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1 2nd April 05:13
myrl
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Posts: 1
Default NEW YEAR Op-ed -- New Year's Resolutions for the US (aspirin crisis eye heart acetaminophen)


A message from Diana Zuckerman. . .Myrl


Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement this year.
Let's hope next year will be a good one for the many health and safety
issues we care about.

Here's some of our ideas about what policy changes are needed. Knight
Ridder sent this op-ed out to all their newspapers today (Thursday), so
I don't yet know which newspapers will publish it. I focused on 3
issues that are key domestic policy issues: Medicare, FDA, and Social
Security, and the role they play in our safety and security.

Happy New Year!

Best wishes,
Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D.
National Research Center for Women & Families
1901 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 901
Washington, DC 20006
202 223-4000
http://www.center4research.org

Remember us when you give to Combined Federal Campaign in Washington,
DC area, by designating # 7693!

BC-RESOLUTIONS-COMMENTARY:KRT - op-ed

New Year's resolutions for the U.S.

By Diana Zuckerman

If our government was making New Year's resolutions, there would be
many to choose from. Here are three that could make a big difference
in our safety and security.

One of the most urgent risks to our health and our wallets is one most
Americans haven't yet recognized. That's the drug epidemic stemming
from spending billions of dollars on medical care, prescription drugs
and medical products that are not as safe or effective as we think they
are.

Medicare has saved millions of lives over the years, by providing
health care to retired people and those with disabilities.
Unfortunately, the changes in Medicare law that were intended to
provide prescription drug coverage in the coming years could destroy
the program if we don't do something immediately.

The new Medicare law will be a windfall for pharmaceutical companies,
but not for patients. Some patients will benefit, but on balance the
law is a mistake that needs to be repealed or fixed. Changes are
needed to reduce medication costs. Otherwise, Medicare will be
unaffordable to the country, and all of us, not just our parents and
grandparents, will be harmed.

Congress and the president don't like to admit they made a mistake,
even when (as is true in this case) the mistake was partly based on
misleading cost calculations. The public must demand a change in the
law - otherwise, it will not happen.

The second resolution also involves medical care. All Americans are
being harmed by prescription drug problems. As individuals and as a
country, we're spending more on prescription drugs than ever before,
including billions on painkillers that may be less safe and no more
effective than the oldest, least expensive pills on the market. For
example, aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen have risks, but those
risks have been exaggerated by companies selling more expensive
alternatives. For pennies most of us can take them, get pain relief,
and not have to worry about fatal side effects.

In recent weeks we have learned that painkillers are killing us.
Unfortunately, that's just the tip of the iceberg. There have been
other extremely unpleasant surprises in our medicine cabinets in the
last few years. Taxpayers support the Food and Drug Administration for
one reason: to protect us. But something has gone terribly wrong, and
it's not just prescription drugs - it's also vaccines and medical
implants.

If fixing the FDA is our second New Year's resolution, let's be
sure to include better long-term research on the shunts in babies and
children with birth defects, the heart valves and hip and knee
replacements in our parents or grandparents, the gastric LAP bands in
obesity patients, and the various cosmetic implants in so many of our
favorite celebrities (and increasing numbers of our friends).

My third proposed resolution is to protect Social Security. Social
Security is not currently in crisis, and some of the "solutions"
being debated by our government leaders are worse than the problems
would be. Under the current system, if Social Security Trust Fund
money is made available as promised, the United States will have enough
funds to pay all beneficiaries for almost 50 years. Compared to
Medicare and many other policy issues facing us, it is silly to call
that a crisis.

Social Security needs some tinkering to fix it for the long-term, and
it would be wise to do that soon, while baby boomers are working and
paying into the system. In the next few years, however, the only
potential crisis is that politicians will destroy the system in order
to save it. In reality, the biggest problem facing us in the coming
decade is whether the Social Security taxes that have been collected
from our paychecks for the Social Security Trust Fund will be used up
on other priorities, such as wars and excessive tax cuts, causing red
ink as far as the eye can see. That is a serious problem, but it is
not a problem of the Social Security program. It should not be solved
on the backs of the millions of aging Americans who depend on Social
Security now or soon will - or the families that care about them.

It's easy to make New Year's resolutions, but hard to keep them.
As a country, it is difficult to even make them. Fortunately, our
country has a government of the people and for the people, and they
will listen to the people. They need to hear from us: to undo the
damage being done to Medicare, to remind the FDA that protecting
consumers is its most important goal, and to safeguard the Social
Security Trust fund so that the money will be there when we need it.

---

ABOUT THE WRITER

Diana Zuckerman is president of the National Research Center for Women
& Families, a Washington research center. Readers may write to her at:
National Research Center for Women & Families, 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW, Suite 901, Washington, D.C. 20006; e-mail: dz@center4research.org;
Web site: http://www.center4research.org.

This essay is available to Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
subscribers. Knight Ridder/Tribune did not subsidize the writing of
this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not
necessarily represent the views of Knight Ridder/Tribune or its
editors.

