Health Care | St. Louis Public Radio

Health Care

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 29, 2009 - Health-care reform has engendered a broad public debate around a variety of related issues. Except for one that has been largely ignored. The most vulnerable members of our society, our children, are under-served by the health-care industry and the health-care public safety net due to a limited availability of pediatric physicians to care for their primary and special needs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 27, 2009 - At Ascension Health, we believe there can be only one goal or destination for health reform: 100 percent access and 100 percent coverage for all people in America. As Congress continues to debate various plans and proposals to reform America's health-care system, we encourage the members to keep in mind the scope of the problem.

When one examines the American health-care system, the facts are sobering.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 24, 2009 - When I was a young physician in the Navy, a Marine colonel told me, "Where you sit, determines what you see." As the latest round of health reform heats up, and as media ads appear cautioning change or extolling the virtues of aspects of the proposed health reform laws, I again recall his words.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 21, 2009 - A key reason Lisa Hill of Webster Groves supported Barack Obama for president was his campaign promise to change the nation's health care system.

On Tuesday night, Hill sought to help the president fulfill that pledge by hosting one of hundreds of phone-bank events held in Missouri and across the country. Their purpose: To encourage rank-and-file Democrats and independents to press Congress to pass Democratic-backed health-care proposals, including a public health-insurance option.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 20, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is the prime target today of various groups in favor of revamping the nation's health-care system -- and including a public insurance option.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 16, 2009 - For all the sound and fury about President Barack Obama's plan to overhaul health care, one curious fact stands out:

Obama has no plan of his own. The White House was wary of repeating the blunder of President Bill Clinton. In 1993, Clinton dumped a detailed health-care bill onto Congress -- and watched in dismay as his 1,342-page plan sank of its own weight.

Health check (Part 4): All the presidents' plans

Oct 14, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 14, 2009 - By making the case for a health-care overhaul, Barack Obama joins the ranks of seven other American presidents who grappled with the issue.

Of the seven earlier presidents, only one carried the day -- and only with Medicare and Medicaid, which restricted reform to the aged and the penniless.

SciFest 09: Dancing doctors prescribe tango

Oct 12, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 12, 2009 - By day, Fred Chu is an ophthalmologist and Anita Chu is a neurologist. But by night, they are tango aficionados. At their SciFest session Saturday, "Tango to Your Health," the two physicians combined their passions to explain how tango can improve health, both mental and physical.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 11, 2009 - Historians often write about "American exceptionalism" -- the feeling among Americans that their country stands apart from all the rest.

But when it comes to health care, America stands under all the rest.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 8, 2009 - As former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. contemplates a bid for Tennessee governor or other elective post, he also is pondering some of the dilemmas facing a fellow Democrat now in office, President Barack Obama.

Ford's presidential suggestions:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 5, 2009 - At the health-care hearing, one senator leaned forward to utter dark words:

"We simply don't know if more is better. We do know, however, that more is terribly expensive and is pushing the nation's medical-care system toward a major crisis."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 1, 2009 - In my last column , I discussed two issues that have galvanized opposition to government-sponsored health care reform: choice and privacy. Though these concerns are both reasonable and legitimate, I pointed out that many of the intrusions that critics fear the most are already taking place under the bureaucratic regulations of private insurance providers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 24, 2009 - Listen: Barack Obama has a plan. His not so hidden agenda would impact the lives of every living American and would fundamentally alter the basic character of the country. He wants you, your loved ones and yes, even your defenseless children, to have ... health insurance!

[Insert sinister chortle here: “Bwa-ha-ha-ha!”]

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 23, 2009 - Lunch hour outside the downtown office of insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was a bit noisy Tuesday, as at least 100 supporters of changing the nation's health-care system shouted and waved signs to emphasize their concerns.

The demonstration in St. Louis was organized by the Missouri Health Care for America Now coalition and was part of a “National Day of Action” organized by pro-change groups. Locally, they include various labor groups and the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 18, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has a reputation as one of President Barack Obama's biggest fans in the Senate.

But this week, she appeared to flex her independent muscles -- just a little.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 8, 2009 - In an average year, inflation nibbles away a bit more than 3 percent of our buying power. But for health care, inflation takes a big bite -- about 6 percent a year, year in and year out.

What makes this inflationary afterburner kick in? Why does American health care cost so much?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 3, 2009 - Missouri state Sen. Chuck Purgason says he's tired of being ignored by U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, as both Republicans seek their party's nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Purgason, R-Caulfield, sent out a statement late Wednesday asking why Blunt called for a joint news conference Thursday with the announced Democrat, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, to discuss their differences on health care.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 22, 2009 - Lots of signs, a few musical instruments and a couple bullhorns.

