The Guinea Pig State
No one who’s watched developments over that quarter-century should be surprised that, once again, Oregon’s attempt to provide health care coverage to everyone in the state has culminated in a nationally embarrassing failure. In response to Howard’s death, the Oregon legislature embarked on an ambitious attempt to fix the state health care system. Kitzhaber’s role in the creation of the Oregon Health Plan eventually propelled him into the governor’s mansion, and though he’s hardly a national name, he’s arguably done more to advance liberal health care reform than any other politician until Barack Obama. In the state legislature, he had opposed funding transplants for Medicaid patients, arguing the money would be better spent on other health care priorities. When given a chance to reform the state’s health care system, Kitzhaber doubled down on his belief that the amount of health care paid for by the state should be limited.
John W. Saultz, of the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, described Oregon’s failure to implement the employer mandate as a betrayal of the law’s supporters. Even with rationing, the state sought to further reduce costs and to oversee implementation by herding Medicaid patients into tightly regulated health maintenance organizations contracted by the state. The Oregon Health Plan’s mental health and dental benefits were actually superior to those offered under commercial insurance in the state. ODS Health Plan stopped offering the state plan in three rural counties because of nearly $1 million in losses.
The Oregon Health Plan isn’t just a failure; it’s such a failure that it has almost totally undermined the notion that government subsidized health insurance is ever effective. One, Obamacare supporters seem content with the notion that increased health insurance coverage is the goal regardless of whether it provides quality health care or is financially sustainable. Meet the new Oregon Health Plan, same as the old failed Oregon Health Plan.
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Josh and Carrie’s herd consists of 30 sows that produce Hampshire, Yorkshire and Crossbred showpigs that are sold to exhibitors across the Southwestern U.S. Brockman has been involved in the showpig industry his entire life and knows the challenges of temperature control in south Texas. Brockman says pigs naturally like cold versus warm temperatures and many facilities expose their herd to colder temps, assuming the animals adjust accordingly. Brockman says even in this setting, it is important for pigs to have a warm place to rest and bed down during harsh weather. Holt raises his showpigs in a climate-controlled building and depending on the size and age of the pigs, he keeps the temperature in the 60-75 degree range.
Holt says a draft is the biggest reason a pig will get sick. As heat rises it would stay inside this part of the pen longer, and the pig would stay warmer. Holt used to make a small hot box for smaller pigs, using plywood for walls and a ceiling. Cut a hole in the roof, hang a heat lamp in it and the pig can stay warm in this makeshift box. Holt says the most important parts of keeping a pig warm is to keep them in a climate controlled barn or inside a hot box, use straw and shavings to provide adequate bedding, prevent drafts and utilize a heat lamp in a safe distance from the pig and straw bedding.
Holt says the need to keep pigs warm is especially important when they weigh less than 150 pounds. If a pig is shivering, coughing, has nasal discharge or has sunken eyes it’s time to warm them up fast. Holt says to pay attention to your animals’ basic routines and watch for changes in skin color, like a white hog turning red, to know if a pig is too cold or not.
The Trouble With Pork, Part 3: Pathogens
Hepatitis E. Hepatitis E was first observed in a 1955 outbreak in New Delhi, India. Hepatitis E is the most important or the second most important cause of acute clinical hepatitis in adults throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. HEV sequences identified in patients with autochthonous hepatitis E infection were compared with sequences amplified from swine livers collected in slaughterhouses. As hepatitis E concentrates in the liver in both pigs and humans, swine livers were the natural place to test for hepatitis E presence, and probably the riskiest part of the pig to eat.
The researchers reasoned that sausage made from pig liver would be a likely vector for hepatitis E transmission to humans, especially a form of smoked pig liver sausage traditionally eaten raw – figatellu. The murine hepatitis virus model is suggestive: it supports the idea that a virus that causes hepatitis may also cause MS. Some strains of MHV are neurotropic, infecting both the liver and central nervous system, and it is these that most readily produce an MS-like disease. If a hepatitis virus is causing MS in humans, we would expect MS patients to have high rates of liver disease. Other Pig-Human Pathogens and MS.
Pork can carry many pathogens; perhaps hepatitis E virus is not the MS-causing pathogen. The most likely pathogen in the case of the liver diseases is hepatitis E virus. Hepatitis E viruses are most abundant in liver, intestine, and blood. Pig liver sausage as a source of hepatitis E virus transmission to humans. El Sayed Zaki M, Othman W.
Role of hepatitis E infection in acute on chronic liver failure in Egyptian patients.