Why People Don’t Trust Science and Some Ideas about Changing This

As much as we pride ourselves on being logical beings, in reality, we humans are animals with messy minds that are just as governed by our social alliances, emotions, and instincts as our logic.

This makes trust in scientific findings is a massive problem. At a time when Covid, its variants, and monkey pox are in every virtually newscast, this distrust is directly leading to people’s deaths.

It’s an enormous myth that communicating science is that merely presenting people with knowledge will lead to them acting accordingly with logic. Communicating based on this myth isn’t working for gaining anything close to universal acceptance of the global pandemic and climate crisis. It doesn’t work.

Everyone used to accept vaccinations. Now getting vaccinated is a political issue.

How does this happen? Industries, particularly the pharmaceutical industry and before them cigarette makers, hijacking scientific credentials, using “sciency” sounding claims to bolster their clout for profits.

What’s more, science doesn’t always get things right, and large factions of the media are stoking sentiments against “elitist” experts and bolstering anti-science views. For example, conservatives are more likely to believe scientists that appear on Fox News, and liberals are more likely to trust those on CNN.

People providing scientific information can acknowledge that there are valid concerns on the other side, but explain why the scientific position is preferable

The internal conflicts created by information that challenges our social or personal beliefs such as morals and religion, lead to logical fallacies and cognitive biases such as cognitive dissonance.

People providing scientific information can use technology and advertising to better target messaging based on people’s profiles derived from personal online habits.

Some Americans Believe Covid Will Never Go Away; Others Pretend It’s Not a Risk

After several months of stagnation, the U.S. average COVID-19 case rate has once again begun to rise as the omicron BA.5 subvariant has risen to become the dominant strain in the country. While infections are rising, pandemic fatigue has been noted to be at an all-time high, with a minority of people not willing to take up mitigation efforts. Many consider the pandemic to be over.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a mass-disabling event that experts liken to HIV, polio, or World War II, with millions suffering the long-term effects of infection with the coronavirus. Many have found their lives dramatically changed and are grappling with what it means to be disabled.


A large majority of Americans believe that COVID-19 will always be around, according to new polling data released on Tuesday, with pandemic pessimism appearing to be rising — along with recent case counts.

The Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index found that 78 percent of Americans surveyed agreed with the statement “We will never fully be rid of the coronavirus in my lifetime.” This trend was consistent for Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

The Axios-Ipsos poll noted that only 36 percent of respondents said they wear a mask when outside their home, the lowest rate observed since the beginning of the pandemic. The same percentage of respondents said they never wear a mask when outside their home, a 14 percent jump from this same time last year.

At the same time, 29 percent of respondents said they believed that the pandemic was over, indicating there was some overlap between those who believe the SARS-CoV-2 virus will never go away but also

We’re at this real confrontational moment of trying to educate as many people as possible about disability and structural inequalities and trying to make sure [long haulers] get the resources they need right now.

The map below shows 2020 counties with the color corresponding to the number of cases.

The more infectious BA.5 omicron subvariant now makes up almost 80 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., as case rates continue to trend upward.
About 78 percent of coronavirus cases in the U.S. are caused by the BA.5 subvariant, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The rise of BA.5 has spurred concerns over its enhanced ability to evade protection given by vaccines and prior infections from other variants.
Currently available vaccines are still believed to be effective in reducing the risk of hospitalizations and deaths from BA.5, but the shot’s ability to prevent infection is thought to be less potent against this subvariant.

As BA.5 has grown in prevalence, the rate of COVID-19 infections has steadily begun to rise again. The case rate now stands at about 126,000 cases per week.

Among covid-deniers — the always-testing-negative ones, not the conspiracy theory crew — theories about the reasons for their good fortune abound. “I must have superhuman immunity or something,” some people tell themselves.

Scientists have found no conclusive evidence of innate genetic immunity.


