Good read as done by Suzanne Gordon and Steve Early.

Gunning for More VA Privatization, The American Prospect, Suzanne Gordon and Steve Early, July 2023.

Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was one of many federal budget items

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The NPR program, This American Life and Student Loans

10 days ago

Interview Request:  The NPR program, “This American Life,” is looking for people living outside the US to interview about their student loans.  They have done surprisingly strong journalism in the past.  If this is you, please send an email to: [email protected]

If you are outside of the United States and have Student Loans, “This American Life” may want to talk to you. The program is looking for people who have left the United States due to the burden of these ever-growing loans. NPR has contacted Alan Collinge at Student Loan Justice to alert his one million followers of a chance to talk about their loans and why they left the US.

Beside a domestic audience and contributors, Angry Bear has international commenters and contributors also. If

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Supply-Side Expansion Driving the Decline in Inflation

10 days ago

This is a good take on what has driven the decline in inflation or at least it is what I believe. Mike has an explanation on the Phillip Curve within his article. I skipped by it as I felt it was addition to the supply side explanation. Or not needed as a part of the explanation.

Supply-Side Expansion Has Driven the Decline in Inflation, Roosevelt Institute, Mike Konczal

“After two years of persistently rising prices, inflation has finally decelerated in the first half of 2023. The most recent three-month annualized change in the core Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index (PCE), which excludes volatile energy and food prices, was 2.9 percent—compared with 4.4 percent a year ago or 4.6 percent in January of this year.

The deceleration

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Integrity Use to Be a Valuable Commodity in New Home Building

11 days ago

Our first new home purchase. I knew we were to have issues and would be working through them. It was new and something we had not had before.

Arizona’s Registrar of Contractors says they are seeing an uptick in complaints against new home builders. Residents in Maricopa City is south of Phoenix where state highway 347 leads into the center of town. State Highway 347 is a coarse gravel highway with a speed limit of 65 except nobody obeys the limit or even 5 mph over. Minor point right now compared to the issues with a builder in the Lakes subdivision.

It is not just this builder either. There is Meritage, Horton, Hovnanian, and Gehan (Brightland). So far the later bunch has not been as bad as Richmond as detailed in the article. They all have

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Jimmy Kimmel and Candidate Jimmy McMillan said rents were too high. What about drug prices?

12 days ago

Excellent take on Drug Pricing as written by Dr. N. Adam Brown at MedPage Today. In 2016 the 21st Century Cures Act was passed by the House. The intent was to make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to bring new drugs to market and short cut the clinical trial processes.

Health Affairs had this to say: “Still, we believe the bill’s potential benefits and modestly enhanced funding for scientific advancement are far outweighed by the increased risk of patient harm, and added pressure on the FDA to rush new products to market without adequate evidence. The current 21st Century Cures Act would not drive innovation. Instead, it represents a poor deal for patients.”

The NIH does provide funds for new drugs and bringing drugs to market. Patents

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Anchor Brewing is on its last kegs, sorry its last legs.

13 days ago

Another story where culture clash and the company buying the business does not understand the process. How that would happen, I am not sure. However, this is a clash of cultures and a misunderstanding of the company’s capabilities.

Anchor Brewing and Its Workers

Anchor Brewing is on its last kegs, sorry its last legs. and just a few months ago. But its staff, unable to let go, started drafting a plan to rescue the beermaker-in-distress. Now, the 127-year-old brewery’s six-year-old union is more than halfway to raising enough money to buy it out.

The few dozen employees in the union can’t afford to buy Anchor Brewing  out  of  pocket, but an outpouring of community support will likely do the trick. A GoFundMe campaign to buy the brewery,

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No Labels, no fables, no third-party betrayals

14 days ago

In 2016, we had the Clinton v trump election. And trump won via three states swinging to the Repub vot via the anybody but trump or Clinton. There is not argument here and I have presented the data several times. Disney characters, other nonliving entities, pets, and other characters were voted for in the national election. The vote for “others” went up 4-6 times in 2016 as opposed to 2012 and dropping again in 2020. The three states in which this occurred were Michigan (where I was living), Wisconsin (where I had lived previously), and also Pennsylvania. Dems knew in Michigan there was trouble severall weeks before the election. The national party did not respond to calls for help.

Here we are again with “No Labels” more than likely promoting the

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Ford UAW Contract Offer Includes Pay Increases, Tiers Eliminated

15 days ago

I am watching the evolution of the American automotive industry from combustion engine driven vehicles to electric driven vehicles. It is interesting to hear about all the potential blood to be spilled as management eventually whacks labor and plants to make the move from combustion to electric vehicles. It is inevitable as a new workforce must be trained and the old one phased out as the vroom-vroom is no longer manufactured. By no means should this have been so drastic. The one thing automotive has never learned is to phase massive technology interventions into its business model. It is always an oh crap moment, we are late to the game and then they over-do.

So, as a result of it’s delayed response to EV technology, Ford is running two business

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What makes ultra-processed foods so bad for your health?

