Category Archives: Healthcare

Lying about the ACA

February 2021 ACA policy enrollment – 11.3 million:

Overall, 31 million people were enrolled in marketplace or Medicaid expansion coverage under the ACA. This includes 11.3 [million] marketplace enrollees with effectuated coverage as of February 2021, 14.8 million Medicaid expansion enrollees as of December 2020, an additional 3.9 million Medicaid expansion enrollees who would have been eligible for Medicaid pre-ACA but were enrolled via Medicaid expansion, and 1 million Basic Health Program (BHP) enrollees in Minnesota and New York.

Source: Record High ACA Enrollment At 31 Million Americans | Health Affairs

September 2021 Biden says 12.2 million are enrolled, an increase of 2.8 million.

“That’s 2.8 million families who will have more security, more breathing room, and more money in their pocket if an illness or accident hits home,” Biden said in a statement. “Altogether, 12.2 million Americans are actively enrolled in coverage under the Affordable Care Act — an all-time high.”

Source: 2.8 million get health coverage during special Covid-19 sign up

Here is the official White House press release.

The actual increase was 900,000, not 2.8 million.

Continue reading Lying about the ACA

Why 2nd Covid vaccine doses caused worse side effects

I had an unusually tough reaction to Pfizer dose #2. Most people I know had a sore arm and may be felt tired for a day or too. Six hours after I had shot #2, I began feeling sick. The next day I had a 100.6 degree fever – this continued for 3 days and on the 4th day, fell to 99.6 by mid-day and went away late in the afternoon. I had chills (shivering), muscle aches, fatigue, headache and felt similar to having influenza. I had to lie in bed for periods during this recovery. Working was not possible for 4 days.

There is suspicion (as well as one study saying) that those who may have had Covid-19 had worse side effects. That idea is explained here, in this article hypothesizing how people might react to a 3rd dose booster shot.

The culprit was the immune system really ramping up. If the first shot provided the body’s defenses with the scent of a key protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, then the immune system was ready to pounce when it saw that spike protein again with shot #2. It was all in the name of building up a lasting and robust blockade in the body, but it did mean some people had quite a hangover after the second dose.

“The immune system goes, ‘I know what this is,’ and attacks it more vigorously,” said Kawsar Talaat, a Johns Hopkins infectious disease physician and vaccine researcher.

Talaat said that it’s possible that, because the immune system is already primed to recognize and target the spike protein, some people could experience something similar after a third dose.

Source: How the risk of side effects could change with Covid-19 vaccine boosters

In the spring of 2020, I was sick for over 2 weeks with symptoms similar to Covid-19 including the “dry cough”. Two of my doctors told me that, but confirmation tests were not available to the general public at the time. A few months after, a doctor suggested I get an antibody test but – we did not know its accuracy at the time, and other than curiosity, knowing the test result would not then be “actionable” so I did not get an antibody test.

The bad reaction I had to the Pfizer vaccine doses hints that perhaps I really did have a typical case of Covid in 2020. But we will never know.

When should you get an influenza vaccination?

Official CDC guidance:

Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated early (for example, in July or August) is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults. Vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

Source: Who Needs a Flu Vaccine and When | CDC

If you have not already done so you should get vaccinated for Covid-19 first, says my own doctor. And then do your next required vaccines.

I had MMR early this year, and Pfizer Covid vaccines in March/April. I plan to get the influenza vaccine in September.

(Getting vaccinated for MMR is weird for an old idiot like me. While I had measles and mumps as a kid, I never had rubella and no doctor had ever asked or advised me about getting the MMR vaccine until I asked my own doctor about this early this year. Everyone I know around my age, even if they had all of MM and R, was subsequently vaccinated, sometimes even twice!)

No: “Can health insurance companies charge the unvaccinated higher premiums?”

Over the past two weeks I saw news reports quoting “experts” saying that people would be charged more for health insurance if they were not vaccinated.

