SMALLPOX

Up 30% Friday, SIGA may (or may not) be starting its bounce back. Read all about it. The company statement strikes me as particularly strong.

(Did you know that smallpox has killed more people than all history’s wars combined? And that the Brits, in an early example of bio-warfare, gave smallpox-laden blankets to native Americans? Not, perhaps, Amherst’s proudest legacy.)

SHINGLES

Erich: “Cynthia and I watched her father battle shingles and it was simply awful. It took away his energy and almost his life. At our 40th Harvard College Reunion earlier this year, Cynthia rose at the public meeting to urge everyone to get the shot. Thanks for publicizing this last week.”

OBAMA CARES

From the LA Times and a woman named Spike Dolomite Ward, who runs a nonprofit that’s restoring the arts to public schools:

I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.

I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I’m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. . . .

With the recession, both of our businesses took a huge hit — my husband’s income was cut in half, and the foundations that had supported my small nonprofit were going through their own tough times. We had to start using a home equity line of credit to pay for our health insurance premiums (which by that point cost as much as our monthly mortgage). When the bank capped our home equity line, we were forced to cash in my husband’s IRA. The time finally came when we had to make a choice between paying our mortgage or paying for health insurance. We chose to keep our house. We made a nerve-racking gamble, and we lost. . . .

☞ Except guess what? A provision in the Affordable Care Act has made all the difference.

. . . Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.

Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.

So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “Obama Cares.”

☞ I’m quite certain the President seeks no apologies. But he does seek the chance to keep pushing the country forward, pushing for the middle class . . . something the opposition has been fighting every step of the way.

ASSESS YOUR HEALTH

Tom Anthony: “Use this site to find your future risk of heart attack, stroke, cancers of various sorts and diabetes and what if anything you can do to reduce your risk. The risk factors for some diseases are well established but are less well defined for other ones as you can see from the number of questions asked for each case. There are some risk factors that you can control, e.g. smoking, and others that you cannot, e.g. your age & family history. If you take all of the tests in one session (~ 15 minutes total), the answers on one test are transferred to similar questions on the other tests so you can finish faster.”

 

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