Posted By: Francis Koster Published: February 23, 2021
America’s health insurance system is like a ratty old quilt. If your body is covered by the thick part of the quilt, you can feel more or less comfortable. If your quilt has too many holes in it, you suffer. North Carolina has 17% of its population uninsured. We rank 6th worst out of all 50 states for our percentage of uninsured. Those uninsured who get sick will have mountains of debt they will not have the ability to pay. Insurance claims filed by Covid-19 patients show that if you catch mild Covid-19 but can recover at home, the cost of treatment averages around $750 for your care. If you need to be hospitalized, the bill from the hospital is around $34,000. If you are so sick you need to be in intensive care, the cost is about $84,000.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: February 3, 2021
We have two healthcare calamities unfolding before us – one visible, the other not yet. The first you at least know something about - Covid-19. On January 14, one in 15 Americans (24 million) have been diagnosed with Covid-19. Of these, around four million survived, but are suffering after-effects ranging from brain fog, lung issues, and sexual disfunction., Another 380,000 Americans have already died from it. Experts predict that the number of dead will grow to over half-a-million by April 2021, even with an aggressive vaccination campaign, because around one-third of Americans say they will not take the vaccination at all. This is only the visible part of our national tragedy. The second (still invisible) crisis is caused by the fact that out of every ten Americans, six have what is called a “chronic disease” – things like heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. These do not heal. They do get worse over time and must be carefully managed for as long as you live. ,
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: January 10, 2021
When I was a kid, there is a little ritual that happened in private. I later learned my parents referred to it as “The Talk”. At some age-appropriate point, my dad would invite “just the two of us” out for a fishing trip. After we dropped an anchor and threw our baited hooks into the water, I was trapped. After we caught a fish or two, he would bring up changes he was seeing underway in my body, and how I was probably beginning to face new biological urges. He explained that these changes carried with them moral and ethical responsibilities. The discussion was uncomfortable - but necessary. He was a good parent. As you contemplate your future and think about how your survivors will manage after you leave them, talking with them about your inevitable death is potentially a similarly stressful conversation, but because your parent can no longer trap you in a boat, you can avoid it. Most of us do. We stop behaving like responsible adults and shirk our responsibility as parents.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: December 6, 2020
My father was a fireman and ambulance driver in a small town in Ohio. I have clear memories of going to the funeral of a fireman killed in the line of duty in a neighboring town. I was very young and had to hold my dad’s hand when we walked from the church to the cemetery. Flags at half-mast still have a powerful impact on me. Over Thanksgiving, I had a chat with a friend who is a lifelong member of the law enforcement community. We were discussing the existing and expanding stresses on First Responders as Covid-19 explodes around the coming holidays. I was explaining how awful the next few months are going to be, given the fact that it took 3 months for the first one million Americans to be infected, and 6 days for the latest one million, and the rate is rising. I said I was worried about the stress on our doctors and nurses. He replied, “Do you know that more law enforcement officers die by suicide than are killed in the line of duty?” I did not. After we parted, I could not shake the emotions that statement caused in me. Got out my laptop and started researching. He was right.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: November 22, 2020
There are four facts in this article you do not know. Our population of Covid-19 infected people is split into two groups. The first group is those who have developed symptoms and are now visible and counted. That number is growing about 162,000 per day in America. That highly visible group is spawned by a second invisible group – those who are infected but do not know it. Scientists have shown that during last week, 3,600,000 Americans had the virus, did not know it, and each of those will infect about 3 others during the next 10-day window.,,, We live in a country that is #1 in the world both in the number and the percentage of our population of `Covid-19 infections. Our hospitals are already overwhelmed, do not have enough doctors and nurses, and patients are in beds in parking garages, tents, and hallways.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: November 15, 2020
Our country is having two epidemics, not one. The first one is Covid-19. In the past eight months, the Covid-19 virus has infected almost 11 million Americans and killed four times more than were killed in the entire Vietnam war. , The projections are that by the end of February 2021, the numbers of infected will double to more than 22 million, and the number of dead will equal that of those Americans killed in WWll., Family members of patients who have Covid-19 are also learning that it can cause long term damage to the heart, lungs, brain, and other parts of the bodies of those who survive.,,,,, Depressing, isn’t it? And that is just the first epidemic. The second epidemic is actually impacting far more people, but almost no one is talking about it. Chances are you have it or know someone who does. It is called Depression.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: October 25, 2020
When compared to other wealthy countries The United States has a life expectancy that ranks 35th in the world, and it is falling. If that was not bad enough, among the 50 states in America, the life expectancy of citizens of North Carolinas ranks 37th.  Why is that? When I was still working as an administrator in pediatrics, I would often pass through waiting rooms full of mothers holding crying children who had a birth defect. With proper care during pregnancy, much of this damage was preventable. These memories still break my heart. A key tool that prevents these birth defects and raises life expectancy is health insurance. As my dad used to say, “All behavior has consequences – good behavior, good consequences, bad behavior, bad consequences”.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: October 4, 2020
Imagine an evening (pre-COVID-19) where you take your family out to dinner and all order a family-sized meal of seafood gumbo full of clams, shrimp, and other delights. Yous. You may get more than you bargained for. Turns out that when someone throws a plastic bottle into the ocean, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes invisible to humans – but it does not go away. Most of the plastic made in the world winds up in water where it breaks down into invisible but long-lasting pieces which gets eaten by wildlife. The bodies of fish, clams, crabs, and other water critters consume these microplastics contain plastic they ate. Bigger fish eat the little fish, you eat the big fish and when you eat the seafood, you also get a dose of plastic. No charge will appear on your bill - but you will pay for it in your healthcare bills. If you ordered hot tea with dinner, things could get worse because a surprising number of brands of tea have plastic in the teabag dissolving astounding amounts of invisible microplastics into the hot tea water which wind up in your tummy.,
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: March 12, 2017
It might surprise you to know that total healthcare spending in America is more than $10,000 for every man, woman, and child – annually. This total includes the money paid by private insurance companies, the Veterans Administration, Medicare, Medicaid, and the money paid directly by patients to doctors and hospitals, divided by the number of …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: September 20, 2016
A More Personalized Approach to Reducing Infant Mortality in Columbus, Ohio Facing one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, Columbus, Ohio, is taking the time to understand its unique causes. by Mattie Quinn | January 14, 2016 as appeared in “Governing” Health officials in Columbus, Ohio, have long known that they're facing a …
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