16 days ago

Not too much has changed in the process food industry. Baloney, salami, hot dogs, sweet rolls, etc. are still the same. Process foods consists of any “raw agricultural commodities that have been washed, cleaned, milled, cut, chopped, heated, pasteurized, blanched, cooked, canned, frozen, dried, dehydrated, mixed or packaged or anything done to them altering their natural state.”

It also includes adding preservatives, flavors, nutrients and other food additives, or substances approved for use in food products, such as salt, sugars and fats.

Ultra-processed foods are made mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated fats. Also included are additives like artificial colors and flavors or

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Impact of low-value care received by Medicare beneficiaries outside of their health systems

17 days ago

The topic is important as too much resource and funds may be being spent on care with little return. Eighty-one percent of combined low value care was by out of network clinicians of which 90% was by specialists. There is some issues here. If I can find more detail, I will revise this short blurb.

The impact of low-value care received by Medicare beneficiaries outside of their health systems (, Timothy Dean.

Results from a new study conducted by a team of researchers at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital was published in the August issue of Health Affairs. The study reveals a substantial portion (nearly half) of low-value care being received by Medicare beneficiaries

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How Big is a Burger King Whopper?

18 days ago

Burger King Whopper is 4 ounces. A Wendy;s single is 4 ounces.

The real question is, can you misrepresent a product in advertising? Everyone may know the product is not what it is claimed to be. However, does this relieve the seller of responsibility for misrepresentation? The ten and fifteen cent McDonald’s burgers were tiny at the time. The McDonalds Quarter Pounder weighs 4.25 ounces. Did McDonalds brag of their size? or is it all in what you call it? What constitutes a Whopper?

Burger King can’t ignore customers’ beef over its Whopper size,, Diego Lasarte

Burger King lost its bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the burger joint of exaggerating the size of its popular Whopper offering.

Roy Altman, a federal judge in Miami, said

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Rule Changes Offer Little Relief as Student Loan Payments Resume

19 days ago

If I was new to this dilemma, I would believe this is better news than prior announcements. But it is not good news, it is news coming too late for the borrowers holding exaggerated debt due to penalties, consolidation fees, interest, interest on that interest, and rate changes. If this was said a decade ago, it might make sense.

It is only now, the Department of Education has caught up with how old some of these loans are today. Why does this matter? If you are in deferment for 20-25 years, you are eligible for forgiveness of the remainer of the loan. This was said to be impossible to do in the past because the loans had been transferred between servicing entities. The age of the loans was claimed to be lost. Yet here we are, Pres. Biden and the

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Payday Lenders Gave Millions to Republicans Backing Efforts to Destroy CFPB

20 days ago

These people are the lowest of the scum. They were always a shady type of business. There efforts were to target low-income neighborhoods. There actions are to keep their customers victims on a never-ending cycle of dependence through predatory practices. The high-interest rates and fees makes it difficult for borrowers to repay the loan. It results in a cycle of debt. Accordingly, and more recent, states have banned the practice of payday loans. However, some unscrupulous lenders have gotten around these bans by opening storefronts on Native-American reservations. Payday lenders are problematic. The more serious issue are the scammers taking advantage of the borrowers, even after they’ve paid the loans back.

According to lifestyle blog

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Open Thread August 31, 2023 Mixed News Topics

21 days ago

Not Everything We Call Cancer Should Be Called Cancer,

The NYPD Denied Our Request for Body Camera Footage of a “Friendly Fire” Killing. Here’s How We Got It Anyway, ProPublica, Mike Hayes.

Clarence Thomas officially discloses private jet trips on GOP donor Harlan Crow’s plane, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue and Devan Cole.

Stay away from Arizona. That’s what Canada essentially is telling its people,, Phil Boas.

Arizona groundwater is in trouble. But how much longer does it have?, Joanna Allhands.

Biden administration picks 10 Medicaid drugs for negotiations,, Ananya Bhattacharya. Two years later, wow!

US applications for jobless claims inch back down as companies hold on to their employees,

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Ford Reveals New Lineup of EV Chargers + a Home Version

22 days ago

This is mostly about commercial charging stations for companies. However, the company does offer a home version which I have added a picture and the pricing. Not cheap. It does solve the issue of where do I charge my vehicle? Not endorsing this as it is early on in the introduction of EVs and barely touching on the economics of an EV.

Still, my Detroit attachment to automotive.

The other factor(s), needing to be brought to the forefront is the cost of materials over time. Materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, rare earths, and other materials supply are adequate and easy to obtain now. As the switch to EVs, etc. rams up, these materials will become less available due to a more a difficult process of obtaining them and a decreasing supply.

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California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act sets in motion a single-payer healthcare coverage

23 days ago

More detail on California’s Single Payer Bill AB1690.

0223 CA Legal Fact Sheet AB1690 CalCare.pdf,


Today’s U.S. health care system is a complex, fragmented multi-payer system that still leaves wide gaps of coverage and poses significant issues of affordability. Despite health care spending in the United States far exceeding other high-income, industrialized countries that offer a publicly financed single-payer system, we consistently report worse health outcomes and disparities among vulnerable populations.

