Posts filed under ‘Health & Medicine’
Written by Lewis D. Eigen
With all the histrionics over Health Care Reform, throughout the entire process, it was easy to miss some of the very important issues of the debate. One, in particular, got entirely lost for a very interesting set of reasons. It was the Bigness issue. But there was hardly a Republican who did not complain about Bigness. It was mentioned hundreds of times each day throughout the more than a year of debate. How could it be lost?
It was “lost in plain site”. There are few citizens who do not know that one of the criticisms of the Health Care Reform Bill was that there would be a large, centralized, system running American Health Care instead of the smaller decentralized status quo. But very few people indeed can recall any discussion of WHY bigness would be bad–for our health delivery system and for the nation. That is what was missed. And that is where the Republican political tacticians could have done a much better job.. In their choice of tactics to defeat Health Care Reform, they failed to communicate and explain the, admittedly complex, issue of Bigness in American history and public policy. Had they done so, Health Reform probably still would still have passed, but it might look quite different from the present law. This article is the first of a series that discusses what the debate missed: Why bigness in our nation’s health system might not be very good. (more…)
Written by Lewis D. Eigen
What would happen if it were discovered that a person—child or adult—were a human clone? All religions appear opposed to human reproductive cloning. So are most people. How will the clone fare in American society. Would she/he be treated just like any other person? Or would there be prejudice against the clone and perhaps danger? Would some religious fundamentalists see the clone as the “spawn of the Devil” or the “Anti-Christ” and physically try to harm or even kill the clone? (more…)
By Lewis Eigen
In an earlier article, Human Clones May Be Among Us Now! Who Is Ready?, we created the hypothetical situation where a woman pregnant with a clone would be cared for and protected by a Catholic Hospital. The assumption in this hypothetical example that many Right-To-Life advocates are so sincere that they would protect the life of a clone whose creation they might fear or disapprove of under normal circumstances. This kind of moral consistency is not always present amongst the so-called Right-To-Life movement where death and even deliberate death is often tolerated or even advocated in cases of war, execution, political murder of those who disagree, etc.
One criticism of my earlier article was that the premise of protection for the clone in utero was not supported by any evidence. Happily, there is now evidence that is very strong.
The opponents of embryonic stem cell research have received a major setback in their arguments. New research has just shown that the alternatives that they advocated are not only not equivalent, but are decidedly inferior for the major purpose of the research–creating specialized human and animal replacement cells.
One argument against the use of Embryonic stem cells for research, in addition to the quasi moral one of using potential life forms, is that it is unnecessary because there is a scientific method of taking normal cells and treating them in the laboratory in such as way as to make them “pluripotent.” This is the property that allows the embryonic stem cell to transform into any other kind of cell. This of course is just what makes the embryonic stem cell so desirable as a research tool. And the new research shows that the alternatives are inferior–they die rapidly! (more…)
Insurance Companies have already won the Health Reform battle beating out the Doctors and the Government. Will they take the money and run?
With the Massachusetts Senatorial election going to the man who promised that he would be the 41st vote to make sure that the minority of the Senate could control the Health Reform legislation of the nation, most people believed that the battle was entering a new phase and the winners and losers were yet to be decided. However, over a decade earlier, the real battle had been decided. The American consumers lost; the Government lost; the hospitals lost; the doctors lost. The health insuracne companies won and for the past decade has already ammased the economic fruits of its victory. And while all the other forces, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, politicians and citizens all fight it out, the one group that has already locked in a winning position for the next decade is the same insurance companies. All the rest of us will fight it out to determine how terrible the health care system will have become before the insurance companies just take the money and run. This article explains some of how all this was allowed to happen.
There may well be human clones living among us and attending our schools. Reproductive human cloning may have aready been accomplished or may be in process at the time of this reading. Dr. Eigen’s article gives us an insight to the many religious, legal, cultural, and civil problems what will ensue unless we strart to consider, debate and make some decsiions of how we will handle human cloning when it is upon us. Eigen argues that it is hopeless to believe that we can prevent cloning and he provides some scenerios that will likely face human society in the next few years. The problems he predicts are if nothing else facinating to contempate and that is his message. We should start now, Human cloning is a matter of when and not if.
A dialogue of two Tunisian senior government officials, both Western educated, regarding the problem of modernizing the rural, desert South of the country where religious Islamic fundamentalism and the desert cultural tradition are major obstacles. The modernity, and relatively successful development of the country, with no oil or other natural resources, compared to other Arab countries is historically, culturally and politically explained in this insightful dialogue.