Utah – Glazed and Sugar Infused

“What do you get when you guzzle down sweets? Eating as much as an elephant eats. Where are you at getting terribly fat? What do you think will come of that?” —The Oompa Loompas, from the film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, right after Augustus Gloop is eliminated. Two Facebook entries by two different Utah news outlets posted three hours apart on Monday have proven to me, emphatically, that Utah is the junk food junkie capital of the United States of America. Early in the day, a post told how…

What you need to know about a pro-Obamacare group’s efforts in Utah

On a damp evening in late March at the Utah Capitol Rotunda, Psarah Johnson gave many reasons for why she spoke at the Healthcare Rights Coalition’s “Protect Patients” program. It was meant to promote the Affordable Care Act over legislation like the one that on May 4 passed the House that many call health care reform disguised as tax reform and a protection of tax cuts for the richest Americans. Among Johnson’s reasons: “Disability doesn’t discriminate, but a for-profit healthcare system does.” “Health savings accounts aren’t an option when you…

The Affordable Care Act was a bait and switch that won’t go away

Raise your hand if you hate health insurance companies. Yes, I know you just did it. So did I. We hate insurance because so much in medicine has gotten astronomically expensive without it. You can’t know how much something costs because it’s all priced to game insurance reimbursement rates. It gets more expensive every year, yet it’s always more expensive to not have it. Even without a legal mandate to buy it, there’s a practical one to. So in marches legislation demanding that you buy this thing you need but…

Obamacare will not be repealed

Just over 30 years ago, 36 insurance companies stopped writing policies in Washington, D.C. The issue was AIDS and the D.C. City Council voted to prohibit HIV testing of insurance applicants. At the time, insurance companies testing for the AIDS virus were deemed discriminatory to homosexuals. The three-dozen insurance companies argued that to not screen for the disease was not only bad business practice but defeated the whole idea of the insurance market. Insurance is all about managing risk. Actuaries are paid a lot of money to determine risk and…

The Mero Moment: Assisted Suicide – July 14, 2016

LDS Church leader Bruce R. McConkie died in 1985. If my memory serves me correctly, we were told at the time that Elder McConkie knew when he would die. He got dressed in a suit, laid on his bed, gathered his family around him, said goodbyes, and then he passed. For most of us, that’s the perfect way to go, isn’t it? It is dignified, considerate of loved ones and a testimony to a life well lived. Not all of us have such a connection to heaven. But, I dare…

Medical marijuana in Utah: an analysis of Senator Mark Madsen’s SB73

The ongoing battle between supporters and detractors of Sen. Madsen’s SB73 “Medical Cannabis Act”, or medical marijuana, seems to be always framed as ‘those who support medical treatment’ versus ‘people who hate sick people’.  While there are the zealots in every campaign, this axis is a mere distraction from the real issue.  The bill, as drafted, is riddled throughout with inaccuracies, mistakes, and unintended consequence to the extent that the bill should not be supported; not because of its subject matter or aim, but rather because of its legislative inadequacies.…

A comparison of medical marijuana bills before the Utah legislature

As many have heard there are two bills this session regarding legalizing medical cannabis or also known as medical marijuana. There is growing evidence that cannabis has many medicinal properties from pain relief to helping deal with neurological diseases and seizures. Some have even suggested that it may slow down cancer Madsen Bill Senator Madsen, who has much more of a libertarian perspective, has been trying pass a bill like this for many years. He has first hand knowledge as to the dangers of opiates as he was almost killed…

Sen. Daniel Thatcher: To vote yes on medical marijuana, we need reliable data

To vote yes on medical marijuana, we need reliable data. We won’t have that until the Federal Government reclassifies marijuana and the FDA can properly research it, including what conditions are helped, dosage, potential side-effects, and warnings against drug interactions, just like any other drug. Throughout this process, I have seen individuals being shamed and attacked for holding differing opinions. These tactics are causing many good people who hold strong and valid opinions to keep their heads down and their mouths shut. This does not make for good policy. I…

The Mero Moment: Deceptive Rhetoric from Utah’s Pot Lobby – January 7, 2016

By October 1987, the disease AIDS was still a mystery for the medical profession and for most Americans. AIDS gained a higher profile as it began to take the lives of several prominent people in the entertainment industry. In Congress at the time, a representative from West Hollywood, Henry Waxman, was chairman of the House subcommittee on Health and Environment, the subcommittee assigned to look into the problem of AIDS. Waxman was a dedicated liberal and loyal friend of the entertainment industry. In October 1987, Waxman moved the first congressional…

The Mero Moment: Madsen’s Pot Bill – December 10, 2015

The Utah Legislature soon will be in session and the controversial subject of medical marijuana will be front and center. On one side of the debate will be State Senator Mark Madsen and his bill to legalize certain marijuana products to relieve chronic pain. On the other side of the debate will be a Senate colleague, Evan Vickers, and a House colleague, Brad Daw. They will introduce an alternative bill that focuses more on the real science involved and less on pot-induced pain relief. There is at least one more…