This blew my brain injured mind – under the ACA, insurers can only vary premiums based on age, location and smoking status. Similarly, they cannot deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition (i.e. vaccination status).

Health insurers are a different story. A slew of state and federal regulations in the last three decades have heavily restricted their ability to use health factors in issuing or pricing polices. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act began prohibiting the use of health status in any group health insurance policy. And the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2014, prevents insurers from pricing plans according to health – with one exception: smoking status.

Source: Can health insurance companies charge the unvaccinated higher premiums? What about life insurers? 5 questions answered

Employers might be able to provide a “wellness incentive” deduction to those who are vaccinated. “Wellness incentives”, however, exist only in the group market and are not available to individuals (one of many ways that the ACA keeps costs higher for individuals).

Heh – Company CEO favors tax on his competitors

Laughable:

The founder of the world’s biggest plant-based meat company has suggested that a tax on meat could help tackle some of the problems from growing meat consumption.

Source: Beyond Meat boss: Tax on negative impacts “does appeal” – BBC News

Such crass lobbying for the government to harm his competitors is funny – this kind of lobbying is usually done behind closed doors with large donations to politicians!

Pilobulus

This outside my usual interests but just saw that the dance company Pilobulus was in the news.

In my tech career, I worked with one of the co-founders of this dance group. Its neat to see that the group, founded in 1971, is still going 50 years later, now working on methods to help seniors exercise too.

The story focuses on delivering “balance exercises” to the elderly via streaming services and live over Zoom. Great idea!

That is of interest to me since, due to recent diagnosis of serious knee problems due, in part, to past injuries – much of my physical therapy exercises are focused on balance to strengthen many muscles in the lower half of the body. Two months ago I could not walk more than 200 feet due to the knee injury – yet two days ago I did a 4 mile walk and will soon be increasing that distance as part of recovery.

Physical therapists are miracle workers!

Study finds that lockdowns – in the real world – did not reduce deaths

SIP = Shelter in Place

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries implemented social distancing and SIP policies. These policies are designed to slow COVID-19 transmission by limiting physical interaction. While early U.S. and international evidence suggests that these policies did slow COVID-19 transmission (Aleman et al. 2020; Courtemanche et al. 2020), the longer-run and more comprehensive effects of these policies are not fully understood (Berry et al. 2021). We used data from 43 countries and all U.S. states and find the introduction of SIP policies did not lead to reductions in excess deaths.

….

Nonetheless, the implementation of SIP policies does not appear to have met the aim of reducing excess mortality.

Source: w28930.pdf

Lock ups did not reduce deaths but at least they put millions out of work, closed permanently up to 40% of small businesses, and destroyed children’s education. Guess we will call this a success then?

These findings had been observed pre-Covid-19, in the Henderson, et al, study from 2006, an 2008 ACLU report on the effects of pandemic lock ups, and the WHO report on pandemic influenza, published in October 2019.

But like so many things now days, the experts fell victim to the “But it’s different this time” mentality.

WHO Vaccine Advice for Children

June 3, 2021:

Children should not be vaccinated for the moment.

There is not yet enough evidence on the use of vaccines against COVID-19 in children to make recommendations for children to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Children and adolescents tend to have milder disease compared to adults. However, children should continue to have the recommended childhood vaccines.

Source: COVID-19 Vaccines Advice

From their web page “children” is anyone under the age of 18.

From May 27, 2021, the “CDC recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination…”

This is Schrödinger’s Vaccine – children should be vaccinated and not vaccinated at the same time.

If this mixed messaging is confusing to you, this is your fault for not following or understanding official guidance. You have probably been influenced by misinformation on social media.

Update: Now, WHO denies saying they implied children should not be vaccinated even though that is precisely what they said. Public health communication is a disaster of idiocy in a field run by idiots.

Reminder: I am a brain injured idiot with no relevant experience. I make observations and ask stupid questions. I am just passing this along from the public health professionals.