Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

U.S. cancer case the best? It is if you can pay for it…

Angela Kegler McDowell thought she was doing everything right.

A 38-year-old small business owner, she had bought her own personal health insurance and kept paying her premiums, even as they rose from $293 a month to $804 a month.

The insurance company said it had to raise her premiums when her breast cancer came back and she was forced to undergo expensive chemotherapy.

“When the renewal came up in January, they told me I was a high risk to insure and they were dropping my insurance,” McDowell told Reuters in an interview. “Even if I had a million dollars a month to pay for insurance, I couldn’t get it.”  See her on video here in a related story, young adults.

McDowell has been lobbying her members of Congress to ask them to make sure the healthcare reform plan ensures that private insurance — sure to be part of any reform package –cannot drop patients if their coverage becomes too expensive.

Cancer and healthcare

The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network says one in  four families affected by cancer claims to have put off or delay care in the last year because of cost. Nearly third of cancer patients in current treatment cut pills or skipped doses, in the past year, nearly one-quarter delayed a recommended cancer screening or treatment and 1 out of 5 did not fill a prescription.

Today we met a 38-year-old small business owner whose premiums went up and up as she got treatment for her second bout of breast cancer. Finally, her insurance company pulled the plug entirely — yes that is legal when someone has individual coverage — and she must now pay for all her followup care herself. She gave her members of  Congress an earful…

from Africa News blog:

Keeping pirates at bay

There are some expectations that piracy in the Gulf of Aden is about to tail off for a bit. It appears that pirates don't like rough weather any more than anyone else does.

Exclusive Analysis, a political risk consultancy, has conducted a detailed study of incidences of maritime hijacking in order to give its insurer clients the heads up about when and under what circumstances piracy is most likely to occur. It has told the International Underwriting Association of London that the arrival of the monsoon in the Gulf of Aden about now usually keeps pirates on shore. Not so for Somalia, where the waters are generally calmer at the moment. Technically, it is when the Sea Scale hits 5 or 6, that is, rough to very rough.

from Africa News blog:

Can world now stop Somali pirates?

With the naval might of the United States, Europe, China and others now lined up against Somalia's pirate fraternity, shippers are hoping the nightmare year of 2008 will not be repeated.
 
Somali pirates -- mainly gangs of poor young men seeking a quick fortune under the direction of older "financiers" and boat leaders --  reaped tens of millions of dollars in ransoms last year in a record haul of 42 hijacks, 111 attacks, and 815 crew taken hostage. 
 
That pushed insurance prices up, persuaded some ship-owners to go round South Africa instead of through the Suez Canal, and prompted the unprecedented rush of navies from 14 different nations to the region. Even China is in on the act, deploying its navy for the first time beyond its own waters. And Japan is considering following suit despite its post-World War II pacifist constitution.
 
There have been some early successes from all the deployments - half a dozen pirates arrested and a series of attacks blocked, by helicopter and boat. Bad weather, too, has given the pirates some real problems, drowning five of them when their pockets were stuffed with dollars after taking their share of the ransom from the release of a Saudi super-tanker.
 
Yet the pirates have still managed two new hijacks and 11 attacks in the first half of January. They are hanging on to 11 ships with 207 hostages - most notably a Ukrainian ship with tanks on board
 
And with such a vast area of operations -- plus fancy new speedboats that have taken them as far as Kenya and Madagascar, and GPS equipment to keep away from the warships -- the pirates are confident of keeping their business going. So who will win this modern-day battle of the seas? Will the shipping industry lose as much to the pirates this year as they did last? Should they keep paying huge ransoms like the $3 million paid for the Saudi boat?

Maybe, some argue, it will never really be possible to eradicate such a lucrative business which, in one of the world's most failed states, offers an opportunity for poor and hungry men to become millionaires after a few successful raids. As one pirate told us, they will carry on until there is government again in Somalia.

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