The California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act sets in motion a single-payer healthcare coverage system in California, called CalCare, for all residents, regardless of citizenship status. By

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Union Strikes in the US seem big but the numbers of Americans walking off their jobs remains historically low

25 days ago

This is brief commentary is pulled from several sources. It is meant to be an observation.

In “Union Booms and Busts,” a new book by the authors Judith Stepan-Norris, Jasmine Kerrissey, a review is taken of the shifting fortunes of U.S. labor, their unions, and of employers and their organizations. This is not meant to be a review of the book; but, I am giving credit to where I am taking the information besides other sites mentioned. It is interesting for me as someone who was consulting in manufacturing and understands the costs of manufacturing.

Some History

The number of U.S. workers who go on strike in a given year varies greatly but generally follows broader trends. After World War II ended through 1981, between 1 million and 4 million

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Friendly Fire, Allies tangle over single-payer strategy

27 days ago

California Democrat State Senator Scott Wiener’s (SB770) wants to talk more about single payer which some dispute as even being single payer. Health Care 4 Us (Democrats) join with union nurses in California who champion AB 1690. SB 770, establishes a “working group” to advise the Governor in informal conversations with the federal government about waivers to capture federal funds for a unified financing health care system. The fear being the talking stage could carry as far out as 2028. AB1690 says we have talked enough, lets get this signed off. The Feds will not act till the state passes a bill.

Allies tangle over single-payer strategy, POLITICO, Rachel Bluth, August 2023

FRIENDLY FIRE: Sometimes the loudest opponents can come from your own

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Public funding for bringing transformative drugs to market

28 days ago

AB: It is a government policy to turn the fruits of its research over to private industry without any strings attached. The 1980 Bayh-Dole Act allows the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and universities housing government-funded scientists to patent and transfer (for royalties, of course) their scientific discoveries, research tools, and drug candidates to private developers. Smaller entities are created to do the research and development of new cures of diseases. Once a cure is created, close to, or approved, the larger corporations buy these companies for $billions.

The original developer walks away with hundreds of millions which can be used for new research and development. This occurred before sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) and after the earlier

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Open Thread August 23, 2013 – Starting Aug. 1, the sale of energy inefficient lightbulbs was banned in the US.

29 days ago

A minimum standard for lightbulbs has been set at 45 lumens (brightness) per watt. Most traditional incandescent and halogen lightbulbs won’t make the cut. Switching over from older lightbulbs to newer LED bulbs will “conserve energy and help consumers save on their energy bills.” This according to the rule announced in April last year. Changing Energy Costs, Angry Bear

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Inclusion of Women in Clinical Trials Still an Issue

August 22, 2023

I have written on women being included in clinical trials in 2019. The article I was asked to write included Clinical Trials, reviewing the issues with Essure, and also Maternal Mortality. Three issues which had much detail and information, difficult to cover it all , and could have been much longer. A Woman’s Right to Safe Healthcare Outcomes, Angry Bear.

This article is more recent and includes additional and more up to date detail. The conclusion being (at least to me) there is still issues with Clinical Trials including women. What I have made into an article in a learning module.

Including Women in Clinical Research | Health Inequities, Whitman-Walker Institute’s LGBTQ+, HIV Care and Prevention Training, Eleanor Sarkodie, August 2023

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Science Fiction, The Feeling of Power, and Where are the Holes?

August 22, 2023

Science Fiction

When I was growing up, there as not a time when I did not have a book in my hands and reading. One of my favs was science fiction, another was the Civil War, and then the classics. I stumbled upon a short story about futuristic fighter pilots. The issue to the story being it was an even battle between to waring nations. No one could gain the upper hand as computers determined the tactics only to be countered by other computers. One pilot figured out how to counter the other sides tactics with a calculator and pads of paper and a pencil to which the opposing computer could not calculate a counter. Humans think freely and computers follow a routine. I looked for more of the authors stories and could not find more. I had thought I had

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State and local governments are not spending a majority of American Rescue Plan funds, yet

August 21, 2023

AB: The link below the chart developed by Josh Bivens is to find subsidies or funds granted to towns, cities, counties, and states under the American Rescue Plan Act. For example, one small city i live in was granted $6.7 millions to which they wish to apply for an eight-mile water pipeline to an area northwest of the city. It is for new construction rather than improving the infrastructure they already have in place. Mind you, we are living on the edge of water supplies. Increasing population grants greater state city political power within the state. They still have not spent the funds.

The point being made by Josh, the city government has not spent the money which was meant to stimulate the economy. The same holds true for many other cities,

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Pharma companies use an-all-side attack on the IRA

August 21, 2023

Pharma’s strike-from-all-sides attack on the IRA could be decided by the Supreme Court, PharmaVoice, Alexandra Pecci

Pharma Voice reports Merck & Company and Bristol Myers Squibb in separate lawsuits are filing a multi-directional attack on Biden’s IRA using the first and fifth amendment as the basis for their filing. Industry lobbyists and co-litigants have joined with the two companies and include the Eighth Amendment in their filing in Federal court.

AB: CEO and founder of the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs, says this approach is more likely to be intentional. I guess if you throw enough stones, you have a greater chance of hitting the target of constitutional by way of SCOTUS.

His own statement being:

“They are using a

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