What’s New?

Amazon.com reached an agreement with the State of California legislature, so the Silver Buzz Cafe Store is back. :-)


“Green” Blogging


We believe in protecting our environment, so the Silver Buzz Cafe web site is hosted on a server in a "green", energy conserving data center. 100% of the power for the datacenter is bought from suppliers that use renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectric, windmill and solar plants.


Health Insurers Buy Key Senate Finance Committee Members For $8,351,858

$8,351,858 – that’s all it really took to buy a Senate Finance Committee that failed to pass a health insurance reform bill that would offer a choice to the current stranglehold that the powerful health insurance industry has on consumers today. Sen. Max “$3,882,881″ Baucus put forward a bill that would not offer a public option, instead providing huge subsidies to a bunch of crooks without any control over the prices they charge consumers. 65% of the overall electorate want some kind of public option. Democrats in some States are already moving to find an alternative to the frauds who went against their wishes. Every member of this committee who voted for the status quo should be sent home with no medical insurance and no pension. [...]

Scams That Target Seniors – Part 5 – Product and Service Scams

In this, the last of a five part series on fraud schemes that target seniors, we’re going to focus on some of the earliest forms of scam, those involving products and services. Product scams earn the perpetrators billions of Dollars a year. Swine-flu scams popped up on the Internet within two months ago of the epidemic being identified. There were so many of them that the Food and Drug Administration quickly set up a fraud task force to comb the web for fake products and get them off the market. There are almost as many service scams as there are services, so we’ve homed in on the most frequent and costly ones, ranging from long distance phone service slamming to financial counseling scams. We describe the scam and how to avoid it. [...]

Scams That Target Seniors – Part 4 – Avoiding Financial Resource Scams

So far In this series of articles on scams that target seniors, we’ve looked at schemes revolving around health care and financial resources. Today we’ll look at ways to protect yourself against them. There’s a lot of information, so bookmark this article, then use the “Print This Post” button on the full article and keep the list on your ‘fridge or filing cabinet for future reference. Tomorrow we’ll look at product and service scams. Meanwhile, remember the two golden rules for thwarting financial resource scamsters – “Just say No!” and “Shred it!” [...]

Scams That Target Seniors – Part 3 – Financial Resource Scams

Pure financial scams can range from techniques that steal a small amount of people from a very large number of people to the headline grabbing ones that focus on carefully selected victims, often leaving them bankrupt. It has been estimated that the more than forty million Americans over the age of 65 control nearly $15 trillion in assets.That makes them a prime target for frauds. A MetLife study found that financial abuse costs seniors around $2.6 billion each year. Over 8.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2007 and the numbers are rising. In this article we’ll look at the various kind of financial resource scams that target seniors. [...]

Scams That Target Seniors - Part 2 - Health Care Related Scams

This is the second in a series of five articles prompted by the fact that an increasing number of fraudsters are targeting seniors. Scams centered on health care cost the nation around $250 billion in 2008, with about $50 billion of it directly increasing the cost of our health care. We’ll see that health care fraud not only costs seniors money, both directly and indirectly. It can also lead to missed opportunities to diagnose real problems and sickness or death as a result of taking fake medications. Most of these scams can be avoided without too much trouble. We’ll tell you how. [...]

Scams That Target Seniors - Part 1 - Why Us?

An increasing number of fraudsters are targeting seniors. We’re going to devote a five part series to looking at why we’re targets, the most common health and drug related scams and the more novel ones that directly target our financial assets. We’ll also give you some tips on how to recognize, avoid and report scam artists. [...]

How Good Is Your Favorite Hospital?

Hospitals employ and deal with humans. Humans make errors. Therefore, the quality of care that you receive at one hospital may be significantly different than the care you receive at a neighboring one. With really bad hospitals the word tends to get out into the local community by word of mouth and via local newspaper, radio and television reporting. The Joint Commission operates voluntary accreditation programs for hospitals and other health care organizations. It accredits nearly 16,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Unannounced surveys typically follow a three year cycle. Results are available online. Hospitals are complex, busy and sometimes scary places. Horror stories abound, but they’re the exception, and the Joint Commission surveys prove that they’re not the rule. [...]

