Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

HCR -- Two Links -- End of Life and Tissue/Organ Donors

By John Ballard

For my little audience of readers following health care reform, today I came across three excellent links.
The first two are brief public radio features about organ and tissue donation.
I am well-informed, but I learned new information from both.

?Little Regulation Poses Problems Tracking Tissue (Seven minutes)

?Calculating The Value Of Human Tissue Donation (Thirteen minurtes)

These features by Joseph Shapiro and Sandra Bartlett are both excellent. The second and longer of the two shows a dark side of a horrendously profitable business having as much to do with generating business profits as delivering of health care.

"When you die, you don't need your skin anymore. But that 6-year-old burn victim, lying in the hospital, could really use it," says Truitt. "Your heart valves can go to a father of four who's having some serious heart issues and without those valves could die. By giving what you no longer need, you're still helping and in a way, you're kind of still living on."

Still, while that may sound like he's endorsing tissue donation, this one-time industry insider no longer feels that way - at least, for now.

"I've struggled with that decision for many years now, and the answer is no: I will not donate my tissues," he says. "Tissue donation, at the base level, at what I described of helping somebody else live a better life is a phenomenal thing. But unfortunately, just as easy as your tissues can go to something like that, they can also go to penile implants, for example."

The human tissue industry is full of contradictions like that. Tissue can save or better someone's life, but sometimes it will go to plump up lips and smooth wrinkles.

It starts with an act of generosity. Families, like the Truitts, donate bodies. But that altruism can turn to profit. Tissue companies - by the industry's own estimates - make more than $1 billion a year.

It's estimated that the tissue off of a single body can generate revenues of $80,000 or more.

Tissue grafts help 50 times more people than the number who receive organ donations, and yet it's a little known and lightly regulated business.

?This morning's Washington Journal dedicated a forty-minute segment to Health Care Costs, a rich and informative discussion with thoughtful callers interacting with C-CPAN host Steve and Amanda Bennett, a Newsweek contributor whose book, The Cost of Hope, has just been published. This is a totally engaging and informative contribution to the C-SPAN Video Library.

There is no way to summarize this program, but as viewers listen to the discussion they need to let the COSTS of health care never leave their consciousness. Costs are not the main subject but this program underscores better than anything I can say how and why the most expensive part of health care in America is concentrated in the last weeks and months of life. At one point, for example, she mentions that her late husband had received seventy-six CT scans. Words fail me when I try to coment on that.

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