Tag: Benefits

 

California’s $100M dialysis battle comes with ancillary benefits for labor union


A patient undergoes dialysis at a clinic in Sacramento, Calif.

A patient undergoes dialysis at a clinic in Sacramento, Calif. | Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

OAKLAND — In initiative-happy California, one set of ads stands out — those involving dialysis clinics, an industry that’s historically been a lower-profile player in politics.

The ads are unusual not only because of their unlikely topic but their volume, which is high because industry opponents of a labor ballot measure are spending more than any group opposing the other 11 proposals California voters must decide on.

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The massive spending gap between the $100 million opponents, including DaVita Inc., have raised and the $8.9 million by supporters led by SEIU United Healthcare Workers West means that the dialysis industry has flooded airwaves as it defends itself against organized labor. The same chain of events played out two years ago, resulting in a resounding defeat for the union’s ballot initiative.

California’s ballot wars have escalated in recent years as industries see little problem spending more than $100 million — and nearly twice that amount in the gig industry’s case — to persuade the electorate. Businesses and organizations that don’t get their way in the state Capitol often use the ballot to change state laws or as leverage to pressure lawmakers and other powerful interests. Proposition 23 is the third most expensive ballot initiative in 2020, according to data compiled by POLITICO.

While SEIU-UHW says it is committed to passing Prop 23, political strategists suggest that labor backers may simply be playing the long game by placing an initiative on the ballot every two years challenging the industry. Win or lose, the union is putting pressure on dialysis companies to spend gobs of money each general election.

“The threat of a ballot measure is something UHW has used strategically,” said Brian Brokaw, a Democratic strategist in Sacramento who is not involved in the Prop. 23 campaign. “In order for a threat to actually be credible, sometimes you have to put it on the ballot. But appearing on a ballot and actually running a campaign to support something are two different things.”

Proposition 23 faces long odds not just because of the industry’s $100 million war chest, but also because it involves a regulatory matter on a crowded ballot — a perfect recipe for voter rejection.

Two years ago, Californians voted 60-40 to reject Prop. 8, another SEIU-UHW-backed initiative that would have capped dialysis profits. But to get that win, the dialysis industry, led by the dominant franchises DaVita Inc. and Fresenius Medical Care, invested about $111 million to defeat it, or nearly six times what the proponents spent.

One day after that Nov. 6, 2018 election, the union vowed to refile the initiative in California and other states. SEIU-UHW did file another initiative, but Prop 23 looks dramatically different, focusing on requirements that clinics must meet such as staffing one doctor on site.

John Logan, director of labor employment studies at San Francisco State University, said unions have long used non-traditional tactics like ballot-box campaigns to get

Gilead questions WHO study that cast doubts on drug’s COVID-19 benefits

By Deena Beasley and Vishwadha Chander

(Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc has questioned the findings of a World Health Organization (WHO) study that concluded its COVID-19 drug remdesivir does not help patients who have been admitted to hospital.

The American company told Reuters the data appeared inconsistent, the findings were premature and that other studies had validated the drug’s benefits.

In a blow to one of the few drugs being used to treat people with COVID-19, the WHO said on Thursday its “Solidarity” trial had concluded that remdesivir appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or length of hospital stays among patients with the respiratory disease.

The antiviral medication was one of the drugs used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection, and has been shown in previous studies to have cut time to recovery, though the European Union is investigating it for possible kidney injury.

The WHO trial was conducted in 11,266 adult patients in more than 30 countries. The evidence was conclusive, the WHO said.

Gilead said other trials of remdesivir, including with 1,062 patients that compared it with a placebo, showed the treatment cut COVID-19 recovery time.

“The emerging (WHO) data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir,” Gilead told Reuters.

Gilead said it was “unclear if any conclusive findings can be drawn” given what it called differences in how the trial was conducted from site to site and between the patients who received the medicine.

In April, the top U.S. infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, predicted remdesivir would become “the standard of care”.

Companies such as Gilead are racing to find a treatment for COVID-19. Some 1.1 million people have died and 39.1 million have been reported infected in the pandemic, and the global economy has been thrown into chaos.

