Many health care workers are refusing flu shots, endangering patients, regulators say – The Boston Globe

In response, Massachusetts regulators are now intensifying efforts to improve vaccination rates — sending reminder letters to dozens of facilities that failed to report their numbers, visiting dialysis centers to review their process for vaccinating workers, and even offering cash to nursing homes as an incentive to improve their rates.

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“First and foremost, health care personnel are directly interacting with residents and patients. They could be transmitting influenza to them and we want to prevent that from happening,” said Katherine Fillo, director of clinical quality improvement at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

High vaccination rates also help ensure that a large number of caregivers don’t fall ill during a flu outbreak, Fillo said.

State regulations require all health care facilities, as a condition of receiving a license, to provide free flu shots each year to all employees. Yet workers are allowed to decline the shot. Facilities must report to the state how many declined and how many cited medical reasons for opting out. They must also report how many workers had an unknown vaccination status.

A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that health care workers in the Northeast had the lowest flu vaccination rates in the United States. It also found that rates nationwide were lowest among those who worked in long-term care, such as in nursing homes.

In Massachusetts, among the 315 nursing homes that reported data to the state health department, roughly 16 percent of workers declined to be vaccinated. That’s down slightly from 18 percent in 2017.

Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, a trade association, said nursing home administrators are working diligently to increase rates but often encounter barriers.

“Some of our staff decline vaccination for religious or health reasons and others are concerned that the vaccine is ineffective or dangerous,” she said in a statement. “Our efforts to educate everyone in our facilities on the benefits of the flu vaccine are ongoing and a top priority.”

For nursing and rest homes that achieve at least a 90 percent vaccination rate this flu season, the state will reimburse the cost of renewing their license, which can run up to $1,000.

Among the 61 dialysis centers that reported vaccination rates, 83 percent of workers got a flu shot and roughly 9 percent declined. The rest cited medical reasons or their status was unknown.

Dr. Holly Kramer, president of the National Kidney Foundation and a professor of medicine at Loyola University Chicago, said patients receiving dialysis are at particular risk for serious complications from the flu because they often have a greatly weakened immune system.

“The health care workers need to be vaccinated because dialysis patients are more likely to develop severe influenza and need to be hospitalized and can die from influenza,” Kramer said.

Fresenius Medical Care North America, the largest dialysis center chain in Massachusetts with more than 35 centers, said in a statement that it has worked hard to educate patients and employees about the benefits of receiving a flu shot.

Fresenius said that about 86 percent of its workers in Massachusetts were vaccinated last flu season, higher than the industry average here of 83 percent.

“Our policy mandates that any health care provider working with patients in our dialysis centers receive a flu vaccine each season, and if an employee refuses, requires that employee to wear a face mask when near patients,” said Fresenius spokesman Brad Puffer.

“We continue to invest significant resources in reminding both employees and patients about the dangers of flu for people living with kidney failure, and we are committed to further improving these efforts,” he said.

For years, regulators focused on boosting flu vaccinations among hospital workers, which as recently as a decade ago was mired below 70 percent. The state health department started publishing a list of vaccination rates at each facility, and many hospitals started cracking down on workers who declined shots, making them wear masks for the entire flu season. A number of hospitals required caregivers to receive a flu shot each year as a condition of employment.

Rates slowly but steadily climbed, and for the last several years have been above 90 percent.

“Some health care providers use creative ways to ensure vaccination compliance, such as offering vaccinations on-site around the clock and allowing employees to use work time to be inoculated,” said Patricia Noga, vice president for clinical affairs at the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association.

She said the association strongly supports new policies to improve statewide rates, including requiring the entire health care workforce be vaccinated.

For now, regulators are turning their attention to the rest of the state’s health facilities with a goal of matching the success it had with hospitals.

“We hope and anticipate we will see this same trajectory in these other types of healthcare facilities,” Fillo said.

Kay Lazar can be reached at kay.lazar@globe.com Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar.

This content was originally published here.

Viral video shows British people shocked as they guess costs of US health care | TheHill

A now-viral video shows British people appearing shocked at the cost in the United States for essential health care services like delivering a baby or purchasing an inhaler or an Epi Pen. 

The U.K.-based political news site JOE shared the video on Twitter Tuesday and it has garnered over 15 million views and more than 50,000 likes. It shows one person going up to multiple British people and asking how much they think essential health services might cost on the U.S.

“Ambulance call out, how much do you think that costs?” the questioner asks one man.

“Zero payment,” the man responds.

“For real?” He asks after the questioner revealed that receiving medical care in an ambulance can cost $2,500.

The questioner asked one woman how much she thinks a single inhaler would cost. When the questioner told her it can cost $250 to $300 dollars, she responded “For an inhaler? Man, so if you’re poor you’re dead?” 

Ambulance call out? $2,500. Childbirth? $30,000.

Our NHS is not for sale, @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/q9z4r6Ni6g

— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK)

When he told the same woman that an Epi Pen cost more than $250, she responded “shut the fridge,” looking shocked when the questioner revealed that the life-saving medicine can cost more than $600.

“You have to pay to do that?” the woman asked after the questioner said hospitals can charge for skin-to-skin contact between a mother and baby after a person gives birth. “To hold my own child that I’ve been carrying inside of my womb?”

“I’m genuinely speechless,” she continued. When asked what she thinks about the people profiting off of the medical industry in the U.S., she responded, “You’re bastards.” 

Another woman looked aghast when the questioner revealed that giving birth in a hospital can cost $10,000, and an IUD contraceptive device can cost $1,300. The woman called the National Health Service in the United Kingdom “Literally the gift that keeps on giving.”

“Literally, literally people are so dumb for taking advantage of it, and I don’t want it to change,” she said. 

Earlier this year, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTop Democrat: ‘Obstruction of justice’ is ‘too clear not to include’ in impeachment probe Former US intel official says Trump would often push back in briefings Schiff says investigators seeking to identify who Giuliani spoke to on unlisted ‘-1’ number MORE walked back comments he made that the NHS should be included in trade talks between the U.S. and the U.K., telling Piers Morgan that he doesn’t “see it being on the table.”

Trump again told reporters Tuesday that “If you handed [the NHS] to us on a silver platter, we want nothing to do with it,” Fox News reported.

This content was originally published here.

Health officials warn Denver airport travelers of potential measles exposure after 3 children hospitalized

Three children visiting Colorado have been hospitalized with measles, leading health officials to warn people who traveled through Denver International Airport earlier this week that they are at risk for the highly contagious disease.

The children tested positive after traveling to a country with an ongoing measles outbreak. They did not have the MMR — or measles, mumps and rubella — vaccine, according to a news release from Tri-County Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers three or more cases of measles “linked in time and place” to be an outbreak. However, Tri-County Health spokesman Gary Sky said the department doesn’t consider this to be an outbreak because the patients are related.

Health officials said individuals who visited these locations may have been exposed to measles:

  • Denver International Airport between 1:15 and 5:45 p.m. Dec. 11
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Anschutz Campus Emergency Department between 1 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12

Local health officials have not said where the family was traveling from. But the news of the measles cases in Colorado comes the same day that health officials in California warned about exposure from patients who traveled through Los Angeles International Airport.

It’s unclear how many people are at risk of exposure.

Officials at Denver International Airport said they do not know how many people potentially came in contact with the children. Roughly 179,000 people passed through the airport via departing, arriving or connecting flights on Dec. 11, said airport spokeswoman Emily Williams.

Health officials are contacting people who are believed to be at risk for measles, including those who visited Children’s Hospital on Dec. 12. The Tri-County Health Department will likely contact “well over 100” people in its investigation, said Dr. Bernadette Albanese, a medical epidemiologist.

“We’re doing this investigation for a reason, and that reason is precisely to prevent secondary spread — and having a non-ideal vaccination rate in Colorado isn’t helping matters,” she said.

There is no ongoing risk of exposure at these two locations, however, travelers should be on the lookout for measles symptoms, which can develop seven to 21 days after contact, the news release said.

Measles has various symptoms including high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and a rash. The illness can lead to pneumonia and swelling of the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Measles is highly contagious and up to 90% of people close to a person with the illness become infected if they are not immune, according to the CDC.

Representatives of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Children’s Hospital Colorado declined to discuss the measles cases and deferred questions to Tri-County Health Department.

Several measles outbreaks have occurred across the United States this year, but until now there was only one case reported in Colorado. In January, a Denver resident was placed in isolation and treated for the respiratory illness.

But health experts have warned that Colorado’s low vaccination rate makes communities here vulnerable to an outbreak. The immunization rate for the MMR shot was 87.4% during the 2018-19 school year, meaning the state doesn’t meet the threshold needed to protect a community from a measles outbreak.

The state’s low vaccination rate has come under scrutiny this year and a bill to make it harder to opt out of such shots was debated by legislators before it failed. Gov. Jared Polis has said he’s “pro-choice” when it comes to vaccinations. He said believes the solution to raise the low immunization rate is through education and access rather than eliminating nonmedical exemptions.

If a person has symptoms that could be measles they should call their doctor’s office or a hospital first, the news release said.

Due to incorrect information from a health official, this story originally mischaracterized the measles cases at Denver International Airport as an outbreak.

This content was originally published here.

The Game Changers And You: Going Vegan for Our Health and Our Planet’s

Over the past month several friends have told me to watch the The Game Changers on @Netflix  produced by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger about vegan athletes. Intrigued by the concept of a plant based diet I sat down with my husband to watch the 90 minute documentary which was indeed a personal Game changer. And, I’m so glad I watched it because, not only did I learn about improving my health, I also learned how a change in diet can improve the planet. (For more on this read: The Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet)

The show is revelatory, and so much more than an examination of one’s diet. It truly is a movement and I can see why there is a huge following. Anyone interested in their personal health and the health of the planet should watch this and then decide whether to change their eating.

Not only is diet at issue, the planet is as well. What are you doing about climate change? Well, it turns out we can make a dent by giving up meat without giving up protein or health. As a matter of fact, we can improve our health at the same time.

There are so many outstanding examples of how we are devasting our planet through feeding of livestock to fuel our appetites. The case is made that we are a product of marketing and eating meat for strength is a fallacy.

The case is made not only for leaner and stronger bodies from a diet change, reduction of inflammation, even stronger erections for men, and more energy for all. A solid case is also made for a reversal of devastation to our land and water supply by reducing the demand for meat.

WATCH THIS OFFICIAL 2-minute Trailer…

I have never wanted to go vegan. It just seemed to me like another neurotic fad to be skinny unless you have digestive issues. Well, after watching this documentary, my mind has been changed.

My husband was way more skeptical and found the film to be a bit too much of an infomercial. I on the other hand saw it as a call to action.

Although I have been a non-red meat eater since 1976, and am bored by chicken and skeptical of fish these days, I had never really thought of making a “diet” around giving these proteins up as the alternatives seem complicated (i.e. complex recipes of beans, not easily findable on restaurant menus).

But, it was this lesson I learned from the documentary. My daily diet of eggs and cheese and yogurt as my go to proteins and some chicken and tuna, are not giving me the healthy protein boost I need. Apparently, I have been missing the point as the potency of the protein options is in the plants. This for me is a game changer.

But change is hard. I have been eating a poached egg for breakfast most of my life and it’s my comfort food. Giving up eggs seems impossible and my happy hour of wine without cheese equally empty. Because this plant based diet asks us to give up all animal products that means my beloved french butter must go as well.

My guess is, I will try to go vegan for a while or at least a few days a week to see if I can do it and test if I feel better. I am also motivated to do my bit to help the planet. Want to try it with me?

P.S. There are number of disclaimers about the accuracy of this documentary which are worth reading.

Here are a few take-aways from the documentary that Buzz Feed put together….

1. All protein originates in plants. The protein one gets from eating a steak or a burger are actually from the plants the animal ate.

2. The average plant-eater gets 70% more protein than they need.

3. Many meat-eaters get more than half of their protein from plants.

4. When you eat animals regularly, you begin forming plaques in the coronary arteries.

5. The plaque formation doesn’t just limit the function of the arteries, it can block blood flow and make it difficult for your heart to keep up with the demands of your body.

6. When animal protein is cooked, preserved, or digested by our gut bacteria, highly inflammatory compounds are formed and they corrode our cardiovascular system.

Click here to read more from Buzz Feed…

The post The Game Changers And You: Going Vegan for Our Health and Our Planet’s appeared first on Better After 50.

This content was originally published here.

Mental health professionals read Trump’s letter: A study in “the psychotic mind” at work | Salon.com

On Wednesday night, Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives. Trump will now — perhaps after some delay — be put on trial in the Senate, where he will then be acquitted by Republicans who have sworn personal fealty to him.

Trump’s impeachment is one of the few moments in his life when he has ever been held accountable for his behavior. Consequences are the enemy of Donald Trump. As such, in response to the Ukraine scandal, the Mueller report, the 2018 midterm elections and various other moments when Democrats and the public defied Trump’s authoritarian goal of becoming a de facto king or emperor, he has lashed out in the form of (another) temper tantrum.

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On Tuesday, Trump continued with this ugly and deeply troubling behavior in the form of a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fueled by exaggerated rage that Democrats had dared to impeach him. Reportedly co-authored by Stephen Miller, Trump’s white supremacist White House adviser, Trump’s letter continued numerous obvious lies about impeachment, the Ukraine scandal and other matters.

In keeping with his strategy of stochastic terrorism, Trump’s letter is an incitement to violence by his followers against the Democrats for the “crime” of impeachment.

Trump is possessed of the delusional belief that he (and by implication his supporters) is a victim of a “witch hunt” akin to the famous event in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. In keeping with his malignant narcissism, Trump’s letter, of course, boasts of his strength and fortitude against the Democrats and other enemies.

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In total, Trump’s “impeachment letter” to Nancy Pelosi is but one data point among many demonstrating that he is mentally unwell and a threat to the safety of the United States and the world.

To gain more context and insight into this ongoing crisis, I asked several of the country’s leading mental health experts for their thoughts on Trump’s impeachment letter and what it indicates about the president’s emotional state and behavior.

Dr. Bandy Lee, assistant clinical professor, Yale University School of Medicine and president of the World Mental Health Organization. Lee is editor of the bestselling book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”

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This letter is a very obvious demonstration of Donald Trump’s severe mental compromise. His assertions should alarm not only those who believe that a president of the United States and a commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military should be mentally sound, but also those who are concerned about the potential implications of such a compromised individual bringing out pathological elements in his supporters and in society in general. I have been following and interpreting Donald Trump’s tweets as a public service, since merely reading them “gaslights” you and reforms your thoughts in unhealthy ways. Without arming yourself with the right interpretation, you end up playing into the hands of pathology and helping it — even if you do not fully believe it. This is because of a common phenomenon that happens when you are continually exposed to a severely compromised person without appropriate intervention. You start taking on the person’s symptoms in a phenomenon called “shared psychosis.”

It happens often in households where a sick individual goes untreated, and I have seen some of the most intelligent and otherwise healthy persons succumb to the most bizarre delusions. It can also happen at national scale, as renowned mental health experts such as Erich Fromm have noted. Shared psychosis at large scale is also called “mass hysteria.”

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The president is quite conscious of his ability to generate mass hysteria, which is the purpose of the letter.

The book I edited, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” contained three warnings: that the president was more dangerous than people suspected; that he would grow more dangerous with time; and that ultimately, he would become “uncontainable.” We are entering the “uncontainable” stage because of shared psychosis.

Dan P. McAdams, chair and professor of the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, author of the forthcoming book “The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump: A Psychological Reckoning.”

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Venomous and vitriolic, obsessively focused on the self and nothing else, this letter is what we have come to know as vintage Trump. Had we been handed this document just three years ago and told it was once written by a president of the United States, we would have been aghast, and we would have considered it to be one of the most remarkable texts ever unearthed — worthy to be remembered as the antithesis of, say, the Gettysburg Address.

In terms of what we have come to expect from President Trump, the only remarkable thing about this letter is that it is so long — and that it contains a few big words, like “solemnity.” But in nearly every other way, the letter is like the vitriolic, grievance-filled tweets he sends out every day, full of falsehoods, hyperbole and hate. As an extended expression of who Trump really is, the letter shows you how his mind works and what his raw experience is like.

For over 50 years, Donald Trump has lived this way. Trump has fought ever day of his adult life as if he were being impeached by his enemies. And there have always been countless enemies, because his antagonism brings them out of the woodwork. To quote what Trump told People Magazine when asked to recite his philosophy of life, “Man is the most vicious of all animals and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat.” This is truly how Trump has always experienced the world. The letter merely reinforces his world view.

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Moreover, Trump is right about the Democrats.  Many of them have been wanting to impeach him since Day One. They recoil against him just the way countless others have recoiled against Trump going back to his real estate days in the late 1970s. Trump needs to hate Democrats. If suddenly all his enemies lay down as lambs and promised to cooperate with him, he might kill himself. He would have no reason to go on. He needs enemies as much as he needs air to breathe.

Dr. David Reiss, psychiatrist, expert in mental fitness evaluations and contributor to “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”

Content-wise it is the typical Trump distortions, outright lies, and exclusive focus on his feelings. For Trump, his feelings define reality.  It would be interesting if someone in the media was able to ask Trump, “What does the word ‘fair’ mean to you?” Because, objectively, Trump complains he is being treated “unfairly” anytime he does not get his way, his feelings are hurt, and/or others are not accepting what he says at face value and without question — even if it is contrary to proven fact or internally inconsistent.

Whoever actually wrote the letter, it accurately reflects Trump’s immaturity that has been obvious in public as long as he has been a public figure: insisting that his needs be met in a child-like manner; having very poor problem-solving ability; having an inability to take responsibility for anything and projecting his own negative attributes onto others; an inability to look at consequences of his statements or actions. Basically, acting as a frustrated or emotionally hurt toddler would react, looking for a parent to protect him and “make the bad people go away.”

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Dr. Lance Dodes, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry (retired), Harvard Medical School, currently training and supervising analyst emeritus at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He is also a contributor to “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”

Mr. Trump’s letter shows his incapacity to recognize other people as separate from him or having worth.

As he always does, he accuses others of precisely what he has done, in precisely the same language. When confronted with violating the Constitution he says his accusers are violating the Constitution. When others point out that he undermines democracy, he says they undermine democracy. Through these very simpleminded projections he deletes others’ selfhood and replaces who they are with what is unacceptable in himself.

The letter also has a remarkable list of boasts about what he says are his successes, stated as facts, with no acknowledgment that Speaker Pelosi has a vastly different view (about gun control, appointing judges who conform to his views, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement, etc). It is as if her independent views are unworthy of noting or existing. She is treated as invisible in his eyes.

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In reflecting his projecting (paranoid) view of the world and his primitive focus on himself with denial of the rights and feelings of others, the letter is consistent with what we already know about Mr. Trump.

Dr. John Gartner, co-founder of the Duty to Warn PAC and co-editor of “Rocket Man: Nuclear Madness and the Mind of Donald Trump.”

When you read excerpts of the Trump letter to Pelosi it doesn’t do justice to how unhinged, paranoid and manic it is in its entirety.

It shows the usual formal properties of a Trump rant: proclaiming himself the victim of an evil conspiracy, while projecting onto his critics everything bad he is actually doing.

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For example:

You are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy…

All blended seamlessly with outright lies:

Worse still, I have been deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process from the beginning of this impeachment scam right up until the present. I have been denied the most fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution, including the right to present evidence, to have my own counsel present, to confront accusers, and to call and cross-examine witnesses …

Dr. Justin Frank, former clinical professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical Center, and author of “Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President.”

When I first read Donald Trump’s six-page letter to Speaker Pelosi, I marveled at the ease with which he shared what goes on in his mind openly, and without reservation. His letter is the quintessential example of how professional victims actually think. They turn the prosecutor into the persecutor.

Trump’s letter is just such an expression of entitled, delusional grievance. He accuses Pelosi of injuring his family, but it is his nepotism that exposes his older children to public scrutiny and his teenager (to whom he refers as “Melania’s son”) to life in a fishbowl. More damning, in making her a public figure, he subjected the First Lady to humiliation. He knew full well he paid a stripper $130,000 not to talk about their affair and was surely aware that this and other unsavory behaviors would surface when he sought the presidency.

Trump is a con artist who succeeds by tricking his marks into not seeing the con. But the biggest mark — bigger than the GOP and his base — is himself. He believes the lies he tells, the delinquent traits he disavows. It’s what psychoanalysts call delusional projection. We see it the simple sentence he wrote to the speaker: “You view democracy as your enemy.” Trump confirms my findings published in “Trump on the Couch.” But now his defenses are writ large, because instead of changing in moments of crisis, people become more the way they are. Trump has reverted to the most familiar means to cope with fears of being caught, punished and humiliated.

Finally, the letter is a treasure trove for psychiatric residents who want to study the psychotic mind. Trump’s paradoxical sleight of hand makes him think he can hide in plain sight. But he can’t anymore. This is why he accuses Pelosi of hating democracy: It is he who hates a system that promotes the idea that no one is above the law.

This content was originally published here.

Santa’s reindeer receive clean bill of health, cleared to fly on Christmas Eve

HERSHEY, Pa. (WJW) — Santa’s reindeer have been cleared for take-off!

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding, and State Veterinarian, Dr. Kevin Brightbill, met with Santa Claus and his nine reindeer at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane on Thursday to announce that they’ve received a clean bill of health and can fly on December 24.

The reindeer, answering to the names of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph received clearance to fly from Alaska’s state veterinarian.

“Not everyone knows what takes place behind the scenes to allow Santa and his nine reindeer to take flight on Christmas Eve,” said Agriculture Secretary Redding. “Thanks to Dr. Brightbill, his counterpart in the North Pole, and Santa’s due diligence, we can expect gifts under the tree Christmas morning.”

Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill holds up a clean bill of health for Santa’s nine reindeer, and that they’re cleared for take-off on December 24, at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane on Thursday, December 19, 2019. (Courtesy: Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture)

The reindeer received a certificate of veterinary inspection and permit to ship that allows them to fly from rooftop to rooftop for the purpose of toy delivery.

State officials said that for animals that travel between states, such certificates help ensure that contagious diseases are not spread.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture veterinarians supplied Santa’s reindeer with the certificate this year since they are residing at Hersheypark for the next few days.

“Hersheypark is honored that Santa trusts his nine reindeer to the care of our ZooAmerica team throughout the holiday season,” said Quinn Bryner, Director of PR at Hersheypark. “We’re the only place to see them all together in the Northeast through Jan. 1 so we wish them a magical flight before they come back to Hershey!”

Make sure to track Santa and the reindeer’s flight path on December 24 using NORAD’s Santa Tracker.

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This content was originally published here.

15 Doctors Fired From Chicago-Area Health System | Medpage Today

At least 15 physicians have been fired from Edward-Elmhurst Health as the suburban Chicago-based health system moves to cut costs, sources told MedPage Today.

The doctors, who worked across its seven “Immediate Care” or urgent care sites, will be replaced by advanced practice nurses, according to an email sent by hospital leadership that was shared with MedPage Today. The physicians were informed late last week that they would be terminated as of April 1, 2020.

A physician who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the doctors were “broadsided” by the news. While they harbored some concerns that a few of the slower urgent care sites might be turned over to non-physician clinicians, they weren’t expecting so many of the sites to be impacted and for such a large number of doctors to be let go.

In their email, hospital system CEO Mary Lou Mastro, MS, RN, and Chief Medical Officers Robert Payton, MD, and Daniel Sullivan, MD, pointed to patient cost concerns as the reason for eliminating the jobs: “Patients have made it very clear that they want less costly care and convenient access for lower-acuity issues (sore throats, rashes, earaches), which are the vast majority of cases we treat in our Immediate Cares.”

“Beginning in the spring of 2020, we will move to a delivery model in which care is provided by Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) at select Immediate Care locations,” they wrote.

Leadership also stated in the email that they are “working closely with these physicians to assist them with finding alternative positions within Edward-Elmhurst Health or outside our system,” but doctors noted that they face a saturated Chicago healthcare market and they’re likely to have to relocate.

When asked to confirm the layoffs, Keith Hartenberger, a spokesperson for Edward-Elmhurst Health, said in a statement: “We continue to assess our care delivery models in the interest of providing cost-effective care to our patients. We shared with physicians that we have plans to change the model next year at some outpatient sites and are working with anyone affected to find alternative placement.”

