Cholesterol Overhaul

Cholesterol Overhaul

Read The Strip at the NYTimes

Last week the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new guidelines for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Those guidelines direct doctors to prescribe the drugs to millions of patients who previously didn’t need them.

Most statins are generic now, and some have argued that because of that, the new guidelines can’t be a pharmaceutical cash grab. I’m no math whiz (Brockton High Mathlete, 1994-1997), but if their margins are small, a way to boost profit out of a generic drug would be to increase the volume sold, perhaps by expanding the patient pool by a couple million or so. I was only med-school adjacent in college, but it turns out that these guidelines also set off doctors’ bullshit detectors over the weekend.

I’m not doubting the efficacy of statin drugs for those who truly need them. Like all medications, they come with benefits and side effects that should be carefully considered by patients and their doctors. Since we live in a world where most of us can’t afford to eat healthy or have the time to exercise, pharmaceuticals may be the only way we can combat heart disease until society starts to value our health over our productivity and contributions to GDP.

Meet Your Health Insurance Exchange!

Meet Your Health Insurance Exchange!

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Health insurance exchanges go live tomorrow, shutdown or not. Get to know them. The GOP gnashing of teeth over Obamacare is solely because they know it will be popular once it’s fully implemented. It’s already happened here in Massachusetts.

Right now it’s an abstract law, and my fellow Americans aren’t exactly deft at grasping abstract concepts. Combine that with the years-long misinformation campaign surrounding the law, and it’s no wonder everyone’s confused. It’s certainly not a perfect law. That adjective’s reserved for single-payer.

Congratulations! You’re Still Insured!

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Obamacare and Romneycare are both flawed, but they are better than the alternative of going without health insurance. Thanks to Romneycare, I have a PCP and can get preventative care on the cheap, unlike most of my freelancing brethren.

I was fully expecting the Court to scrap the Affordable Care Act, so I had to come up with this cartoon very quickly before my Friday deadline. Maybe I can use Romneycare to get an Adderall prescription the next time I have to pull an all-nighter. (Joking! Caffeine hasn’t failed me yet.)

I forgot to mention it last week, but I’ve been doing The Strip for over a year now. The time has flown. Because I’m drawing cartoons all the damn time.

Rejected Romney Campaign Slogans

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“Believe in America” is the perfectly lame slogan for a perfectly lame candidate. But if Romney wanted to switch it up during this endlessly stupid campaign, he could use any of these.

I really do have health care thanks to ol’ Massachusetts Mittens. The state’s public option is way more robust than the Obama version, but 2013 could be a squeaker for me to re-qualify. So keep your fingers crossed that I Price is Right that shit and my 2012 income is just one dollar below the threshold.

Religious Exemptions for Piety & Profit*

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Even though the contraception mandate has been established and validated in the courts for years, a bunch of loud-mouthed bishops bitched about it, and the bored news media decided to run with the wedge issue football all last week. And naturally Obama caved, offering up some cockamamie compromise where the insurance companies cover the contraception obligations instead of the religious employers. If we had single-payer healthcare, instead of the byzantine employer-funded health insurance system we’re stuck with, this wouldn’t even be an issue, and everyone would be happy.*

The point’s been made everywhere, but in case you missed it, when churches function as employers to the general public, not just those of their faith, they should abide by the same obligations as any employer. I say “should” because last month the Supreme Court blasted a unanimous loophole through employee rights with the ministerial exception.

*Not literally. Insurance industry toadies, and the perpetually miserable would still be sad.

Political Blind Items

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Kucinich switched his position on health care reform in the days since I drew this. He is still irrelevant. He’s a fine progressive, but yelling about peace and single payer doesn’t make the legislative sausage. (It makes for good cartoons and blog posts, though.)

On the other hand, there’s Obama, who’s willing to compromise his positions every time a Republican lets out an entitled, vaguely racist queef in his direction. The concessions that dude has made in the name of bipartisanship are too numerous and depressing to list.

Unfortunately, this sad sack of a president who can’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag is the best chance liberals have at getting anything done at least until 2016. It is my hope that passing Health Care Reform will finally get a doctor to help Obama’s testicles descend.

I’m tired of pointing it out, but anyone opposed to HCR because of costs and deficits is a fucking hypocrite pandering to mouth breathers. We’re talking orders of magnitude less than the cost of each of the two wars we’re currently waging for reasons who-the-fuck-knows. That’s not even including the cost-reducing impacts of the bill. You can complain about earmarks and entitlements all you want, but you probably shouldn’t be blowing the gun of a $6.5 million Abrams tank while you’re doing it.

Next Week: Metric System Resistance