Almost 50,000 people in the United States died last year due to Opiod overdoses. That is a lot of wasted lives. Wasted dreams. Though Opiod makers and distributors have been hit with multiple lawsuits by states, counties, and cities the dying keep dying. Purdue Pharmaceuticals who manufacturers OxyContin is facing lawsuits currently in 27 states. President Trump, no fan of Pharma, has urged Attorney General Sessions to take action against the abuses of this industry-high drug prices and deceptive marketing of these often deadly products. But with limited action against foreign sources as well as domestic it looks like many more will perish before badly needed action is taken. 


Happy Birthday and Many More -We Hope

Social Security celebrates it’s 83rd birthday this year and while it has remained strong there are some dark clouds portending what could be a difficult future.

Currently,  the program can pay full benefits for about 15 years. But if no action is taken to keep Social Security safe and sound our benefits could be cut by about 25% in 2034, according to the trustee’s report. This could be devastating to future generations and our economy as well  It is still possible however to achieve long term solvency with some changes, which is vital. Emphasis should be on those who need the benefits the most in the future, while continuing to holding on to the core elements that need to be preserved: inflation protection, progressive and defined benefits that cannot be outlived.

These are critical times for the entire populace, as what we do now will result in future success or failure for our Social Security system that so many rely upon to live productive lives.

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Short Term Medical Plans Back, But—

The Trump administration has just approved the continuation of ” Short-Term ” medical plans, but this is  not without controversy. These type of plans in the past have been used for people who need coverage for a limited period, usually one to three months. However, the administration has now approved ” short-term ” coverages ” that can be extended up to 364 days, a decision that is not without it’s detractors.

This type of coverage is not part of the Affordable Care Act’s policies, and therefore subscribers may suffer a tax penalty. In addition, these emergency type plans do not provide the same level of coverage that is found in approved plans.

In California, there is only one carrier who we do represent who offers these plans. The other day I attended a conference where the company rep was bemoaning the fact that these plans could possibly be banned, which is now not the case.

Reaction has already been swift. Two Republican governors Phil Scott in Vermont, and Larry Hogan in Maryland have already signed bills limiting short term coverage to no more than three months with no possibility of renewal. New York’s Maria T Vullo the superintendent of insurance has banned the plans noting that these plans should never be considered as comprehensive insurance.

The approval of these plans by the administration has possibly put Short Term medical in competition with ACA plans, and that is why more states are considering changing their time frames or eliminating them.

  • Lou Reinitz   LJR Health Care Solutions

Another shocker

Another day, another suicide of a famous person, Anthony Bourdain.  I just wrote about the terrible rise in the take your own life statistics which keep rising in our country, and have been for the past 20 years…and then, a day after Kate Spade…..another shocker.

He was one of my favorites. Oh, to be like him-to be able to travel so many places on our troubled globe, enjoy the finest, and just local sometimes unusual food and drink!

I admired his attitude in statements like “Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”  Now it seems his wild ride ended much too soon.

Today, in the U.S. about 121 people will take their own lives. And every day to come the average death rate from his malady will continue.

Something is wrong with this picture. Mental health in our country seems to be eroding. Depression and anxiety continue to rise. Are you suffering from these maladies? Have you considered suicide? Get a pen and write this number down:  National Suicide Prevention Hotline   1-800-273-8255

And remember to think not only about yourself, but about the damage you are doing to all those you are leaving behind to endure the pain of your untimely demise.

Out of the blue and into the black, and once you’re gone you can’t come back. I wish today that Anthony Bourdain and 121 other souls would have called first before acting.

It Never Goes Away

Many people were deeply moved by the recent suicide of Kate Spade. I was one of them. We lost a son to suicide. It devastated our family, and the sad part is the pain, although not as sharp as when it happens, is always there. It never goes away. Oh, you don’t speak of it on a daily basis, but when you hear about it happening today it creeps back into your conscience. Oh, what might have been if there wasn’t a permanent fix to what was a temporary problem. Our son was only 26. A real tragedy.

I saw today on TV that the suicide rate in the United States has gone up an astounding 25% since the late 90’s. That is shocking, unreasonable, and somebody in the mental health field should be looking for answers to this growing problem in our society.

Good lives wasted can never be brought back. Pain instilled through a loved ones ghastly action never ceases. Suicide in itself is horrible, but that it continues to last is worse.




Radiated, but Should I have Been?

Some 15 years ago I went through over 30 sessions of radiation therapy after being diagnosed with Prostate cancer. Although I was able to avoid surgery (lots of men did not) the treatment did have it’s deleterious affects as well as I suppose efficacy. I never had a recurrence although other problems did occur that are with me today.

The procedure was undertaken as a result of a bad PSA test. Today, the accuracy of this lab test is widely debated. It has been labeled as notoriously imprecise therefore making treatments for this malady in many cases totally unneccesary. Thanks a lot, that infomation is a little late for me.

Today, a new test called IsoPSA has been hailed by medical studies as much more on the diagnostic nose. thus reducing biopsies up to 45%.

The new test is being developed by Cleveland Diagnostic and it is a new way to measure the PSA-protein levels in the blood and determine whether they are Cancer related.

Prostate Cancer deaths average about 30,000 annually in the United States, however most males with the malady die with this condition isolated as this is a very slow moving Cancer and it takes many years for it to spread. FDA approval is still needed for the new exam. Currently, the latest guidelines from U.S. Preventative Services Task Force answer the question whether men should get screened with a resounding “maybe”, and recommend no testing by men over age 70. Where were you when I needed you?


Why You Should Vote NO on Single Payer health care. (Part 1)

Coming up for a vote in California this November is SB562, the so-called Healthy California health care bill. With so many terms thrown around and used interchangeably these days I thought I would start this presentation with a brief glossary of the terms being used to help you understand what is being proposed.

SINGLE PAYER- is a state run system to be paid for through more taxation, that presumably would cover all health care costs for residents regardless of income, occupation, or health status. This act would eliminate an individual’s option to buy or not buy coverage from private insurers. There would be no more Medicare, MediCal, Veteran’s health care, and on and on. We truly believe this is a bad idea, and the reasons way will be covered in the next part of our series.

UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE is a catchall phrase for a program that is run by the government but allows the option of getting coverage through a private insurance company.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE- Refers to providing every citizen through a national public insurance program, like Canada’s.

It is important to understand these terms as health care in our country is going through significant transition.

Please look for part 2 of the story on Thursday!