Getting Health Care Became More Difficult with the Pandemic

Health care costs prevent people aged 45 to 59 (members of Generation X and boomers) to get the health care they need:

  • 49% did not go to the doctor last year when they were sick or injured.
  • 45% skipped a recommended medical test or treatment.
  • 43% did not go to a dentist when they needed treatment.
  • 40% went without a routine physical or other preventive health care.
  • 30% did not fill a prescription or took less than the prescribed dose of medicine.People aged 60 to 65 often skipped health care because the CPI-E places a greater weight on medical care than the CPI-U: The elderly spend 12.2 percent of their budget on medical care, compared to 7.0 percent for the general population. The cost of a doctor visit has increased 4.3 percent the past 12 months. More broadly, medical care services, which include doctor, dental and vision services, have risen 2.1 percent in the past 12 months, while eyeglasses and eye care have increased 1.1 percent.Historically, the cost of medical care has risen faster than the broad inflation index, but that hasn’t been true lately, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. That’s one reason the CPI-E has risen less than the CPI-U over the past 12 months. In fact, had the Social Security COLA been calculated using the CPI-E, it would have been 4.8 percent, rather than 5.9 percent.It’s hard to believe, but the price of prescription drugs has fallen 0.3 percent the past 12 months, and the price of nonprescription drugs has risen just 0.8 percent. Bear in mind, however, that inflation costs are cumulative: The high medical price increases of the past 20 years are still with us, despite the current low inflation rate in the category.

Between a third and a half of people, age 45 to 59, and a quarter of those 60+ went without needed health care in the past year due to its cost, according to a troubling new survey from the West Health Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago. 80% of the people the University of Chicago surveyed had health insurance, so just having insurance does not make you immune to health care costs.  The percentages were better for people 65+ mostly because those 65 and older have Medicare.

At least two-thirds of older Americans see health care costs as a financial burden, according to a new West Health-Gallup survey published Wednesday.

About 24 percent of Americans ages 50-64 — also known as “baby boomers” say health care costs are a major financial burden, compared to 48 percent who say the costs are a minor burden, according to the survey. About 10,000 boomers a day cross the age threshold. By 2030, all boomers — about 77 million people — will be at least 65 years old, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

At the same time, health care costs are expected to increase. The out-of-pocket costs for older Americans averaged $6,883 in 2019, up 41 percent from 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported.

Although most older Americans are covered under Medicare, they pay more than $1,000 on average than the general population because Medicare does not cover all expenses, such as dental, vision, and hearing services. Increased demand because of the high number of older adults is also pushing up costs.

Addictions as Ways of Dealing with Stress

A sign of the stress of our times is that sales are up for the alcohol industry.25.8 percent of people ages 18 and older (29.7 percent of men in this age group and 22.2 percent of women in this age group4) reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.

Marijuana is the most used illegal drug in the United States, with approximately 22.2 million users each month. People are using drugs early. Among 10th graders, 28.8% had used marijuana in the past year and 18.4% in the past month. 1 in 3 Americans lives in a state where adults can legally buy cannabis.

Unhealthy foods are advertised constantly in all media. “Unhealthy food” is sweet, salty, meaty, succulent, “umami”, or a combination of the above. All of those can be considered “unhealthy, ” particularly if eaten to excess.  Junk food is usually cheap, tasty, and filling. But is associated with a variety of issues, like diabetes, heart problems, and obesity. Is it any surprise that gas stations are paired with convenience marts? These make junk food available, convenient to obtain.

Pornography and hypersexualized images are readily available on the web. There is some evidence this may lead to online porn addiction and young adults becoming addicted to masturbation and sex. Clinical reports suggest that terminating Internet pornography use is sometimes sufficient to reverse its negative effects.

COVID-19 led to widespread loss of life. There are concerns the fight against the pandemic is taking resources away from other critical health challenges – including disruption of other forms of urgent care – auto accidents, heart attack, strokes—illnesses, and reasons to get immediate medical attention.



Global Warming and Climate Change are Facts – Now How to Counter the Climate Deniers and Deal with Apathy

Global warming is existential for us as a species at least at the current state of our industrialization. As long our homes are not in danger of wildfires, flooding, our drinking water plentiful and clean, people can ignore or be apathetic about the warnings about global warming.  A student who does not care one way or the other if he passes a class is an example of a student who has apathy towards the class.

Apathy is a lack of emotion or interest largely and a defense mechanism against underlying anxieties and a sense of powerlessness against the inevitable. When faced with environmental catastrophes, whether local or global, people tend to cope with their anxieties by pretending not to care.

