January 12, 2015
I was never a Facebook “poster.” That is, until the latest Israel-Gaza War.
I watched as the tensions escalated on both sides of the conflict, sensing what was to come. First, there was the kidnapping of the three teenage settler boys in the West Bank. Immediately came the cries from the Israeli government spokespeople, echoed by the media and the American Jewish mainstream: “Hamas is responsible for this terrorist act. We must and will protect our children!”
Then the rampage began. The Israeli military proceeded to make mass arrests throughout the West Bank, taking back into custody prisoners who had been released in a recent hostage-for-prisoner deal. Houses were broken into without warrants, Palestinian youths protested with rock throwing, Israelis responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Finally, a Palestinian teen, Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned to death by extremist Jewish settlers.
The downhill momentum seemed unstoppable and the war began. Hamas fired rockets into Israel and Israel responded with aerial and naval bombardments of Gaza. An Israeli land invasion followed. These events predictably were accompanied by a worldwide surge of anti-semitism.
As world opinion mainly condemned and demonized Israel, Israel itself asked: “What are we supposed to do when rockets rain down on us? What would you do?” Read the rest of this entry »
November 23, 2014
The Ebola epidemic is still raging through West Africa. Thousands are dead, including many health care workers who bravely fought the disease on the front lines.
There is an urgent demand to develop the medicines needed to defeat Ebola. Experimental drugs are being rushed to field hospitals. While it is projected that large batches of drugs should arrive by January, many thousands will by then be dead–and tens of thousands will likely be infected.
Much has already been written about why the world was caught “off guard” when the Ebola epidemic struck despite warnings by infectious disease experts. We have a highly sophisticated pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma) that produces a steady stream of “miracle” drugs. But what drives the research and development of these ubiquitous medicines is singular: profit. Read the rest of this entry »
October 12, 2014
The Middle East is imploding. Israel has “mowed the lawn” in Gaza, wreaking havoc on the Palestinian population. Hamas, aggressively or defensively, has launched hundreds of rockets, their goal to terrify the Israelis. Assad has slaughtered over 100,000 Syrians. ISIS pushes to establish a modern Caliphate, killing its way to the very gates of the ancient capital of Babylon. At the same time Afghanistan is collapsing, Libya has become a failed state, Egypt is under martial control once again, and the Arab Spring has given way to a cold, uncertain winter.
One major effect of these conflicts has been the worldwide rise of Islamophobia. Read the rest of this entry »
August 22, 2014
In a health care environment marked by raging turf battles that pit one profession against another, positive change will require—as a start–introspection and self-criticism by providers from different disciplines.
I am trained as a chiropractor, and have practiced my craft for almost 30 years. But the dominance of the allopathic medical profession has forced me to work in isolation. Chiropractors have been excluded from hospitals, marginalized by insurance companies, and subjected to ridicule by the American Medical Associations PR wing.(1)
To survive, we have upheld a holistic philosophy and championed effective treatment. As a result, chiropractic has become the most powerful and popular of the “alternative” modalities. At the same time, the pressure to work on our own in solo practices has tended to separate us from practitioners in the other healing arts. Read the rest of this entry »
June 18, 2014
Discussions about health care reform tend to focus on payment methods. Critics assert that insurance companies (in concert with pharmaceutical companies and hospitals) are the primary causes of runaway costs. While there is a relationship between payment methods and quality of care, too much time has been spent on the former part of the equation. To reform the American health care system we must begin our analysis by looking more deeply into how care is delivered. Read the rest of this entry »
February 15, 2014
On the beaches and in the hip cafes of Tel Aviv, it is easy to escape the feeling of life at the edge of a precipice. Israelis refer to this modern Mediterranean city as “the bubble”: a place where one can imagine an Israel of secularism and safety. Read the rest of this entry »
December 24, 2013
We are currently in a full-blown health care crisis. The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) roll-out was a disaster. People in some states are still struggling to register through exchange websites to buy insurance. Others resist being forced to get insurance at all (the young and healthy), while some have learned that, despite President Obama’s promise that they could keep their old insurance plans, they could not. For many, the new policies are shockingly expensive.
On the provider side, things are even worse. Allowable benefits have been reduced, and reimbursements slashed by 60% or more in 2013 alone. Facing these cuts, providers are being forced to leave insurance networks, provide reduced quality care, or just get out of practice altogether. Meanwhile, patient premiums are rising. Read the rest of this entry »