Category Archives: Health Economics

If You Love Peace, Become a “Blue Republican” (Just for a Year)

Interesting idea:

I am aware that the main objection to Ron Paul from the left concerns his belief that private charities and individuals are more effective in maintaining social welfare than the government. To this I ask one question. Do you believe so much in the effectiveness of our current centralized delivery of social welfare that it is worth the war making and the abrogation of civil rights supported by both Bush and Obama’s administrations? Moreover, while Ron Paul would look to transition out of the huge federally run welfare programs in the long-run, that’s not where he wants to start: his immediate fight would be to bring our forces back to the USA and to re-implement the Bill of Rights.

Koerner hit it right on here. This is one of my main concerns with Ron Paul. Another huge and far reaching concern is that he would deregulate like there is no tomorrow, which will end in an ugly corporate rule. I don’t see how he is all that different in the end. I see the same results as any other candidate, just a different road to get there.

Or am I mistaken?


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Storyboard: Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness

Stick a fork in it: In the long term, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is done for.

That’s according to Gary Greenberg, a practicing psychotherapist and author of “Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness,” a feature story in Wired magazine’s January issue about the controversy surrounding the upcoming fifth edition of the DSM, which has been called psychiatry’s bible.

The DSM has been the definitive almanac of psychiatric disease for decades. But the effort to update the book has highlighted the challenge of categorizing slippery, subjective mental states with the same certainty as, say, high blood pressure.

In this edition of the Storyboard podcast, Greenberg and Wired senior editor Bill Wasik join regular host Adam Rogers for a mind-bending conversation about the drama behind the DSM-V and the quest to name our pain.

click to listen

There is a war going on in this country!

Obama Administration Issues Rules Requiring Parity in Treatment of Mental, Substance Use Disorders

Paul Wellstone, Pete Domenici Parity Act Prohibits Discrimination

The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury today jointly issued new rules providing parity for consumers enrolled in group health plans who need treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.

“The rules we are issuing today will, for the first time, help assure that those diagnosed with these debilitating and sometimes life-threatening disorders will not suffer needless or arbitrary limits on their care,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “I applaud the long-standing and bipartisan effort that made these important new protections possible.”

“Today’s rules will bring needed relief to families faced with meeting the cost of obtaining mental health and substance abuse services,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The benefits will give these Americans access to greatly needed medical treatment, which will better allow them to participate fully in society. That’s not just sound policy, it’s the right thing to do.”

“Workers covered by group health plans who need mental health and substance abuse care deserve fair treatment,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin. “These rules expand on existing protections to ensure that people don’t face unnecessary barriers to the treatment they need.”

The new rules prohibit group health insurance plans—typically offered by employers—from restricting access to care by limiting benefits and requiring higher patient costs than those that apply to general medical or surgical benefits. The rules implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).

MHPAEA greatly expands on an earlier law, the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 which required parity only in aggregate lifetime and annual dollar limits between the categories of benefits and did not extend to substance use disorder benefits.

The new law requires that any group health plan that includes mental health and substance use disorder benefits along with standard medical and surgical coverage must treat them equally in terms of out-of-pocket costs, benefit limits and practices such as prior authorization and utilization review.  These practices must be based on the same level of scientific evidence used by the insurer for medical and surgical benefits.  For example, a plan may not apply separate deductibles for treatment related to mental health or substance use disorders and medical or surgical benefits—they must be calculated as one limit. MHPAEA applies to employers with 50 or more workers whose group health plan chooses to offer mental health or substance use disorder benefits. The new rules are effective for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010.

The Wellstone-Domenici Act is named for two dominant figures in the quest for equal treatment of benefits.   The late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), who was a vocal advocate for parity throughout his Senate career, sponsored the ultimately successful full parity act.  He was joined by former Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) who first introduced legislation to require parity in 1992.  Champions of the legislation also included the bipartisan team of Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and former Representative Jim Ramstad (R-MN).

The issue of parity dates back over 40 years to President John F. Kennedy, and was also supported by President Clinton and the late Senator Edward Kennedy.

The interim final rules released today were developed based on the departments’ review of more than 400 public comments on how the parity rule should be written.  Comments on the interim final rules are still being solicited.  Sections where further comments are being specifically sought include so-called “non quantitative” treatment limits such as those that pertain to the scope and duration of covered benefits, how covered drugs are determined (formularies), and the coverage of step-therapies.  Comments are also being specifically requested on the regulation’s section on “scope of benefits” or continuum of care.

Comments on the interim final regulation are due 90 days after the publication date.  Comments may be emailed to the federal rulemaking portal at:  Comments directed to HHS should include the file code CMS-4140-IFC.  Comments to the Department of Labor should be identified by RIN 1210-AB30.  Comments to the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service should be identified by REG-120692-09.  Comments may be sent to any of the three departments and will be shared with the other departments.  Please do not submit duplicates.

Ageless Mobility – Scott Sonnon

Ageless Mobility Part 1

Ageless Mobility Part 2

Ageless Mobility Part 3

Ageless Mobility Part 4

Ageless Mobility Part 5

War on Vitamins


Matt Toussaint

In response to a petition filed by a drug company, the American Association for Health Freedom reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has banned a naturally occurring form of Vitamin B6, pyridoxamine, deeming it a “new drug.”  This gives the FDA the authority to raid businesses and seize any products or supplements containing the now illegal pyridoxamine — unless, of course, you are talking about fish, chicken, whole grain foods, nuts, or any of the other natural sources that produce this “drug.”  Any nutritional supplement that contains pyridoxamine is now considered “adulterated”, and manufacturers are legally responsible for ceasing production at the risk of being arrested and shut down for drug trafficking.