The phrase “public apathy” was coined in the 1940s. If the public is disinterested in politics or then they are “apathetic.”  Apathetic is applied to people who are experiencing complex and wide-ranging emotions about what is happening to them, the outcome of which is inaction.

In addition to our own personal and family stuff, people are dealing with pandemics, educational issues, crime, political controversies, among other things.

If apathy and denial are symptoms of deeper unconscious processes, then public awareness campaigns no longer work, especially in Western democracies where decisions made from the top-down often backfire with political polarization.

Anxiety, mourning, loss, grief, and despair can all lead to not only apathy but active denial. Those people who you think are just ignorant or greedy and act it on the surface may not be. They might just feel hopeless or disconnected. This doesn’t only happen with ecological disasters. It can happen with local recessions such as the losses that turned much of the rust-belt (cities in states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, etc.) into an economically depressed and abandoned region. Think of the Flint water crisis.  Workers are replaced by robots or their jobs shipped overseas. Faced with uncaring leadership and monied residents decamping for sunnier and wealthier states, this hopelessness led to the election of Donald Trump in 2016, a populist who offered false hope and did nothing to slow or stop the decline.

Public campaigns intended to ignite widespread change frequently fail because they do not address the psychological “barriers to action”. In other words, if you want people to change their behavior to become more environmentally friendly or push for political change to that effect, you must understand why they don’t respond as you would like. While we can talk about why people don’t act as they should, those reasons often obscure the real barriers which can be far more complex than the surface reasons.

We embrace things that make our lives easier or more comfortable than are made to feel guilty about it.

Psychology has found that when threatened people often respond irrationally, especially when those threatening situations are modern. We simply didn’t evolve to manage long-term, regional or global problems. People are fully capable of worrying about the climate and outwardly denying or saying that there is nothing they can do about it even when both of those are false.

It is no accident that George Orwell’s 1984 (written in 1948) and the concept “doublethink” were published at the same time that Sigmund Freud was publishing on ego-splitting. Despite falling out of favor in many arenas, Freud’s ideas are relevant to understanding the psychological impact of global warming and climate change. The sense of impending doom or, in the aftermath, the trauma of lived environmental catastrophe creates a need to process it all while still functioning in a society that continues to contribute to that catastrophe.

While some of us are online expressing our fears and anxieties about a world in peril, a great number of others cannot process the loss — loss of weather or climate of the past, clean air, and plentiful, clean water, and of pristine forests, rivers, and lakes. These create psychological defense mechanisms that any successful public campaign needs to diffuse. Shaming campaigns are hardly effective.

We have seen the standard of living rise through the industrial age. Knowing that the fruits and comforts of this age come at such a terrible cost can lead to intense psychic conflict. Unnamable terror becomes unthinkable, and feelings become fractured. People cope by denial or projecting onto others. We say it’s not happening or it’s somebody else’s fault. Shifting agency from ourselves to others (politicians, billionaires, executives, and other nations) makes us feel better in the short term but only makes us sink deeper into our sense of helplessness and apathy.

The way out is to radically rethink our approach to public awareness. First, we must recognize the internal psychic conflict people are experiencing. Loss, mourning, grief, and anxiety all play a role in dealing with both what once was (say a pristine and flourishing environment containing ecological abundance), the desire for it to be that way again (often with a denial that anything going on is out of the ordinary), and the fear that there is nothing that can be done (and therefore nothing need to be done).

We need to rethink apathy. We don’t need to get people to care more. We don’t even need to inform them more. They already care. They already know a lot about what’s going on, and more information can just drive the psychic conflict deeper. That’s how you get conspiracy theories and organized denial campaigns. That is public awareness doing more harm than good.

Moralizing climate change and shaming people for not acting better because they are “apathetic” does not necessarily lead to positive action. Rather it can strengthen defenses and have exactly the opposite effect.

Lertzmann suggests that people need to find a “home” for their concerns and desire to help. Public awareness campaigns often seek to instruct people as to what they ought and ought not to be doing but don’t really “think outside the box” in terms of finding that home. Environmental protection isn’t a black and white activity with a list of things that help and a list of things that don’t.

