Saturday, September 20, 2008

Davis honored for bringing science to the public

Neil Davis was one of six people recognized for their contributions to science research, education, and outreach recently by the American Association for the Advancement of Science Arctic Division and the Alaska Chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. Davis was honored for his support of arctic science and excellence in bringing science to the public.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dose of Reality: McCain's health care plan

In the September issue of the Ester Republic, Davis examines John McCain's health care plan and the deregulation he proposes in more detail than in previous issues. From the article:
The immediate consequence is obvious: Insurance companies would immediately relocate to states such as Alaska which have minimal if any regulations. They would no longer be required to insure persons in those states that currently require them to accept individuals with pre-existing conditions, and that means even more Americans would be unable to buy insurance.
The estimates on how many more people would be unable to afford insurance or get good quality coverage as a result vary, but it could be in the many millions.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Saving Money on Medical Bills

Microsoft News Money recently carried a good article on how to save money on medical bills, an article from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine titled, “Save thousands on medical bills.” See The article contains several hints on how to save on medical bills that I have previously given in my column Dose of Reality: —and one I had not thought of to include.

That sound suggestion is to not pay any questionable hospital bills by credit card. The reason is simple: once you do that, you lose any ability to bargain. You have, in a sense, already agreed to the debt. Also, do not agree with a hospital’s suggestion to accept a line of credit with an outside lender, because now your debt is off the hospital’s books. The debt is to the lender, not the hospital, so you have no bargaining power at all.

Two other good suggestions contained in the MSN Money article are:

1—Check medical bills for double charging and wrong diagnoses that affect insurance payments or those you make directly.

2—Don’t hesitate to bargain, because hospitals typically charge about three times what they expect to get paid (It varies with the hospital, but that is the average.)

The article concludes with a suggestion that would sound ridiculous to a citizen of any other country with universal health care: hire a “claims assistance professional” to help you negotiate with your medical providers. Yes, because the system is dysfunctional, they will cut your bills, and collect 25 percent of the proceeds while doing it. Only in America are we willing to put up with this nonsense.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

UAF: lecture by Devra Davis on cancer prevention and public health policy

Condensed from the public announcement:

UAF is hosting a talk by Devra Lee Davis, a University of Pittsburg epidemiology professor and author, on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. in Schaible Auditorium. Davis’ lecture, “The Secret History of the War on Cancer,” is free and open to the public, and will be webcast at the website of the Center for Alaska Native Health Research.

Devra Davis advocates for changing the way public health looks at cancer prevention by including toxin awareness.

“I believe if we had acted on what has long been known about the industrial and environmental causes of cancer when this war first began, at least a million and half lives could have been spared…” she writes in the preface to her book, The Secret History of the War on Cancer. Published in 2007, the book is used at major schools of public health, including Harvard, Emory, and Tulane universities.

Davis is the director of the University of Pittsburg Center for Environmental Oncology, the world’s first research institute dedicated to studying cancers caused by environmental pollution. She is also an epidemiology professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health.

The Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the UAF Institute for Arctic Biology, University Advancement, Alaska INBRE, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Alaska EPSCoR, and Tanana Chiefs Conference are sponsoring her trip.

Davis will also give public lectures in Nome and in Anchorage at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The Alaska Community Action on Toxics is the host for this part of her Alaska journey.