The move is becoming a more familiar one as some health systems try to save money by relying more heavily on non-physician clinicians.

Last year, 27 pediatricians at a chain of clinics in the Dallas area lost their jobs and were replaced by nurse practitioners — even though the chain subsequently changed its name to MD Kids Pediatrics.

Rebekah Bernard, MD, wrote in Medical Economics that she spoke with three of the pediatricians who were fired: “They told me that they and their physician colleagues were completely shocked by the sudden firing. ‘We thought we were going to retire from this place,’ one told me.”

Also in 2018, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Atrium Health ended a nearly 40-year contract with a 100-member physician group, signing up instead with Scope Anesthesia, which says it’s dedicated to forming partnerships with certified registered nurse anesthetists. Atrium said it too was looking to reduce patient costs.

“This trend of shuttering hospital departments and firing physicians to save money is dangerous and short-sighted,” Bernard wrote.

Purvi Parikh, MD, of NYU Langone Health in New York City, and a board member of Physicians for Patient Protection, which advocates against other healthcare providers replacing doctors, said that although non-physician clinicians “are vital members of the healthcare team, they are not trained to be substitutes of physicians and as a result diagnoses are missed and improper treatments and tests [are] prescribed.”

Parikh said patients “have the right to choose a facility that is physician-only or one with physician-led care. In Chicago, luckily there are other options among competitors.”

1969-12-31T19:00:00-0500

This content was originally published here.

Tanya Talaga: Toronto is getting a new Indigenous health centre

Anishnawbe Health Toronto is getting close to the finish line — it’s just $3.5-million away from its $10-million goal in a fundraising campaign for a state-of-the-art Indigenous health facility that’s set to be built next year in a prime downtown location.

There are a lot of remarkable things about that sentence.

First, after 150 years of colonization, a new health centre that’s specifically designed for Indigenous people will finally be available in a city with an Indigenous population estimated to be at least 70,000. For years, AHT has run programs scattered across three locations, in outdated and overcrowded buildings that were never intended to house traditional Indigenous health care.

Second, the new health centre and community hub will be constructed on 2.4 acres in the West Don Lands, on land that was part of the Pan Am Games athletes’ village and purchased for a nominal fee from Ontario.

Third, the largest donors to come forward to date are Alexandra and Brad Krawczyk, who gave $2 million to the fundraising campaign. Alexandra’s father, the late Barry Sherman, campaigned to bring cheaply priced generic medicine to HIV patients in Africa and was the head of the multinational pharmaceutical firm Apotex.

Like her father, Alexandra has lived a life immersed in health care. She went to nursing school in Toronto but chose to do her residency in Fort Albany First Nation along the James Bay coast. The fly-in community was home to the notorious St. Anne’s Indian Residential School, where there was a homemade electric chair to punish the students.

Alexandra remembers when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission came to the community in early 2013 to listen to testimony from survivors and witnesses.

“I witnessed it for two days and I spent some time with Justice Murray Sinclair,” she said in an interview. The experience changed her.

So when Sen. Linda Frum reached out to let Alexandra know about the epic plans for a new Indigenous health centre, she and Adam Minsky, the CEO of UJA Toronto, reached out to AHT executive director Joe Hester. “We followed up, came down for a tour, met the staff, and we both said, ‘This aligns with our values entirely,’” she recalled.

It’s beyond inspiring to think that people from all walks of life are coming together to get this done, under the guidance of Andre Morriseau, the Anishnawbe Health Foundation board chair and Fort William First Nation member. Large funders for the centre are as diverse as Toronto, including the Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre, the Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada and the Toronto Diocese of the Anglican Church — not to mention a $100,000 gift from a former Anishnawbe Health client.

Canada has a woeful history of two-tier health care for Indigenous people, rooted in racism and dating back to the era of government-funded Indian Residential Schools, where 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were abused over the course of more than a century. Another arm of this genocidal act was the creation of segregated Indian hospitals, 22 of which existed by the 1960s.

The intergenerational trauma that resulted from them tore families apart and led to a host of health problems. We see the threads of trauma in the fact that nearly 90 per cent of Toronto’s Indigenous people live in poverty, are more likely than others to be homeless, unemployed or have not completed high school.

Anishnawbe Health says 65 per cent of Indigenous adults in Toronto have at least one chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, asthma, heart problems. Some suffer mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

But when Indigenous people try to access health care, they are often treated differently. One only needs to look at what happened to Brian Sinclair, the First Nations man who was ignored as he waited for 34 hours in a Winnipeg hospital emergency room. He died waiting in his wheelchair.

Having one health care centre to call our own should be the standard — a place where, when you walk in the door, where you are not judged.

People should be treated equally and with kindness. When you are sick, you need to be treated kindly, and if you are Indigenous, you need to be surrounded in traditional healing, where the spirit is treated along with the physical self.

The new centre will have a traditional sweat lodge, counselling space for sharing circles, and even a kitchen to teach healthy cooking skills.

It’s been a long and difficult road, Hester noted, and sometimes it felt like all the pieces weren’t going to come together.

But now they are, and in a part of the city that is seeing a rebirth, a reimagining of what Toronto could be.

Tanya Talaga is a Toronto-based columnist covering Indigenous issues. Follow her on Twitter: @tanyatalaga

This content was originally published here.

BYU-Idaho no longer accepts Medicaid. Now students who can’t afford other health insurance say they might drop out of school.

(Photo courtesy of Casey Wilson) Pictured is Casey Wilson, holding her oldest son, Nordin, and standing by her husband, Tanner.(Photo courtesy of Kaleigh Quick) Pictured is Kaleigh Quick and her husband, Matt, holding their kids.(Photo courtesy of Tanner Emerson) Pictured is Tanner Emerson and his wife, Amanda, holding their daughter.(Photo courtesy of Jessica Knoeck) Pictured is Jessica Knoeck and her son.(Photo courtesy of Kris Lasswell) Pictured is Kris Lasswell and his wife, Naomi.(Photo courtesy of Andrew Taylor) Pictured is Andrew Taylor, a student at Brigham Young University's campus in Idaho.

Casey Wilson took some time off from school last year when she found out she was pregnant with her second baby boy.

The young mom had hoped to miss only a semester or two at Brigham Young University’s campus in Idaho. She was just a few credits away from earning her degree in art education and set a goal of finishing before Kelvin, who’s 4 months old now, started to talk.

But before Wilson could sign up for classes beginning in January, as she planned, the college announced it would no longer allow students to enroll with only Medicaid as their health insurance.

And now, she can’t afford to return at all.

“I am devastated,” Wilson said, choking back tears as her baby cooed in her arms. “I love school. I want to graduate. But we’re a struggling family, and we don’t have the money for [private insurance].”

The controversial decision from BYU-Idaho — a private school owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints — came as a surprise to students last week. School administrators announced the change in an email one day after Idaho received approval letters from the federal government for its Medicaid expansion plan, which voters in the state overwhelmingly supported last year.

As many universities do, BYU-Idaho requires students to have health insurance before they can register. Previously, Medicaid qualified as adequate coverage. But now, students with Medicaid as their primary insurance, the school said, would have to either purchase another health care plan on the private market or sign up for coverage at the campus’ Student Health Center.

Plans there — which are administered by Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators, established by the LDS Church — cost $536 per semester for an individual or $2,130 for a family. Medicaid is free or low-cost coverage for low-income people who qualify.

Wilson and her husband, Tanner, who’s also a student at BYU-Idaho, are both on Medicaid, as well as their two sons. Many college students who aren’t working while they finish school and who have families to support are eligible.

Without it, the 24-year-old Wilson said, they wouldn’t be able to see a doctor.

Already, they can barely afford the rent on their tiny apartment in Rigby. “And it’s infested with mice,” Wilson said. They scrimp on groceries, too, even with some help from family. But there’s nothing left in their bank accounts by the end of each month. And most of what they have to spend is from loans.

“There’s just not $500 sitting around for us to buy insurance from the school,” she added.

Tanner is getting his degree in software engineering and is slightly closer to finishing than Wilson (though the couple had hoped to graduate together). Now, Wilson said, it’s likely he’ll continue going to school while she stays home and watches their kids. That way, she and the boys can stay on Medicaid and they’ll only have to pay for Tanner to get the school’s health insurance.

They’re praying he can get a well-paying job when he’s done.

“We both came from poor families. And we wanted to go to school and get degrees,” she said. “I don’t want to be someone who has to rely on Medicaid my whole life.”

Many others at BYU-Idaho are facing a similar dilemma. So far, there aren’t a lot of answers.

The school, which sits in the small town of Rexburg, has largely refused to explain the change. When reached by The Salt Lake Tribune for comment, spokesman Brett Crandall said he is “not conducting any media interviews.”

Wilson has called the Student Health Center several times, too, and each time she was put on a list and never heard back from anyone. When The Tribune called there, a receptionist said they are not commenting. And the LDS Church referred all questions back to the school.

“This one I would defer to BYU-Idaho,” wrote spokesman Eric Hawkins in an email that inquired whether the policy was supported or encouraged by the faith’s leaders.

Meanwhile, BYU’s main campus in Provo is not instituting a similar policy — even with Utah pursuing its own Medicaid plan, which might end in a similar expansion. “We do not anticipate any changes,” said spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.

The faith generally encourages its members to obtain government help for which they qualify before asking the church for assistance. Some BYU-Idaho students told The Tribune that staff at the Student Health Center believed the Church Board of Education in Salt Lake City made the decision. Other students and church members have wondered on social media whether BYU-Idaho doesn’t support students using Medicaid coverage because it covers birth control, abortions in extreme cases and some services to assist transgender individuals in transitioning.

The church condemns “elective abortion for personal or social convenience” but permits the procedure in cases of rape or incest, severe fetal defects, or when the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy. Birth control is considered to be a matter between a couple and the Lord. But the faith holds that members are defined by their “biological sex at birth.”

BYU-Idaho is the largest private university in the state and has roughly 20,000 students. About a quarter, or 5,000, are married. Many of those are likely on Medicaid and more will qualify with the expansion. Coverage in January will stretch from those earning less than 100% of the federal poverty level to 138% of that amount.

After continued pushback from students, the campus in Idaho sent out a second email Wednesday, suggesting for the first time that the decision was based on the state’s Medicaid expansion and a concern that students would overwhelm health care providers in the area.

The email said: “Due to the healthcare needs of the tens of thousands of students enrolled annually on the campus of BYU-Idaho, it would be impractical for the local medical community and infrastructure to support them with only Medicaid coverage.”

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, though, disputes that reasoning.

While Rexburg sits in Madison County, which does have the highest concentration of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees in Idaho, the state has assured residents that providers have prepared for the expected wave of new patients. There are plenty of doctors in the region, said Niki Forbing-Orr, spokeswoman for the state health department.

“As far as we can tell, there shouldn’t be any kind of problems with access for those folks,” she added.

An estimated 91,000 residents statewide could qualify when Medicaid expansion takes effect in January; nearly 2,400 live in Rexburg. It’s a lower-income community in eastern Idaho with a population of nearly 30,000, where roughly 42% are considered as living in poverty, based on statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The college town has few job options for its predominantly white population. And many students choose to go to BYU-Idaho specifically because of the cheap tuition — which the university’s president, Henry J. Eyring, touted in his inaugural speech.

“The school prides itself on being affordable and not requiring students to get loans,” said Connor Pack, a 26-year-old there studying music education. “This policy just runs counter to those ideals.”

Pack, his wife Laura and their daughter use Medicaid. Laura graduated in 2017, but Pack’s still got three semesters left. They’ve stayed in Rexburg for him to finish, but now they’re wondering if they can afford it or if they should move elsewhere where there might be more opportunities.

“I’m definitely worried about finding the money,” Pack said. “We’re barely breaking even as is, and we’ve got another baby on the way.”

Pack has joined hundreds of students in protesting the change. They’ve called and emailed administrators. But they haven’t gotten responses. They’ve posted on the school’s social media pages. But those comments have been deleted. Now, they’re planning a sit-in for Monday outside the offices for executives at BYU-Idaho. And they’ve started a petition that has more than 7,000 signatures.

“What place do they have to tell me what insurance I can and can’t have? If my insurance is federally acceptable then it should be acceptable for the school, too,” said Tanner Emerson, a senior in civil engineering.

Many students have said they’re frustrated to have to pay for the school’s insurance when they’re already covered under Medicaid. Some have questioned whether the university or the church is trying to make more money from them. The BYU-Idaho plans might have seen a drop in enrollment as some newly qualified students switched over with the Medicaid expansion.

Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators, or DMBA, is a private, nonprofit trust that manages benefits for many church-owned enterprises. Since it’s not an insurance company, it doesn’t have to comply with federal requirements for coverage. Its health plans are not considered minimum essential coverage under the nationwide Affordable Care Act.

DMBA plans have a $370,000 annual cap on care — while limits such as that have been banned under federal plans. They don’t include care for pregnancies, which many of the families on Medicaid and going to the school need. And birth control is not covered either.

So some of the students who are signing up for the school’s plans don’t expect to use them.

“They can’t treat any single one of my medical diagnoses,” said Jessica Knoeck, 35, who said she has severe rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and lupus and planned to return to BYU-Idaho in January when she qualified for the Medicaid expansion. “Buying their medical plan makes no sense.”

Emerson and his wife, Amanda, have one child and are expecting another in April. He’s currently working 20 hours a week in maintenance to earn enough money to cover their rent, which is already subsidized by the government. And they’ve both got federal grants helping to pay for tuition.

“This imposes a financial burden that doesn’t really seem necessary,” he said. “It happened overnight, came out of nowhere and blindsided us.”

For Andrew Taylor, the extra expense is so high and so unexpected that he said he has to drop out of school. “We really can’t afford this.”

He and his wife are living paycheck to paycheck already — and they’ve missed their last phone bill and aren’t sure how they’ll cover their next rent payment. She’s close to graduating, but he’s just starting. Now, he’s looking for a job to help her get through school.

“This is a way that they are trying to discriminate against people of low socioeconomic status,” he believes.

Kaleigh Quick said that she and her husband, Matt, have already deferred a payment on their car so they could get their kids Christmas gifts. Now, they’re worried they’ll have to use that money for the insurance at BYU-Idaho so Quick can finish her last seven classes.

Kris Lasswell, a sophomore in earth science, hasn’t been to a doctor in four years because he hasn’t had insurance. He’ll qualify for the Medicaid expansion in January. But with his wife, Naomi, expecting a baby and rent going up, he said he can’t afford BYU’s $500 insurance on top of that.

“It would mean the difference of me being able to live here and go to school or not being able to go to school at all. It’s the difference of me being able to pay rent or be homeless,” he said.

Reclaim Idaho, a group that has pushed for Medicaid expansion in the state, condemned the school in a statement this week for its “unexplained decisions” to strip students of health care coverage.

“The vast majority of students and families we’re hearing from can’t believe the university would make such punitive decisions without explaining why,” said Rebecca Schroeder, the group’s executive director. “In one paragraph in a press release, they dropped a bombshell on hundreds, if not thousands, of students and are wiping their hands of the issue.”

Wilson said the lack of answers has been one of the most frustrating parts of the change. But she’s more disappointed that she won’t have a degree.

She wanted to show her sons that even though she grew up without much, she pushed herself through college. She’s not sure if that will happen any more.

This content was originally published here.

Researchers Reveal How Being Around Chronic Complainers Can Put Your Health At Risk

Misery loves company, and it may come in the form of chronic complaining.  Being around complainers automatically can put a damper on your day if you don’t take steps to distance yourself. Being surrounded by hard-to-please family, friends, or co-workers creates more than merely a negative atmosphere. Indeed, it legitimately causes health consequences for you and them.

Researchers reveal how being around chronic complainers can put your health at risk.

3 Types of Complainers

Have you ever wondered why people complain?  Why do some people often express displeasure while others only do so occasionally?  What is a complaint?

In Psychology Today, a complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction.  The real problem arises in how a person expresses their dissatisfaction and how often.  Most of us have a particular bar that must be reached to complain. However, some set that bar lower than others.

One of the biggest triggers for complaining is the individuals’ sense of control over the situation.  The more powerless a person feels, the more they will complain.   Other factors may be frustration tolerance, age, desire not to make a scene, or to “look good” to others.

Another factor may have nothing to do with the actual situation.  A negative mindset tends only to see adverse events.

The environment may also play a role. A study shows that individual(s) raised or surrounded by negative thinkers tend to become negative in thinking as well and, therefore, will complain more frequently.

Not every complainer is the same.

There are three types of complainers:

1 – Chronic complainers.

We all have known a chronic complainer or have been one ourselves. This complainer only sees problems and not solutions.  They tend to focus on how ‘bad’ a situation is regardless of its actual impact or consequence to their life.

They tend to be negative thinkers and have created a pattern of complaining, which some studies have shown may wire the brain to operate negatively. This affects their mental and physical health and impacts those around them. While called a chronic complainer, it does not need to be a constant, permanent condition.  People with this mindset can change, but they will have to choose it, and it will take work.

2 – Venting.

A complainer who vents focuses on displaying emotional dissatisfaction.  Their attention is on themselves and how they feel regarding what they deem to be a negative situation.  They are hoping to glean attention from those around them as opposed to finding a real solution to the problem.   When someone provides a resolution, they only see a reason it won’t work.

3 – Instrumental complaining.

This is akin to constructive criticism.  This complainer is seeking to solve an issue that has created dissatisfaction.  They will present the problem toward the individuals most likely to be able to solve the problem.

Effects of being around complainers

In the same article, which outlined how a complainer is wiring their brain for negativity through their words, also describes how being surrounded by complainers negatively impacts others.

1.      Sympathy turns to negativity

It turns out that our capacity for compassion, attempting to place ourselves in others’ shoes, also makes our emotions susceptible to experiencing the same anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction of the complainer.  The more often you are around the individual complaining, the more neurons are being fired to associate with the emotions.  Neurons that repeatedly fire in a pattern teach your brain to think in that manner.

2.      Stress-induced health issues

Being around others with a cynical viewpoint on events, people, and life in general triggers stress in your brain and body.  As your mind attempts to identify with the person complaining, you begin to feel the same emotions of anger, frustration, bitterness, and unhappiness. This interaction leads to stress that releases hormones to prepare you to act on the stress.  The hormone released is cortisol.

Cortisol works in tandem with adrenaline as your hypothalamus responds to a perceived threat and tells your body to release the hormones.  Adrenaline creates a rise in heart rate and blood pressure as your body prepares to “fight.”  This increases blood flow to the muscles and brain to prepare you for action.  Cortisol releases sugars to provide energy.

Over time, with a repeated pattern of this stress, you increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

3.      Shrinking your brain

In addition to the health problems created from stress, you are shrinking your brain when you expose it to repeated and constant levels of stress.

A study published in Stanford News Service demonstrated the effects of stress and stress hormones on wild baboons and rats.   What they found was that chemicals called glucocorticoids release over time as a response to chronic stress, which caused the brain cells in rats to shrink.

Later, another study was done after performing an MRI on participants.  This x-ray allowed scientists to compare hippocampi of people who have had long term depression with others of the same age, sex, height, and education but without depression.   It was discovered that the hippocampi were 15% smaller in those with depression.

The same study compared Vietnam veterans experiencing PTSD with combat veterans without a history of PTSD. They found that hippocampi were 25% smaller.

In those cases, researchers could neither prove nor disprove that glucocorticoids caused the shrinkage.  However, they did find this to be true in patients with Cushing’s disease, which made scientists believe they were on the right track with their studies in people with depression and PTSD.  Cushing’s syndrome is a brain disease in which a tumor is stimulating the adrenal glands to release of glucocorticoids.  In patients with Cushing’s Syndrome, scientists discovered the hippocampus was shrinking.

Your hippocampus is attributed to aiding the brain in memory, learning, spatial navigation, and goal-related behavior, among other necessary abilities.

Great ways to stay positive around complainers

  • Choose your daily friends wisely.

We can’t choose our family or co-workers, but we can choose our friends.  Surround yourself with people who are more positive than negative.

  • Be grateful.

Just as negative thoughts breed negativity, positive thoughts breed positivity.  Each day, or at minimum, a few times a week, handwrite what in your life you are grateful.  Consider that two items of gratitude can cancel out one negative.

  • Don’t spend energy trying to fix a chronic complainer.

While you may sympathize with a person who seems to be having a rough life, trying to fix their problems won’t change their complaining.  They currently can only see negativity and, therefore, will only find problems in your solutions.

  • When you must raise an issue of dissatisfaction, sandwich it.

Start with a positive statement, then give your concern or complaint.  End it with a desire for a positive result.

  • Use empathy

When you must work closely with someone who is a chronic complainer, remember they are seeking attention or validation. In the interest of keeping work moving along, express empathy, and then move them along to the task at hand.

  • Stay self-aware.

Pay attention to your behavior and thinking.  Make sure that you are not mirroring the negative people around you or broadcasting your negativity. Often, we complain without thought.  Pay attention to your words and actions, as well.

  • Avoid gossip.

It is pretty commonplace for a group of people to get together and complain about a person or situation.  That tends to encourage further complaining and dissatisfaction.

  • Exercise or find a

    method of releasing stress positively.

Pent up stress can create a negative outlook, which leads to complaining.  Go for a walk, workout at the gym, sit at the park or meditate.  Do something that distances you from the complainer or stressful situation that helps balance your emotions.

  • File your complaints wisely

When you feel the need to complain, make sure it is something that can be resolved or has a solution either you or someone you are speaking to can solve.

Final Thoughts on Dealing with Chronic Complainers

Being around negativity not only doesn’t feel right, but now researchers also reveal how being around chronic complainers can put your health at risk.  Complaining can become a lifestyle that can decrease your mental capability and increase your blood pressure and sugar production.  Do your best to either avoid or minimize your exposure to chronic complainers. In the end, you’ll find not only good for your state of mind but also improves your overall health.  So take your stress levels seriously and stay self-aware.

The post Researchers Reveal How Being Around Chronic Complainers Can Put Your Health At Risk appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

This content was originally published here.

Opinion | The American Health Care Industry Is Killing People – The New York Times

These costs are significantly higher than in most other wealthy countries. One study on health care data from 1999 showed that each American paid about $1,059 per year just in overhead costs for health care; in Canada, the per capita cost was $307. Those figures are likely much higher today.

Wouldn’t lowering overhead costs be an obviously positive outcome?

Ah, but there’s the rub: All this overspending creates a lot of employment — and moving toward a more efficient and equitable health care system will inevitably mean getting rid of many administrative jobs. One study suggests that about 1.8 million jobs would be rendered unnecessary if America adopted a public health care financing system.

So what if some of these jobs involve debt collection, claims denial, aggressive legal action or are otherwise punitive, cruel or simply morally indefensible in a society that can clearly afford to provide high-quality health care to everyone? Jobs are jobs, folks, as Joe Biden might say.

Indeed, that’s exactly what Biden’s presidential campaign is saying about the Medicare for all plans that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are proposing: They “will not only cost 160 million Americans their private health coverage and force tax increases on the middle class, but it would also kill almost two million jobs,” a Biden campaign official warned recently.

Note the word “kill” in the statement. That word might better describe not what could happen to jobs under Medicare for all but what the health care industry is doing to many Americans today.

Last week, the medical journal JAMA published a comprehensive study examining the cause of a remarkably grim statistic about our national well-being. From 1959 to 2010, life expectancy in the United States and in other wealthy countries around the world climbed. Then, in 2014, American life expectancy began to fall, while it continued to rise elsewhere.

What caused the American decline? Researchers identified a number of potential factors, including tobacco use, obesity and psychological stress, but two of the leading causes can be pinned directly on the peculiarities and dysfunctions of American health care.

The first is the opioid epidemic, whose rise can be traced to the release, in 1996, of the prescription pain drug OxyContin. In the public narrative, much of the blame for the epidemic has been cast on the Sackler family, whose firm, Purdue Pharma, created OxyContin and pushed for its widespread use. But research has shown that the Sacklers exploited aberrant incentives in American health care.

Purdue courted doctors, patient groups and insurers to convince the medical establishment that OxyContin was a novel type of opioid that was less addictive and less prone to abuse. The company had little scientific evidence to make that claim, but much of the health care industry bought into it, and OxyContin prescriptions soared. The rush to prescribe opioids was fueled by business incentives created by the health care industry — for Purdue, for many doctors and for insurance companies, treating widespread conditions like back pain with pills rather than physical therapy was simply better for the bottom line.

