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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 23, 2014 / 25 Sivan, 5774

Poll-Tested Pee in a Cup

By Debra J. Saunders




JewishWorldReview.com | "Pee in a cup" is a phrase you should prepare to hear frequently this election season. A requirement that doctors be subject to random drug and alcohol testing is the curb-appeal provision in a measure that will be on the California ballot in November.

The brains behind the initiative titled the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act — named after two Danville children killed by a substance-abusing driver in 2003 — clearly figured out that voters are more likely warm to the part that promises drug tests for doctors than the measure's more important provision, which would lift the state's $250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards to $1.1 million.

New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney wrote that political consultant Chris Lehane essentially admitted to him that the explosive notion of drug testing doctors came up, almost by chance, in a focus group. "Everyone in the room was flabbergasted that they weren't already tested," Lehane crowed.

"When you get to the point where you're writing ballot initiatives based on what polls well, you're solely putting things on the ballot because you know you can win them," observed Sam Singer, whose public relations firm is working for the opposition. As far as Singer is concerned, the measure is "a payday for the bottom-of-the-barrel of plaintiff attorneys."

There is an argument to raising the cap. It's been stuck at $250,000 since Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law 38 years ago. But I object to the dishonest claims of the campaign.

Fact-checkers may want to examine 30-second spots on the Pack Act website. Three "pee in a cup" videos claim, "The CA Medical Board estimates 18 percent of doctors abuse drugs or alcohol." Oh, really?

The campaign sent me a March 2000 California Medical Board article that says that "many believe" that 15 percent of the general population has substance problems, while some experts believe "the lifetime risk for developing a problem of abuse among health care professionals may be as high as 18 percent." That's a guesstimate, not research. Also, it's a lifetime number. The paper also notes that, even with a lifetime risk of substance abuse of up to 18 percent, about 1 to 2 percent need treatment at any given time.

The California Medical Board wrote in January that it does not have "any empirical data" on the number of physicians with substance abuse problems.

Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog, which supports the Pack measure, told me, "Even if it's 1 percent, it's too much." If there isn't enough data, blame the medical profession.

What's the matter with testing doctors because their behavior raises red flags? Court answered that random drug testing works because it serves as a deterrent. "Unless you have a serious problem, you're not going to be caught impaired." Any doctor who does test dirty, he added, clearly has a problem.

I might be open to Court's argument if the initiative didn't do such a dirty job on doctors. It's wrong to tell the public that nearly 1 physician in 5 likely is boozed up or high. The campaign throws out big numbers. Quoth Consumer Watchdog: "As many as 440,000 people die each year from preventable medical negligence." That number is based on extrapolation of other studies. It is supposed to represent hospital deaths, and includes death by contaminated equipment. It does not present hard numbers on deaths due to physician substance abuse.

I asked Court: Do you want to drug test nurses, too? He answered, "I think this is something we're starting with doctors because they're the ones who write prescriptions."

Troy and Alana's father Bob Pack told me that he had been working to put together this measure for years. He is the victim of prescription drug abuse; the ballot measure requires that medical providers consult a prescription-drug history database.

And: "The state valued my children's lives at $250, 000," said Pack. "I thought that was appalling. I never heard of that law. You can't even get to court for $250,000."

Pack blames doctors at Kaiser for prescribing painkillers to the nanny who plowed into his children.

For their part, the political consultants who are making merry with their "pee-in-a-cup" videos should know better. They have chosen to forgo an honest policy debate to take cheap shots at the healing class.

In the name of safety.

"There is a giant irony," said Singer, that Lehane, who represented cyclist doping king Lance Armstrong "turns out to be the No. 1 advocate of drug testing doctors. That's kind of evil."

Or it's pee in a cup.

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Debra J. Saunders Archives

© 2014, Creators Syndicate.

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