Friday, December 18, 2009

Gene therapy

A friend of mine is on the list to go to Manchester, England for gene therapy. The results in the gene testing testing period were pretty amazing-- in fact incredible when it came to brain and lung cancers.

It's really cool how this works. They take your blood and remove t-cells. Then they alter the t-cells genetically so they can seek out and isolate the t cancer cells and kill them. They clone the cells or make thousands of them over a few weeks, then inject them back into the patient. The bad cells are replaced with functional cells.

I guess it could ultimately mean no more chemotherapy or radiation or operations. And that’s something to think about.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cancer dream

Last night I had a cancer dream.  I've had a couple in the past, but this one was seemingly so real. I woke up at 3:30 this morning in a panic, feeling my throat and checking my saliva for blood.  And of course it was the worst of cancer in this dream. I haven't really talked about the aftereffects-- psychologically, that is-- of having this disease.  Even though I got lucky and beat cancer, I still find it hard to comprehend what I went through and that I'm still here.  Honestly, I sometimes feel guilty that I survived while so many of my friends didn't.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another fine mess

It's one thing to listen to the news and watch all the Sunday morning political chat shows; it’s another to actually read and digest the healthcare bill. If you do, you'll find it's a mess. If you're a Democrat, I'm sorry. If you're a Republican, I'm sorry. I always thought your heads were buried in the sand. My bad. That's not where they're buried at all.

I have one question: How do you people sit down?

This was sent to me by my friend Monica: 

Hi Brett,

After reading your latest blog, I decided to take the "Brett Hudson Challenge." Wow. “Where's the reform?” is an understatement! The two things that caught my eye on the first page: 

* Purpose: In the nature of a substitute. 

* To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employ-- politicalese --and for other purposes. 

Brett, this bill is more of an overhaul of the federal statute defining the federal tax code. The health care system will become just another tax that we must pay.

This is my favorite tax so far:

(a) IN GENERAL.—Subtitle D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:
‘‘Sec. 5000B. Imposition of tax on elective cosmetic medical procedures.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—There is hereby imposed on any cosmetic surgery and medical procedure a tax equal to 5 percent of the amount paid for such procedure (determined without regard to this section), whether paid by insurance or otherwise.
‘‘(b) COSMETIC SURGERY AND MEDICAL PROCEDURE.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘cosmetic surgery and medical procedure’ means any cosmetic surgery (as defined in section 213(d)(9)(B)) or other similar procedure which—
‘‘(1) is performed by a licensed medical professional, and ‘‘(2) is not necessary to ameliorate a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma, or disfiguring disease.
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The tax imposed by this section shall be paid by the individual on whom the procedure is performed.
‘‘(2) COLLECTION.—Every person receiving a payment for procedures on which a tax is imposed under subsection (a) shall collect the amount of the tax from the individual on whom the procedure is performed and remit such tax quarterly to the Secretary at such time and in such manner as provided by the Secretary.
‘‘(3) SECONDARY LIABILITY.—Where any tax imposed by subsection (a) is not paid at the time payments for cosmetic surgery and medical procedures are made, then to the extent that such tax is not collected, such tax shall be paid by the person who performs the procedure.’’.
(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of chapters for subtitle D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by this Act, is amended by inserting after the
item relating to chapter 48 the following new item:
(c) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to procedures performed on or after January 1, 2010.

If this bill is signed by Christmas, it is a present that I am not looking forward to opening... EVER!



Another dear friend sent me an email. She said she doesn't agree with everything in the healthcare bill and that she knows the bill is political and partisan. But she thinks that if it doesn't pass this time, it will years before any healthcare reform is attempted again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where's the reform?

I’ve started to read portions of the 2,100 page healthcare reform bill. A half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts, 400 billion dollars in new taxes and higher insurance premiums.


I don't think so.

Pay attention, people. Remember, this is our country.

Friday, December 11, 2009

How to pay for healthcare

I have an idea.

I've already sent several emails to elected officials. I suggested that "we the people" get the same insurance as “you the elected official.” That would be the top premium insurance, full dental, eye exams-- the works. And I gave them a great suggestion on how to start paying for it.

You see, back in 2007, the salary for a U.S. Senator was $165,200. In 2008, everyone got a raise to $169,300. That’s right. We allowed them to vote themselves pay raises during one of the worst  financial crisis our country has ever seen (Wow. Are we good to our elected officials or what?) We're still not out of the crisis and unemployment is at 10. That's scary. But they're our leaders. We need them to fix the mess they helped create. So what did we do?

We gave them another raise. The annual salary of each U.S. senator, as of 2009, is $174,000.

First order of business to help pay for healthcare insurance for "We the people"?

A pay cut for all elected officials.

I smell a revolution.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Politics as usual

If you’re following “The Great Healthcare Debate," read between the lines and you’ll realize it has little to do with healthcare at all. It's all about raging. Partisan raging. Democrats and Republicans jockeying for political advantage. It's not about saving lives, it's about saving their seats and getting re-elected. Just listen to the politicians bark along their party lines and it’s clear that not one so far has experienced the truth of our system.  An example? This item from the Associated Press:

“Carly Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive, breast cancer survivor and a Republican candidate running for the Senate seat from California now held by Democrat Barbara Boxer, delivered the address. She said that the recommendation on mammograms was an early taste of what could happen under the Democrats' plan.

"’We wonder if we are heading down a path where the federal government will at first suggest and then mandate new standards for prevention and treatment,’ Fiorina said. ‘Do we really want government bureaucrats rather than doctors dictating how we prevent and treat something like breast cancer?’"

What she doesn't know or didn't experience herself is that insurance companies already do that. What's the difference if it's government bureaucrats or Blue Cross bureaucrats?

There is no difference.  

Insurance companies dictate what they’ll pay for, therefore they dictate treatments. I can't believe I actually used the word “therefore.”