When and How to Find a Medical Billing Advocate

Are you feeling snowed under by those medical bills? A trip to the emergency room can trigger heaps of paperwork from your insurance company, medical facilities, individual physicians, transportation providers and so on. The Medical Billing Advocates of America estimates that as many as 9 out of 10 bills from hospitals and medical providers include errors. Everything needs to be checked regularly. In this article we’re looking at places where you can get help, in particular, from a qualified medical billing advocate. [...]

News Roundup

We often see news items that are interesting but that don’t make it ahead of another topic for that day, so here’s a selection of things that we hope you’ll find interesting. They range form a study into the impact of online social networking, such as Facebook, to health studies, advice to travelers and some clues on a potential cause of Parkinson’s Disease. [...]

Baucus's Bill Makes the Pharmaceutical Companies Happy

The Huffington Post published a memo1 in August that purported to document an agreement between Baucus, the White House and the pharmaceutical industry. All of them vehemently denied it at the time. Today, it looks as if the Huffington Post’s sources were correct. The main point though, is that Sen. Max “$3,882,881″ Baucus and his cohorts were clearly working on behalf of industry interests rather than the consumers. Have they no shame? Meanwhile, a study published yesterday by researchers at Harvard University estimates that the total number of deaths per year as a result of having no health insurance has risen steeply to 45,000 per year – that’s more than 120 Americans a day! More than die on our roads. How can anybody possibly claim that we have the best health care in the World? [...]

Baucus's Bill Bashes Seniors and Bolsters Health Care Insurers

The Senate Finance Committee’s draft of a health insurance reform bill is far worse than anyone could have imagined. Words like pathetic, unbelievable, shameful and so on spring to mind. It has major flaws and doesn’t address the major issues that this administration was elected to change. Health insurance company stock prices rose sharply yesterday. That $40 million that they paid to the members of the Senate Finance Committee appears to be paying off. They’re spending plenty more on advertisements and whipping brainless protesters into a frenzy too. They can afford to, with over $550 billion in profits last year to play with. They wouldn’t dream of spending it on improving the system, or the wellbeing of their entrapped customers. Still, the game’s not over yet. [...]

Is the Senate Finance Committee Working For the Health Care Industry or You?

The health sector has contributed over $40 million to the members of the Senate Finance Committee that produced the new draft of the Senate health care reform bill, almost $4 million of it to Committee Chair Sen. Max Baucus (MT). The committee members backed down on the public option, replacing it with an ill-defined medical co-operative scheme that will take years to emerge, possibly even giving the health insurance companies time to kill it before it becomes competitive. The debate isn’t over and the bill hasn’t been taken to a vote yet. The Senate Democrats and Republicans have received approximately $87 and $60 million, respectively. That’s almost $150 million in direct contributions. The health sector is reputed to have spent more than that this year in adverting and pressure group activities to defeat any kind of reform. They made over $550 billion in profits last year and our health care system is less efficient than other developed nations, but the health care companies and politicians don’t seem to care about that, or us. [...]

How We and Other Developed Countries Spend Our Health Care Dollars

Leaving aside the issue of whose health care system works better, which we’ve debated before, it’s interesting to take a look at how we actually spend our hard earned money on health care and how others compare. All of the other countries mentioned in this article have socialized health care systems. Once we’ve seen how much we spend and where the money comes from we’ll take a look at typical measures of the effectiveness of the care. The results are interesting. Perhaps we should be paying much less attention to the current wailing, gnashing of teeth and political posturing that we’re hearing. Our time would probably be better spent learning from those other countries, both to drop the cost of our health care and to improve the quality and outcomes. [...]

Help! My Body Is Attacking Me!

Over 24 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds, but they all arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues present in it. The body actually attacks its own cells. Autoimmune diseases are often chronic, debilitating and life-threatening. One theory is that many autoimmune diseases are triggered by the huge amounts of toxins in our environment. Unfortunately, conventional medicine tries to shut down the immune response with powerful medications. The problem is that these new drugs shut down the immune system so powerfully that they increase the risk of cancer or life-threatening infections. What we need is a way to attack the root of the problem. [...]

Relax, It Can Only Get Better

After a busy couple of weeks listening to the health insurance reform debate and the usual news, my husband suggested that we need to take our own advice – eat well, exercise, use our brains and do something good for ourselves and others. So, we went for dinner yesterday evening at our favorite local [...]

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