But for the most part, no costumes.

And according to participants and police, no punches.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 21, 2009 - At the heart of the current ruckus over health-care reform is an all-American notion that historians say is deeply embedded in the arguments on either side of the debate:

We the People distrust big government, big business and big institutions.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 20, 2009 - As President Barack Obama and members of Congress continue debating health-care in forums across the country, groups on both side of the issue in the St. Louis area are pressing for their side to be heard.

Those in favor of health-care changes, including religious leaders, business executives and health officials, made spirited pleas at a news conference at the Family Care Health Center in south St. Louis for passage of a bill that would provide comprehensive insurance coverage for everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, at a cost that is affordable.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When it comes to health-care rationing, the discussions can be anything but rational.

In the current highly charged atmosphere over changes in health care, "rationing" is one of the hottest buttons around. Yet any debate over how medical resources can be used most wisely inevitably reaches the fact that because demand outstrips supply, patients can't ever get everything they want, so some form of allocation is needed. That's what rationing is all about.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 19, 2009 - When it comes to health-care rationing, the discussions can be anything but rational.

In the current highly charged atmosphere over changes in health care, "rationing" is one of the hottest buttons around. Yet any debate over how medical resources can be used most wisely inevitably reaches the fact that because demand outstrips supply, patients can't ever get everything they want, so some form of allocation is needed. That's what rationing is all about.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 16, 2009 - They came from sharply different perspectives, but somehow they managed to engage each other on health-care reform in Illinois without ending up in the hospital.

No flying fists. No kicks in the head. No blood or bruises. No death threats. No comparisons to Hitler. No swastikas and demonizing of serious proposals as "downright evil." No badgering. No raucous flexing of free-speech rights to smother those of others. None of the belligerence and foment that's been seen on the national health-care front.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 11, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., often was drowned out Tuesday by her audience packing a gym in Hillsboro for a public form on health care.

But the frequent roars of disapproval didn't curb her resolve to listen to them -- and have them hear from her.

At one point, McCaskill told the crowd tha a law enforcement officer asked if she wanted to leave and end the noisy session early. "Not on your life," she said, touching off cheers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 10, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill's first recess forum went off without incident this morning at Southeast Missouri State University in Kennett, Mo.

The room was packed, her aides say, and most of the questions were about proposed changes in the nation's health care system.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 10, 2009 - Why did Britain adopt a National Health Plan in 1948? Why hasn't the U.S.? Taking into account that the British are less afraid of large government and have not reified the private sector, a large part of the answer comes down to form of government. Although Britain and the United States are both representative democracies, each functions according to very different rules. These rules affect how political parties operate and the degree of difficulty in adopting new programs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 7, 2009 - The University City school district has canceled a healthcare forum with Sen. Claire McCaskill scheduled for Tuesday because of the "escalation of violence" at such meetings across the country, a school spokesman said late Friday.

The word came as the St. Louis Tea Party  prepared for a noon rally on Saturday outside the St. Louis offices of the Service Employees International Union as a follow-up to the two sides' confrontation at U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan's forum Thursday night.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 4, 2009 - If a picture is worth 1,000 words, the organizational chart for the House Democrats' health-care plan that was showcased by Rep. Todd Akin on Tuesday spoke volumes.

The colorful diagram isn't official. It was devised by Akin's fellow Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking GOP member of the Joint Economic Committee, who says he wanted to try to figure out exactly how the plan would work. The result is a byzantine graphic that has more arrows pointing in more different directions than the Poplar Street Bridge complex.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 4, 2009 - Right now, health-care reform is right at the top of the national agenda. Local, state and national politicians are setting up camp around issues important to them. They hold press conferences and release numbers. Interest groups -- ranging from business to drug companies -- are lobbying Congress.

But what about the people who work in the trenches of health care? The emergency room doctor, the hospital administrator, the home health care nurse, the physical therapist, the family doctor, the specialist?

Missouri gets mixed report card on child well-being

Jul 29, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2009 - Missouri ranks 33rd among U.S. states when it comes to child well-being, a new study says.

Since 2000, Missouri has improved on four child-welfare indicators: child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate and the percentage of teens who are high-school dropouts. However, it did worse on three indicators: the percentage of low-birthweight babies, infant mortality rate and child poverty rate.

Pages