Opioid addiction isn’t the only factor contributing to rising American mortality rates. The problem is more pervasive, having to do with an overall lack of quality health care. The JAMA report points out that death rates have climbed most for middle-age adults, who — unlike retirees and many children — are not usually covered by government-run health care services and thus have less access to affordable health care.

The researchers write that “countries with higher life expectancy outperform the United States in providing universal access to health care” and in “removing costs as a barrier to care.” In America, by contrast, cost is a key barrier. A study published last year in The American Journal of Medicine found that of the nearly 10 million Americans given diagnoses of cancer between 2000 and 2012, 42 percent were forced to drain all of their assets in order to pay for care.

The politics of Medicare for all are perilous. Understandably so: If you’re one of the millions of Americans who loves your doctor and your insurance company, or who works in the health care field, I can see why you would be fearful of wholesale change.

But it’s wise to remember that it’s not just your own health and happiness that counts. The health care industry is failing much of the country. Many of your fellow citizens are literally dying early because of its failures. “I got mine!” is not a good enough argument to maintain the dismal status quo.

Farhad wants to chat with readers on the phone. If you’re interested in talking to a New York Times columnist about anything that’s on your mind, please fill out this form. Farhad will select a few readers to call.

This content was originally published here.

GOP senator claims birth control and HIV testing is not ‘actual health care’

Sen. Martha McSally’s campaign attacked the health care services provided by Planned Parenthood.

GOP Sen. Martha McSally’s campaign is on the attack against Planned Parenthood Arizona, the state’s largest sexual health organization, saying it does not provide residents with “actual health care,” the Hill reported Friday.

McSally’s comments came in response to Planned Parenthood’s announcement that it would run ads in Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina about the Trump administration’s restrictions on health care funding that limit how doctors can interact with patients. All three of the states have closely watched Senate races in 2020.

“Senator McSally is focused on providing access to actual health care for women all across Arizona, while Planned Parenthood is only focused on protecting their business model,” Dylan Lefler, the Arizona Republican’s campaign manager, told the Hill.

Planned Parenthood Arizona serves more than 90,000 Arizona residents, according to its website, offering a wide range of real health care services, including annual well-woman exams, birth control consultation and supplies, HIV testing, emergency contraception, and pregnancy testing. Research from the Guttmacher Institute, a group focused on reproductive health, has shown that providers serving low-income patients, including Planned Parenthood, play a vital role in the public safety net, and may be the only health care available in some areas.

The Trump administration unveiled new rules earlier this year stating that federal funds from the Title X program can no longer go to organizations that either perform abortions or refer patients to facilities to receive abortions. Prior to the new rules, organizations like Planned Parenthood were already barred from using federal funds to perform abortions, but the new rule gagged the ability of health care professionals to even discuss the medical procedure.

After the rules went into effect, Planned Parenthood was forced to withdraw from the Title X program, the only federal program dedicated to providing family planning services, birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, and annual exams, to low-income Americans. Most of the patients who rely on Title X services are people of color, according to Planned Parenthood.

The ads aim to pressure lawmakers to overrule Trump and allow organizations like Planned Parenthood to once again participate in Title X and offer health care services to low-income people.

However, the McSally campaign identified Planned Parenthood as a “hysterical liberal special interest group” invading Arizona “with false, negative ads.”

McSally has previously voted to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds whatsoever. She also voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires health insurance companies to cover maternity and newborn care.

“Republican senators are attacking access to affordable birth control and other vital reproductive health services by standing with the Trump administration’s dangerous gag rule,” Sam Lau, Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s director of federal advocacy media, said in an email. “Congress has the power to take action, and the American people want them to stop putting politics over their health and protect access to affordable health care.”

The post GOP senator claims birth control and HIV testing is not ‘actual health care’ appeared first on The American Independent.

This content was originally published here.

The President, the US private health giant, and top NHS officials – special relationships? | openDemocracy

In the UK, we have a simple take on the US healthcare system as a for-profit, private system that fleeces its customers and fails the poor.

But here’s the secret: the US has its own ‘mini NHS’. Smaller than the UK’s system, but still a government funded, (mostly) publicly-run system that serves people according to their need. It’s called the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

And Donald Trump wants to privatise it.

What’s more, to set the reforms in motion, the firm that’s been appointed to create and expand new private networks within the Veterans health system is Optum, the profitable ‘healthcare services’ arm of America’s biggest private health insurer, UnitedHealth Group.

Optum and UnitedHealth are familiar names to anyone who has been following the silent takeover of the NHS by private healthcare firms in recent years, though aspects of their involvement are fully exposed here for the first time.

Health privatisation, US-style – sounds familiar?

But first, it’s worth a closer look at what’s been happening to the US’s own ‘mini-NHS’ – because there are some remarkable parallels with what’s happening on this side of the Atlantic.

The Veterans Administration has a budget of $70billion with which it provides healthcare for some nine million US military veterans. It has experienced serious capacity issues in the past, but a study last year found the quality of care it provides is the same, or significantly better than the private sector.

Regardless, Trump passed a law last year that allows extensive latitude for a significant proportion of this care to be outsourced to private healthcare corporations.

The President’s plan is backed by a small cabal of right-wing politicians and lobby groups on a crusade to talk down the care the Veterans Health Administration provides – and then to ‘fix’ it, through pushing veteran patients towards private providers. Trump began by replacing senior Veterans Administration officials that stood in the way and reportedly allowed his close political associates and donors to influence the reforms. All the while running a PR campaign, led by officials and their Koch-backed advisors, denying that funnelling billions of taxpayer dollars to private healthcare providers amounts to privatisation. On being appointed, Trump’s new VA secretary told senators: “I will oppose efforts to privatize the VA.”

Democrat Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the real beneficiaries of Trump’s reforms are “pharmaceutical companies, insurance corporations and, ultimately… a for-profit health-care industry that does not put people or veterans first.” If he really wanted to “fix the VA so badly,” she added at a packed rally earlier this year, “let’s start hiring, and fill up some of those 49,000 [staff] vacancies.”

All of this will sound eerily familiar to campaigners defending the National Health Service against privatisation: from chronic understaffing to legislative reform in the face of massive opposition, and all the while strenuously denying that the changes amount to privatisation at all.

We’re told one thing about NHS privatisation – health firm investors are told another

“There is no privatisation of the NHS on my watch,” Matt Hancock assured MPs earlier this year. Boris Johnson has since echoed his words: “We are absolutely resolved. There will be no sale of the NHS, no privatisation.”

Look at the message US private healthcare firms are giving their investors, however, and a different story emerges.

“We’ve been planting seeds and I would say that we’re strong with the NHS,” US healthcare executive, Larry Renfro told investors in 2016. Renfro was then chief executive of Optum – the very same US company that’s recently been awarded huge contracts to take over the US’s ‘mini NHS’.

“We’re strong with [the regulator] NHS improvement. We are getting stronger with the Minister of Health, as well as the Secretary of Health,” Renfro said. His colleague and Optum’s Executive Vice President, Jeffrey Berkowitz, spoke of the years Optum had spent building a “very strong foundation of work on the ground with the Department of Health”.

Investors and financial analysts were told this, but not the British public.

Official records show only that Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, held an ‘introductory’ meeting with Optum in March 2017 and that health minister Philip Dunne visited Optum in Boston and again, a couple of weeks later in London.

It is only because Renfro told investors that a health minister is “as we sit here today, with us… on tour”, that we know that Lord Prior, now chair of NHS England, also visited Optum at its headquarters in Minneapolis in October 2016.

Donald Trump, the private healthcare execs, and NHS senior officials

This was one of many visits in recent years made by politicians and senior health officials to Optum’s various US offices. This includes officials from NHS Digital – guardians of NHS patient data – whose head of data was given a tour of Optum’s capabilities at its Washington office in January 2018. As an Optum lobbyist said in 2014, the trips, some of which it paid for, are part of its efforts to “develop and mature” its relationship with the NHS.

It is also only through documents released under Freedom of Information law that we know that Ed Smith, the chair of the NHS’s powerful regulator NHS Improvement, held a series of ‘working dinners’ with UnitedHealth Group CEO, Stephen Hemsley – first in September 2016 and again in January the following year. Another ‘working dinner’ took place with Renfro in March 2017. The documents don’t reveal what these men discussed.

In February of that year, Hemsley visited the White House to meet Donald Trump [photos from the meeting: second right and slightly hidden here; leaning forward hands on table behind Mike Pence here]. The President tweeted: “Great meeting with CEOs of leading U.S. health insurance companies who provide great healthcare to the American people.”

Once declared the highest paid CEO in the US, Stephen Hemsley is now executive chair of UnitedHealth Group. He earned a reported $65m last year. Fortune described him as the “corporate chief who’s arguably created more wealth for shareholders… than any sitting CEO”.

The secrecy of these trans-Atlantic meetings matters. It has allowed the UK government to tell one story to the public, while quietly inviting a giant, for-profit US corporation, bent on overseas expansion, to embed itself in our NHS.

Optum’s parent company, UnitedHealth Group, which reported earnings in 2018 of over $220 billion, is opposed to efforts in the US to introduce a universal, public health system like the NHS. Its current CEO said Medicare for All, as the proposals are known, would “destabilize” the American healthcare system. It goes without saying, they would also eliminate its industry.

Healthcare markets – why are we looking to US firms to help shape our healthcare?

As support rises in the US for an NHS-inspired ‘Medicare for All’ system to replace the current broken model, in contrast, the Conservative Party has spent the past decade rushing to adopt a US model in its reform of the NHS. This has involved taking our national health system and breaking it up into mini healthcare markets (known as Accountable Care Organisations, or ACOs) to be run, increasingly, with technology and expertise supplied by companies like Optum.

Optum specialises in using data and algorithms to predict and make decisions about who gets what care, something it has honed in America’s private health insurance system, where the more insurers cut costs and ration care, the more money they make. Optum’s algorithm was also recently found to show dramatic biases against black patients.

“Nationally, there are various things going on with data and information and digital that we are actually working with them [the UK] very, very closely right now,” Renfro told investors in April 2017. The health secretary and a “subset of the NHS board” were due to visit, he added: “So things seem to be breaking a lose [sic] right now.”

All of which adds up to quite a different picture to the one used by the Conservatives to sell the reforms to the public in 2010. Health secretary Andrew Lansley’s pitch back then was that his changes were about handing GPs control of the NHS budget to spend locally as they saw fit.

Optum had been involved in discussions from the start in 2010, as revealed in Lansley’s diary (which was released only after a court ruling). Four years later and documents released under FOI showed Optum in prime position to pick up some of the first wave of contracts. In April 2017 – by which time the NHS had been divided into 44 regional areas, each with a plan for reforming its region – Renfo updated investors on “what we’re doing in the UK” and Optum’s UK “44 market strategy”.

“So in February, we won our first business…. with one of those [regions]…. that’s where you’re going to manage with an ACO process. And so we’re tying in everything we do in the States into that win that we just received.” According to Renfro, it was “very, very close” to picking up another two regions and the firm had moved people over to the UK to manage the projects.

Since then, it has been hired by NHS England to “accelerate” these reforms across the country. In the West Midlands, for example, Optum has advised the region’s GPs, hospitals and local councils on their plans. With its partner, PwC, it provided a 12 week programme of training for senior health officials across Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. It has also gone into partnership with GP “super-practice”, Modality.

Among the other regions receiving Optum coaching and support are: Cumbria; Cambridge and Peterborough; South East London, Staffordshire and Norfolk, Optum was also brought in to help remodel health services in the region spanning Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Yeovil Hospital, which has led the reforms in Somerset, said: “The ACO model born in the US market is new to the UK, and as such we have partnered with globally experienced Optum who are guiding our journey into this new world.”

At the same time, Optum has been on a hiring spree across the country of former NHS staff to undertake the work, led by former NHS England directors who have also passed through the revolving door. Ultimately, though, the man steering these reforms is Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England. He previously, spent a decade at the top of UnitedHealth Group as Executive Vice President and president of its expanding global health businesses.

The health secretary will still deny that privatisation is occurring on his watch. And Boris Johnson will continue to insist that the NHS is not for sale. Meanwhile, the seeds that Optum has been planting for a decade under the Tories are beginning to bear fruit.

openDemocracy approached the Department of Health for comment on the extent to which the public were being kept in the dark about the extent of the NHS’s engagement with private US health firms, specifically Optum, but they declined to comment, citing pre-election ‘purdah’ rules.

This content was originally published here.

Travelling to the U.S.? Watch out: Ontario is about to scrap out-of-country emergency health care coverage. Here’s what you need to know. | The Star

When Toronto resident Jill Wykes had a health scare over a racing heartbeat in Florida a few years back, the $3,000 hospital bill for a two-hour visit and three tests added insult to illness.

Fortunately, the seasoned snowbird had a comprehensive travel health insurance policy that paid the full tab.

But the incident, which turned out to be nothing serious, served as a reminder that medical emergencies can happen any time, anywhere.

Buying enough travel insurance to cover all eventualities becomes even more important for Ontario residents when the province scraps its out-of-country coverage of emergency health care expenses on Jan.1.

Until Dec. 31, OHIP will continue to pay up to $400 per day for emergency in-patient services and up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient and doctor services. Starting next year though, that coverage stops.

A new program will provide kidney dialysis patients with $210 toward each treatment — actual prices in the U.S. range from $300 to $750 — but travellers will be on the hook for everything else.

The province says it’s cancelling the existing “inefficient” program because of the $2.8-million cost of administering $9 million in emergency medical coverage abroad each year. OHIP’s reimbursements also tended to offset only a fraction of the actual expenses.

Without private insurance, travellers can face “catastrophically large bills” for medical care, warns Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen, who “strongly encourages” people to purchase adequate coverage.

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Health care south of the border, in particular, costs an arm and a leg. On average, fees in the U.S. are double those of other developed countries, according to the International Travel Insurance Group.

The insurance provider cites an array of costs, including: ambulance, $500 and up; ER visit, $150 to $3,000; hospital stay, $5,000 per day; MRI, $1,000 to $5,000; X-ray, $150 to $3,000; hip fracture, $13,000 to $40,000.

The monetary ouch factor can be especially painful for snowbirds, who are flocking to warm spots like Florida, Arizona and Texas in growing numbers as baby boomers reach retirement age.

But a significant number of vacationers of all ages are putting their financial health at risk.

According to a recent survey by InsuranceHotline.com, 34 per cent of Canadian respondents said they were unlikely to buy travel insurance, often in the mistaken belief their province would cover them. And 40 per cent had unrealistic expectations of health care costs, thinking, for example, that emergency medical evacuation would be under $2,000. In reality, the service can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Jill Wykes and her husband Pierre Lepage leave nothing to chance during winters in Sarasota, Fla., an annual trek since 2011 when she retired as a travel industry executive.

The couple, now in their 70s, purchase a multiple-trip plan with a 60-day top-up for their four-month sojourn, which includes driving there and back and flying home for two short visits. Her policy costs about $900 while his is $1,600, because he falls into an older age bracket. They’re each covered for up to $5 million.

Wykes, a blogger and editor of snowbirdadvisor.ca, calls it “foolish” to travel anywhere without health insurance and advises against thinking “you would just drive or fly home if you were sick.” The financial fallout from an accident or sudden illness “can quickly rise into six figures” in the U.S., she adds.

Anne Marie Thomas of InsuranceHotline.com, which provides free quotes for all types of insurance, echoes Wykes’s advice.

“Now, more than ever, you need travel insurance because there will be zero coverage (as of Jan. 1),” she says.

There’s no one-size-fits-all policy and insurance can cover everything from trip cancellation or interruption to lost baggage and medical costs, Thomas explains, so it’s important to match your needs and situation. A sunseeker driving south, for instance, wouldn’t need trip cancellation.

YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN…

As an example, Thomas says a 70- or 80-year-old flying to Florida would pay about $2,000 for all-inclusive insurance for 15 weeks with a $10-million limit on medical costs.

The non-profit Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) calls the government cuts “short-sighted,” predicting they’ll boost the cost of private insurance by an estimated 7.5 per cent.

The CSA has always “strongly recommended” purchasing adequate insurance prior to departure, president Karen Huestis reminded travellers last month.

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Fledgling snowbird Linda Lanteigne, who’s driving to Florida with her husband in mid-January for a two-and-a-half-month stay, is unhappy about OHIP’s cancelled program.

As a taxpaying Canadian, “I don’t think it’s right to take away our coverage,” says the Ottawa-area retiree who’d like to see the government cover the same amount of emergency medical care that people would get in Canada.

Lanteigne, a former operating room buyer in a hospital, shopped around before deciding on a travel policy with the Canadian Automobile Association that will give her $5-million coverage for about $500.

Octogenarian Mae Youngman is living proof that health emergencies can happen anywhere. She’s had three surgeries outside Canada after suffering an aneurysm in Fort Lauderdale, an appendectomy in Sarasota and broken elbow in Mexico.

“It would have been very, very expensive,” to cover the costs without insurance, recalls the retired owner of a travel agency near Windsor, Ont., who’s heading to Cuba for two weeks.

“I’d never leave home without it.”

How to make sure you’re covered

Experienced travellers and representatives from the travel and insurance industries offer these tips:

  • Retirement benefit plans and credit cards may provide health insurance, but read the policy for any limits or exclusions.
  • Compare apples to apples when shopping for a policy. The cost will also depend on your medical history, age and length of vacation.
  • Before purchasing coverage, be aware of your health status, including pre-existing conditions, which must be stable for the required period.
  • Complete the insurer’s medical questionnaire thoroughly and accurately, and let them know if anything changes pre-departure.
  • Always read the policy, including fine print, so you understand what is and isn’t covered.
  • Check travel advisories before you leave; ignoring warnings about an impending hurricane, for example, could cancel your medical coverage.
  • Your purchased insurance has a start and end date so if your holiday is interrupted and you plan on returning, notify your insurer.
Carola Vyhnak is a Cobourg-based writer covering home and real-estate stories. She is a contributor for the Star. Reach her at cvyhnak@gmail.com

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What do you think about the decision to cancel out-of-country emergency health care coverage? Share your thoughts

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Influencer Said Kids Shouldn’t Learn About World War 2 Because It’s Bad For Their Mental Health

People have lashed out at the young influencer who spoke out and said that children shouldn’t learn about World War 2 because it negatively impacts their mental health.

As 22-year-old reality TV star and Instagram influencer Freddie Bentley claimed during his appearance at Good Morning Britain, learning about WWII had negative impacts on the mental health of millennials.

Stuart C. Wilson – Getty Images

While the young man said he didn’t want to be disrespectful to those who earned his freedom, he claimed that learning about the war has no value and should be replaced with more practical topics such as how to get a mortgage.

Good Morning Britain

“It was a hard situation, World War Two, I don’t want anyone to think I’m being disrespectful. I remember learning it as a child thinking ‘Oh my God it’s so intense,’” Bentley said.

“I don’t think encouraging death or telling people how many people died in the world war is going to make it better.

GETTY – CONTRIBUTOR

“There’s so many problems going on in the world, like Brexit, that’s not taught in schools. When I left school it hit me like a ton of bricks – I didn’t know anything to do with life.”

While the 22-year-old maintained he only had good intentions, viewers of the TV show were quick to confront him.

“They wouldn’t be here if these brave souls didn’t give/risk their lives for our freedom. Unbelievable. Selfish, deluded younger generation. Who think they are entitled. 1939-1945. A date to be remembered. What is happening to Britain?” someone responded.

Another one wrote: “ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH!!!!! Not talking about the war in school? Not educating them on what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again!? You need to learn respect young man.”

What are your thoughts on this matter? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to SHARE this post with your family and friends and follow us on Facebook for more news and stories!

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The post Influencer Said Kids Shouldn’t Learn About World War 2 Because It’s Bad For Their Mental Health appeared first on Small Joys.

This content was originally published here.

Deeply unpopular Kentucky governor loses after attacking health care and teachers

With virtually all votes counted in Kentucky, Democratic challenger Andy Beshear leads incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin by more than 5,000.

Kentucky voters dealt a huge blow on Tuesday to Donald Trump and the state’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell, as they elected Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) over Gov. Matt Bevin (R), pending a possible recount. After declaring war on public education and working to undermine health care access, Bevin had tried to make the race about the impeachment of Trump.

According to Kentucky secretary of state’s office, Beshear has been declared the winner, though Bevin has thus far refused to concede. With all precincts reporting, Beshear had a 5,189 votes advantage, 709,577 to 704,388. The votes will likely be double-checked in the upcoming days. Kentucky has no automatic recount law, but Bevin could request one. Beshear has claimed victory.

Bevin ranked as the nation’s least popular governor for much of his term but ran with the strong support of both Trump and McConnell. Trump repeatedly talked up Bevin in the primary and general elections, calling him “one of best governors in U.S. [sic].”

Voters felt otherwise. Bevin ran on a promise to destroy Kentucky’s nationally acclaimed Obamacare system and has fought hard to do just that as governor, demanding onerous work requirements for Medicaid recipients that could cost tens of thousands of low-income Kentuckians their health care, and proposing to spend $270 million to do it. When teachers in the commonwealth went on strike to demand more funding for public schools, Bevin fought against them and accused them of enabling child molestation. He even complained during cold snaps that closing schools to keep kids safe if freezing temperatures was a sign that people are “getting soft.”

Bevin’s campaign included race-baiting ads claiming that Beshear “would allow illegal immigrants to swarm the state,” and repeated attempts to tie Beshear to the impeachment inquiry in Washington, D.C. — a process in which the Kentucky attorney general and governor typically have minimal involvement.

Trump’s 2020 campaign manager said Tuesday night that Trump had nearly reelected Bevin: “the President just about dragged Gov. Matt Bevin across the finish line, helping him run stronger than expected in what turned into a very close race at the end. A final outcome remains to be seen.”

But Trump had made the race a referendum on his own popularity in a state he won by about 30 points in 2016. He told Kentucky voters on Sunday that “we have to send a strong signal to Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left Democrats” by backing Bevin. His son Don Jr. held a poorly attended rally for Bevin in August. Mike Pence visited Kentucky the same month and praised Bevin’s handling of the opioid crisis.

Days before the election, Trump himself held a major rally with Bevin, where he explicitly warned his supporters, “If you lose, it sends a really bad message… and if you lose, they’re gonna say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. This was the greatest. You can’t let that happen to me.”

McConnell, who defeated Bevin in a 2014 Senate primary, also played a key roll in supporting Bevin this time around. With an approval rating no better than Bevin’s, the Senate majority leader could face a tougher than expected reelection next year.

Though an October poll showed a tied race, Bevin claimed days ago that he would win the race by between six and 10 points. “I think you’re going to be shocked at how uncompetitive this actually is,” he told the New York Times.

After the results were posted, Bevin suggested that he could have lost because of “irregularities,” and said he was not conceding the “close, close race” by any stretch. But given that Republicans simultaneously won other statewide offices, it will be hard for him to credibly argue that he was somehow cheated out of victory.

The post Deeply unpopular Kentucky governor loses after attacking health care and teachers appeared first on Shareblue Media.

This content was originally published here.

Arkansas Department Of Health Reports 9 Cases Of The Mumps At U of A In Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Nine cases of the mumps at the U of A in Fayetteville have been reported by the Arkansas Department of Health. Other possible cases are still being investigated.

Mumps. Photo Courtesy: MGN Galleries

The mumps is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. Coughing and sneezing can easily spread this disease infecting others. It can also be spread through shared drinking cups or vaping devices. There is no treatment for mumps and can cause long-term health problems.

The Arkansas Department of Health is asking that all children and adults get up-to-date with their MMR vaccine as it is the best way to protect against the mumps. While some people who get the mumps may not have symptoms, the symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, swollen glands under the ears or jaw. These symptoms usually last for about 7-10 days, but it can take a person up to 26 days to get sick after they have been infected. The ADH recommends to stay home for 5 days after swelling in the glands appear due to mumps still being present 5 days after the swelling disappears.

Below are the recommended doses of the MMR vaccine according to the Arkansas Department of Health:

• Your children younger than 6 years of age need one dose of MMR vaccine at age 12 through 15 months and a second dose of MMR vaccine at age 4 through 6 years. If your child attends a preschool where there is a mumps case or if you live in a household with many people, your child
should receive their second dose of MMR vaccine right away, even if they are not yet 4 years old.
The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after the first dose.