People who do engage in this black and white thinking often feed their own apathy. They assume that if they aren’t or don’t feel they can be doing certain specific things that the “experts” want them to do then they should do nothing. They project onto experts their own feeling of helplessness and defend against it.

People have a psychological need to explain why they aren’t doing more in order to offset their feelings. People are full of excuses. They say all recycling just ends up in the trash, so don’t recycle. Renewable power is an eyesore or impractical, so use fossil fuel. Electric cars take too long to charge (depends on the battery and charging station) or just use fossil fuels from powerplants (not if those powerplants use renewables) or don’t last (neither do ordinary cars) or only the rich can afford them (not if manufacturers get on board), so buy gas ones. Environmental organizations are only interested in money or full of “tree huggers”, so don’t support them. All of these reasons are defenses coming from a much deeper awareness of the problem than a truly apathetic person would have.

People enjoy sharing stories like the one you are reading on social media. It feels like doing something. And you know what? It is. And more importantly, it is finding a home for that concern so it doesn’t slide down into projection and defense mechanisms. But those of us who are creating these public campaigns have to be careful about what we share.

Lertzmann argues that the central feature of engaging people with the environment such as climate change is creativity. That is, if people can participate creatively, they can avoid their psychological barriers because they are no longer subject to the guilt and conflict of not being able to do the “right things” that they believe is expected of them. When people do find ways to contribute and feel that they are contributing (have agency), their sense of loss and anxiety melts into pride and joy.

Look for example at the proposal for a water pipeline from the rain-drenched gulf coast to the drought-stricken American West. Perhaps if they can do it for oil, they can do it for water. That requires money, government support, and time.

With something like climate change, it is easy to feel like everything is hopeless, but that is untrue. It is easy to feel like there is nothing one person can do. But that is untrue. It is easy to feel like the solutions are too difficult for the ordinary person. It is easy to feel like the government or billionaires are the only ones with the power to fix things. That is absolutely untrue. What is required is outreach to people.

Outreach that simply focuses on consumer compliance —“ Do this”, “Buy that”, “Don’t Buy This” — will almost certainly fail. That said a little guilt can be good. It can help people do the right thing. A lot of guilt will lead to withdrawal and denial.

Outreach that is sensitive to the overwhelming problems we face and focuses on having good ideas and making contributions rather than compliance will have a much better chance of succeeding.

It also helps to encourage people to stay engaged with the natural world. Research shows that, when people feel disconnected from nature, they can lose the need to protect it. When they spend time outdoors, they feel a need to preserve it.

Anger can also be a good motivator. It is healthy and constructive to say “no!” to destructive practices. Feelings of moral responsibility, concern, sadness and depression over our own actions can be helpful as well — provided it leads us to think creatively. For it is in creating, not complying, that we will solve global warming and climate change.

Renewable energy use is growing rapidly. The leaders in Europe pledged to shift away from fossil fuels by 2030.  President Biden, with the support of major automakers, announced a plan that half of all new vehicles sold in the United States will be electric. Even China pledged it will strengthen pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reach carbon neutrality, which has been shaken by flooding that has displaced 13 million people. The disaster was caused by a slow-moving rainstorm—exactly the kind of weather that scientists say will occur even more frequently.

The climate scientists caution to not lose sight of the mission. Better to focus less on hand-wringing, they say, and more on getting to work. If we elect the right leaders, and they do the right things there is still time.

How the Trump Administration is Mishandling the Coronavirus

Inevitably, the truth has a way of butting up against lies and liars. Now the time has come for Donald Trump to experience the consequences of his current round of untruths about the coronavirus, also called the Covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2.

On February 28, At a South Carolina rally last week, President Trump claimed that COVID-19 was a “hoax” being perpetrated by the Democratic Party.  Trump encourages Sean Hannity to downplay COVID-19 as ‘corona flu’ and call the death rate ‘fake numbers.’  Donald Trump, Jr. said on Fox News that Democrats hope millions of people would die. He continues to minimize the threat posed by the coronavirus, telling people to go to work as unusual and is fearful about spooking the stock market. This is the same Trump who says climate change is a hoax and windmills cause cancer, and declared coronavirus to be very seasonal. “Is this just like flu?” Because people die from the flu. And this is very unusual. And it is a little bit different, but in some ways, it’s easier and in some ways, it’s a little bit tougher. But we have it so well under control. I mean, we really have done a very good job.”