Remdesivir was developed for Ebola, which causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and spreads among humans through bodily fluids.

It was quickly repurposed and has offered some hope for patients, though the WHO’s findings may shift the focus of the search for a vaccine to new monoclonal antibodies being developed by companies including Regeneron.

The Solidarity trial also evaluated hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, and concluded that they, like remdesivir, did little to help patients survive or leave the hospital more quickly.

The WHO trial’s results are yet to be reviewed and were uploaded on the preprint server medRxiv. (https://bit.ly/3nViYIf)

“PREMATURE”

Gilead say the Solidarity conclusions, lacking scrutiny from other scientists, were premature.

“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design,” it said.

Remdesivir got emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1, and has been authorized for use in several countries.

During the Solidarity study, trials of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were stopped in June after

As Open Enrollment Begins, Health Benefits May Not Change Much

If you take medication regularly for a chronic condition, she added, make sure the plan’s prescription benefit covers it.

If your employer offers multiple plan choices, Ms. Watts of Mercer said, you should take the time to compare the total cost of coverage for each option — don’t just look at the premiums. She advises taking the total premium and subtracting any contributions made by your employer, such as to a health savings account, to compare the cost of different plans.

“Do the math,” she said.

To see your total potential financial exposure, add the plan deductible. If you are generally healthy and don’t take regular medication, a plan with a higher deductible may save you money. If you can’t afford unexpected costs, a lower deductible — typically with a higher premium — may be the best option. The average deductible for an individual is $1,644, Kaiser found.

Theresa Adams, senior knowledge adviser at the Society for Human Resource Management, said many workers didn’t take enough time to evaluate benefits. She encouraged them to make use of online tools offered by their employers to help choose options and to reach out with questions.

How much can I contribute to a health savings account in 2021?

Contribution limits ticked up for next year, the Internal Revenue Service announced. The maximum contribution is $3,600 for an individual and $7,200 for family coverage. (People 55 and older can save an extra $1,000.) H.S.A.s, however, are available only with specific types of health plans with high deductibles — at least $1,400 for individual coverage and $2,800 for family coverage for 2021. Typically, your employer will specify if a plan is H.S.A. qualified.

Some plans have a different option, called a health care flexible spending account. You can contribute to it before taxes, via paycheck withdrawals, to pay for care and products that your health plan doesn’t cover. Contribution limits are lower than with an H.S.A., and if you change jobs, your flexible spending account doesn’t go with you, as an H.S.A. does.

When is open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act marketplace?

According to Healthcare.gov, open enrollment for coverage starting on Jan. 1 runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. Open enrollment for state-run marketplaces may vary.

The legal challenge before the Supreme Court isn’t expected to affect this year’s open enrollment, as the court’s decision would probably come before next summer.

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Health Benefits of the Family Dentist

It is recommended that we visit the dentist at least two times a year, which means every six months. This way we can get our teeth cleaned, gums checked, and locate any concerns before they become a bigger problem. If we realize any concerns before they become a bigger problem, this can save you time, money, worry, and sometimes even pain in the long run. A regular cleaning also helps prevent plaque buildup, tooth decay, tooth sensitivity concerns, and they also help give us a fluoride treatment if necessary to help prevent tooth decay.

At a regular dental visit, we also may get x-rays done of our teeth to help the dentist see cavities, and other tooth or jaw concerns. If a cavity is spotted, they can fill the cavity and save you the time and money for more tooth problems later on, such as having to get a crown, dental implant, root canal, or other procedure to help restore the health of your teeth. Also, the dentists are friendly, helpful, and supportive.

Going to see the dentist may be scary for many, and embarrassing or shameful for others, but it should not be. The family dentist is there to help and protect your teeth and save you time and money on other oral health problems in the future. There are many dentists that also often to sedate people while cleaning their teeth these days, so it will be less scary and painful. Finally, dentists are there to answer any questions or concerns you may have. They are also trained to be professional and gentle. So, it is important to do the right thing for your teeth and go see your family dentist. You may see that the benefits are better than you once thought.