• Your children age 7 through 18 years need two doses of MMR vaccine if they have not received it
already. The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after the first dose.

• If you are an adult born in 1957 or later and you have not had the MMR vaccine already, you need
at least one dose. If you live in a household with many people or if you travel internationally, you
need a second dose of MMR vaccine. The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after
the first dose.

• Adults born before 1957 are considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to get the MMR
vaccine.

• Students that have never received an MMR vaccine will need to be excluded from class and
university activities for at least 26 days. However, they can return to class immediately once they receive a dose of MMR vaccine. They will need to receive a second dose of MMR vaccine 29 days after the first dose.

If symptoms are noticed, ADH recommends you contact your doctor’s office before going to a clinic since the doctor may not want you to sit in the clinic near others. They do not recommend going to work or public places in general.

Meanwhile, ADH is working closely with the U of A officials to stop the spread of mumps. They will be monitoring the situation closely and if the outbreak continues to spread, officials will keep you informed of any additional necessary steps taken.

ADH issued a health public health directive stating, “Any student not immunized with at least 2 doses of MMR according to University of Arkansas policy will either need to be vaccinated immediately or excluded from class/class activities for 26 days.” This directive is being issued up the authority of Act 96 of 1913, Arkansas State Board of Health Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Reportable Diseases.

For more information contact the Pat Walker Health Center at 479-575-4451

This content was originally published here.

‘Pay to breathe?’ ‘Oxygen bars’ hit New Delhi as India chokes under pollution & declares health emergency

A new fad sweeping India offers customers a breath of fresh air – literally. As pollution in New Delhi hits toxic levels, “Oxygen bars” are popping up in the city to help locals breathe easy, but some found the idea off-putting.

Officials in New Delhi were recently forced to declare a public health emergency over the city’s hazardous air quality after pollution levels soared to around 20 times what the World Health Organization deems safe, halting construction projects and closing schools across the capital. While the smog-choked air is inescapable for many, those with the cash may find a brief reprieve at their local oxygen bar.

Also on rt.com

© ANI via REUTERS
‘Theater of the absurd’: Delhi kids run mini marathon as city drowns in toxic smog (PHOTOS)

One such establishment is tucked in the corner of an upscale shopping mall in New Delhi, dubbed Oxy Pure, with bright lights and gadgets glowing through its clear glass storefront. Here, customers can pay between 299 and 499 rupees (around $4 to $7) for a 15-minute oxygen session, with their choice of several fragrances: orange, lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemongrass or peppermint.

Delhi: An oxygen bar in Saket, ‘Oxy Pure’ is offering pure oxygen to its customers in seven different aromas (lemongrass, orange, cinnamon, spearmint, peppermint, eucalyptus, & lavender), at a time when Air Quality Index (AQI) in the city is in ‘severe’ category. pic.twitter.com/dZuVnY03jn

— ANI (@ANI) November 14, 2019

“Air pollution is going to dangerous levels so people are coming here to breathe pure oxygen,” Oxy Pure owner Aryavir Kumar told The National.

Each winter, air quality suffers in cities around India as winds die down and farmers burn the remnants of crops to make room for the next harvest. This time around, Kumar says New Delhi’s worsening smog has driven a surge of business at his establishment.

“We would get 15-20 people a day [before]. Now we are getting 30-40 customers every day,” he said. “There is a tremendous increase in the numbers of customers in the last two weeks.”

Conjuring images of a pulmonary ward, the bars deliver O2 through a standard cannula device which customers hook up to their nostrils, cranked out of a “concentrator” machine that pulls clean oxygen out of the polluted air. While Kumar is careful to insist the “oxygen therapy” does not cure any diseases, he says the air can rejuvenate “like a spa.”

Oxygen bars are not all that uncommon.

It offers a ‘natural high.’ We’re not used to breathing air which is > 20% oxygen. So, when you take a hit of oxygen at an oxygen bar, you immediately start to saturate your blood with oxygen, which can heighten concentration.

— TheRudim3nt (@TheRudim3nt) November 18, 2019

Despite the potential for benefits, many online found the concept downright dystopian, suggesting a future in which only the wealthy can afford to breathe non-toxic air.

Delhi is #1 most polluted air of 1,600 global cities AND #2 richest city in India. 15 minutes in “Oxygen bar” costs ₹ 500. Negligible for the rich, out of reach for poor, migrants living on ₹ 1,134/ month. The sweet privilege of clean air, clean water #EnvironmentalJustice

— Trishna | तृष्णा (@TrishnaTweets) November 18, 2019

This is your future India. “Pay to breathe “. Oxygen bar. And if you still don’t realise what petty politics / divisive politics does to you , you have lost the cause already. #DelhiPollution #Emergency #AirPollution pic.twitter.com/W4QsOwDx8Z

— bhupendra chaubey (@bhupendrachaube) November 15, 2019

“Commodify oxygen already,” tweeted another frustrated user. “F–k it, Commodify EVERYTHING. Subscriptions to life. $1.99 a minute.”

Here we are, even breathing is now becoming a commodityhttps://t.co/wyND3xTXoS

— Giulia Guidi (@giuliaguidi) November 18, 2019

Even so, the naysayers are unlikely to put a stop to the trend anytime soon. With India home to 15 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, the country’s air quality woes are here to say for some time, perhaps pushing a greater number of Indians into oxygen bars like Oxy Pure – at least those who can afford it.

Also on rt.com

© Stewart Goldstein
‘You still owe us $1,400’: Woman dependent on oxygen tank dies after provider cuts off electricity

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This content was originally published here.

The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they’ve worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.



via Diabetes Voice

“Four hundred million people are living with diabetes, the amount of insulin available is too low and the price is too high, so we really need to do something,” Emer Cooke, the W.H.O.’s head of regulation of medicines and health technologies, said in a statement.

Through a process called “prequalification” United Nations agencies, such as Doctors without Borders, will be able to buy approved generic versions of insulin.

The W.H.O. used similar tactics to make HIV/AIDS drugs more affordable.

In 2002, 7,000 Africans were dying every year due to AIDS because Western drug companies sold the life-saving drugs for around $15,000 a year. Now the drugs are made in countries with thriving generic drug industries and the medications cost only around $75 a year.

Rosemary Enobakhare the director of the Affordable Insulin Now campaign calls the new program “a good first step toward affordable insulin for all around the world,” but says it won’t do much to help the 30 million Americans with diabetes.

Any attempt to lower insulin prices would require “Congress to grant Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices,” she added.

Companies that made generic drugs have a hard time penetrating the U.S. market because the Food and Drug Administration imposes hefty fees for drug approvals.

Insulin is ten times cheaper in Canada because the government negotiates with manufacturers, a practice that’s illegal in the U.S.

This vial of insulin costs just $6 to manufacture.

At this pharmacy in Windsor, Ontario, it can be purchased for $32. Twenty minutes away, in Detroit, the same exact vial costs $340.

It is time for a government that works for the American people, not drug companies’ profits. pic.twitter.com/Uo2T8GG54T
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 28, 2019

Earlier in the year, the Trump Administration announced preliminary plans to allow Americans to import lower cost prescription drugs from Canada. Through the program, state governments, drug wholesalers, and pharmacies can create proposals to import the drugs that would then have to be approved by the federal government.

The catch? It would not include insulin.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders took a bus full of Americans to Canada earlier this year to call attention to the out of control cost of insulin.

“Americans are paying $300 for insulin. In Canada they can purchase it for $30,” Sanders said in a tweet. “We are going to end pharma’s greed.”

This family was able to save $10,000 buying insulin for their son in Canada, where the exact same insulin is one-tenth the price.

The profits the drug companies are making ripping off the American people is scandalous, it is outrageous and it has got to end. pic.twitter.com/Rew4ftIo0o
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 29, 2019

This content was originally published here.

According to a Study, Sleeping With a Snorer Can Take a Toll on Your Health

It’s hard to deny that living with a snorer can be challenging, especially if that person is someone you share the same room or bed with. But the consequences of second-hand snoring have recently been discovered and go far beyond being a simple nuisance.

We at Bright Side care about your well-being and here’s everything you need to know about the health risks of living with a snorer:

1. Insufficient sleep

This seems to be the most obvious consequence, but lack of sleep leads to health problems that we often don’t take seriously. Both the snorer and those who live with them can lose many hours of sleep, which are vital for the body to recover and fulfill biological functions, like memory consolidation and metabolism regulation.

It’s not just about getting enough sleep, but about doing it continuously. Spouses of people with sleep apnea tend to wake up almost as many times as they do, preventing all the phases of sleep from being completed and further damaging the biological mechanisms involved in that process.

In addition, a person who doesn’t get enough rest is prone to make more mistakes, think slowly, and lower their productivity. Another problem associated with this is constant irritability, which could have an effect on your relationships.

However, it has also been discovered that lack of sleep is a risk factor for anxiety and depression. And, beyond its psychological consequences, it also increases the chances of developing obesity or suffering from a stroke.

The fact that your partner’s snoring doesn’t let you sleep can erode the relationship little by little. Listening to a person snoring by your side every night and having to wake them up to stop them from making noise will only make them feel upset. Many even choose to sleep separately or get a divorce after trying to use earplugs or hearing aids to reduce the noise, without getting good results.

We’ve already talked about some consequences of not sleeping well, but if this is caused by your partner or a family member, they become the main reason for your bad mood and the primary target of your anger.

These conflicts impact your health in a bad way, since it has been proven that a negative atmosphere at home can cause stress, inflammation, and changes in appetite. The immune system is also weakened by constant arguing.

A study by Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, sought to evaluate the effects of snoring on both the snorers and their spouses. They selected 4 couples in an age range between 35 and 55, in which one of the members had severe sleep apnea.

The conclusion they reached was that the effect of the snoring sound didn’t affect the snorers as much. This is because the brain dampens respiratory interruptions during sleep. But 100% of their partners did suffer the consequences, especially in the ear that was exposed to snoring. The effect was equivalent to having slept for 15 years with an industrial machine.

The loud noises not only affect hearing, but they can also raise blood pressure to risky levels, especially for other diseases, according to research from the Imperial College of Science in London, which assessed the stress of people living near several European airports.

Their findings determined that, the higher the volume of noise, the greater the risk of hypertension. They realized that the body always reacted in the same way, regardless of whether the patient woke up with the noise or not.

They also discovered that these results could be transferred to any sound of more than 35 decibels, so people exposed to snoring were also at risk, since it can reach 80 decibels. Hypertension can lead to other diseases, such as kidney problems, dementia, and heart disease.

Dangers of second-hand snoring

Here are some possible consequences, direct and indirect, of sleeping near a person who snores:

How to prevent these problems

Sleeping with a snorer is an ordeal, especially when you have already tried everything to make your nights more bearable. If the headphones and earplugs no longer work, you could (if possible) go to sleep in another room and be with your partner at times that do not affect your rest.

smart pillow is being developed for the snoring partner, which will allow the snoring noise to be canceled out with an equal and opposite sound frequency. However, it has not yet reached the market, so this is a solution that you’ll only be able to use in the future.

You could also take a look at these tricks for those who want to stop snoring. They can be useful to regain harmony and, what’s most important, health in your home.

This content was originally published here.

The World Health Organization releases a new plan to drastically decrease the price of insulin

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they’ve worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.



via Diabetes Voice

“Four hundred million people are living with diabetes, the amount of insulin available is too low and the price is too high, so we really need to do something,” Emer Cooke, the W.H.O.’s head of regulation of medicines and health technologies, said in a statement.

Through a process called “prequalification” United Nations agencies, such as Doctors without Borders, will be able to buy approved generic versions of insulin.

The W.H.O. used similar tactics to make HIV/AIDS drugs more affordable.

In 2002, 7,000 Africans were dying every year due to AIDS because Western drug companies sold the life-saving drugs for around $15,000 a year. Now the drugs are made in countries with thriving generic drug industries and the medications cost only around $75 a year.

Rosemary Enobakhare the director of the Affordable Insulin Now campaign calls the new program “a good first step toward affordable insulin for all around the world,” but says it won’t do much to help the 30 million Americans with diabetes.

Any attempt to lower insulin prices would require “Congress to grant Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices,” she added.

Companies that made generic drugs have a hard time penetrating the U.S. market because the Food and Drug Administration imposes hefty fees for drug approvals.

Insulin is ten times cheaper in Canada because the government negotiates with manufacturers, a practice that’s illegal in the U.S.

This vial of insulin costs just $6 to manufacture.

At this pharmacy in Windsor, Ontario, it can be purchased for $32. Twenty minutes away, in Detroit, the same exact vial costs $340.

It is time for a government that works for the American people, not drug companies’ profits. pic.twitter.com/Uo2T8GG54T
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 28, 2019

Earlier in the year, the Trump Administration announced preliminary plans to allow Americans to import lower cost prescription drugs from Canada. Through the program, state governments, drug wholesalers, and pharmacies can create proposals to import the drugs that would then have to be approved by the federal government.

The catch? It would not include insulin.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders took a bus full of Americans to Canada earlier this year to call attention to the out of control cost of insulin.

“Americans are paying $300 for insulin. In Canada they can purchase it for $30,” Sanders said in a tweet. “We are going to end pharma’s greed.”

This family was able to save $10,000 buying insulin for their son in Canada, where the exact same insulin is one-tenth the price.

The profits the drug companies are making ripping off the American people is scandalous, it is outrageous and it has got to end. pic.twitter.com/Rew4ftIo0o
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 29, 2019

This content was originally published here.

U.S. Must Provide Mental Health Services to Families Separated at Border – The New York Times

“The question is,” he said, “what happens from here and can it be enforced? I assume the government will appeal and get the order stayed because it’s brand new. They’ll say the judge got it wrong.”

The family separations were a key part of the Trump administration’s effort to deter migrant families at the southwestern border, where they have been arriving in large numbers, most of them fleeing violence and deep poverty in Central America.

Under the zero-tolerance policy, those who crossed the border illegally were criminally prosecuted and jailed, a process that the government said could not be carried out without removing their children.

The federal government had reported that nearly 3,000 children were forcibly removed from their parents under the policy. An additional 1,556 migrant families were separated between July 2017 and June 2018, the government said last month.

President Trump suspended the policy in June 2018 amid a public outcry, and a federal judge in San Diego ordered the government to reunify the families.

But Judge Kronstadt found that the government had taken “affirmative steps to implement the zero-tolerance policy,” and that its implementation had caused “severe mental trauma to parents and their children.”

Mark Rosenbaum, a lawyer with Public Counsel, which brought the case along with the law firm Sidley Austin, said the judge had found that the separation policy violated the families’ constitutional rights.

“You cannot have a policy of deliberately trying to injure a family bond,” he said. “Cruelty cannot be part of an enforcement policy, and here it was the cornerstone of the policy.”

Government lawyers had argued that it could not be held liable for mental health problems that might occur in the future, and that there had been no proof of existing irreparable harm to any of those subjected to the policy.

Further, they said that any harm that might have occurred was quickly abated when families were reunited.

The government declined to comment on the court’s ruling.

The lead plaintiff in the case, a Guatemalan migrant identified as J.P., was separated from her teenage daughter at the border on May 21, 2018. For more than a month, the mother said, she had no idea of her child’s whereabouts. They spoke for the first time after they had been apart for 40 days, and only because a lawyer encountered J.P. during a visit to the detention center in Irvine, Calif., where she was being held.

Until then, no one had explained to her in a language she could understand — she speaks a Mayan language — what had happened to her daughter, according to her lawyer, Judy London, who is with Public Counsel. Her daughter, 16, had been sent to a shelter in Phoenix.

“Despite her obvious terror and inability to comprehend what was happening around her, no one made sure she had understood information about how she could contact her daughter,” Ms. London said in a declaration filed with the court.

“To the contrary, the guards insisted she needed no help and could on her own use phones to reach her daughter,” she said.

This content was originally published here.

The amazing health benefits of turmeric | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Turmeric, an orange-colored spice imported from India, is part of the ginger family and has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years.

In addition, ayurvedic and Chinese medicines utilize turmeric to clear infections and inflammations on the inside and outside of the body. But beyond the holistic health community, Western medical practitioners have only recently come on board in recognizing the health benefits of turmeric.

Here are some of the ways turmeric may benefit your body.

Blocking cancer

Doctors at UCLA found that curcumin, the main component in turmeric, appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer.

In that study, 21 subjects with head and neck cancers chewed two tablets containing 1,000 milligrams of curcumin. An independent lab in Maryland evaluated the results and found that the cancer-promoting enzymes in the patients’ mouths were inhibited by the curcumin and thus prevented from advancing the spread of the malignant cells.

Powerful antioxidant

The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also states that turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause.

While more research is necessary, early studies have indicated that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancer including prostate, skin and colon.

Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease

A study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry revealed that curcumin may improve memory and mood swings in people who suffer from mild cases of memory loss.

Researchers had a group of 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 take either a curcumin or placebo pill for 18 months. At the end, the memory and attention of participants who took the curcumin pill improved by 28%.

While the exact reason why turmeric can improve memory isn’t known, doctors believe it’s because the spice has anti-inflammatory properties. “It may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” Gary Small from UCLA told NDTV.

Potent anti-inflammatory

Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, wrote a paper for the American Academy of Pain Management in which he discussed the health benefits of turmeric.

“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” Horwitz states in the paper.

He went on to cite a University of Arizona study that examined the effect of turmeric on rats with injected rheumatoid arthritis. According to Horwitz, pretreatment with turmeric completely inhibited the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats. In addition, the study found that using turmeric for pre-existing rheumatoid arthritis resulted in a significant reduction of symptoms.

Some research shows that curcumin might ease symptoms of uveitis — long-term inflammation in the middle layer of the eye. Other research shows that taking turmeric daily
for several months may improve kidney function for people with kidney inflammation.

Turmeric's leaves(Curcuma longa) - but turmeric's health benefits come mainly from its root.Turmeric comes from the curcuma longa plant. (Photo: Skyprayer2005/Shutterstock)

Osteoarthritis pain relief

Turmeric may also be helpful with another type of arthritis. Some research has shown that taking turmeric extract can ease the pain of
osteoarthritis. In one study,
reports WebMD, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for relieving osteoarthritis pain.

Indigestion and heartburn aid

Curcumin works with the gallbladder, stimulating it to make bile, which may help with digestion. In Germany, turmeric can be prescribed for
digestive problems. Some research shows that turmeric may help upset stomach, bloating and gas. Turmeric may also help reduce the occurrence of irritable
bowel syndrome (IBS) in people who are otherwise healthy.

Heart disease

Studies have suggested curcumin may help prevent the buildup of plaque that can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Impact on diabetes

Early studies suggest that taking turmeric daily can cut down the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes.

Raw is best

Natalie Kling, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist, says she first learned about the benefits of turmeric while getting her degree from the Natural Healing Institute of Neuropathy. “As an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic, it’s a very powerful plant,” she says.

Kling recommends it to clients for joint pain and says that when taken as a supplement, it helps quickly. She advises adding turmeric to food whenever possible and offers these easy tips. “Raw is best,” she said. “Sprinkling it on vegetables or mixing it into dressings is quick and effective.”

If you do cook it, make sure to use a small amount of healthy fat like healthy coconut oil to maximize flavor. Kling also recommends rubbing turmeric on meat and putting it into curries and soups.

“It’s inexpensive, mild in taste, and benefits every system in the body,” Kling says. “Adding this powerful plant to your diet is one of the best things you can do for long term health.”

Quality matters

Turmeric is for sale at a market
Turmeric is for sale at a market. (Photo: ChiccoDodiFC/Shutterstock)

Safety can be an issue with turmeric, recent research finds. Turmeric is sometimes laced with pigments to enhance its brightness. In some cases those pigments can include lead, which contributes to cognitive issues and other serious issues. Lead is a neurotoxin that has long been banned from food for safety reasons.

Consumer Reports recently tested 13 turmeric products along with 16 echinacea products because these are the two most popular botanical supplements after horehound. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, sales of turmeric grew 30.5%. Of the 13 turmeric products tested, one had lead levels that exceeded Consumer Reports’ threshold standards and one had aerobic bacteria levels that exceeded the group’s set standards.

“Higher aerobic bacteria levels don’t necessarily make a supplement unsafe to take, but they can indicate that products were manufactured or processed in unsanitary conditions,” according to the report.

None of the products had lead levels that exceeded standards set by the nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), but one had lead levels that exceeded Consumer Reports’ stricter threshold. According to James E. Rogers, Ph.D., director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports, “No amount of lead is acceptable.”

Earlier this year, a Stanford University study found that the pigments added to turmeric in Bangladesh may contain lead chromate.

In the study, published in Environmental Research, researchers discovered that turmeric was likely the cause of blood lead contamination in Bangladeshis. They didn’t find evidence of contaminated turmeric outside of Bangladesh, and say that food safety checks are incentives for spice processors to limit the lead added to turmeric that will be exported.

However, the researchers caution, “the current system of periodic food safety checks may catch only a fraction of the adulterated turmeric being traded worldwide.” Since 2011, they point out, more than 15 brands of turmeric — distributed to countries including the U.S. — have been recalled due to excessive levels of lead. The research authors suggested that an “immediate intervention” was needed, bringing together producers and wholesalers to find solutions.

How to shop smart

Supplements like turmeric are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as food, not drugs. So they aren’t put through the same safety tests as medications. Therefore, it’s up to consumers to be vigilant about what they buy. Here are a couple of tips from Consumer Reports about how to be safe when buying them:

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement. Don’t rely on a pharmacist or health store employee for advice. Consumer Reports sent “secret shoppers” to 34 stores in seven states and in most cases the pharmacists were unaware of potential risks of supplements or reactions with prescription medications. Instead, ask your primary health care provider for advice.

Look on the label, but don’t rely on it. Many products have certifications that verify a supplement contains what is on the label. You can read about some of the verification labels here. But just because a product doesn’t contain heavy metals, pesticides or other contaminants, doesn’t mean the supplement is safe for you to take. It depends on your medical conditions and medications.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information since it was published in January 2012.

The amazing health benefits of turmeric
From reducing inflammation to warding off heart disease, turmeric has impressive healing properties.

This content was originally published here.

Cheesesteak destination Max’s shut down by Philly Health Department

One of Philadelphia’s most storied cheesesteak shops was closed for business over the weekend, disappointing both regulars and tourists who flock to the increasingly-famous North Broad Street destination.

Max’s Steaks, which was featured in Rocky sequels Creed and Creed II and recently made a cameo on NBC’s This Is Us, was temporarily shut down due to health code violations, according to a cease and desist sign on its front door.

Also shuttered were the adjacent Eagle Bar and Clock Bar, on Erie and Germantown avenues, respectively. The three locations share an owner and are connected to one another via basement passages, according to Rasul Haqq, who said he works as an assistant manager and security guard at Max’s.

“We never had any serious violations before,” Haqq told a reporter outside the shop on Saturday. “It’s probably been 10 years since this place closed.”

The interior of Max’s Steaks as health inspectors walked through Saturday afternoon

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Health officials could be seen inside the establishment, giving it a once-over after crews had come in to fix the issues and give the place a deep cleaning. “It took us 48 hours to do the whole thing,” Haqq said. “Everybody pitched in.”

He and other staffers gathered outside said they expected Max’s to reopen early on Saturday night after inspectors approved the cleanup, but a return visit around 8 p.m. found the gates still half-pulled over the windows and only a few people inside.

Several groups walked up to the locked front door, only to be disappointed. “That spot says it has cheesesteaks,” one teenager said to his friends, pointing to a sign directly across the street. “Nah, we don’t want those cheesesteaks,” came the dejected answer.

Calls to the Philly Health Department’s weekend dispatch center to discover which violations were still outstanding on Sunday were not immediately returned.

Eagle Bar next to Max’s, with newly-cleaned floor mats hanging out to dry

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

A Health Department report shows the cheesesteak shop at 3653 Germantown Ave. failed its regular inspection on Nov. 7, with the sanitarian in charge citing “imminent health hazards” like live rodents and lack of proper temperature care for opened food ingredients.

While reactions on social media included pearl-clutching about dirty environs, these kinds of violations aren’t that uncommon in a city with old infrastructure.

The Inquirer’s monthly report of Health Dept. violations shows at least 37 restaurants were shut down for being out of code last month, including a Federal Donuts, a Starbucks, and various other facilities ranging from corner groceries to goPuff delivery warehouses.