This novel coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, is spreading from person to person in parts of the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high. There are now over 500 cases in about 40 states and 17 deaths.

Evidence points to this becoming a full-blown pandemic, which is a worldwide spread of a new disease.   The sense of crisis deepened in the United States with cases reported coast to coast.  Worldwide, cases are over 100,000 and the global death toll is near or past 3,000 now. . Covid-19 has killed patients on all continents except Antarctica.  People feel uneasy or unsure about the implications of COVID-19.

This virus spreads twice as fast as other viruses.  4 out of 5 people are susceptible to contracting this virus which is highly communicable. People are more likely to get it by touching surfaces and then touching their face than they are to breathe in droplets directly from someone who is infected.

Patients with COVID-19 have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms that can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. As many a hundred million Americans may get coronavirus.

If this coronavirus strain is as communicable as regular flu—meaning 40.25 million will get it—a two percent mortality rate would imply that 805,000 Americans could die from the virus. By these measures, a global coronavirus pandemic could infect 861 million people worldwide with an expected 17.2 million deaths.

On February 29, Trump announced the first death in the United States, yet continues to blame the new media and Democrats for exaggerating the dangers of the coronavirus. He continues to downplay the threat, of ignoring the spread around the world, and of demonstrating that his concerns are about the stock market. Trump delayed people from leaving their cruise ship because he said he wanted to keep the number of cases down. This is classic Trump— affixing the blame on others.

Trump put in charge of America’s response Vice President Pence, who bungled the response to an HIV epidemic in rural Indiana when he was its governor.  Pence decides what information by government officials, like Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. and Robert Redfield M.D., Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is given out. Government officials are forbidden to talk without prior authorization.

What happened over the past week illustrates how poor planning by federal health officials results in a rumor mill fueled by social media, polarized politics and a lack of clear communication undermine public confidence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has withheld “crucial” information about the coronavirus from doctors, medical experts warn and doctors and other health officials are reporting information is being withheld.  The CDC has only shared detailed clinical information about one of those patients, according to CNN. The agency has information about other coronavirus patients, which has not yet been released. The CDC did not have enough test kits and contracted with Integrated DNA Technologies, a commercial test manufacturer working with the CDC. The administration said 4 million more tests will be shipped in the next several days by March 15. Americans are not happy with the handling of COVID-19, but it’s not too late to make critical changes.


Nations are tightening travel restrictions, canceling public events and urging people to take health precautions.  Companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are telling workers to stay at home. On TV, we see scenes from the US and abroad showing arenas and buildings virtually empty.  Schools are being closed and sporting events, canceled. Where they are not closed, parents are circulating an online petitions calling for schools to be closed.

Meanwhile, the economic news indicates investors and corporations fear the worst. Supply chains are being disrupted, and not just for. This is the main reason world stock markets have crashed in the last few weeks, reflecting trillions of dollars of losses. Gold, history’s safest haven for worried investors cannot escape coronavirus, has fallen. There is also a looming threat to retail across the board, analysts said. This undercuts Trump’s argument that this is the best economy ever.

World oil prices fell 15 percent.  In response, oil-producing nations are cutting back production. Global manufacturing supply chains for cars, smartphones,  medical equipment,  pharmaceuticals,  electronics, chemicals, food, tobacco, beverages and so on will be damaged for several months at least, All sorts of things from cars to toys producing bottlenecks.

The net effect of this to contract the economies of the world.  The stock market is gyrating. Airlines are burning thousands of gallons of fuel flying empty ‘ghost’ planes so they can keep their flight slots. Meanwhile, airline stocks have crashed.

Half of our imports from China—and an appreciable share from Korea and Japan—are inputs used by U.S. manufacturers to produce their goods. If the pandemic slows the production and exports of those inputs, as is now happening, American manufacturing will slow further and more U.S. unemployment will ensue. The United States is also a very important export market for many countries. As the pandemic spreads widely, all of these troubling effects will increase sharply.