---

2004, National Research Center for Women & Families
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services
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2 2nd April 05:13
myrl
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default NEW YEAR Op-ed -- New Year's Resolutions for the US (aspirin crisis eye heart acetaminophen)


A message from Diana Zuckerman. . .Myrl


Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement this year.
Let's hope next year will be a good one for the many health and safety
issues we care about.

Here's some of our ideas about what policy changes are needed. Knight
Ridder sent this op-ed out to all their newspapers today (Thursday), so
I don't yet know which newspapers will publish it. I focused on 3
issues that are key domestic policy issues: Medicare, FDA, and Social
Security, and the role they play in our safety and security.

Happy New Year!

Best wishes,
Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D.
National Research Center for Women & Families
1901 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 901
Washington, DC 20006
202 223-4000
http://www.center4research.org

Remember us when you give to Combined Federal Campaign in Washington,
DC area, by designating # 7693!

BC-RESOLUTIONS-COMMENTARY:KRT - op-ed

New Year's resolutions for the U.S.

By Diana Zuckerman

If our government was making New Year's resolutions, there would be
many to choose from. Here are three that could make a big difference
in our safety and security.

One of the most urgent risks to our health and our wallets is one most
Americans haven't yet recognized. That's the drug epidemic stemming
from spending billions of dollars on medical care, prescription drugs
and medical products that are not as safe or effective as we think they
are.

Medicare has saved millions of lives over the years, by providing
health care to retired people and those with disabilities.
Unfortunately, the changes in Medicare law that were intended to
provide prescription drug coverage in the coming years could destroy
the program if we don't do something immediately.

The new Medicare law will be a windfall for pharmaceutical companies,
but not for patients. Some patients will benefit, but on balance the
law is a mistake that needs to be repealed or fixed. Changes are
needed to reduce medication costs. Otherwise, Medicare will be
unaffordable to the country, and all of us, not just our parents and
grandparents, will be harmed.

Congress and the president don't like to admit they made a mistake,
even when (as is true in this case) the mistake was partly based on
misleading cost calculations. The public must demand a change in the
law - otherwise, it will not happen.

The second resolution also involves medical care. All Americans are
being harmed by prescription drug problems. As individuals and as a
country, we're spending more on prescription drugs than ever before,
including billions on painkillers that may be less safe and no more
effective than the oldest, least expensive pills on the market. For
example, aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen have risks, but those
risks have been exaggerated by companies selling more expensive
alternatives. For pennies most of us can take them, get pain relief,
and not have to worry about fatal side effects.

In recent weeks we have learned that painkillers are killing us.
Unfortunately, that's just the tip of the iceberg. There have been
other extremely unpleasant surprises in our medicine cabinets in the
last few years. Taxpayers support the Food and Drug Administration for
one reason: to protect us. But something has gone terribly wrong, and
it's not just prescription drugs - it's also vaccines and medical
implants.

If fixing the FDA is our second New Year's resolution, let's be
sure to include better long-term research on the shunts in babies and
children with birth defects, the heart valves and hip and knee
replacements in our parents or grandparents, the gastric LAP bands in
obesity patients, and the various cosmetic implants in so many of our
favorite celebrities (and increasing numbers of our friends).

My third proposed resolution is to protect Social Security. Social
Security is not currently in crisis, and some of the "solutions"
being debated by our government leaders are worse than the problems
would be. Under the current system, if Social Security Trust Fund
money is made available as promised, the United States will have enough
funds to pay all beneficiaries for almost 50 years. Compared to
Medicare and many other policy issues facing us, it is silly to call
that a crisis.

Social Security needs some tinkering to fix it for the long-term, and
it would be wise to do that soon, while baby boomers are working and
paying into the system. In the next few years, however, the only
potential crisis is that politicians will destroy the system in order
to save it. In reality, the biggest problem facing us in the coming
decade is whether the Social Security taxes that have been collected
from our paychecks for the Social Security Trust Fund will be used up
on other priorities, such as wars and excessive tax cuts, causing red
ink as far as the eye can see. That is a serious problem, but it is
not a problem of the Social Security program. It should not be solved
on the backs of the millions of aging Americans who depend on Social
Security now or soon will - or the families that care about them.

It's easy to make New Year's resolutions, but hard to keep them.
As a country, it is difficult to even make them. Fortunately, our
country has a government of the people and for the people, and they
will listen to the people. They need to hear from us: to undo the
damage being done to Medicare, to remind the FDA that protecting
consumers is its most important goal, and to safeguard the Social
Security Trust fund so that the money will be there when we need it.

---

ABOUT THE WRITER

Diana Zuckerman is president of the National Research Center for Women
& Families, a Washington research center. Readers may write to her at:
National Research Center for Women & Families, 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW, Suite 901, Washington, D.C. 20006; e-mail: dz@center4research.org;
Web site: http://www.center4research.org.

This essay is available to Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
subscribers. Knight Ridder/Tribune did not subsidize the writing of
this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not
necessarily represent the views of Knight Ridder/Tribune or its
editors.

---

2004, National Research Center for Women & Families
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services
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