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Alternative Medicine Provides Benefits

Listing the medicinal benefits of marijuana is like trying to list all stars in the sky. With the help of technology, the medical attributes of marijuana are increasingly being incorporated into the fabric of societies everywhere. It has been used as a holistically effective medication on each continent by various kinds of people for thousands of years. Illegal or not, many people have attributed to its healing effects on various illnesses. Legal marijuana use is on the rise and for good reason.

One of the main benefits that are associated with medicinal marijuana is the relief of neuropathic and chronic pain. In a study conducted in HIV patients with neuropathic pain showed that 46 percent of patients who were administered with it experienced 30 percent pain reduction. On the other hand, only 18 percent of those administered with placebo got similar results. Marijuana use also increases the appetite. It stimulates the metabolism of the body and can cause the user an experience of appetite increase. For those patients who experience decreased appetite because of a certain disease, marijuana could help in appetite stimulation. It can signal a craving for food within the body of the patient and encourages one to eat in order to provide energy to the body.

Another benefit of marijuana is that it decreases nausea. Most patients experience nausea and vomiting because of certain illnesses or treatments, like chemotherapy. The THC, an active marijuana ingredient could decrease the nausea and vomiting symptoms in cancer patients. Controlling nausea improves the quality of life of a patient and could make them more receptive to the treatment. Furthermore, marijuana is also good for muscle relaxation. Inhalation of the smoke relaxes the body muscles. Patients who experience muscle twitching or tightness often have a hard time completing normal daily chores. These patients could benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana since it can help reduce the symptoms of muscular pains or aches. This treatment could increase the ability of a patient to move normally and promotes a positive quality of life.

Probably one of the benefits of marijuana is that it is an herb, grown from the earth and is not something that is refined or processed or enhanced chemically. Moreover, it does not have many difficult to pronounce ingredients that are designed to manipulate the symptoms of illnesses. It is a natural medicine without the liver-damaging side effects of prescription drugs. Marijuana has no permanent damage even on long-term use and most patients opt not to smoke it. It can be used in butters, baked goods, and other natural means that makes it the easiest medicine to swallow.

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7 Health Benefits of Cyanidin 3-Glucoside

Cyanidin 3-glucoside (C3G) is a water-soluble plant compound that is part of the anthocyanins category. It plays an active role in producing the dark color pigments in a variety of fruits and flowers. This natural substance is primarily sourced from fruits and vegetable with dark skins such as purple potatoes, blueberries, plums, blackcurrants, and black rice.

Most people already get a certain amount of cyanidin 3-glucoside in their diet, but this is usually at a negligible amount. It is possible to increase the intake of this substance by making a change in the diet or taking it in supplement form.

Here are seven of the potential health benefits for increasing the intake of cyanidin 3-glucoside:

Antioxidant

The rich antioxidant content of this compound helps the body neutralize the build up of free radicals. Free radicals develop when oxygen is able to interact with specific molecules. By neutralizing the free radical damage, it is possible to minimize the risk of serious disease such as certain cancers (skin, prostate, lung, and colon) and heart disease.

Atherosclerosis

The risk of atherosclerosis is lowered with an increased intake of cyanidin 3-glucoside. Atherosclerosis is a condition that relates to the build up of plaque on the artery wall which prevents the proper blood flow throughout the system. If the artery walls are restricted too much because of the hard plaque this can increase the risk of suffering from a heart attack.

Diabetes

It has the ability to help suffers of type-2 diabetes because of its ability to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce glucose levels.

Anti-inflammatory

Foods rich in cyanidin 3-glucoside can help to increase the body's ability to fight-off inflammation, which has the negative effect of causing serious health conditions.

Eye health

This plant compound has the ability to regenerate rhodopsin, which is essential to let the retina absorb light. A benefit of this is the ability to improve night vision. Plus, the rich antioxidant content is believed to have a positive effect of slowing the development of age related eye diseases such as macular degeneration.

Tissues

The powerful antioxidant properties in cyanidin 3-glucoside make it useful to tissues by slowing the aging process, fighting off DNA damage, and preventing the formation of cancerous cells by encouraging apoptosis, which is the programmed death of diseased cells.