Many industries are being decimated, including transportation, food and beverage services, entertainment such as movies, tourist attractions, adventure tourism, recreation and ecotourism, hotels and travel services. Dozens of trade shows and huge annual corporate events in and outside the United States have been canceled. Among those called off because of the virus are Houston-based CERAWeek, one of the biggest energy events of the year, and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

American consumers are displaying a symptom of the illness seen in Asia and Europe — hoarding.  People are emptying store shelves of facemasks and hand sanitizers. San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, has declared a state of emergency. There is unquestionably a growing sense of urgency for people to stock up on staples and to prepare for lengthy home quarantines. A man who worked in Hong Kong and China during the SARS outbreak and knows first-hand the stresses that snowballing fears of a pandemic can cause. We believe the time to start worrying about the supply chain risk of 2019-nCoV is here.  It’s worth noting that big-box players like Target and Walmart could be the first to experience out of stock issues.”

People already were unnerved by strange stories posted on Facebook and shared via text messages about helicopters secretly flying in sick patients, that the virus was grown in a Chinese lab, that someone — either the media or the government — was lying to them about what was really going on.

When people become apprehensive about their own survival and that of their families, we engage in survival behavior. There has been panic-purchasing of masks and other personal protective gear. Several major retailers, including Walmart and Target, stand to see supply chains badly hit by the coronavirus and that could result in some empty store shelves starting in April, Ed Kelly, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote in a research note this month

 Stockpiling in states like Hawaii and Minnesota was spurred by messages from state health departments urging residents to buy supplies of non-perishable foods, prescription medications, and sanitary supplies. Irrational stockpiling can also lead to price gouging, can lead to anxiety.

The advice contradicted the message from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose Director Robert Redfield on Thursday told a US congressional hearing that there was no need for healthy Americans to stock up on any supplies.  People are confused when hearing contradictory information and when it comes from authoritative sources, it makes what they say less believable. These words from a political appointee sound like a political message, not one that prepares people for the possibility this could become a pandemic.

Words will not alleviate grief when a grandmother or a friend perishes from this disease. The first American death occurred in Kirkland, Washington. Others in this city are being quarantined and isolated.

There are 65 known cases in the U.S. and the first case of one that “community transmitted” has occurred. People around the world are getting sick and some people are dying. Italy has over 1,100 cases, Japan, 900+, Iran, 500+, and in China over 79,200. It’s been found in nearly 60 countries. Italy shut down all schools and has essentially closed down a quarter of its population, including Milan.

Travel restrictions are in effect for Italy, South Korea, and China,  and the U.S. has suspended the entry of foreign nationals coming from locations where the virus has been present. The University of Connecticut, among other universities, has canceled a study abroad program with Italy and is bringing students home.

Both the death rate and the spread of the infection are escalating comparing to the swine flu epidemic and before that the Spanish flu of 1918.  The Spanish flu killed around 670,000 Americans at a time when the U.S. population was 103 million —and historians say that its spread was made worse by President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to pretend everything was just fine.

The coronavirus spread further globally on Friday. The latest World Health Organization figures indicate more than 100,000 people have been infected, with over 3,000 deaths. The number of cases doubles each week. It spreads at twice the speed of other viruses.

How dangerous is the coronavirus? The seasonal flu kills about 0.1 percent of people who become infected. The 1918 Spanish flu had a high fatality rate of around two percent, and tens of millions of people died around the world.  A similar 2% death rate is being reported from Wuhan, China where the disease originated. Another report from many parts of China shows a lower death rate: 1.4 percent. It’s too early to know how extensive or fatal the coronavirus will be. The death rate from the coronavirus is twenty times as ordinary flu.

As a whole, the United States appears unprepared for this possible pandemic. Trump has criminally underplayed the importance of emergency preparations of all kinds. Trump fired the entire staff of the National Security Council that monitored pandemics. Trump has proposed a funding cutback funding cut to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although this budget has not been enacted  — apparently because of his lifelong hatred of having people around who know that what he is doing is foolish.

Meanwhile, the CDC is doing the best it can, sending its doctors and experts to places around the country. However, the United States is unprepared. People severely stricken with coronavirus need breathing machines. The United States currently has about 100,000 of these, two-thirds of which are always in use. The demand for these, if hundreds of thousands of Americans are severely sickened, would create a need for another 150,000 of breathing machines, tubes, and testing kits.