Once closed, these places usually reopen within days, so it’s a good bet that a newly sparkling Max’s will return to normal operation this week.

This content was originally published here.

E.P.A. to Tighten Limits on Science Used to Write Public Health Rules – The New York Times

A E.P.A. spokeswoman said in an emailed statement, “The agency does not discuss draft, deliberative documents or actions still under internal and interagency review.”

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold a hearing on E.P.A.’s efforts. A top pulmonary specialist and a representative of the country’s largest nonprofit funder of research on Parkinson’s disease, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, are expected to testify that the E.P.A.’s proposed rule would eliminate the use of valuable research showing the dangers of pollution to human health.

Mr. Pruitt’s original proposal drew nearly 600,000 comments, the vast majority of them in opposition. Among them were leading public health groups and some of the country’s top scientific organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners said it was “deeply concerned” that the rule would lead to the exclusion of studies, “ultimately resulting in weaker environmental and health protections and greater risks to children’s health.” The National Center for Science Education said ruling out studies that do not use open data “would send a deeply misleading message, ignoring the thoughtful processes that scientists use to ensure that all relevant evidence is considered.” The Medical Library Association and the Association of Academic Health Science Libraries said the proposal “contradicts our core values.”

Industry groups said the rule would ensure greater public understanding of the science behind regulations that cost consumers money.

“Transparency, reproducibility and application of current scientific knowledge are paramount to providing the foundation required for sound regulations,” the American Chemistry Council wrote to E.P.A. in support of the plan.

The new version does not appear to have taken any of the opposition into consideration. At a meeting of the agency’s independent science advisory board this summer, Mr. Wheeler said he was “a little shocked” at the amount of opposition to the proposal, but he was committed to finalizing it. Beyond retroactivity, the latest version stipulates that all data and models used in studies under consideration at the E.P.A. would have to be made available to the agency so it can reanalyze research itself. The politically appointed agency administrator would have wide-ranging discretion over which studies to accept or reject.

This content was originally published here.

Being Surrounded By Chronic Complainers Could Be Damaging Your Health

Complaining might be good in some ways but overall, it doesn’t do much to help us. Sure, it’s a means of letting some stress out but when we become chronic complainers or surround ourselves with chronic complainers’ real problems tend to ensue.

The more we complain and the more surrounded we are by those who complain on a chronic level the more unhappy we become. Actually, according to Jon Gordon who wrote the book ‘The No Complaining Rule’, the harms of complaining could even be so severe that they would be comparable to those of secondhand smoke. If all we do is complain constantly or hear others doing the same, we’re going to be miserable and there is no denying that.

While there is nothing wrong with venting from time to time, the habit that comes with being so negative and ‘whiney’ is not one any of us need to allow forth in our lives. Think about the people in your life and who complains the most? How does that complaining affect you? As someone who grew up in a household where my parents were constantly complaining about even the most minuscule things, I can honestly say it brought me down drastically and could have really influenced the way in which I turned out. Perhaps I would have been more motivated at a younger age had that not been my reality.

In regards to complaining and overall health WKBW Buffalo reported as follows:

It turns out that constant complaining will not only turn off others, but it can actually wreak havoc in other ways, too. Although it’s quite obvious that complaining can bring down your mood and the happiness of others around you, it can also have a large impact on your brain functioning, and it can even take a toll on your body as well.

The more surrounded by complaining we are the more negative we tend to think. Every time we complain our brain works to rewire itself. This meaning that it makes the same reactions much more likely to occur again and again. This in a sense forcing us to get trapped in the same mindset as time passes.

While those who complain all the time might not be able to see how negative they are. They rub off on us and no matter how much we try to help them or offer advice it’s never enough. The more we try the harder we fall into their ways ourselves.

While you might not have noticed just yet complainers on a serious level are able to drain us all drastically. They spread their negative messages to all they can and make us feel like we’re surrounded by something we cannot escape from.

It is also important to understand that while a little complaining might be fine when it becomes constant rather than letting go of stress, it creates more. This is because it increases the production of something known as cortisol within our beings. When this happens we end up facing blood pressure raises and glucose spikes. Too much production of this can increase our risks of several serious health issues and is something we should be avoiding as best we can.

If you’re someone who feels like you’re complaining too much or like the people in your life are becoming too negative, take a much-needed step back and monitor your complaining shut it down before it comes out and cut ties with those who refuse to try and be more positive overall. You’ll be surprised how much more enriched you will begin to feel in a mere week or so.

In regards to being surrounded by chronic complainers Happify wrote as follows:

The chronic complainer can always find something negative to comment on. For a while, you may think this person is simply stuck in a rut—that once their lot in life changes a bit they’ll become more optimistic and happy.

You may even engage in some of the above tactics, trying to help them see the positive or find a solution for their problems.

But chronic complainers are not trying to make the problem go away. In fact, they probably derive real value from the time and attention they get out of complaining.

These people are called “help-rejecting complainers,” says Kowalski, and they can be difficult to deal with and hard to be around. While it may be in your nature to try to “fix” problems—be it challenging situations or negative attitudes—it’s important to know that you are NOT going to change this person.

Instead, focus on your own coping mechanisms, such as minimizing contact with them. Because of the constant negativity, it can be important to set up clear boundaries for yourself, such as steering clear from one-on-one time with these people.

Let’s say you share an office with one of these types. You might start to wear headphones at your desk, post a sign that says “complaint-free zone,” feign being busy when she wants to vent, or attempt to ignore her outbursts. If you consistently find ways not to engage, Cathy the Complainer will eventually seek attention elsewhere.

And if you start feeling guilty, remember this: Their endless complaining and your quest to help will be a frustrating experience for all, so think of your sanity and do your best to limit your exposure.

Once you start paying attention to who’s griping and how they gripe, you’ll have a better chance of hanging onto your happiness in a world where everyone seems to be complaining. Then you can decide for yourself how best to offer support—or run the other way.

For more on this topic please feel free to check out the video below. Remember that you matter and how you feel in life is based around how you act and who you allow within your life. If you want to feel better and better your health overall perhaps complaining is something you need to move away from.

This content was originally published here.

Instagram Influencer, 22, Claims Learning About WW2 Would Hit Millennials’ Mental Health

Freddie Bentley is a British reality television celebrity who is mainly known for his appearance on the reality game show “The Circle” and for his Instagram feed.

He has recently come under fire online after appearing on the TV show Good Morning Britain and arguing an unpopular opinion.

In the piece on GMB, Bentley states that children should not have to learn about WW2. In his opinion, too much time is spent on the subject. He is concerned that the emphasis on the destruction and killing of war is too much for young minds.

“I don’t want anyone to think I’m being disrespectful,” the 22-year-old celebrity said. He added, “I remember learning it as a child thinking, ‘Oh my god it’s so intense.’”

I agree with Freddie Bentley, I once watched Saving Private Ryan and still have flashbacks. Let’s stop this madness #freddiebentley #SaturdayThoughts #Millennialshttps://t.co/HkVelD11ko

— Millennial Mike (@MillennialMike3) November 2, 2019

People on Twitter, of course, did think that he was being extremely disrespectful. Many pointed out the number of young men who were killed fighting in that war so that people like Bentley would have the freedom to become whatever they wanted. Others pointed out that learning about the war was necessary in order to prevent another one in the future.

Lt. Jack Reynolds (aged 22) was famously photographed after being taken prisoner during the Battle of Arnhem. In the photo, he is seen giving the “two-fingered” salute to the German photographer.
Lt. Jack Reynolds (aged 22) was famously photographed after being taken prisoner during the Battle of Arnhem. In the photo, he is seen giving the “two-fingered” salute to the German photographer.

Many on Twitter pointed out Bentley’s age and how he seemed to fit the stereotype of millennial entitlement.

Bentley suggested that school should avoid potentially furthering any mental health issues children may be facing by forcing them to confront the realities of war at a young age. He recommended spending less time teaching the history of wars and more time explaining Brexit or helping children learn personal finance.

Most online commentators seemed to agree that schools could teach additional subjects but rejected his suggestion that these new subjects come at the expense of teaching about WW2.

@piersmorgan Please get GMB to send Freddie Bentley to Auschwitz to educate this boy along with Michael Wilshaw as https://t.co/cOPYquujcE’s hoping Piers

— Janet Turner (@chocibun) November 1, 2019

Bentley’s comments occurred during a segment on GMB in which he debated the question of whether students should be taught about WW2.

The segment followed an episode of the British version of The Apprentice television show. In the episode, one of the teams had difficulty with an assigned task because none of them were familiar with when WWII began.

Many people took to social media after that episode to decry the state of the British education system.

Shocked for 2nd time this week, Apprentice candidates not knowing when WW11 ended and now that famous celebrity Freddie Bentley on GMB stating WW1 and WW2 should not be taught in schools, @GMB @Lord_Sugar

— Colin Richards (@scoobybloobird) November 1, 2019

Bentley came to fame as a contestant on the reality game show, The Circle. Contestants on that show lived each in their own apartment. Their only contact with the other contestants and with the outside world was through a specially-made social network app known as The Circle.

Contestants could choose to represent themselves truthfully or make up a new identity to show the other contestants.

Each week, contestants were put through a sort of popularity contest with the least popular member among the group being kicked off the show. The winner received 50,000GBP.

Another Article From Us: Arnhem Hero Who Flicked V-sign at The Germans Dies at 97

Bentley came out publicly as gay on that show though he chose to present himself as straight to the other contestants. Since the show, he has been popular on Instagram.

This content was originally published here.

Red meat red flags discredited: Fake meat may be worse for your health

Let them eat steak: Hold the shame, red meat is not bad for you or climate change


Will Coggin


Opinion contributor
Published 5:00 AM EDT Nov 2, 2019

Imagine ordering dinner at your favorite restaurant. You know what you want without hesitation: a perfectly marbled 8-ounce steak cooked medium rare. Just before you order, your date tells you they’ve read that cows cause climate change and that meat might be unhealthy. Suddenly, the Caesar salad seems like a better option.

We’ve all been steak-shamed before. Ever since Sen. George McGovern’s 1977 Dietary Goals report declared red meat a health villain, Americans have been chided out of eating red meat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, red meat consumption has fallen more than 24% since 1976. During that time, study after study has attempted to tie red meat to a laundry list of health problems.

Until now. 

So many studies, so many flaws

Three studies published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine did something too few papers do: Ask whether the previous studies had any meat on their bones. 

The researchers who wrote the report analyzed 61 past studies consisting of over 4 million participants to see whether red meat affected the risk of developing heart disease and cancer. 

All three came to the same conclusion: Decreasing red meat consumption had little to no effect on reducing risk of heart disease, cancer or stroke. 

How can so many studies be wrong?

Steaks and and other beef products for sale at a grocery store.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Nutritional research often relies on survey-based observational studies. These track groups of people and the food they eat, or try to tie a person’s past eating habits to a person’s current state of health. The result is something akin to a crime chart from a mob movie with a random red string connecting random suspects trying to figure out “who dunnit.”

Observational studies rely on participants to recall past meals, sometimes as far back as a month. Even when eating habits are tracked in real time using food diaries, issues arise. Research has shown that participants don’t give honest answers and often pad food diaries with typically “good” foods like vegetables while leaving out things like meat, sweets and alcohol. There’s also the matter of having to accurately report portion sizes and knowing the ingredients of the food eaten in restaurants.

Beef may be healthier than fake meat 

The room for error is huge. A much better form of study would be to lock people in cells for a period of time so that you could precisely control what they ate and did and then measure outcomes. Obviously, there are ethical issues with such a structure, which is why observational studies are more common, if flawed.

Some companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have tried to cash in on the misconception about meat’s healthfulness. According to the market research firm Mintel, 46% of Americans believe that plant-based meat is better for you than real meat. Ironically, the anti-meat messages could be leading people to less healthful options. 

Science on your side: Don’t let vegetarian environmentalists shame you on meat 

Plant-based meat might enjoy the perception of being healthier, but that perception is far from reality. A lean beef burger has an average of nearly 20% fewer calories and 80% less sodium than the two most popular fake-meat burgers, the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger. 

Fake meat is also an “ultra-processed” food, filled with unpronounceable ingredients. The National Institutes of Health released a study in May finding that ultra-processed foods cause weight gain. Unlike observational studies, this research was a controlled, randomized study. 

Earth will survive your meat-eating

It’s not just the flawed health claims about red meat that deserve a second look. In recent years, we’ve been told reducing meat consumption is essential to saving the planet. But despite what critics say, even if everyone in America went vegan overnight, total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the United States would only be reduced 2.6%.

Eat better meat: Don’t go vegan to save the planet. You can help by being a better meat-eater.

Since the early 1960s, America has shrank GHG  emissions from livestock by 11.3% while doubling the production of animal farming. Meat production is a relatively minor contributor to our overall GHG levels. In other countries, it may have a higher impact. The solution is not lecturing everyone else to go meat-free. Sharing our advancements would prove to be a more likely and efficient way to reduce emissions than cutting out meat or replacing it with an ultra-processed analogue.

Those who enjoy a good steak now have a good retort the next time they’re criticized for their choice: Don’t have a cow.

Will Coggin is the managing director at the Center for Consumer Freedom.

This content was originally published here.

Anti-abortion pregnancy clinics team up to target millennials with lies about health care

The groups, which refuse to offer the full range of reproductive health care, hope to target more millennials with phone apps.

Obria, the under-the-radar anti-abortion group that provides misinformation via its “crisis pregnancy centers,” is expanding.

A New Generation, a Florida-based anti-abortion “pregnancy resource center,” just announced it would be affiliating with Obria. Doing so will allow the group to offer more medical services, as Obria is technically a medical clinic.

Of course, those medical services don’t include things like birth control. Instead, it will be the usual fare places like this offer: ineffective abstinence counseling and medically unsound information about abortion.

A New Generation was particularly pleased to join with Obria because Obria aggressively markets to millennials, and A New Generation wants to “better minister” to them, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Obria has an app that lets people talk to an Obria provider, which A New Generation thinks millennials will find particularly appealing. In fact, the head of A New Generation described it as a “tele-medicine app, so clients will be able to reach us by using their phones and talk to a nurse face-to-face to get the information they need.”

“Tele-medicine app” wildly overstates what Obria offers — and what A New Generation wants to offer. Obria doesn’t offer birth control. Obria doesn’t offer medication abortions. And Obria doesn’t connect people with health care professionals who would give them a full range of reproductive health options.

Despite all the government money Obria is receiving, it still isn’t offering actual medicine. Instead, the organization, which has received $1.7 million in Title X funds, will teach people about “restraint,” California Healthline reports. It won’t use any of the money to provide condoms to fight skyrocketing levels of STDs.

The head of A New Generation frames this partnership as being “able to meet the needs of women with their health care needs” but then clarified: “[W]hen they find themselves in a crisis situation, instead of turning to maybe an abortion provider, they would turn to us, because we’ve already built a relationship with them.”

Obria isn’t building relationships with anyone. It’s using its ever-increasing — and now government-funded — platform to spread lies and to stop people from getting the reproductive health care they want and need. And now, it’s got yet another clinic to help with that endeavor.

The post Anti-abortion pregnancy clinics team up to target millennials with lies about health care appeared first on Shareblue Media.

This content was originally published here.

Instagrammer Says Learning About WWII is Bad for Millennials’ Mental Health

In school, learning about history was probably one of the most bittersweet things. Though the subject was very interesting, it really did put into perspective just how vile and disgusting humans can be. And even though people tried to promote it as a way to prove “just how far we’d come”, judging by the current state of the world, it is clear to see we’ve not really made as much progress as we had hoped.

Now, an Intsgrammer named Freddie Bentley has come forward claiming that teaching history, particularly about WWII is detrimental for Millenials’ mental health. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, I have to bring you this kind of news.

Keep reading for all the details around the issue.

An Instagram influencer claimed that it is “bad” for millennials to learn about WWII.

Reality TV star Freddie Bentley decided to announce this during a segment of Good Morning Britain, leaving the entire country speechless.

We all know WWII was the worst war that the world has ever seen.

The conflict lasted from 1939-1945, and over the six years, saw the death of up to fifty million people, making it the bloodiest war. On one side, we had the Axis powers – Germany, Italy, and Japan – and the other, the Allies – France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China.

While it seemed global power was in the hands of western Europe, this war shifted power toward the United States and the Soviet Union.

Innocent men and women lost their lives out on the front line defending their respective countries, primarily without a choice. This is why we work hard to honor them for their service.

In a very controversial interview on Good Morning Britain, a twenty-two-year-old Instagrammer decided to vouch to scrap the teaching of the Second World War to students, as it could prove to have a negative effect on their mental health.

The reality star defended his statement by saying this:

“It was a hard situation, World War Two, I don’t want anyone to think I’m being disrespectful,” he said, “I remember learning it as a child thinking ‘Oh my God it’s so intense’.”

Oh boo hoo, Freddie, at least you didn’t have to live through it.

He believes it will worsen mental health in youngsters.

“I don’t think encouraging death or telling people how many people died in the world war is going to make it better.”

Freddie is the classic example of “let’s wipe out history.”

Not teaching these kinds of subjects in schools makes children grow up thinking in a more narrow-minded way, while also encouraging nonchalant attitudes towards important chunks of history.

In simple words: Just because you don’t like it, didn’t mean it didn’t happen.

I think not.

We are not out here to clean the slate and pretend it didn’t happen. Bad things always happen. We can’t sugar-coat wars and expect people to forget what really happened, can we?

Instead, Freddie wanted to replace learning about WWII by learning how to understand mortgages instead.

Brilliant (!)

We can learn about mortgages and learn about the history that has defined us all and the countries we live in.

People quickly moved to social media to share their opinions.

And let me tell you, hardly anyone, besides a few entitled youngsters, agreed with him.

People had other theories about what worsens mental health in Millenials.

This is so true.

Freddie starred in a British TV show named in which people lie about their identity.

I mean, are we really listening to these kinds of people? No thank you.

“Wrap him in cotton wool…”

It seems as if that’s what he wants! Not everything can be ignored, especially not a war that killed millions of people!

This conversation was sparked after candidates on the British version of The Apprentice did not know the dates of the war.

via: Instagram

Fans of the show were left shocked and angry at the candidates’ response to the war. One of the teams was left debating the dates after the task involved them having to find a pre-war copy of a book.

This led to a whole heap of criticism directed towards the British education system.

A war that defined modern Britain and businessmen and women don’t know when it occurred? It’s quite pathetic really. It wasn’t even long ago!

People were also claiming that forgetting about such impactful horrors means it’s easier for history to repeat itself, and with the current political and economic climate of the world, we seem to be drifting closer towards another one.

Are people just choosing to be ignorant or do we have a serious flaw in education?

One person tweeted how the whole team should have been fired for their appalling behavior.

Freddie’s comment just added to the anger of the public.

He also stated this: “There are so many problems going on in the world, like Brexit, that’s not taught in schools. When I left school it hit me like a ton of bricks – I didn’t know anything to do with life.”

First, second and third of all, Brexit is a very recent occurrence that only happened due to the instability of the country.

And now Britain is paying the price for it.

Standing by Freddie’s comments only prove one thing: Some Millenials care about nothing but themselves. And that’s just the sad reality of the situation.

Most Instagram influencers are known for doing sketchy things. keep scrolling to read more about their problematic behavior.

This content was originally published here.

Anti-abortion group is spreading lies to stop college kids from getting health care

Students for Life of America wants to take access to health care away from nearly half a million students in California.

The head of Students for Life of America, Kristan Hawkins, is very willing to spread utter falsehoods about medication abortion in order to push her dangerous anti-choice agenda.

Her latest round of lies occurred because California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill that requires medication abortion, a nonsurgical procedure, at all public universities in the state. Anti-abortion radicals like Hawkins are furious, so they’ve resorted to making up claims about the safety of medication abortion and are now offering legal assistance to health care workers offended by the procedure.

In fact, SFLA is actively seeking out public university health care employees who oppose the law. The day the law was passed, the organization posted a tweet saying, “if you are a student or employee who is worried how this affects your #consciencerights message us and we will assist you.”

SFLA likely has to try to solicit these sorts of claims because these so-called conscience rights claims are vanishingly rare. Last week, the federal government had to admit in court that, where it had once claimed there were 343 religious rights complaints in 2018, there were actually only about 20 — for the entire country.

The organization is also outright lying about the dangers of medication abortion. Medication abortion is a procedure where a patient takes one medication when they visit the health care facility and a second medication at home. It’s incredibly safe, with serious complications occurring in fewer than 0.4% of patients, and it’s incredibly successful, with an overall success rate of 95-99%.

Ignoring all evidence to the contrary, SFLA calls the procedure a “dangerous,” and Hawkins says it will “put students’ lives at risk.” She also said, “California just ensured women will die in their dormitory bathrooms, bleeding out alone from the abortion pill.” None of that is supported by evidence.

Of course, what really puts students’ lives at risk is a lack of access to safe, legal health care, including abortions. And with approximately 400,000 female students on California’s public university campuses, that access is a necessity.

The post Anti-abortion group is spreading lies to stop college kids from getting health care appeared first on Shareblue Media.

This content was originally published here.

This Artist’s Graphic Nails How Mental Health Can Affect Your Body Too

If you live with a mental health condition, this probably isn’t news to you — your mental health issues can also lead to physical symptoms, too. A graphic created by artist Melissa Webb perfectly captures this experience, and is a good reminder that it’s not just “all in your head.”

Webb, also known as Mellow Doodles, created an illustration to remind people of the physical symptoms of mental illness. The design reads, “I wish people know that my mental health is so physical too” alongside a woman with arrows highlighting her symptoms. Physical mental health symptoms can include headaches, jaw and teeth pain, sweating, nausea, fatigue, sensory overload, cramps, restless legs and more.

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Super proud and excited to tell you that I’ve been creating some work for @timetochangecampaign ! ????????They were one of my DREAM collaborations. It’s an incredible mental health campaign for tackling stigma, set up by @mindcharity and @rethinkmentalillness ????????❤️⁣ ⁣ I really, really, really don’t think this gets talked about enough. Mental health problems cause so many physical symptoms too. Some of them can be incredibly painful. They are very real and just as valid as any other illness. Does this resonate with you? ⁣ ⁣ Go give @timetochangecampaign a follow to see the fab work they do (and see some of the work I’ve done too over the coming days/weeks ☺️)⁣ ⁣ ⁣ -⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #timetochange #timetochangecampaign #mentalhealthquotes #mentalhealth2019 #depressionsymptoms #anxietysymptoms #mentalhealthstigma #mhsupport #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthadvice #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthtips #mentalhealthawareness #mentalwellbeing #mentalwellness #mentalhealthmatters #illustratoroninstagram #mentalhealthillustration⁣

A post shared by Melissa Webb • The Doodle Bar (@mellow.doodles) on

Webb created the physical symptoms graphic for the U.K. campaign Time to Change, which was set up by the charities Rethink Mental Illness and Mind to tackle stigma around mental health. Webb said she also wanted to tackle mental health stigma by showing how much of an impact mental illness can have on both your mind and body.

“The physical symptoms that mental health problems can cause are so difficult, and so wide ranging, and it felt really important for it to be addressed,” Webb told The Mighty via email, adding:

Often I think the reason mental health is not taken seriously is because people assume it’s ‘all in your head.’ In fact, it produces a whole range of symptoms like any other illness — and these physical manifestations can be just as difficult, and sometimes just as debilitating, as the internal struggles.

While we call it “mental health,” there’s a very good reason your physical health can be impacted too. Anxiety, for example, is a fear response that triggers your nervous system like you are responding to a threat. This can include sweating, tension and affect your digestive system. The neurons that help govern your mood, like serotonin, travel throughout your body — and 95% of your serotonin is made in your gut.

Mighty community member Lindsay P. explained how her mental health affects her physical symptoms in the article, “24 Surprising Physical Symptoms of Mental Illness“:

“I get really hot and start sweating when my anxiety is high,” Lindsay said. “My friend and I joke that it’s like I’m having hot flashes. However, at the time it’s happening, it’s not too funny. I also have stomach cramping and often feel like throwing up when I’m having prolonged anxiety attacks.”

