Saturday, November 27, 2010

Medicare and Cancer: Both Underwater

The first being metaphorically, of course:

"Want an appointment with kidney specialist Adam Weinstein of Easton, Md.? If you're a senior covered by Medicare, the wait is eight weeks ... Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the District's Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients."

So why is our Medicare health delivery system beginning to look like the MVNHS©?

Well, when you have a limited supply and a (virtually) limitless demand, systems tend to end up that way. And if you think it's bad now, well, "that's not even taking into account a long-postponed rate-setting method that is on track to slash Medicare's payment rates to doctors by 23 percent Dec. 1."

The so-called "Doc Fix" is due in a few days, unless it's postponed (again). Hey, it's only (our) money, right?

The good news is that, if seniors manage to survive Medicare, they may also live long enough to benefit from some wonderful treats from the sea:

"Cyanobacteria live in every ocean and on every continent in both salt and fresh water. One species causes a rash known as swimmer’s itch; another blooms in lakes and reservoirs, expelling a neurotoxin that can be fatal to humans."

Ooops, that wasn't the good news. This is:

"(A) family of cyanobacteria called Symploca emits a toxin that attacks tumors."

Apparently, and this is still in the initial testing phase, these little sea assassins can target bone and breast-cancer cells (among others), destroying them without harming healthy cells or tissues. Unfortunately, it could be another 10 years before it can be approved and manufactured.

Keep your fingers crossed.
blog comments powered by Disqus