Fat loss

For the bodybuilder there is the potential to increase muscle gain and reduce fat gain because this compound has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity, which is useful for providing more carbohydrate calories and protein to muscle cells.

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3 Mental Health Benefits That Come With Learning Self Defense

Learning self defense is not just about the physical benefits that you can get. Yes, there are some great physical things that will change within your body, but you should focus on more than just that. In fact, there are several mental health benefits that will come with learning martial arts, self defense, and fighting in any capacity. If you have never thought about this, perhaps the following will guide you to understanding the importance of learning the steps necessary to defend yourself, and others.

The Confidence Boost

Regardless of which martial art you want to learn, regardless of the classes that you take, you will gain confidence. People that know how to defend themselves don't walk around scared. They know that if something comes at them, they can calmly disarm, and avoid being beaten. Now, that doesn't mean that self defense is going to protect you from bullets in a gun fight, but it can give you confidence to move forward when others are in a panic. Staying calm when nefarious characters are trying to hurt you is tough, but when you know that you have skills to defend yourself, you will see things differently. While everyone else panics around you, imagine going through slow motion, and being able to fight back with relative ease.

Learn To Manage Stress

Alongside the benefit of staying calm, and getting a boost in your confidence, self defense classes can help you manage stress. Regardless of which option you decide to learn, martial arts are famous for teaching how to manage stress in all situations. There's nothing more stressful than being attacked, or dealing with a situation where you have to use your fists and feet as weapons. When those things occur, you can either panic or you can be calm. Managing stress doesn't just factor into the moments where you need to fight, but rather bleeds into your work life, home life, and relationships. Reducing stress, fighting depression, improving mental health, and assisting your daily routine are all benefits that come with this type of learning process.

Fighting Depression and Other Mental Health Disorders

Learning martial arts does not replace having to use antidepressants, or any other medications. That is not what this means. However, research studies have shown that individuals that train in self defense classes, manage mental health disorders a bit easier. In some instances, individuals were able to reduce or completely replace their medications as a result of improvements in their self-esteem, and mental health. Now, this does not mean that every single person will get this benefit, but there are some that do in fact get those results over time. One thing is for certain in this benefit, those that study martial arts, and learn how to defend themselves, improve their mental health over time, since it's a life-long process of learning.

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The Health Benefits of Indoor Plants

When you think of a house plant, you probably think of a green plant that you water sometimes right? But did you know that those pretty green leaves can actually be beneficial to your health? Having indoor house plants can boost your physical, mental and spiritual health.

Many people thing growing indoor house plants is too much trouble so they turn to the silk variety for green foliage in their homes. But there really is a different in how your home feels when the plants are real. Did you know that living plants can actually improve the air we breathe? Green plants are known for removing carbon dioxide from the air, but they can also filter harmful toxins and pollutants as well. This will make the air in your home healthier for your family, which in turn can help to keep your family healthier as well!

In addition to helping to purify the air, having house plants in your home can actually help prevent allergies in children. If children are exposed early in life to things that typically cause allergy issues they will begin to develop a tolerance and immunity to the allergen. It works similar to custom allergy shots that people get from their allergist. The allergist does an allergy test then makes a serum of the things that the person is allergic to. The person gets weekly shots of this serum to help them build a tolerance. Exposing your family to house plants can work in the same way, by helping them build a tolerance to the plants in your home. It is important to note that if someone in your family has severe allergies you should talk to their doctor before introducing house plants into their environment.

In addition to the physical health benefits of house plants, they help with mental health as well. When someone is depressed or lonely, caring for a living thing can help give them a purpose in life. Many people live in places where pets aren't allowed, so a house plant is a good choice. The person becomes involved in watering, fertilizing and trimming the plant when needed. This is a great therapy for people with mental health issues.

Being surrounded by living things is good for the soul, so having house plants is good for your spiritual health. Caring for another living thing and being exposed to the beauty can make you feel at peace with the world or at the very least your little corner of the world.

There are so many advantages to having house plants. However, there is no health benefit in a sick or dead plant. Make sure you water your plants regularly and mix slow release fertilizer in the soil about every three months. If you care for your plants, they will give you years of beauty and the added benefit of clean air, better mental health and calming peace.