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Last time I posted this, I got lots of questions about what ✨ reparenting ✨ means. I want to talk about this briefly because it’s one of the things that has helped me the most!⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ We all have an inner child. All of us. ????‍???? Nurturing ourselves in the way we would a child switches up the perspectives we have on ourselves. If you’re incredibly hard on yourself, set high expectations and get impatient with yourself too, you might need this especially. ????⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Reparenting, to me, is about providing my inner child with the support they need. And this is two sided:⁣⁣ •Being loving, patient and gentle with ourselves in times when we are feeling sad, fragile or scared makes the most incredible difference. ❤️ ⁣⁣ •And on the other hand, there’s times where we might need some more discipline, boundaries and a firm approach – and being able to do this with yourself in a supportive way will also help enormously.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I always recommend @nu_mindframe’s youtube video on reparenting. But also have a google, search reparenting and see what you find. And look at books on working with your inner child. ????????⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ It might be that you were missing some parental support, emotionally or practically, as a child and so it’s really important for you to give that to yourself now. Or it may be that you are just missing these influences, guidance or support in your adult life. And instead have an inner critic making life difficult and painful. The good news is that we can absolutely provide ourselves with all of the things a positive parent would. Although it is wonderful to receive support and love externally, you have everything within you to give it to yourself now. Look after little you and the rest will follow ❤️⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ???? Prints of this illustration available from £8, website in bio ????⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ~⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ #mhquotes #selfcompassion #mentalhealthquotes #selfcarewords #colourfulquotes #confidencequotes #kindnessquotes #selfcompassion #mentalhealthquote #reparenting #peptalk #selfreminders #reparent #innerchildwork #innerchild #colourfulquotes #quotesandsayings #quotestagrams #selflovequotes #quoteprints #letteringprints #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthtips #mentalhealthawareness

A post shared by Melissa Webb • The Doodle Bar (@mellow.doodles) on

Webb uses her illustrations to tackle other mental health subjects like setting boundaries, how to support others when they have a hard time, self-care ideas and colorful quotes and phrases to remind you you’re not alone. She said as an artist, visually appealing graphics with simple language is often an easier way to communicate important information when we’re stressed.

“I came to understand through personal experience that sometimes when we most need support for our mental health, picking up a word heavy or academic book that might help us can be so overwhelming,” Webb said. “My illustrations are intentionally bright and colourful so they are less daunting and more accessible. … For the people who need the work most, this is hopefully a better way to reach them.”

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If you have a friend who is really struggling right now, here’s some things you can do to help ⬆️⁣ ⁣ Signs they’re really struggling:⁣ ????They’ve been signed off from work.⁣ ????They’ve recently been diagnosed.⁣ ????They’ve stopped showing up for social occasions.⁣ ????They’re not answering calls/texts.⁣ ????They’re quieter or less engaged than usual. ⁣ ⁣ I know it can be scary and you might not know what to say. You feel helpless and you want them to know you care. So helping practically will help give you a clear role in supporting them. ????⁣ ⁣ ➡️These may seem so basic to people who haven’t experienced something like depression, but these everyday tasks seem like mountains to climb when you can barely function enough to face getting out of bed. Soon, the washing is piling up, the letters start arriving with URGENT stamped on them, there’s no clean cutlery left and the fridge is empty. When your brain is telling you you’re a terrible human and the world feels hopeless, this can be immensely overwhelming. ????????⁣ ⁣ So take a lasagne over and show your friends they are loved in a practical way. Feeling loved is one of the greatest sources of hope and comfort in our difficult times. And you have the power to make people feel loved every day. How magical is that? ❤️⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ~⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣ #mentalhealthquotes #mentalhealth2019 #depressionsymptoms #anxietysymptoms #mentalhealthstigma #mhsupport #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthadvice #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthtips #mentalhealthawareness #mentalwellbeing #mentalwellness #mentalhealthmatters #illustratoroninstagram #mentalhealthillustration⁣⁣ ⁣

A post shared by Melissa Webb • The Doodle Bar (@mellow.doodles) on

In the art she shares on her own platform and creates with Time to Change, Webb said she hopes to reduce the stigma and shame still associated with mental health. She also wants to help others realize that struggling with your mental health is common and you are not alone.

“So many people feel ashamed to be experiencing problems with their mental health and it’s such a shame when it is so common,” Webb said. She continued:

Often, when a conversation is started around mental health, you find that almost everyone has some sort of experience of it — whether that’s through past or current experience, or through seeing a friend or family member go through their own struggles. We are much more similar than we realise — and realising this helps build connection as well as lessen the shame around it. This is always such a positive thing for people and I hope my work can help aid that in some way.

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Working on your self development and growth is important, but so is accepting yourself. This seemed a pretty revolutionary idea to me after years of reading self help books and working on personal development. And I wanted to share it with you too ????⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ~⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #mhquotes #mentalhealthtips #mentalhealthquotes #selfcarewords #colourfulquotes #growthmindset #personaldevelopment #selfcompassion #mentalhealthquote #bekindtoyourself #peptalk #selfreminders #selfdevelopment #letteringlove #selfkindness #colourfulquotes #quotesandsayings #quotestagrams #selflovequotes #quoteprints #letteringprints #illustratedquote #womenofillustration #mentalhealthawareness #mentalwellbeing #mentalwellness #selfacceptance #illustratoroninstagram #wordsoftheday⁣

A post shared by Melissa Webb • The Doodle Bar (@mellow.doodles) on

This content was originally published here.

As He Attacks Medicare for All, Mayor Pete Gets Campaign Cash From Health Care Executives

Thirty-seven-year-old South Bend, Indiana mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has undergone a dramatic shift in health care policy in less than two years.

Responding to criticism of his vague health care policies in early 2018, Buttigieg “declared” on Twitter that, “Most affirmatively and indubitably, unto the ages…I do favor Medicare for All.”

Later, as he entered the Democratic presidential primary, he landed on a kind of compromise: a single-player option he likes to call “Medicare for All Who Want It” that lets him show support for those frustrated by the high costs and substandard results of the American health care system while preserving the profit-driven forces that have contributed to that system.

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Now, as he continues to promote his plan, which critics call “Medicare for Some,” he’s taken an antagonistic approach to true Medicare for All, as proposed in the Medicare for All Act, and to his opponents who support it: Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), who “wrote the damn bill,” and frontrunner Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is cosponsoring and continues to support it.

In a new digital video ad from Buttigieg’s campaign, corporate consultant and former Facebook executive Joe Lockhart says, “Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe that we have to force ourselves into Medicare for All, where private insurance is abolished.” Lockhart cofounded Glover Park Group, a corporate consulting and lobbying firm with current and recent clients in the health sector including ​Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Horizon Therapeutics, Intuitive Surgical, and Sanofi U.S.

A still from Buttigieg’s recent anti-Medicare for All digital video ad.
Pete for America

Pharmaceutical, health insurance, and hospital industry donors have flocked to Mayor Pete all year. As of mid-2019, he was second only to Donald Trump in overall campaign cash from donors in the health sector. Among Democratic candidates, he was second to former Vice President Joe Biden in terms of pharmaceutical and health insurance donations.

A Sludge review of Buttigieg’s recent third-quarter campaign finance report shows that as he rails against Medicare for All, executives and other managers in the health sector have kept the money flowing.

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Over 100 individuals in leadership, legal, consulting, or financing roles in health sector donated $200 or more to Pete for America between July and September. These donors include pharmaceutical industry leaders such as the chief corporate affairs officer at drugmaker Pfizer, the president of Astex Pharmaceuticals, a state lobbyist for Biogen, a vice president of public policy at Novartis, and the deputy vice president at the nation’s largest pharmaceutical trade association, PhRMA, as well as attorneys for AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck.

The donors identified by Sludge gave a total of close to $97,000 to the Buttigieg campaign in the third quarter of 2019. Below are these donors’ employers, occupations, and total amount donated from July through September.

The Buttigieg campaign provided Sludge with the following statement:

Pete has always supported making Medicare (or a similar public health insurance vehicle) available to all Americans in order to achieve universal health care. He consistently describes his health care plan as a pathway to Medicare for All, which is likely why the health insurance industry has attacked his plan. For instance, our campaign website says, “If private insurers are not able to offer something dramatically better, this public plan will create a natural glide-path to Medicare for All.” Simply put, he has the same end goal as some of the other candidates in the race but differs on how to get there. 

Health sector interests including pharmaceutical manufacturers, health insurers, and hospital groups generally oppose Medicare for All, as it would allow the government to negotiate down drug and care costs, cutting into industry profits. Democratic Party political groups have accepted significant amounts of money from lobbyist bundlers who have pharmaceutical and health insurance clients, as Sludge and Maplight have reported.

In July, Sanders created and signed a pledge to reject all contributions over $200 from the PACs, executives, and lobbyists of pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, urging his opponents to join him. Biden, who did not sign it, has, like Buttigieg, reaped the benefits of large donations from industry executives.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Buttigieg’s campaign has recieved $1,266,225 from individual donors in the health sector through the third quarter.

Mayor Pete is no stranger to special-interest support. His very first successful political campaign was fueled by lobbyist fundraisers, as the Center for Public Integrity/TYT reported, and as of July 2019, this year’s effort has been led by 94 contribution “bundlers,” or well-connected supporters who raised at least $25,000 in campaign checks for him.


After City Incentives, South Bend Real Estate Executives Donate to Mayor Pete’s Presidential Campaign

After Record Fundraising Haul From Big Pharma, McConnell Vows to Block Drug Pricing Bill

Health Industry Lawyers and Lobbyists Seem to Really Like Michael Bennet


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Illegal RV sewage dumping in Seattle pollutes waterways and poses a public-health hazard | The Seattle Times

Since 2015, the number of parked RVs located within the Sodo and Ballard neighborhoods of Seattle has increased dramatically, now totaling hundreds. Many of these RV owners fail to follow proper waste-disposal protocols, instead discharging their accumulated sewer wastes, including “black water,” directly into the city storm drains. The result is that untreated sewage is being released directly into our local waterways.

Using Environmental Protection Agency wastewater pump-out and treatment statistics, it’s estimated that Seattle RV campers likely discharge more than 1 million gallons of untreated sewage annually into our waterways, including the Duwamish Waterway and Salmon Bay. For comparison, a July spill of 3 million gallons from the West Point Treatment Plant closed multiple King and Kitsap counties’ beaches and could lead to enforcement actions.

To better understand the potential impact of RV discharges, the Sodo Business Improvement Area and Ballard Alliance commissioned Anchor QEA, a Seattle-based environmental science and engineering firm, to evaluate existing water-quality data and collect a storm drain water sample from a heavily populated RV parking area in Sodo. The sample from the storm drain in the midst of the RVs registered 300 times greater than the state water-quality standard for fecal coliform bacteria.

Sadly, this sampling result is consistent with recent trends in deteriorating water quality in the area. For example, historic water quality monitoring data showed a decades-long improvement in the Duwamish River — until 2015, when fecal coliform bacteria measurements began to spike upward. This coincides with the movement of hundreds of RVs into Sodo.

While a more definitive pollution-identification study is needed on the relative impact of illegal black-water discharges, the data points strongly suggest that illegal dumping of sewage and trash, along with unsanitary conditions in unregulated RV encampments, increase public-health risks and could result in serious outbreaks of communicable diseases such as hepatitis A and typhus.

Not only do these poor waste-management practices have the potential to endanger RV residents, but they frustrate ongoing efforts to clean up our waterways and adversely impact the marine environment and public health.

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Seattle is known worldwide as an environmental leader and the protector of Puget Sound. However, the data indicates that unchecked dumping of untreated waste into Seattle’s stormwater system threatens to undo decades of cleanup and restoration. Turning back this tide of pollution starts with stopping the proliferation of dilapidated and malfunctioning RVs — something we have raised with Mayor Jenny Durkan as well as the City Council. While the mayor’s office has engaged productively, council members turn a blind eye to the issue, choosing instead to keep the status quo and continue to allow derelict RVs to remain parked on our neighborhood streets, threatening the safety of our waterways.

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Sodo BIA and the Ballard Alliance have shared this study with Seattle officials and have asked to partner with the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Washington Department of Health, King County, and Seattle Public Utilities to develop approaches to stop this ongoing problem.

It is time to stop ignoring the impacts of unregulated RV encampments and illegal raw-sewage dumping. It is disturbing to think that something as basic as enforcing city codes regarding dumping raw sewage from RVs could roll back decades of progress made in cleaning and protecting Puget Sound.

This content was originally published here.

Patient With Measles Who Visited Disneyland, L.A. Starbucks May Have Exposed Visitors: Health Officials

A measles patient visited Disneyland last week while contagious and could have exposed others to the disease, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Tuesday.

The patient was at the theme park on Oct. 16, between 9:15 a.m. and 8:35 p.m., and before that, at a Los Angeles Starbucks coffee shop on 3006 S. Sepulveda Blvd. on Oct. 16, between 7:50 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Anyone who visited Disneyland or the coffee shop during those time periods could be at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after being exposed.

Those who believe they may have been exposed should review their immunization records, reach out to their health care provider as soon as possible and watch out for symptoms, including fever and an unexplained rash.

Those who experience symptoms should stay home and call their doctor immediately, health officials said.

#PressRelease : Measles Exposure Advisory – Confirmed #measles case traveled throughout Southern California. View https://t.co/cDtfp6XY16 for more info. More times and locations may follow as details become available. pic.twitter.com/k2zllK0kgC

— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) October 23, 2019

The disease is considered among the most contagious viruses in the world. About 90% of people who have never been immunized experience the symptoms seven to 21 days after exposure, authorities said.

“The measles virus can remain in an environment for several hours, so when we list public exposure sites we take that into consideration. Individuals that were in those potential sites while that person was infection could be at risk of being exposed,” health officer Nichole Quick told KTLA.

So far in 2019, there have been 19 confirmed cases of measles among Los Angeles County residents, and another 11 cases among non-residents who traveled through the county, health officials said.

The majority of those cases were found among patients who were not immunized or did not know whether they had ever been immunized, according to the health department.

“For those who are not protected, measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that initially causes fever, cough, red, watery eyes, and, finally, a rash,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis  said. “Measles is spread by air and by direct contact even before you know have it. The MMR immunization is a very effective measure to protect yourself and to prevent the unintentional spread of this potentially serious infection to others.”

Public Health officials said they will provide an update with additional locations and time periods in which people could have been exposed to measles in connection with this patient.

This content was originally published here.

Smoke From Wildfires and Horse Respiratory Health – The Horse

Smoke is an unhealthy combination of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, soot, hydrocarbons, and other organic substances. Smoke particulates, which are a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air, can irritate horses’ eyes and respiratory tracts, and hamper their breathing.

“Owners should limit their horses’ activity when smoke is visible,” said UC Davis veterinary professor John Madigan, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, ACAW.

During California wildfires with persistent smoke several years ago, the Tevis Cup—a 100-mile endurance race—was postponed based on adverse air quality for exercising horses. This is an example of important management decisions that can protect horse health.

It is important to use human health air-quality advisories and apply them to horse events where horses will be exercising and breathing harmful smoke. If humans’ eyes burn and are bothered by smoke,  you can assume horses will be in the same boat. Providing horses with resting from exercise, limiting smoke exposure when possible, and monitoring for signs of increased respiratory rate or cough should be at the top of owners’ to-do lists when wildfires are near. And should a concern arise, always consult your veterinarian.

“It’s also important to provide horses with plenty of fresh water, which keeps airways moist and helps them clear inhaled particulates,” said Madigan.

If a horse is having difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately to ensure the horse has not developed a reactive airway disease or bacterial infection accompanied by bronchitis or pneumonia. Horses can suffer from constriction of the airways, just as humans can.

In cases of heavy smoke exposure, it can take four to six weeks for smoke-induced damage to heal, during which time the horse should not be heavily exercised. Premature exercise could aggravate the condition, delaying healing and compromising the horse’s performance for weeks or months.

“If the horse has further smoke-related problems, such as persistent cough, nasal discharge, fever, or increased rate of breathing or labored breathing, the owner should contact a veterinarian, who may prescribe respiratory medications such as bronchial dilators or other treatments that will hydrate the horse’s airway passages and reduce inflammation,” Madigan said. “The veterinarian also may recommend tests to determine whether a secondary bacterial infection is contributing the horse’s respiratory problems.”

This content was originally published here.

Being a Loud Woman May Be Good for Your Health, According to a Study

Managing our emotions is often complicated. Sometimes it’s necessary to mitigate them, remain silent, and keep calm in moments of stress. We don’t want them to harm our personal relations. But on other occasions, what works best to maintain our relationships is to speak out and express ourselves. After all, letting out all that we’re feeling and thinking can help us see things from a different perspective. However, what you may not be aware of is that both behaviors can have significant effects on your health.

Bright Side wants to talk to you about a study that claims raising the volume of your voice is not always a bad idea.

Auto silence is a behavior people engage in when they’re afraid to express their real emotions. If properly externalized, they worry their feelings may affect their relationships with people close to them in some way, such as family members, friends, or employers. They choose auto silence because they dread having to start a disagreement, being the cause of an argument, or even breaking up a relationship.

More than 300 women participated in the study.

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) conducted a study where they evaluated 304 married women who were near or after menopause. They reported experiencing certain feelings about putting someone else’s needs before their own, such as self-silencing, to avoid damaging a relationship. This type of behavior was met with bouts of constipation, an increase in cholesterol levels, depression, and obesity.

More yelling, less stressing

One of the points that researchers measured was the frequency at which these women experienced anger or euphoria outbursts. They addressed these as moments when they were able to let their emotions out by raising the volume of their voice and verbally stating what made them feel frustrated. Those who showed this behavior more often registered as having better health than those who didn’t. They also experienced the psychological benefits of preventing the repression of these emotional states.

Hiding your emotions has physical consequences.

Maintaining a facade of joy and calm doesn’t mean that this state is real. It’s a behavior that’s related to a greater sensitivity to rejection. A permanent state of alert that triggers the levels of stress are closely associated with the decrease of life expectancy in both men and women worldwide. During these episodes, blood pressure and glucose levels rise, so the chance of developing a cardiovascular condition increases.

There’s a healthy way to express yourself.

Although raising our voices from time to time to let go of negative emotions can be liberating, we must also consider that it enables us to say things that don’t help our relationships. In another experiment carried out with cancer patients, women showed some improvements by openly expressing their emotions. On the contrary, progress slowed when negative feelings were prevalent. For this reason, it’s good to keep in mind that showing respect for you and those around you is essential to maintain a healthier body and relationships.

Do you communicate your feelings in some other ways? How would you change the way you express yourself to improve your relationships? Tell us what you think in the comments!

This content was originally published here.

Elijah Cummings has died: Baltimore congressman is dead at 68, from longstanding illness and health issues – CBS News

Representative Elijah Cummings, of Baltimore, died early Thursday at the age of 68, his office said. Cummings passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital at 2:45 a.m. from “complications concerning longstanding health challenges,” his office said.

He hadn’t returned to work after having a medical procedure that he said would only keep him away for about a week, The Baltimore Sun noted.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party and Cummings’ wife, said in a statement that Cummings was “an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion and humility.”

“He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem,” Rockeymoore Cummings said. “I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half staff in his memory. The White House, too, lowered its flag.

“He was not just a great congressman, he was a great man,” House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on MSNBC Thursday morning.

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. Young said in a statement that “people throughout the world have lost a powerful voice and one of the strongest and most gifted crusaders for social justice.”

President Trump praised Cummings’ “strength, passion and wisdom” in a tweet, despite the insults he hurled at Cummings this summer.

“My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see first hand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader. His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!” the president tweeted shortly before 9 a.m.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman, a Democrat and 23-year House veteran, was a key figure in the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump and a recent target of intense criticism from the president.

Cummings missed two roll call votes Thursday, the first day back following a two-week House recess. He previously released a statement saying he’d be back by the time the session resumed. He hadn’t taken part in a roll call vote since Sept. 11.

The procedure already caused Cummings to miss a September hearing on Washington, D.C., statehood. The statement didn’t detail the procedure.

He previously was treated for heart and knee issues.

Humble beginnings

A sharecropper’s son, Cummings was a formidable orator who passionately advocated for the poor in his black-majority district, which encompasses a large portion of Baltimore as well as more well-to-do suburbs.

As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings led multiple investigations of Mr. Trump’s dealings, including probes in 2019 relating to the president’s family members serving in the White House.

The president responded by criticizing Cummings’ district as a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” The comments came weeks after Mr. Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his calls for Democratic congresswomen of color to get out of the U.S. “right now” and go back to their “broken and crime-infested countries.”

Cummings replied that government officials must stop making “hateful, incendiary comments” that only serve to divide and distract the nation from its real problems, including mass shootings and white supremacy.

“Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” Cummings said in a speech at the National Press Club.

Cummings told the Baltimore Sun that he had only spoken to Mr. Trump one-on-one once, in 2017. Cummings recalled saying: “Mr. President, you’re now 70-something, I’m 60-something. Very soon you and I will be dancing with the angels. The thing that you and I need to do is figure out what we can do — what present can we bring to generations unborn?”

Working way up

Cummings’ career spanned decades in Maryland politics. He rose through the ranks of the Maryland House of Delegates before winning his congressional seat in a special election in 1996 to replace former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who left the seat to lead the NAACP.

Cummings continued his rise in Congress. In 2016, he was the senior Democrat on the House Benghazi Committee, which he said was “nothing more than a taxpayer-funded effort to bring harm to Hillary Clinton’s campaign” for president.

Cummings was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2008.

Throughout his career, Cummings used his fiery voice to highlight the struggles and needs of inner-city residents. He was a firm believer in some much-debated approaches to help the poor and addicted, such as needle exchange programs as a way to reduce the spread of AIDS. Cummings was very popular in his district, where he was a key member of the community.

Cummings said in an interview with “60 Minutes” in January that he was one of the few members of Congress who lived in an inner city environment.

“I like to be among my constituents. Let me tell you something man, if I don’t do well in this block I’m in trouble. I mean, if you wanna take a poll, if I lost in this block I might as well go– I might as well stay home,” Cummings said in the interview.

Cummings was born on Jan. 18, 1951. In grade school, a counselor told Cummings he was too slow to learn and spoke poorly and he would never fulfill his dream of becoming a lawyer.

“I was devastated,” Cummings told The Associated Press in 1996, shortly before he won his seat in Congress. “My whole life changed. I became very determined.”

It steeled Cummings to prove that counselor wrong. He became not only a lawyer, but one of the most powerful orators in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he entered office in 1983. He rose to become House speaker pro tem, the first black delegate to hold the position. He would begin his comments slowly, developing his theme and raising the emotional heat until it became like a sermon from the pulpit.

Cummings was quick to note the differences between Congress and the Maryland General Assembly, which has long been controlled by Democrats.

“After coming from the state where, basically, you had a lot of people working together, it’s clear that the lines are drawn here,” Cummings said about a month after entering office in Washington in 1996.

Cummings chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from 2003 to 2004, employing a hard-charging, explore-every-option style to put the group in the national spotlight.

He cruised to big victories in the overwhelmingly Democratic district, which had given Maryland its first black congressman in 1970 when Parren Mitchell was elected.

Cummings addressed his recent health issues in the January interview with “60 Minutes.”

“Like I tell my constituents, “Don’t get it twisted. You know, I may– my knee may be hurtin’ a little bit, but my mind is clear. My mission is clear.” And I am prepared and able to do what I have to do. And I will do it to the very best of my ability, so help me God,” Cummings said.

This content was originally published here.

Avoiding red or processed meat doesn’t seem to give health benefits | New Scientist

Many health bodies have said in the past that people should limit their red meat intake

Owen Franken/Corbis Documentary/Getty

Owen Franken/Corbis Documentary/Getty

There are no health reasons to cut down on eating red or processed meat, according to a new review of the evidence. The claims, which contradict most existing dietary advice, come from a review of existing studies led by the Spanish and Polish Cochrane Centers, part of a global collaboration for assessing medical research.

Numerous health bodies have said for decades that we should limit our intake of red meat because it is high in saturated fat, thought to raise cholesterol levels and cause heart attacks. More recently, both red and processed meat have been linked with cancer.

In the latest review, though, the authors came to a different conclusion because they considered separately the two main kinds of research. The best evidence comes from randomised trials. In these, some participants are helped to change their diet in a certain way, such as eating less meat, and the rest aren’t. At the end, the health of the people in the two groups is compared.

