X-ray illustration of a running manIf they had been designing a health system from scratch, the change agents assuming power in January would have done things differently. Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy would have given us a Single Payer for medical care, as in Canada and Britain (and Cuba and North Korea) and (according to national healthcare promoters) "the rest of the industrialized world."

Emmett Curran with his prescriptionsITEM: In an article entitled "5 Myths About Our Ailing Health-Care System" in the Washington Post for November 23, 2008, Shannon Brownlee and Ezekiel Emanuel write that the United States lags behind "many developed countries on virtually every health statistic you can name. Life expectancy at birth? We rank near the bottom of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, just ahead of Cuba and way behind Japan, France, Italy, Sweden and Canada, countries whose governments (gasp!) pay for the lion's share of health care."

New research, published in the medical journal Nature, suggests that scientists have for the first time come to a better and more thorough understanding of the genetic basis for cancer. The research may point to new and more effective treatments in the future.

Bush Signing Bailout BillITEM: The New York Times for October 6 reported: "More than one-third of all Americans will soon receive better insurance coverage for mental health treatments because of a new law that, for the first time, requires equal coverage of mental and physical illnesses. The requirement, included in the economic bailout bill that President Bush signed on Friday, is the result of 12 years of passionate advocacy by friends and relatives of people with mental illness and addiction disorders. They described the new law as a milestone in the quest for civil rights, an effort to end insurance discrimination and to reduce the stigma of mental illness."

Doctor and childSeven months after instituting the only state child universal healthcare program in the country, Hawaii is dropping the plan. According to an AP article, the state could no longer afford the plan though it only enrolled about 2,000 of the state's estimated 3,500 to 16,000 uninsured children.

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