Oprah is Not Your Doctor and Much, Much More

By Christine Cupaiuolo — May 19, 2009

The Double Dose/Political Diagnosis catch-up edition …

Taking Medical Advice From Oprah: In a word, don’t.

Blogging the Common Ground: CNN’s “blogger bunch” discussion on abortion, following President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, includes our fave Ann Friedman of Feministing and The American Prospect.

Supreme Court Rules 7-2 Against Women Workers: Women whose pension payments are reduced because they took pregnancy-related leave in the 1960s and 1970s, when pregnancy discrimination wasn’t illegal, aren’t entitled to full pension benefits now, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. The women lost an appeal aimed at forcing AT&T to grant compensatory service credits to boost their pensions.

Motherhood, a Discussion: A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released this month found that the percentage of children born to unmarried women rose to nearly 40 percent of births in 2007, up from 34 percent in 2002. The New York Times invited five experts to weigh in: Silvia Henriquez, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health; Stephanie Coontz, Council on Contemporary Families; Corinne Maier, author; Mark Regnerus, sociology professor; and Libertad González Luna, economics professor.

FEMA’s Healthier Housing?: From NPR: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has unveiled new models of temporary housing designed to provide shelter for people displaced by natural disasters. A serious plus: They have been built with as little formaldehyde as possible, unlike the trailers FEMA provided to Hurricane Katrina victims.

New CDC Director: President Obama on Friday appointed New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Dr. Frieden, a 48-year-old infectious disease specialist, has cut a high and sometimes contentious profile in his seven years as New York’s top health official under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg,” reports The New York Times. “He led the crusade to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, pushed to make H.I.V. testing a routine part of medical exams, and defended a program that passes out more than 35 million condoms a year.”

Medicaid as a Platform for Heath Reform: Kaiser Family Foundation released a package of research papers last week that examine opportunities for expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income and high-need people in ways that would enable the program to serve as a platform for larger national health reform efforts. The papers were released at a public briefing on Medicaid as a Platform for Broader Health Reform. A webcast of the briefing is available.

Plus: Also from Kaiser — an expert panel examined the global health aspects of Obama’sFiscal Year 2010 budget, including allocations for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). The panel, part of KFF’s new “U.S. Global Health Policy: In Focus” live webcast series, also discussed what the next steps are for the budget with Congress. The webcast and podcast is available.

Max Baucus is for Health Care Reform: But Democrats aren’t entirely sure which side the Montana senator and Finance Committee chairman is on, reports Politico. “Baucus puts a premium on bipartisanship, and if he insists on winning more than a handful of Republican votes, the final product could look vastly different than a bill passed through the Senate with only a simple majority.”

Meanwhile, centrist Democrats have raised concerns with House leaders over a health reform bill that includes a public insurance plan that competes with the private insurance market … Hospitals and insurance companies want to reduce the growth of health care spending, but not like that … James Ridgeway wrote earlier in the week at Mother Jones that “the underlying purpose of this PR stunt is to slow or block any meaningful health care reforms, which could actually improve care while reducing the price tag by a lot more than 1.5 percent.” … The Washington Post deconstructs the White House email on health care reform … And Covering Health, the blog of the Association of Healthcare Journalists, asks: Have reporters written off single-payer system?

Single Payer Would Have Been Nice, But …: If the country were building a health care system from scratch, a single-payer system would be the way to go, Obama said in response to a question about single-payer health care at a town-hall style meeting in New Mexico last week. But at this point, with a tradition of employer-based health care already in place, the goal is simply to improve the current system. Here’s the discussion:

2 responses to “Oprah is Not Your Doctor and Much, Much More”

  1. There are studies that back up bio-identical hormones as safer–they just aren’t talked about in our country. And our country’s health record just sucks. The FDA is a joke–another fox in the hen house so to speak. You blog about the inadequate to dangerous health care women receive all the time in this blog.

  2. I completely agree that the U.S. record on pharmaceuticals is lacking, but there’s no good evidence that bioidenticals are safer. Women’s health advocates have raised a number of red flags, including the lack of oversight of compounding pharmacies: http://www.nwhn.org/healthinfo/detail.cfm?info_id=17&topic=Fact%20Sheets

    The issue goes beyond Somers, however. A number of guests have been given a powerful forum to promote specious claims and offer potentially dangerous advice.

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