But such trials are costly and hard to do. According to one estimate, only about 5 per cent of nutrition studies are large, good-quality randomised trials. It is much more common to do research that just observes what people choose to eat undirected. Known as observational studies, these are notoriously open to bias and can give misleading results.

Bradley Johnston of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and his colleagues first reviewed all previous observational studies looking at the health impact of eating red or processed meat. These pointed to a “very small” adverse effect on deaths, heart disease and cancer.

Then they separately reviewed the 12 randomised trials that have been done in this area, and found that there was little or no health benefit for people who cut down on eating these meats. Based on these findings, the authors conclude that people should “continue to eat their current levels of red and processed meat unless they felt inclined to change them themselves”. However, they added that some might want to change their diet because of animal welfare or environmental reasons.

“It may be time to stop producing observational research in this area,” Tiffany Doherty from Indiana University’s Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research team wrote in an accompanying editorial.

Duane Mellor, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, says people shouldn’t take the advice as a green light to eat more red meat. “What it doesn’t say is that we can tear up the guidelines and start eating twice as much meat. But red meat three times a week is not a problem.”

Journal reference: Annals of Internal Medicine, DOI:

More on these topics:

This content was originally published here.

Americans Spent More on Taxes in 2018 Than on Food, Clothing and Health Care Combined

A grocery shopper in Los Angeles on July 24, 2019. (Photo by Mark RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2018 than they did on the basic necessities of food, clothing and health care combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey.

The survey’s recently published Table R-1 for 2018 lists the average “detailed expenditures” of what the BLS calls “consumer units.”

“Consumer units,” says BLS, “include families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share major expenses.”

In 2018, according to Table R-1, American consumer units spent an average of $9,031.93 on federal income taxes; $5,023.73 on Social Security taxes (which the table calls “deductions”); $2,284.62 on state and local income taxes; $2,199.80 on property taxes; and $77.85 on what BLS calls “other taxes.”

The combined payments the average American consumer unit made for these five categories of taxes was $18,617.93.

At the same time the average American consumer unit was paying these taxes, it was spending $7,923.19 on food; $4,968.44 on health care; and $1,866.48 on “apparel and services.”

These combined expenditures equaled $14,758.11.

So, the $14,758.11 that the average American consumer unit paid for food, clothing and health care was $3,859.82 less than the $18,617.93 it paid in federal, state and local income taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes and “other taxes.”

I asked the BLS to confirm these numbers, which it did while noting that the “Pensions and Social Security” section of its Table R-1 included four other types of payments (that many people are not required to make or that do not go to the government) in addition to the average of $5,023.73 in Social Security taxes that 77.21% of respondents reported paying.

“You asked us to verify the amounts for the total taxes and expenditures on food, apparel/services, and healthcare,” said BLS. “Based on table R-1 for 2018, your definition for food, apparel, and healthcare matches the BLS definition and the total dollars. Your dollar amounts for federal, state, and local income taxes and for property taxes are correct, as is the amount for Social Security deductions. For the combined pension amount [$6,830.71] that we publish however, in addition to the $5,023.73 for Social Security, there is an additional amount for government retirement deductions [$135.11], railroad retirement deductions [$2.85], private pension deductions [$608.22], and non-payroll deposits for pensions [$1,060.79].”

That Americans are forced to pay more for government than they pay for food, clothing and health care combined has become an enduring fact of life.

A review of the BLS Table R-1s for the last six years on record shows that in every one of those years, the average American consumer unit paid more in taxes than it paid for food, clothing and health care combined.

In 2013, the average American consumer unit paid a combined $13,327.22 for the same five categories of taxes cited above for 2018, while paying a combined $11,836.80 for food, clothing and health care.

In 2014, the average American consumer unit paid $14,664.13 for those same taxes and $12,834.34 for those same necessities.

In 2015, it was $15,548.36 versus $13,210.83. In 2016, it was $17,153.30 versus $13,617.60. And, in 2017, it was $16,750.20 versus $14,489.54.

Even when all the numbers for the last six years are converted into constant December 2018 dollars (using the BLS inflation calculator), the largest annual margin between the amount paid in taxes and the amount paid for food, clothing and health care was last year’s $3,859.82.

The margin was so great last year that you can add the $3,225.55 Table R-1 says the average consumer unit paid for entertainment to the $14,758.11 it paid for food, clothing and health care, and the combined $17,983.66 is still less than the $18,617.93 it paid for the five categories of taxes.

You get a similar result if you add the combined $2,903.50 that the average consumer unit paid in 2018 for electricity ($1,496.14) and telephone services ($1,407.36).

Yes, Americans on average paid more in taxes last year than they paid for food, clothing, health care, electricity and telephone services combined.

Was the government you got worth it?

(Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSNews.com.)

This content was originally published here.

Veterans Affairs To Share Veterans’ Health Information Without Consent

Thousands of veterans were alarmed to learn VA is quietly rolling out is plan to automatically share veterans’ health information with third parties without written consent.

You got that right. Thanks to the VA MISSION Act, VA will now automatically enroll, or opt-in, all veterans into a health information sharing system with numerous government agencies and private organizations after September 30, 2019, unless you object in writing on a paper form.

Veterans must submit the VA Form 10-0484 in person or by mail to their local VA Release of Information office by of September 30, 2019, if they do not want to be “automatically enrolled” into the eHealth Exchange managed by The Sequoia Project.

Sound absurd? Here is what VA wrote in its Virtual Lifetime Electronic
Record (VLER) FAQ:

All Veterans who have not previously signed form 10-0484 as of September 30, 2019 will be automatically enrolled, but have the option to opt out.

Let me say that a third way in case I have not been clear.

VA will automatically share your health information with third parties without your written consent unless you opt-out in writing or submit a revocation in writing submitted in person or by US mail. You cannot submit your opt-out or revocation electronically.

How ironic, right?

In the name of technology, VA is about to force veterans into an electronic data sharing system without consent. The only way to prevent this violation is to present your objection on an agency mandated form ON PAPER by hand or snail mail by Monday. How old school.

And we are just learning about the deadline now.

In order to opt-out or revoke consent, there are a couple of forms you need to consider, noted above… but you only have until Monday to figure it out.

Curiously, the VA Form 10-10164 opt-out that is not technically an official form until October 2019 based on the available form.

One could argue that submitting the 10-10164 before September 30 may still result in a veteran’s automatic opt-in and then opt-out since the form may lack legal effect until October 2019.

So, the forms you can use to opt-out or revoke consent:

How do you get the form to VA? Can I send it on eBenefits or
fax it to Janesville Evidence Intake Center?

No. The agency requires that you either hand deliver the
signed form or mail it to the local Release of Information office at your VA Medical
Center by Monday.

No revocations will be processed after September 30, 2019. I
hope VA will not auto-opt-in veterans who submit the new form before the
deadline.

Either way, if you fail to take action by September 30, your
health information will be shared with the eHealth Exchange managed by The Sequoia
Project.

Good luck.

Once health information is shared, it cannot be unshared as
best I can tell from the information available including the old form.

This means meaning you lose control of your data. While you can possibly opt-out at a later date, whatever is shared is out there in the great and mysterious cloud for whatever hacker to access however and whenever they choose.

Who may get access?

The eHealth Exchange is a massive data-sharing system between federal agencies and private organizations in all 50 states that was originally controlled by the Department of Health and Human Services.

A nonprofit called The Sequoia Project took over management of the eHealth Exchange for “maintenance.” Many VA contractors and vendors are on the Board of Sequoia including Cerner and Mitre Corporation.

VA reassures us everything is safe. Right. Kind of like all
the times our data was illegally shared or hacked within the existing system?

“Rest assured. Your health information is safe and secure as it moves from VA to participating community care providers,” promises VA.

Believe them? We don’t, either.

We Drove To Minneapolis VA To Investigate

On Thursday, colleague Brian Lewis and I went to Minneapolis VA Medical Center immediately after reviewing what I describe below to confront agency officials about the highly questionable timing of the notice.

The Facebook Live video contains our initial impressions, which later evolved after we spoke with local officials and conducted an additional deep dive. Veterans who do not revoke consent/opt-out by September 30 will be enrolled automatically per the VLER FAQ.

We learned some inside baseball by asking around about it
and inspecting the facility. But, many of the VA officials we spoke with were
generally unaware of what VA Central Office was rolling out.

Our local Release of Information booth at Minneapolis VA did not have any of the forms available for veterans seeking to opt-out or revoke their previous consent. The attendant seemed to think her boss might bring some forms up sometime Friday or Monday since a few veterans were asking about it.

Fantastic.

Btw, you may have noticed my reference to “booth” about our ROI. In order to speak with someone at ROI, Minneapolis VA leadership decided to move the ROI intake to the open lobby area where anyone and everyone can hear about what you are asking about regarding your private health information.

So much for privacy when trying to get your private health
records.

For newbies reading this, Brian and I are veterans rights attorneys in the Minneapolis Metro who are well-known, but not well-loved, by VA officials locally and nationally.

I will explain the forms in a bit.

Back In The Day When Consent Was In Writing… And It Mattered

For years, VA was required secure informed consent from veterans prior to the sharing of health information. Whether you were a veteran trying to get care in the community or allow your attorney access to a claims file, you were required to provide VA with a release of information granting consent to share the date.

If you wanted to give VA your genomic information so they
could share it with private researching organizations for God knows whatever
reason, specifically the Million Veteran Program, you had to sign a form
granting permission.

If you wanted to opt in to allow your community care provider to use the health exchange to access your electronic health records, you need to sign the VA Form 10-0485. If you wanted to revoke that access, you needed to sign and submit the VA Form 10-0484.

There’s Gold In Those Records, Boys And Girls

To me, and millions of other veterans, this process seems
straightforward, but VA officials, university researchers, and private industry
really wanted more access to more veteran data since our electronic health records
comprise one of the most valuable datasets in the history of the world to date.

Yes, there is an incredible monetary value within the database containing all of our electronic health information, and private industry would profit handsomely from various marketing, advertising, and health solutions that could be developed by simply accessing our records.

Now, that access to our records comes at a cost. For at
least the past eight years, standard HIPAA requirements to de-identify records
no longer provide the security previously believed. Companies like Facebook
readily work to hack HIPAA protections using algorithms to connect HIPAA de-identified
data with a person’s Facebook profile using various markers including data like
that given by veterans to the Million Veteran Program, for example.

That data can then provide the backbone of entirely new research and advertising arm of companies like Facebook and Google to connect pharmaceutical ads with individuals who may be interested in the newest and greatest pill for anxiety or erectile dysfunction.

VA Throws Off The Heavy Yoke Of Privacy

Fortunately for business partners, researchers, and anyone
else who wants to access our data but not be troubled with difficult privacy
laws, VA will no longer have its research potential hamstrung by sentimental
laws like the Privacy Act or HIPAA.

Veterans can thank Congress and its passage of the VA MISSION
Act for allowing automatic access to all veterans’ health information by third
party community care providers and “partners.”

One of my readers alerted me to a change in protocol yesterday
starting with a PDF flyer circulating at VA.

That flyer, called the Veteran Notification Flyer, informs veterans of the five things we “need to know” about the VA’s new implementation of the health information mandate. I included this below in italics verbatim from the agency’s flyer.

You may be thinking, ‘Well, at least VA thought to give you
notice.’

Not exactly. I have not received any notice yet. However,
many veterans are writing in starting yesterday with notice letters that VA was
transitioning veterans into a new and brave system of data sharing.

The flyer was created September 11, 2019, informing veterans that in 20 days the process was flipping on its head where we need to opt-out after automatically being opted-in.

5 Things You Need To Know About Health Information
Sharing

If you are a little unclear about how to be sure no one
receives the health information, you are in good company. A lot of readers and
agency officials were unclear of exactly what is going on, and multiple dates
are floating around within VA’s own notices.

One page reads, “VA will begin opting all Veterans into
health information sharing, beginning January 2010.” Another page
reads, “VA Systems will begin opting all Veterans into health information
sharing, beginning January 2020.”

So, when did or will VA start the sharing of our health information
without consent?

An intranet notice to VA employees indicated the actual
process of sharing will start on or about November 18, 2019.

The VLER FAQ sheet probably provides the best advice
specific to veterans who do not want their data shared in the electronic system:

All Veterans who have not previously signed form 10-0484 as of September 30, 2019 will be automatically enrolled, but have the option to opt out. Beginning late 2019, a VA patient’s information will be shared with any community providers that also provide health care services for the shared patient.

“Revocation forms will not be processed after September 30,
2019. However, if you submit VA Form 10-0484, before September 30, your
preference will remain honored and no further action is needed by you.”

This language suggests the form must be submitted before
September 30, because the agency will stop processing them after September 30.

But how to do you revoke the consent that you never granted?

What is also important is the language difference between
the two forms.

Old VA Form 10-0484 vs New VA Form 10-10164

Let’s start with the new form, VA Form 10-10164. Basically,
the form says the agency cannot share your health information unless treatment
is required for an emergency:

So, the opt-out is not absolute. The form also indicates the
opt-in means all your health information can be shared for treatment.

What about your mental health records? How will VA protect
that data? Could that data also be shared with DHS or other organizations for
their own purposes?

The VA Form 10-0484 handles the issues differently.

First, it addresses that the signer revokes their previous
consent. Obviously, most of us never consented to this program. So, by signing
this 0484, can you preemptively revoke?

That is a question for your local Release of Information
Official.

The old form provides the following list about revocation
that I think is far clearer about what is at stake. Here is the list from VA in
italics:

One of the differences that jumped out at me in the old form was the promise that VA “will no longer share any of my individually-identifiable health information”. It did not qualify that revocation by stating the information will be shared in an emergency.

However, the revocation qualifies the health information by calling it “individually-identifiable health information” demonstrating the agency will share your information so long is it is de-identified. As noted above, merely adhering to HIPAA is no longer sufficient to protect your identity or other information that can be traced right back to you with today’s computing power.

What About Health Information Already Shared

The old 10-0484 says the information “already exchanged”
will continue to the used despite revocation meaning once the information is
out there, it is out there.

The health information being passed between VA and its
community care providers is supposedly shared in “guidance” with the Health
Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

Do we have enough information to make informed decisions?
Does VA seem to give a rip about our informed consent?

I plan to update this post as more information comes out. You may want to check back from time to time.

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This content was originally published here.

Jarrid Wilson, Pastor and Mental Health Advocate, Dies by Suicide at Age 30

Harvest Christian Fellowship pastor Jarrid Wilson died by suicide on Monday evening (September 9) at age thirty.

The devout husband and father of two was known for his passionate preaching, servant’s heart, and mental health advocacy. In fact, Wilson is the founder of Anthem of Hope, a faith-based organization ‘dedicated to amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.’

The tragic news of Wilson’s untimely death comes on Suicide Awareness Day (September 10).

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In alignment with his passion to shatter the stigma surrounding mental health, Wilson was often open about his own battles with depression on his social media accounts.

Wilson even posted about officiating a funeral for a woman who took her own life on the day that he took his own.

Later that afternoon, the pastor wrote some hard truth regarding the reality of mental health battles, citing that while Jesus isn’t always “the cure,” he IS always the “comforter” and “companion.”

“Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts,” wrote Wilson. “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety. But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that.”

Jarrid’s wife Juli posted a heartbreaking tribute to her late husband today, honoring his hard-fought battle and the great man of God that he was in spite of his struggles:

“My loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt of his back husband went to be with Jesus late last night .

No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle. You are made complete and you are finally free. Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you’re by his side right this very second.

I love you forever, Thomas Jarrid Wilson, but I have to say that you being gone has completely ripped my heart out of my chest. You loved me and our boys relentlessly and we are forever grateful that i had YOU as a husband and a father to my boys.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Julianne Wilson 🌿 (@itsjuliwilson) on

“You are my forever and I will continue to let other people know of the hope in Jesus you found and spoke so boldly about.

Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said ‘Hope Gets the last word. Jesus does.’ Your life’s work has lead thousands to the feet of Jesus and your boldness to tell other about your struggle with anxiety and depression has helped so many other people feel like they weren’t alone. YOU WERE an anthem of hope to everyone, baby, and I’ll do my best to continue your legacy of love until my last breath.

I need you, jare. But you needed Jesus to hold you and I have to be okay with that. You are everything to me. Since the day we met. J & J. Love you more.
These are photos of him in his happy place – fishing the day away . I’ll teach our boys all your tricks, babe. Promise. You are my #anthemofhope

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Julianne Wilson 🌿 (@itsjuliwilson) on

The church family Wilson left behind is just as devastated by the loss of their passionate leader who was on fire for Jesus.

“At a time like this, there are just no words,” Harvest Administrative Pastor Paul Eaton said in a statement.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Julianne Wilson 🌿 (@itsjuliwilson) on

“Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not,” Eaton added. “At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day.”

Please join us in praying for the Wilsons and the Harvest Christian Fellowship church family during this devastating time.

If you’d like to support others struggling with suicidal thoughts, consider donating to Anthem of Hope today.

This content was originally published here.

Pastor, author and mental health advocate Jarrid Wilson dies by suicide – Religion News Service

(RNS) — Jarrid Wilson, a California church leader, author and mental health advocate, died by suicide Monday evening (Sept. 9) at age 30.

Wilson, known as a passionate preacher, most recently was an associate pastor at megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. A co-founder of the mental health nonprofit Anthem of Hope, Wilson was open about his own depression, often posting on his social media accounts about his battles with the mental illness.

“At a time like this, there are just no words,” said Harvest Senior Pastor Greg Laurie in a statement.

“Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not,” Laurie said.

“At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day,” he added.

His wife, Julianne Wilson, posted a photo tribute of her husband on Instagram. The photo slideshow shows him fishing “in his happy place.” She described her husband as “loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious.”

“No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle. You are made complete and you are finally free,” she wrote in the caption.

“Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said “Hope Gets the last word. Jesus does,” she added.

A post shared by Julianne Wilson 🌿 (@itsjuliwilson) on

News of Wilson’s passing followed a series of tweets the young pastor posted throughout the day Monday that dealt with suicide, including a post encouraging followers to remember that even though loving Jesus doesn’t cure illnesses such as depression, PTSD or anxiety, Jesus does offer companionship and comfort.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety.

But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.

He ALWAYS does that.

Wilson also posted on the same day that he was officiating a funeral for a woman who had died by suicide. Kay Warren — who along with her husband, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, lost their son to suicide in 2013 — responded to Wilson’s tweet with encouragement. “Praying, Jarrid. Her devastated family needs so much tenderness and compassion right now. Grateful for your willingness to be the arms of Jesus to them,” Warren wrote.

Officiating a funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life today.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the family.

— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) September 9, 2019

The news of Wilson’s death comes on Suicide Awareness Day (Sept. 10) and follows a number of high profile suicides among pastors and the mental health community, including by 30-year-old Andrew Stoecklein, a pastor in Chino, California, who often preached about mental illness.

Wilson shared openly about his own mental health challenges in his most recent book, “Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life and Change Your World,” and blog posts. He blogged earlier this summer that he had dealt with “severe depression throughout most of my life and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions.”

On social media, he regularly encouraged others dealing with similar challenges with messages like, “I’m a Christian who also struggles with depression. This exists, and it’s okay to admit it.”

Jarrid Wilson. Courtesy photo

Breaking down the stigma of mental illness is one of the goals of Anthem of Hope, the nonprofit the pastor founded with his wife, Juli, in 2016. Anthem of Hope creates resources for the church to assist those dealing with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide. 

Laurie said Wilson wanted to especially help those who were dealing with suicidal thoughts.

“Tragically, Jarrid took his own life,” Laurie said.

“Over the years, I have found that people speak out about what they struggle with the most,” Laurie added.

In his summer blog post, Wilson challenged the idea some Christians have that those who die by suicide are condemned to hell.

Christians wouldn’t tell someone with a physical illness like cancer they are going to hell because of their diagnosis, he noted. Neither should they assume it of people with mental illnesses, which can “lead many people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do if they didn’t struggle.”

“Those who say suicide automatically leads to hell obviously don’t understand the totality of mental health issues in today’s world, let alone understand the basic theology behind compassion and God’s all-consuming grace,” he said.

“We must do better at educating people on things they have a hard time wrapping their heads around. And mental health is definitely (a) topic Christians around the world must yearn to better understand.”

Justin Herman said he knew Wilson from working as a pastor in Riverside. They would cross paths and talk about mental health and abortion.

“I know the guy loved Jesus and I know that he loved what he was doing, loved his family,” Herman said.

To Herman, Wilson was “not just going with the program of life.”

“He was counter to culture and shaped culture in a lot of ways,” Herman said.

In addition to his wife, Wilson is survived by two sons, Finch and Denham; and his mother, father and siblings.

Friends of the family have started a GoFundMe account, with permission of Wilson’s wife, to help with financial support in the wake of Wilson’s death.

Last night, my good friend @jarridwilson passed away. As the primary income earner of their home, his precious wife @juliwilson and their two young kids will need a lot of financial support. Please consider donating to this @gofundme to support them: https://t.co/NxFnuf6KVT

— Jonathan Merritt (@JonathanMerritt) September 10, 2019

(This story has been updated. The source of the statement from Harvest Christian Fellowship, attributed in an earlier version to Administrative Pastor Paul Eaton, was changed at the request of the church to Senior Pastor Greg Laurie.)

This content was originally published here.

Jarrid Wilson, Pastor, Author and Mental Health Advocate, Dies by Suicide This Week

Jarrid Wilson, pastor and author of Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life and Change Your World, died by suicide on Monday September 9, 2019. The news of his death came the next day on World Suicide Prevention Day 2019. 

Jarrid, a passionate child of God and church pastor, worked so hard to help others find their way out of hopelessness, depression, and suicidal thoughts…but on this day, he died by suicide. He was a 30-year-old husband and father.

Jarrid Wilson Fought to De-Stigmatize Mental Illness in the Church

Previously, Wilson wrote about the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade that “my heart breaks for the families of Anthony and Kate, and I’m praying God will cover them with nothing but peace and comfort.”

So many people commented on Bourdain and Spade’s deaths that their eternal destiny was at stake that Wilson put pen to paper. He wrote…

I’m writing this post because I want people to understand that these statements couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, they’re ill-thought and without proper biblical understanding…Those who say suicide automatically leads to hell obviously don’t understand the totality of mental health issues in today’s world, let alone understand the basic theology behind compassion and God’s all-consuming grace.” 

Wilson openly admitted that he struggled with severe depression and suicidal thoughts: 

As terrible as it sounds, mental health issues can lead many people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do if they didn’t struggle. If you don’t believe me, I’d encourage you to get to know someone with PTSD, Alzheimer’s or OCD so that you can better understand where I’m coming from. As someone who’s struggled with severe depression throughout most of my life, and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions, I can assure you that what I’m saying is true.”

Jarrid Wilson’s Last Day Was Focused on Helping Others

On the day that Jarrid Wilson died by suicide, he tweeted what seemed to be messages of hope for those who struggle with mental health issues.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety.

But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.

He ALWAYS does that.

On the day of his death, Wilson officiated a funeral for a woman who died by suicide. Jarrid was an associate pastor at megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California.

Officiating a funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life today.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the family.

— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) September 9, 2019

In the middle of his own struggles and his work to help others with de-stigmatizing mental illness in the church, he challenged the church to develop a deeper theology around these issues.

“Stop telling people that suicide leads to hell. It’s bad theology and proof one doesn’t understand the basic psychology surrounding mental health issues. In closing, we must understand God hates suicide just as much as the next person. Why? Because it defies God’s yearning for the sanctity of life. But while suicide is not something God approves of, no mess is too messy for the grace of Jesus. This includes suicide.”

Jarrid and his wife, Juli, were the founders of faith-centered Anthem of Hope because of their “passion to help equip the church with the resources needed to help better assist those struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.”

Before news of his tragic passing spread, Juli Wilson posted this on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Julianne Wilson 🌿 (@itsjuliwilson) on

In “Why Suicide Doesn’t Always Lead to Hell,” one of the last articles we published from Jarrid Wilson, he wrote:

“Does God approve of suicide? Nope!

Does God view suicide as a bad thing? Yup!

Is God’s grace sufficient even for those who have committed suicide? Yup!”

We at ChurchLeaders.com are grateful for Jarrid Wilson’s generosity to share his writing with our readers and for his determination to battle the demons of mental illness. Our prayers are with his family and friends as they grieve the loss of one who fought so well.