To keep up with the news about the coronavirus, check the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html.

Are Americans All That Satisfied With Their Employer-Provided Health Insurance?

Republicans and some DemocratRepublicans and some Democratic candidates are lambasting health care for all as a pipedream or even worse, something Americans do not want. Is this so?

Consider that four in ten people covered by an employer-sponsored health plan say they have problems affording premiums, paying deductibles, cost-sharing or finding something they need is not covered by the policy. They have had to cut back on other expenses. This was the finding of the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Los Angeles Times.

One in eight Americans says they have at least one relative or friend who has died within the past five years as a result of not being able to afford treatment for a medical condition.34 Million Americans have lost loved ones because they couldn’t afford healthcare. Healthcare costs are a pocketbook challenge for more and more people.

40% of people covered by an employer-sponsored health plan said they had problems paying medical bills or affording premiums, deductibles, cost-sharing or an unexpected bill, according to data released this year by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Los Angeles Times. Employer and employee premiums for private health insurance for a household now average $20,576, before deductibles and copayments, and before payroll and state and local taxes to pay for healthcare for the elderly and the poor.

The high cost of health care drives over one million middle-class Americans into bankruptcy each year. 2 out of 3 of these bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. When I was a young lawyer in the late 60’s, I made a study of the causes of consumer bankruptcy. Only 1 in 20 people blamed medical bills. Medical debt is an incredibly common problem.

Healthcare costs are projected to go up 20% in the coming year, putting more and more Americans  a financial barrier to getting affordable healthcare for millions more.

Even people on Medicare need help. 53 percent of Medicare enrollees who are seriously ill say they have major problems paying their medical bills, according to an AARP study.

A seriously ill patient is someone with an illness or chronic condition that requires two or more hospital stays and three or more doctor visits over a three-year period.

By contrast, when a Canadian is diagnosed with prostate cancer, he or she undergoes a multitude of tests, specialist consultations, a month of radiation treatment and a surgical procedure. His out-of-pocket costs? Zero.

Canada has better health outcomes than the United States while spending far less on health care. Canadians’ life expectancy is 82 on average — more than three years longer than Americans’, according to a 2019 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) based on 2017 data. It also boasts a far lower rate of deaths from treatable causes, at 59 per 100,000 residents, compared with 88 per 100,000 residents in the United States. The infant mortality rate in Canada is 4.5 per 1,000 live births, compared with the U.S. rate of 5.8.

What has transpired during these years is the cost of health care has skyrocketed. National health expenditures increased 179% between 2000 and 2019 to $3.8 trillion,

Medical bills are so common that one out of every six Americans has an unpaid medical bill on their credit report and it’s the main reason for calls from collection agencies Most of these Americans have insurance and it’s broken. Insurance is often not enough to save Americans from massive debts when serious illness strikes.

We spend twice as much per person as any other country in the world, yet we are not as a whole as healthy as other advanced nations.

Tax on marijuana comparable to how cigarettes and liquor are taxed. Marijuana stocks soar as decriminalization bill has passed the House Judiciary Committee; bill still needs to be approved by House and US Senate. This can a large source of health care funding.

Our problem, according to Hunter University professor of public health and Harvard lecturer is the “Health insurance that we have today is a defective product.”

It’s time we rang the closing on a health care system that isn’t working.

How to Pay for Medicare for All

Whether we call it Medicare for All, universal coverage, Medicare Available, the time has come for the U.S. to join the rest of the world in recognizing health care as a right.

What we spend now every year on health care

As a nation, we spend more than twice the average of the world’s thirty-five advanced economies on health. The average spent per person in other advanced countries is $5280. Yet we rank 28th in the quality of healthcare among the nations of the world. Americans are sicker, our lives are shorter, and we have more chronic illnesses than in any other advanced nation.