This is not the first time the FDA has resorted to such actions.  Ephedra, a well known herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, was labeled “dangerous at any dose” in its natural form yet pharmaceutical companies were allowed, and still are, to push over-the-counter cold medicines containing the same active chemical, ephedrine.  A similar situation occurred with red yeast rice (and its lovastatin molecules) that are used to treat high cholesterol.

According to Natural News, “the bottom line is this: FDA approvals and bans have nothing to do with science and everything to do with protecting drug companies profits. If a drug company can make money selling a vitamin as a drug, the FDA will gladly ban the vitamin and protect the drug. If a drug company can rip off molecules from Mother Nature and patent them, the FDA will ban those same molecules found in nature.”

Natural News will be posting a petition in the near future demanding FDA reform, so be sure to stay tuned in to their website for updates.

Creative Commons Image: “Comida y Drogra” courtesy of Daquella Manera on Flickr.

Mindful Eating

from The Center for Mindful Eating

Mindful eating has the powerful potential to transform people’s relationship to food and eating, to improve overall health, body image, relationships and self-esteem. Mindful eating involves many components such as:

  • learning to make choices in beginning or ending a meal based on awareness of hunger and satiety cues;

  • learning to identify personal triggers for mindless eating, such as emotions, social pressures, or certain foods;

  • valuing quality over quantity of what you’re eating;

  • appreciating the sensual, as well as the nourishing, capacity of food;

  • feeling deep gratitude that may come from appreciating and experiencing food

read more

 Mindful Eating Practices

High Intensity Road Work

by Tom Elliott


Working out and taking care of your body should be a mandatory part of everyone’s life routine.  I’ve been working out in one form or another since I was 6 years old.  It’s become a part of who I am and I truly believe it has played a large part in all of my successes.

Whether it’s working out to relieve stress, to have fun, to rehab an injury or to simply push personal limits and barriers – it’s mandatory.  Within this blog I will be posting all of my workouts, each of which will have a unique name of sorts representing a unique aspect of the workout.

There can be many variations of High Intensity Road Work depending on the exercises you decide to plug in but the foundation will always remain the same.  The foundation is the running intervals – the exercises filled in along the road are up to you.

High Intensity Road Work – Variation One

The Warm Up

For me, I prefer a light 10 minute warm-up.  It usually consists of a short walk from my apartment to the Santa Monica boardwalk followed up with 5 minutes of full body stretching and core stabilization.  It’s a mixture of movements that flow from one to the next almost like a hybrid version of ashtanga yoga.  I never used to stretch as a young buck but after a few lower body injuries during HS sports and the military it’s now a mandatory part of my workout routines.

The Work Out

  • Using a watch to time your intervals and total time – I break into a steady jog and maintain that pace for 5 minutes.
  • At the 5 minute mark I pick up the pace to 90% full speed and maintain that pace for a minute.
  • Once that minute is up, I pull off the strand onto the grass or the sand and knock out the first exercise (Push-Ups) I always shoot for 50 push-ups on this first set – depending on the previous days workouts I’ll go over or fall short – either way I push to one rep shy of muscle failure to push myself but to also maintain energy to keep the intensity high throughout the entire 45 minutes.
  • Get up and pick up your pace to a steady jog.  even though it’s early in the workout, you should already be winded – the key is to focus on your breathing in preparation for your next minute sprint and exercise set.
  • Kick it into high gear again, focus on your form and pick something in the distance to get to by the end of the minute.  I find that by doing this the minute goes by faster and it gives you a visual goal to shoot for.
  • Hit the sand, grass, gravel, whatever you’ve got and begin your next exercise.  At this point I’ll typically break into a variation of burpies.  Make sure you have some room. Start standing > bend your knees til you can touch your hands to the ground > kick your feet behind you and knock out a push up > pull your feet back underneath you while keeping your hands on the ground and explode into the air like you’re trying to touch a basketball rim.  I’ll do 10-15 of these depending on my wind.
  • Get back into your light jog and get your wind back.  What’s funny is by the end of the 5 minutes you should have just gotten your wind back, then you’re back into a sprint. ) gotta love this workout.
  • Hit your sprint hard and focus on your breathing and form.
  • Next exercise: Power Squats – Get in position, keep your feet a little wider than shoulder width and point your toes outward enough so when you bend into a squat position the tips of your knees don’t pass the tips of your toes.  Ass out, head up and go down til the tops of your quads are parallel with the ground.  Knock out 75-100 of these as fast as you can.
  • Hit your steady jog in the opposite direction as it’s time to turn around.
  • Hit your sprint for a minute.
  • Next exercise: Bear Crawls – by far one of my favorite exercises.  One of the most painful at this point in the workout but definitely one of the most rewarding after a few months of work at it.  Depending on how fired up I am at this point or which song is on the ipod – I’ll do these on the sand or grass.  For these – I’ll go til my arms buckle down being it’s the second to last exercise of the workout.  The pump you feel in your arms, shoulders, abs, and thighs is truly incredible.
  • Hit your jog – after crushing the bear crawls your jog should be a true “jog” – the first minute you should want to puke from all the lactic acid built up but it will wear off just in time for your last sprint.
  • Hit the sprint and run through the jello feeling in your legs.  Don’t worry you’re almost done.
  • Last exercise: Walking Alternating Lunges. This is the last exercise so you should be blown out at this point.  Hammer it out til you feel like you’re knees are about to buckle.  Be smart – if you feel like you’re about to be hurt – stop.  You always have next week to do more reps.
  • Cool down.  Walk it out til you catch your breath entirely then head back to the pad for a plenty of water and a healthy recovery meal.

That my friends is High Intensity Road Work.  Throw this workout into your routine once a week and you’ll see drastic improvements to all of your workouts and over-all strength and cardio.

This workout is MANDATORY, not an option.

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