If you’d like to support others struggling with suicidal thoughts, consider donating to Anthem of Hope today.

This content was originally published here.

Michigan Governor’s Reckless E-Cigarette Ban Relies on a Breathtakingly Broad Reading of Her Authority To Protect ‘Public Health’

Today Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, announced that she is unilaterally imposing a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, based on the public health “emergency” allegedly posed by the “vaping crisis among youth.” Whitmer’s order, which will make Michigan the first state to impose such a ban, raises two obvious questions: Can she do that, and does it make sense? The answers are maybe and definitely not.

“We are not contesting the governor’s authority,” Amber McCann, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R–Clarklake) told The Detroit News. At the same time, McCann called the ban, which takes effect as soon as the rules are formally issued and lasts up to a year, “very premature,” noting that “no discussion on that topic has taken place.”

State Rep. Matt Maddock (R–Milford), chairman of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, described the ban, which applies to online as well as in-person sales, as an “Orwellian” edict aimed at “dismantling a legal industry.” He added that Whitmer is “essentially usurping the rulemaking process defined by the state Constitution,” since “there is no state emergency,” and “the governor can’t just outlaw bad habits just because she doesn’t like them.”

Benjamin Wetmore, Maddock’s legislative aide, tells me his boss has not seen the text of Whitmer’s order and is as puzzled as anyone else about the legal basis for it. “He has not seen the authority for the governor’s proposed order either,” Wetmore says.

When she announced her order on Twitter and Facebook, Whitmer did not say what statute gives her the authority to ban flavored e-cigarettes. “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe,” she said. “Right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. That ends today.”

Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, says the governor’s order “has not been finalized yet,” but she referred me to Section 333.2226(d) of the Michigan Public Health Code, which says the department may “exercise authority and promulgate rules to safeguard properly the public health.” The code does not define “public health,” and it says, “This code shall be liberally construed for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the people of this state.” Last Friday, the department made a “finding of emergency” that says “a vaping crisis among youth” justifies “the promulgation of emergency rules.”

That finding does not cite any specific statutory authority for such “emergency rules.” But according to Chelsea Lewis, the governor’s deputy press secretary, the health department is relying on its general authority under Section 333.2226(d), combined with Section 24.248 of the Administrative Procedures Act, which says an agency may issue an emergency rule “without following the notice and participation procedures” that would otherwise apply when it “finds that preservation of the public health, safety, or welfare” requires it and the governor agrees.

In short, Whitmer’s e-cigarette ban rests on a breathtakingly broad reading of her authority to make emergency rules in the name of “public health,” however she defines it. “The rules will be filed in the next few weeks,” Lewis says. “They will take immediate effect once filed.”

Last year the New York Department of Health, whose powers include writing regulations that “deal with any matters affecting the security of life or health or the preservation and improvement of public health in the state of New York,” rescinded regulations that would have banned flavored e-cigarettes. Critics, who noted that similar bans have been introduced in the state legislature but have not gone anywhere, said the regulations were an improper usurpation of legislative authority.

The emergency that supposedly requires Whitmer’s ban is the recent surge in e-cigarette use by teenagers. Yet selling e-cigarettes to minors is already illegal in Michigan, and Whitmer, notwithstanding her avowed interest in protecting “public health,” is giving no weight to the interests of adult smokers who have switched to vaping, a much less hazardous source of nicotine, or are thinking about doing so. The e-cigarette flavors that she thinks are enticing “children” are indisputably popular among adults, many of whom say flavor variety is important in the process of replacing cigarettes with a far less dangerous alternative that delivers nicotine without tobacco combustion products.

“This shameless attempt at backdoor prohibition will close down several hundred Michigan small businesses and could send tens of thousands of ex-smokers back to deadly combustible cigarettes,” says Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes e-cigarettes as a harm-reducing alternative to the conventional kind. “These businesses and their customers will not go down without a fight. We look forward to supporting the lawsuits that now appear necessary to protect the right of adults to access these harm reduction products.”

This content was originally published here.

Suggested move to plant-based diets risks worsening brain health nutrient deficiency: And UK failing to recommend or monitor dietary levels of choline, warns nutritionist — ScienceDaily

To make matters worse, the UK government has failed to recommend or monitor dietary levels of this nutrient — choline — found predominantly in animal foods, says Dr Emma Derbyshire, of Nutritional Insight, a consultancy specialising in nutrition and biomedical science.

Choline is an essential dietary nutrient, but the amount produced by the liver is not enough to meet the requirements of the human body.

Choline is critical to brain health, particularly during fetal development. It also influences liver function, with shortfalls linked to irregularities in blood fat metabolism as well as excess free radical cellular damage, writes Dr Derbyshire.

The primary sources of dietary choline are found in beef, eggs, dairy products, fish, and chicken, with much lower levels found in nuts, beans, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli.

In 1998, recognising the importance of choline, the US Institute of Medicine recommended minimum daily intakes. These range from 425 mg/day for women to 550 mg/day for men, and 450 mg/day and 550 mg/day for pregnant and breastfeeding women, respectively, because of the critical role the nutrient has in fetal development.

In 2016, the European Food Safety Authority published similar daily requirements. Yet national dietary surveys in North America, Australia, and Europe show that habitual choline intake, on average, falls short of these recommendations.

“This is….concerning given that current trends appear to be towards meat reduction and plant-based diets,” says Dr Derbyshire.

She commends the first report (EAT-Lancet) to compile a healthy food plan based on promoting environmental sustainability, but suggests that the restricted intakes of whole milk, eggs and animal protein it recommends could affect choline intake.

And she is at a loss to understand why choline does not feature in UK dietary guidance or national population monitoring data.

“Given the important physiological roles of choline and authorisation of certain health claims, it is questionable why choline has been overlooked for so long in the UK,” she writes. “Choline is presently excluded from UK food composition databases, major dietary surveys, and dietary guidelines,” she adds.

It may be time for the UK government’s independent Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to reverse this, she suggests, particularly given the mounting evidence on the importance of choline to human health and growing concerns about the sustainability of the planet’s food production.

“More needs to be done to educate healthcare professionals and consumers about the importance of a choline-rich diet, and how to achieve this,” she writes.

“If choline is not obtained in the levels needed from dietary sources per se then supplementation strategies will be required, especially in relation to key stages of the life cycle, such as pregnancy, when choline intakes are critical to infant development,” she concludes.

This content was originally published here.

Your heart’s best friend: Dog ownership associated with better cardiovascular health

pets
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Owning a pet may help maintain a healthy heart, especially if that pet is a dog, according to the first analysis of data from the Kardiozive Brno 2030 study. The study examines the association of pet ownership—specifically dog ownership—with cardiovascular disease risk factors and cardiovascular health. The results are published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes.

The study first established baseline health and socio-economic information on more than 2,000 subjects in the city of Brno, Czech Republic, from January 2013 through Dec. 2014. Follow-up evaluations are scheduled for five-year intervals until 2030.

In the 2019 evaluation, the study looked at 1,769 subjects with no history of heart disease and scored them based on Life’s Simple 7 ideal health behaviors and factors, as outlined by the American Heart Association: body mass index, diet, physical activity, smoking status, , blood glucose and total cholesterol.

The study compared the scores of pet owners overall to those who did not own pets. Then it compared dog owners to other pet owners and those who did not own pets.

“In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level,” says Andrea Maugeri, Ph.D., a researcher with the International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno and the University of Catania in Catania, Italy. “The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level.”

The study demonstrates an association between and heart health, which is in line with the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on the benefits of owning a dog in terms of , engagement and reduction of cardiovascular disease risk.

Dr. Maugeri says that the study findings support the idea that people could adopt, rescue or purchase a pet as a potential strategy to improve their cardiovascular health as long as pet ownership led them to a more physically active lifestyle.

Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., chair of the Division of Preventive Cardiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, says that having a dog may prompt owners to go out, move around and play with their dog regularly. Owning a dog also has been linked to better mental health in other studies and less perception of social isolation—both risk factors for heart attacks. Dr. Lopez-Jimenez is a senior investigator of this study.

More information:
Andrea Maugeri et al. Dog Ownership and Cardiovascular Health: Results From the Kardiovize 2030 Project, Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2019.07.007

Provided by
Mayo Clinic


Citation:
Your heart’s best friend: Dog ownership associated with better cardiovascular health (2019, August 23)
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Vegan and Plant-Based Diets Worsen Brain Health

Summary: Eating a vegan or plant-based diet can be bad for your brain health, especially if you already have a low choline intake, researchers report.

Source: BMJ

The momentum behind a move to plant-based and vegan diets for the good of the planet is commendable, but risks worsening an already low intake of an essential nutrient involved in brain health, warns a nutritionist in the online journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

To make matters worse, the UK government has failed to recommend or monitor dietary levels of this nutrient — choline — found predominantly in animal foods, says Dr. Emma Derbyshire, of Nutritional Insight, a consultancy specializing in nutrition and biomedical science.

Choline is an essential dietary nutrient, but the amount produced by the liver is not enough to meet the requirements of the human body.

Choline is critical to brain health, particularly during fetal development. It also influences liver function, with shortfalls linked to irregularities in blood fat metabolism as well as excess free radical cellular damage, writes Dr Derbyshire.

The primary sources of dietary choline are found in beef, eggs, dairy products, fish, and chicken, with much lower levels found in nuts, beans, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli.

In 1998, recognizing the importance of choline, the US Institute of Medicine recommended minimum daily intakes. These range from 425 mg/day for women to 550 mg/day for men, and 450 mg/day and 550 mg/day for pregnant and breastfeeding women, respectively, because of the critical role the nutrient has in fetal development.

In 2016, the European Food Safety Authority published similar daily requirements. Yet national dietary surveys in North America, Australia, and Europe show that habitual choline intake, on average, falls short of these recommendations.

“This is….concerning given that current trends appear to be towards meat reduction and plant-based diets,” says Dr. Derbyshire.

She commends the first report (EAT-Lancet) to compile a healthy food plan based on promoting environmental sustainability but suggests that the restricted intakes of whole milk, eggs and animal protein it recommends could affect choline intake.

And she is at a loss to understand why choline does not feature in UK dietary guidance or national population monitoring data.

“Given the important physiological roles of choline and authorization of certain health claims, it is questionable why choline has been overlooked for so long in the UK,” she writes. “Choline is presently excluded from UK food composition databases, major dietary surveys, and dietary guidelines,” she adds.

The primary sources of dietary choline are found in beef, eggs, dairy products, fish, and chicken, with much lower levels found in nuts, beans, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli. The image is in the public domain.

It may be time for the UK government’s independent Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to reverse this, she suggests, particularly given the mounting evidence on the importance of choline to human health and growing concerns about the sustainability of the planet’s food production.

“More needs to be done to educate healthcare professionals and consumers about the importance of a choline-rich diet, and how to achieve this,” she writes.

“If choline is not obtained in the levels needed from dietary sources per se then supplementation strategies will be required, especially in relation to key stages of the life cycle, such as pregnancy, when choline intakes are critical to infant development,” she concludes.

About this neuroscience research article

Source:
BMJ
Media Contacts:
Press Office – BMJ
Image Source:
The image is in the public domain.

Could we be overlooking a potential choline crisis in the United Kingdom?

Choline can be likened to omega-3 fatty acids in that it is an ‘essential’ nutrient that cannot be produced by the body in amounts needed for human requirements. The United States (US) Institute of Medicine (IOM)1 and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)2 recognise that choline plays an important role in the human body and have established dietary reference values. The American Medical Association3 in 2017 published new advice stating that prenatal vitamin supplements should contain “evidenced-based” amounts of choline. Similarly the American Academy of Paediatrics4 5 (from 2018) called on paediatricians to move beyond simply recommending a “good diet” and to make sure that pregnant women and young children have access to food that provides adequate amounts of “brain-building” nutrients with choline being listed as one of these. Unfortunately, in the UK choline is not yet included in food composition databases, main nutrition surveys nor official recommendations. The present article discusses the current choline situation and explains why more needs to be done to include and monitor this essential nutrient in the UK.

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New Jersey appeals court overturns injunction on assisted suicide law – Health & Wellness – News – Catholic Online

A New Jersey appeals court ruled Tuesday that the state’s law permitting assisted suicide may take effect while a legal challenge against it is heard in court.

By
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

8/30/2019 (1 day ago)

Trenton, N.J., (CNA) – A New Jersey appeals court ruled Tuesday that the state’s law permitting assisted suicide may take effect while a legal challenge against it is heard in court.

The ruling reversed a previous decision from a lower court that had halted the law.

The Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act is being challenged by a physician who says that it is a violation of religious freedom protections in the U.S. Constitution and laws against suicide.

Dr. Yosef Glassman is an Orthodox Jew who says that he is opposed to facilitating suicide both due to his religious beliefs and his profession as a doctor. He also objects to the law’s stipulation that a doctor who objects to assisted suicide must refer patients to another doctor who will help them end their life.

The law’s demands on doctors, Glassman said in his lawsuit, present “not only a violation of the rights to practice medicine without breaching the fiduciary duties owing to those patients … but also violations of their First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution to freely practice their religions in which human life is sacred and must not be taken,” the AP reported.

However, the appeals court said Glassman had not shown that irreparable harm would result from allowing the law to move forward during the court challenge.

“We conclude the court failed to consider adequately the interests of qualified terminally-ill patients, who the Legislature determined have clearly prescribed rights to end their lives consistent with the Act,” the appeals court said, according to the AP.

The assisted suicide law passed the New Jersey legislature narrowly in late March. The law allows those deemed by a doctor to have less than six months to live to request lethal medication to end their lives. The patient then must administer the medication themselves.

Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill into law April 12.

A self-described “lifelong, practicing Catholic,” Murphy said that he was aware of the Church’s opposition to assisted suicide, but that after careful consideration and prayer, “I have concluded that, while my faith may lead me to a particular decision for myself, as a public official I cannot deny this alternative to those who may reach a different conclusion.”

“I believe this choice is a personal one and, therefore, signing this legislation is the decision that best respects the freedom and humanity of all New Jersey residents,” Murphy said.

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen condemned assisted suicide as “a grievous affront to the dignity of human life” that “can never be morally justified” in a letter to his diocese on July 30.

“Passage of this law points to the utter failure of government, and indeed all society, to care truly, authentically and humanely for the suffering and vulnerable in our midst, especially those living with an incurable disease as well as the frail elderly, the infirm and those living with disabilities,” he said.

He stressed that despite the new legality of the practice, it remains gravely immoral, and said the Church would continue advocating for the sanctity of all human life and working to educate lawmakers and the general public about the dangers of assisted suicide.

“With this law there will be a further desensitization of the value of human life,” said the bishop, adding that the elderly, sick and disabled could feel pressure to choose suicide so as to avoid burdening others.

He also clarified that Saint Peter’s University Hospital, sponsored by the Diocese of Metuchen, will not condone or participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Instead of assisted suicide, Checchio called for a renewed commitment caring for those living in pain and suffering while dying and who might otherwise consider suicide.

“Let us strive to help the sick and incapacitated find meaning in their lives, even and especially in the midst of their suffering,” he said. “Let us, as a society and as individuals choose to walk with them, in their suffering, not contribute to eliminating the gift of life.”

Assisted suicide is legal in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as in Montana under a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling.

This content was originally published here.

Opinion | Democrats Are Having the Wrong Health Care Debate – The New York Times

Four policies can effectively tackle the affordability issue. First, we need to address drug prices. The United States has just over 4 percent of the world’s population, and yet it accounts for nearly half of global drug spending. On average, the United States spends $1,443 per person a year on drugs. This cannot be explained by utilization; the difference is the drug prices we pay.

Switzerland, home to two of the largest drug companies in the world, negotiates drug prices. It has the second-highest per capita drug spending, at about $940 annually. That $500 per person difference between the United States and Switzerland translates to $160 billion per year in potential savings. Even just a third of those savings, $53 billion, would represent a 10 percent reduction in drug prices.

Despite a lot of talk about cutting drug prices, the Trump administration has taken no substantive action. Democrats need to endorse national, not just Medicare, drug price negotiations that use a value-based pricing framework — linking drug prices to their health benefits in reducing mortality and morbidity — international comparisons and affordability for the average citizen. If the negotiations are not successful, then the government should unilaterally set maximum drug prices.

Second, hospital prices are soaring and must be contained. Medicare and Medicaid set their own hospital prices, which have risen modestly in recent years. But hospital prices for the roughly 160 million Americans with private insurance have shot up as much as drug prices. In 1996, hospitals charged private insurance companies about 6 percent more than Medicare. In 2012, they charged 75 percent more than Medicare. A recent RAND study indicates that, on average, hospitals now charge private insurance companies 141 percent more than Medicare.

The main culprit behind this price escalation appears to be the mergers of hospital systems, which creates local monopolies. Researchers at Yale calculate that capping prices for inpatient care for private insurers at 120 percent of Medicare would save about 20 percent of those costs, approximately $90 billion per year. That cap may be too aggressive, but a cap of 140 percent would save more than $30 billion.

Next, we need a policy that targets wasteful insurance billing practices. In 2010, the National Academy of Medicine estimated that about 14 percent of health care spending was related to billing and insurance-related administrative activities. Updating those numbers for today, the Center for American Progress estimates that we spend nearly $500 billion a year on billing and insurance processing. Based on comparisons with other countries, about half of that is classified as “excess” — a polite way of saying waste.

The simplest approach is to empower an independent commission to create a clearinghouse for processing all medical bills with uniform standardized electronic formats for all insurers. Both Germany and Japan — countries with hundreds and thousands of insurance companies — have such centralized bill processing systems, generating low billing costs. Health economists suggest this could yield savings that are more than 3 percent of expenditures, about $90 billion per year.

The fourth option is to push even harder on switching from fee-for-service payment to value-based alternatives. As it stands, when physicians avoid an unnecessary test or deliver the same outcomes for less money, they suffer financially. Capitation, bundles and global budgets make doctors and hospitals responsible for both the total cost of caring for patients and the quality of their outcomes. Ultimately, it is doctors who write orders and decide on a patients’ suite of tests and treatments.

These four simple policies can easily save more than $100 billion and, if pushed aggressively, maybe close to $200 billion per year. Americans and American businesses are crying out for affordable health care. That, along with auto-enrollment, should be what Democrats fight for in 2020.

This content was originally published here.

Robert Mugabe in Singapore hospital as health worsens [photos]

Former president — and to his cadres in the Zanu-PF, the Founding Father — of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, is currently in a Singapore hospital getting the best medical assistance available.

That was the word from the country’s current head of state, Edward Mnangagwa, who, in a statement, assured fellow Zimbabweans that his predecessor, and former ally, was recovering well.

Why is Robert Mugabe in hospital?

According to a statement released by Mnangagwa, Mugabe has often been travelling between Zimbabwe and Singapore on a month-to-month basis for regular health check-ups.

The 95-year-old was remanded in the custody of healthcare professionals in Singapore in April after it was determined that he was not fit enough to be discharged.

“From the report the team gave me at the weekend, I am greatly pleased to inform the nation that the former President continues to make steady progress towards eventual recovery and that his condition is remarkably stable for his age,” Mnangagwa reported.

The president further confirmed that based on the report forwarded by his special envoy that includes Mugabe’s personal physician, the former president is responding well to treatment and that he could be “released fairly soon.”

HE President @edmnangagwa updates the nation on the condition of former president of Zimbabwe Cde RG Mugabe pic.twitter.com/BxCbhS45be

— Ministry of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting (@InfoMinZW) August 5, 2019

Prayers and well wishes pour in for Mugabe

Many supporters of Mugabe, including the EFF, have sent well wishes to Mugabe, praying that he recovers well and returns home as soon as possible.

Get well soon President Mugabe. The EFF wishes you a speedy recovery 🙏🏾 our prayers are with you. pic.twitter.com/B7jFKkVbsC

— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) August 5, 2019

We wish the former president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe speed recovery on his health

— African Child (@African94982233) August 6, 2019

Speedy recovery Moetapele 🙏. #RobertMugabe https://t.co/W4A63ccTYj

— 《 I Have A Story To Tell 》🇱🇸 (@PolokoMokhele) August 6, 2019

Recent images of Mugabe in a dire state

Images of Mugabe in his current state have surfaced online. The aged Zanu-PF leader looks nothing like the stern leader that ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for so many years.

Pictures of the day @ robert mugabe pic.twitter.com/TXC0epd1iW

— mzansistories (@mzansistories) July 28, 2019

The state of Zimbabwe post-Mugabe

As Mugabe’s health deteriorates, so does the promise of a new dawn that has been dangled over the heads of Zimbabweans for decades.

Rising fuel and electricity prices, matched with a decaying infrastructure has pitted Zimbabwe in a worrying state. According to the most recent Freedom in the World report, Zimbabwe, under the rule of Mnangagwa, has regressed into the defunct state it was in back when Mugabe was at the helm.

“Zimbabwe’s political system returned in some ways to its pre-coup status quo, as the ruling Zanu PF party won deeply flawed general elections following the military’s ouster of longtime President Robert Mugabe in 2017.

“Despite Mnangagwa’s pledges to respect political institutions and govern in the interest of all Zimbabweans, his new administration has shown few signs that it is committed to fostering genuine political competition, and it has continued to enforce laws that limit expression,” the report read.

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Sexual abuse survivors who aren’t believed are at higher risk of poor mental health

Sexual abuse survivors who aren’t believed are at higher risk of poor mental health
Credit: Shutterstock

Survivors of sexual assault who encounter negative responses from family members when they disclose their abuse are at higher risk of poor mental health later in life, a new study by UNSW medical researchers has shown.

It is hoped that the study—and subsequent research—can help better inform and strategies to avert the longer-term emotional difficulties and risks that abuse survivors encounter later in life.

“There is ample evidence that sexual abuse is widespread among —for example, we know that nearly 1 in 5 globally, and approximately 20% of Australian women report exposure to sexual abuse in childhood,” says study lead author Associate Professor Susan Rees from UNSW Medicine’s School of Psychiatry.

“The association between exposure to sexual abuse and a wide range of common mental disorders and adverse psychosocial outcomes is also well established.

“However, there are only few studies that have tried to qualitatively understand the possible range of sexual assault disclosure responses from parents and relatives—girls’ and women’s most likely confidantes—as well as the survivors’ associated emotional reaction, and mental disorder later in life.”

For this study, the researchers conducted interviews with 30 adult female survivors of sexual abuse who sought support from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Sexual Assault Counselling Service.

To better understand the interpersonal complexity of the survivor’s experiences, the team enabled the survivors to explore their experiences in a confidential one-on-one setting with skilled counselors. Together, they plotted the survivor’s experience on a visual timeline.

Survivors described the main three toxic responses from when they—often as a child—disclosed the sexual assault.

“Women described being ignored, blamed for the abuse or being threatened that some harm would come to them or the family if they speak out,” A/Prof Rees says.

Women who had these negative disclosure experiences then reported a range of adverse psychosocial outcomes experienced later in their lives—including social isolation, taking drugs, recurrent or persisting mental disorder and future risk of , including bullying at school.

“In short, we found that these are strongly associated with mental disorders and future adversity later in life—particularly if the negative disclosure experience occurred during childhood,” A/Prof Rees said.

The researchers hope that this more nuanced understanding may help to better inform interventions and public campaigns to encourage society to work towards breaking the silence that protects perpetrators and obscures the pervasive harms caused by against children and women.

“For example, parents need to better understand the importance of responding with affirming and caring responses if they are confronted with disclosures, given that the period immediately following a disclosure may be a critical window where survivors are particularly vulnerable,” A/Prof Rees says.

For , the researchers recommend special training to identify and respond to negative disclosure experiences.

And at a societal level, the researchers say they hope that the contemporary public attention for sexual violence, steered by the #metoo movement, will help promote “public acknowledgment of men’s culpability, rather than women’s responsibility.”

“We need to harness this impetus at the community level to overcome denial and victim blaming in the home, too,” A/Prof Rees concludes.

The study was a collaboration between UNSW Medicine and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Sexual Assault Counselling Service. The Service is planning future research on this topic.

“Our sample was non-representative and we therefore can’t generalize our findings to the wider population of women who have been sexually abused—so we need more research,” A/Prof Rees says.

More information:
Susan Rees et al. Believe #metoo: sexual violence and interpersonal disclosure experiences among women attending a sexual assault service in Australia: a mixed-methods study, BMJ Open (2019). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026773

Journal information:
BMJ Open


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