Snippets of News Worth Reading and their Backup

Just a collection of articles which come to my email box from various sources. Many of them I read and just let go by. Posted snippets of them to attract interest. Some I write about such as Student Loans, Healthcare, etc.

Mask-Wearing Will Continue in Some Situations: Polls,” MedScape

Even as the COVID-19 threat seems to be easing, more than half of doctors and nurses expect to continue wearing face masks while shopping in grocery and retail stores and at indoor events such as weddings and concerts, according to the results of a recent Medscape survey of health care professionals.

But the general public is less likely to see mask use continuing for the foreseeable future, as shown by a poll done March 18-24 by WebMD.

Congress’s “war profiteering” debate with Big Oil misses the point,” Quartz

Top executives from ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other US oil companies are testifying in a congressional hearing on April 6 about whether they are inappropriately profiting off the recent surge in oil and gas prices.

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have accused the companies of  “ripping off the American people” as the price of gasoline remains above $4 per gallon, compared to $2.80 a year ago. In response, according to their prepared remarks, the executives argue that oil prices are outside their immediate control, and that they are working to step up drilling.

At face value, this argument is correct. if there’s questionable behavior by these companies anywhere, it’s on their balance sheets, not at the pump. Oil companies are using much of their windfall profits to enrich their investors rather than hire workers or invest in more oil production (or, even better, in clean alternatives).

What’s the price of a cleaner planet?,”  Quartz,

Achieving Net Zero could cost $150tn over 30 years. At the same time, $5tn of annual investments, $2tn of R&D, and 42mn green economy jobs could generate an unprecedented global opportunity. “The ‘Transwarming’ World: A Net Zero Primer,” B of A Securities Going Green? While the public and private sectors have ramped up spending the past 20 years, from $33 billion in 2004 to $524 billion in 2020,2 that’s just a beginning. The transition to a net zero economy by 2050 will cost an estimated $150 trillion or $5 trillion a year over the next 30 years.3 To put this into perspective, that’s equivalent to the entire annual U.S. tax base.

BA.2 is here. Does anyone care?,” The Atlantic

BA.2 is here, but Americans seem to be suffering, for the second year running, from a springtime bout of pandemic senioritis. As my colleague Katherine J. Wu puts it, we are facing a potential so what? wave of coronavirus cases. Cases are rising in New York and other parts of the Northeast,

Not Ready for the End Game — Why Ending Federal Covid-19 Emergency Declarations Will Harm Access to Care,” NEJM

Increasing demands that President Joe Biden “end the emergency” reflect political symbolism and understandable longing for normal life. But responding literally, by abruptly terminating federal emergency declarations, will backfire. Doing so will not eliminate the mask, vaccination, and quarantine requirements some Americans oppose.

“Med Board Chief Rebukes America’s Frontline Doctors Over Ambush Video,” MedPage Today, Special Reports

Kristina Lawson, president of the California Medical Board, is again publicly fighting back against the controversial group America’s Frontline Doctors and their leader, California licensee Simone Gold, MD, JD — this time for releasing a 21-minute video in which Lawson is depicted as a whip-wielding Nazi.

The video also perpetuates misinformation about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and about disproven treatments for the disease.

GOP blocks $10B Senate COVID bill, demands vote on immigration policy,” Beckers Hospital Review

Republican Senators have blocked a $10 billion COVID-19 relief bill, which was agreed upon by Senate negotiators on April 5, over conflict regarding an immigration policy, reported Politico.

GOP Senators have demanded a vote on an amendment to keep Title 42 in place, which currently puts restrictions on immigration due to the pandemic. Title 42 was enacted by the CDC during the Trump administration to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the nation’s land borders. It has been used to expel 1.7 million people at the border so far and has been criticized by public health experts, according to CNBC

AB: And the rest of the story? The courts up to Appeals Court have been blocking portions of Title 42 or all of it one time or another. Another attempt to blame the Biden Administration.

Why insurers, health systems are breaking up,” Becker’ ASC Review

Insurers and health systems across the U.S. have been at odds during the most recent cycle of contract negotiations, and terminated contracts are affecting thousands of patients.

As hospitals continue to recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic and deal with higher supply costs and employee wages, many organizations have tightening margins and hope to negotiate higher rates with insurers as a result. Hospitals are also pointing to rising inflation as a reason for needing higher rates.

One recent example is Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health’s public breakup with UnitedHealthcare.

AB: Another good reason to start to look at Healthcare Costs beyond prices.

9 physician billionaires on Forbes’ 2022 list,” Becker’s ASC Review

Nine U.S. physicians appeared on Forbes‘ 36th annual list of the world’s richest people.

The list featured 33 U.S.-based billionaire entrepreneurs, heirs, inventors and leaders in healthcare, and 2,668 billionaires all together. Below is the list (article) of U.S. physician billionaires and their 2022 net worth.

AB: Worth a look and wonder where you could have been, if only?

“Into the Depths: The women who mutinied,” National Geographic

“The more women on board a ship the more likely a revolt. Rebel leaders were often female.”

AB: A pretty interesting Spotify on the slave trade vis ships to America. The link will take you to the podcasts. You can also google the title and go straight to National Geographic.

5 states with the highest malpractice payouts,” Beckers ASC Review

New York is the state with the highest malpractice award payout per capita, according to WalletHub’s “2022 Best & Worst States for Doctors” ranking, released March 21.

AMA Laments Liability Insurance Premium Increases in Recent Years,” MedPage Today

Actuaries reviewing the AMA analysis said liability insurers “started raising premiums in response to deteriorating underwriting results, lower loss reserve margins, and lower returns on investment,” noting that they “expected that insurers would sustain or even push for higher premiums in 2021.”

“Yes, they killed off their own voters,” Digby’s Hullabaloo

Surprisingly, while the 2020 drop in life expectancy hit Blacks and Hispanics hardest, that wasn’t the case in 2021, the analysis found. Life expectancy among Hispanics didn’t significantly change between 2020 and 2021, and life expectancy of Blacks actually inched up slightly — by a little less than half a year.

In contrast, the life expectancy of whites fell by about a third of a year, mostly among white men.

Unemployment, Behavioral Health, And Suicide,” Health Affairs

One of the most immediate consequences of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the US response to it was a surge in American job loss. In April 2020 US unemployment skyrocketed from less than 5 percent to almost 15 percent. More than a year later, in December 2021, the unemployment rate remained higher than prepandemic levels, although after April 2020 it dropped nearly every month. This sudden increase in unemployment caused speculation about its negative impacts on Americans’ mental health. Researchers and advocates worried about increases in suicide.