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The 3 Benefits of a Fitness Lifestyle

A fitness lifestyle is defined as a daily exercise and nutrition regimen that helps you enhance your aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition. There are many reasons for you to develop a fitness lifestyle but I believe 3 are especially important:

1. Enhanced Health and Decreased Risk of Disease . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two out of every three Americans are overweight and one-third is clinically obese. This obesity is widespread throughout the US As of 2009, 49 states had obesity prevalence rates of more than 20% (Colorado is the lone exception). The number of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980. This is due, at least in part, to a lack of exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), less than half of all Americans get the recommended amount of exercise (about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days). 25% of us never exercise at all. This has significant ramifications for our health since there is a direct link between a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and many deadly diseases. Specifically, overweight and obese people are at a greater risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon), sleep apnea, and respiratory problems. A 2005 study by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health reports that obesity kills more than 100,000 Americans each year. Therefore, the greatest benefit of a fitness lifestyle is improved health and a potentially longer life.

2. Improved Work Performance . Yes, being fit and healthy can improve your work performance, and save you and your employer money. In a 2005 study reported by ACSM, researchers found that when workers used their company gym, they were more productive and got along better with their co-workers. Ratings for mental and interpersonal performance as well as the ability to manage time and output demands were much higher on exercise days. In addition, other studies have shown that corporate exercise programs can pay off in reduced health care costs, absenteeism and stress, and higher morale and productivity.

3. Increased Psychological Well-Being . A variety of studies have shown evidence that people who exercise experience less depression, anger, distrust and stress than those who do not exercise. In addition, those living a fitness lifestyle tend to experience improved mood, enhanced self-esteem, increased personal satisfaction, improved body image, increased energy and enhanced confidence in their physical abilities.

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4 Vision Health Benefits Of Cheese

One of the ways to make certain types of foods more appetizing is to add cheese to your favorite meals. Cheese is a good source of calcium and it's also a good source of other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Phosphorous and protein to name a few. There is an ongoing debate among health professionals in the nutrition industry as to whether cheese is a healthy food which you are able to include in your diet. Cheese often gets a bad reputation due to the fact that people tend to associate cheese with fat and blame it for contributing to weight gain. However, this does not apply to all types of cheese. It depends on the type of cheese you decide to include in your diet. Therefore, if you would like more information on the health benefits of cheese, here is some information concerning this matter.

Cheese is an integral part of a favorite American diet due to the fact that it is included in almost every food we eat from pizza, to egg omelets to nachos to salads to delicious sandwiches. 96% of Americans eat cheese. Considering the fact that this food is considered to be such a popular American treat the question which people are asking is are there any health benefits to including cheese in your diet?

There are actually 5 types of healthy cheese to choose from and these include the following: Mozzarella, Cottage cheese, Feta cheese and goat cheese and Swiss cheese. Therefore, here are some of the health benefits of eating cheese:

1.Calcium Builds Strong And Healthy Bones: Cheese has calcium, a nutrient which is essential in building strong and healthy bones.

2.Benefits of Cheese in Improving Eye Health: The French have a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids, resveratrol and antioxidants which include cheese and milk. This diet has helped to maintain healthy eyesight.

3. Surprisingly Reduces Risk for Heart Disease: Many people don't believe that cheese can lower your risk for heart disease. However, a French diet which consists of a good source of cheese may help you to reconsider your point of view regarding this subject. The average French man eats more cheese than any other person in any part of the world. The French have the lowest rate of coronary artery disease. The average French man eats on average 25.7 Kilograms of cheese compared to an American who eats on average 15.2 kilograms of cheese.In spite of this fact the French enjoy great heart health.

4.Dairy products such as cheese are an essential source of vitamin A which benefits eye health by supplying the eyes with a substance called retinol which has a protective effect on the eyes. From this point of view, it protects the surface of the eyes from bacterial infection.

Cheese is considered to be a favorite American food. Cheese enhances the flavor of many different meals. It is also a powerhouse of nutrition due to the fact that it consists …