If we divide the current population of the United States (327 million) by our total spending, it comes out to $11,347 per person. Although 27 million Americans have no health insurance, the average annual premiums of health insurance in 2019 are $7,188 for single coverage and $20,576 for family coverage. Deducting the 70% employers pay of their employees’ health insurance, employers are paying $14,403 per employee with family coverage. Some 45,000 Americans die each year from a lack of medical insurance

While employers pay about 70% of the cost of their employees’ health insurance, employees are paying more in deductibles, and for co-insurance. Americans would be covered for medically necessary services including primary and preventive care, mental health care, reproductive care, vision and dental care, long-term care, and prescription drugs. There would be free medical, dental and vision care with no premiums, deductibles or co-payments, balance billing, or copays for most drugs

How desirable it would be for family spending on health care to vanish!  Instead of having trouble paying medical bills, being bugged by collection agencies, suffering lower credit ratings because of medical bills, and many being driven into bankruptcy.

16 million Americans can’t afford to treat a broken arm costing $500 at the present time. 44 percent of adult Americans claim they could not come up with $400 in an emergency room visit without turning to credit cards, family, and friends, or selling off possessions.

The total economic cost of caring for Americans with some form of dementia is expected to exceed $2 trillion dollars, far beyond the resources of families.

How can we reduce the cost?

We simplify the system and save half a trillion dollars a year in overhead and executive bonuses. Instead of the 15% overhead for-profit insurance companies, Medicare’s overhead is 2%. Overhead is used to deny claims, advertising, exorbitant executive pay with million-dollar bonuses, incompatible computer systems plus the delays that come from doctors and hospitals not being able to seamlessly communicate with one another.

Would insurance companies go out of existence? Probably not, they could transform themselves into contractors for Medicare, offer boutique coverage for medical procedures like cosmetic surgery, sports medicine, acupuncture and other alternative medical care not covered by Medicare. Their workforces would no doubt go down and job retraining could be offered to all displaced employees.

How can we finance Medicare for All?

There are choices:

  • A 4% payroll tax on top of social security. Sanders says this would amount to $844 a year (after taking a standard deduction) for a family of four earning $50,000 a year. Families earning less than $29,000 a year would pay no premium. Families with $100,000 a year income would pay $2840, far less than the $6173 difference in employer coverage.
  • Tax on marijuana comparable to how cigarettes are taxed
  • Maintain current state and federal government funding, which includes payroll taxes, taxes on social security – about two trillion dollars
  • Employers could continue to pay their employees’ annual premiums but they could be non-deductible expenses.

We need a more efficient health insurance delivery system for financial reasons alone, but the larger benefits are a healthier more productive workforce, greater income equality, and the needless loss of life because people cannot get or afford health care.

We need a more efficient health insurance delivery system for financial reasons alone, but the larger benefits are a healthier more productive workforce, greater income equality, and the needless loss of life because people cannot get or afford health care.

Health Effects of Social Media

Do we need to rethink the role of social media in ourlives? 40% of the world’s population – about three billion people – engage in social media, spending an average of two hours every day posting, sharing, liking, tweeting and updating, with social media playing such a big part in our lives, could we be harming our mental health as well as our time?

Difficulties in Getting Prescription Drugs Filled in the United States

This presentation deals with difficulties and costs of obtaining the drugs one needs in the United States.  Nearly 1 in 10 American adults go without prescribed medications because they can’t afford them (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics)Orphans drugs. Prescription drugs account for one out of every 10 dollars spent on health care in the U.S and is climbing. People need to be assured they Can afford and have access to the medicines they need.

Hurtful Gaps in American Health Care

  • 60% of Americans Have One and 40% Have Multiple Chronic Conditions
  • Around 100 million of them have more than one.
  • Nearly 30 million are living, day in and day out, with five chronic conditions or more.
  • People’s ailments are a drag on the economy both in the impact they have on worker performance and health costs, particularly if untreated early

What Effect Does Health Care Have on Our Economy?

This is how health affects every family and individual in the United States.

This is how health affects every family and individual in the United States. It shows how health care compares with other industries as opportunities to earn a living. See how health costs can be saved.

People Want Health Care Changed for the Better

It’s All about a Good Life.

It’s All about a Good Life.

Answers questions about healthcare:

  • What’s Standing in the Way of reforming healthcare?
  • What’s the argument those opposed to Medicare for All?
  • Where will the funding come from?
  • Is now the time for Medicare for All?