At the second International Conference on Nutrition recently held in London, both the head of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) and of the WHO (World Health Organization) have called the need for a healthy diet a human right. Their call stems from the worldwide Continue reading “The Right To a Healthy Diet”
Several tech companies, including Facebook and Apple have instituted a policy of paying for the cost of female workers to freeze their eggs. The idea says the LA Times article—itself quoting a post on NBC News—is to allow female workers to concentrate on their career without fear of having motherhood interfere. At both these companies, men outnumber women 2 to 1, and it is hoped granting women this perk will keep more women on board. Using a rather newly perfected technology as a retaining or recruiting tool, the procedure costs from $5000 to $15,000, should be appropriate, after all these are technology companies. Yet, critics, and I am one of them, point out the ways this policy looks to be unfair to women. Had the policy included men being able to freeze their sperms, I would say what a clever use of technology, but singling out women is bothersome. I’d go as far as saying it’s demeaning because it seems more a value judgment than an option. It says to women you can’t be both parent and career person—while men according to this policy can. It has, however, yielded something positive, the fact that all these issues are now being discussed.
Not far from Orlando, Fla. The Villages is a retirement community where the draw is that you can live like a millionaire on a budget. There is free golf and affordable housing. Happy hours begin at 11am, there is of course everything a retirement community could need or want, and, relevant for some, even the possibility for unlimited sexual encounters. I shared reading the rather long article with one friend who commented, “My definition of hell”. I shared it with another who said, “Would be quite boring.” Yet the communities are growing, attracting people from several states including many retirees from the CIA. The article didn’t mention any resident leaving, but there must be those who become satiated with a hedonistic lifestyle after a while and want to go elsewhere. There are those who no doubt define happiness in shallow terms, for whom non-stop fun is a good life. I would surmise, however, that for the many retirement is not a second childhood and needs to have some meaning—more than likely a meaning that would take them beyond their own pleasure. That may be why I can’t help wondering how many think along with me, about the waste of time, efforts, resources and opportunities such retirement communities represent.
Sovaldi, a new treatment for Hepatitis C, costs $1000 a pill. Members of Congress have begun an investigation as to how Gilead Sciences, its manufacturer, arrived at this price. Advocacy groups are also raising the problems of cost. We already know that for some of the drugs which cost as much or more that prices can’t always be justified. In this case, however, analysts and those reporting on the consequences of such pricing point to weaknesses in our health care delivery system. The drug can cure Hepatitis C with less side effects than previous ones. A whole course of treatment costs about $84,000. The number of people in the U.S. estimated to need this treatment is about 3.2-milllion. Since many of them are on Medicaid, it is feared that the costs to the States would be quite heavy. Some also fear that although those using Sovaldi would involve a small percentage of those insured by Medicare, that it could raise Medicare medical premiums by 2 to 3 points. But most interesting is the stance of the insurance companies. Since a whole course of Sovaldi is a cure, a problem arises due to the cost being born all at once over a period of weeks, not years like HIV/AIDS. Because people change jobs frequently and therefore are likely to also change medical insurance, it is feared that the insurance company which pays for the treatment would not be the insurance company that ends up benefiting from having borne the costs. The results are that Sovaldi has created an uproar in many circles—one that can be said to be a sad statement on our health care system. Yet, if we could solve some of the issues being raised, our health care delivery system would not only improve, it would be much cheaper.