Friday, December 1, 2017

Pet Peeves 1

Pet Peeve: People who who mock anti-depressants, who have never needed them, and have never educated themselves about the medications. I don't need them, but I know the chemistry and science behind them. I know that there are people who LACK the chemistry these medications provide. I know that that are a variety of medications, each for a variety of mental health issues. I know that 'mental health' is a blanket term that covers a BROAD range of cognitive, emotional, perceptual, and in some cases neurological issues (and more). I know there are some medications intended for short-term treatments (for example, to help someone become comfortable enough to open up about their issues and navigate positively through talk therapy), and some that are long-term or lifelong. I know they are over-prescribed, and the onus is on the patient to be aware of what their doctor is recommending for them, and to actually engage with their provider (something I've dealt with firsthand, as I do not feel like my fibro yet requires an SNRI like Cymbalta, despite repeated recommendations). I know that depression is among the most classically misunderstood conditions, and that it isn't a state of being perpetually sad as much as it's a state devoid of emotional and/or normative emotional responses. However, finding a state of Zen or somesuch isn't going to help someone who is chemically incapable of being calm. Finding true happiness isn't a matter of 'hard' or 'easy' to someone who lacks the chemical ability to discern between any emotions. Mocking the medications mocks those with mental health issues. As an idea of how misunderstood it may be: America has blatant acts of domestic terrorism branded as 'mental health issues.' This is evidence of how isolated, stigmatized, and misrepresented the issue is in our country alone: our media is reinforcing that everyone with a mental health problem is a NATIONAL SECURITY RISK. The populous at large is letting this happen, and in most cases, going along with the stigma. It's easy to say something is terrible - it's a real easy ego boost. But, it's a passing emotional high at the expense of isolating and stigmatizing a broader, obfuscated issue. The solution's simple, but it's harder: Don't do the easy thing. Don't be a dick and contribute to the stigma. Do something that challenges the cultural norm, and tell someone something nice today. Do a nice thing. Buy a coffee for a stranger. Maybe even just don't mock something or someone you don't understand. Whatever. Just, don't be a dick.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Death of Good Health

Let's talk highlights on the new healthcare 'proposal.'

-Guaranteed higher premiums due to a lack of program mandate.  This mandate, or requirement of all uninsured Americans to either have coverage, or pay a penalty, is what keeps the costs down for every American when they need access to coverage - REGARDLESS of whether your coverage comes from an employer, or privately.  All insurance companies pull their funding from a joint 'pool' of these payments.  Premiums are what you pay monthly to be a part of the program, the deductibles are combined with this, into the pool, to fund your healthcare.

Without this mandate, the healthiest will no longer have to put into the program, and in their health, they keep insurance companies afloat by contributing without drawing from the pool.  Meanwhile, those of average or less health create the largest draw.  To offset this large pull from the pool with a smaller number of insured Americans, premiums will rise, as will deductibles.

-This 'proposal' builds in tax revocations and sheltering programs allowing individuals that can afford to stow $10,000 or MORE at a time into a special medical savings program.  Subsequently, the money in this fund will be non-taxable.  Imagine making $30,000-$40,000 a year, and being able to withhold taxes on it, so long as it goes into a specific account.  Even only used for healthcare, the average American pays copays and deductibles out-of-pocket, post-tax, because the requirements of this program are so costly and limiting, that they're restricted to only the upper echelon of income-earners.

Along with this and removing the taxation on luxury non-medical procedures, on medical equipment, and quality-of-life diminishing products (such as squashing or entirely removing taxes on sodas, cigarettes, and tanning bed use), the only person that stands to lose is the American public.  With higher premiums, but cheaper access to publicly acknowledged health risks, this 'proposal' is further limiting access to reasonable healthcare services. 

-Further, with less going into taxes for these products and offerings, its estimated that a combination of households pulling down $200,000 or more stand to profit by as much as $346 BILLION over the next 10 years through health and luxury tax reductions.  That's to say, those that can invest into the medical system, its new tax-shelters, and the subsidies I'll discuss further, the top 3% of Americans will scrape away another 3-5% from their fiscal responsibility to the Federal government.

-Women's Reproductive care will become optional.  This is not a joke or hyperbole.  It will no longer be part of the minimum required offering for a woman to see her OB-GYN.  Maternity care will no longer be guaranteed.  Wellness care for things like ovarian cysts, endometriosis, fibroids, and pre- and post-menopausal treatments will ALL. BE. OPTIONAL.  Keeping in mind, as this coverage becomes optional, the pool to draw from funding for this will become smaller. This, in turn, makes the individual cost for the plan, deductibles, and any copays, increase.

-Meanwhile, no changes to the coverage of men's reproductive health.  Want your nards cut so you never have kids again, but can boink to your hearts content? - Covered.

Want your uterus removed because cancer? - that coverage is now optional by provider.

-Back to point.  Planned Parenthood - political bogeyman of the Republicans, who provide medical free or reduced-cost assistance to BOTH sexes, 98% of which has nothing to do with abortions - will be utterly defunded.  Period.  The last bastion of reasonable, recognizable, and accessible healthcare for my wife and nieces, sister and sister-in-laws: GONE.  There are no numbers here: they will be defunded, deflated, and inelegantly scraped off the bottom of a politicians shoe like canine feces, simply because this is an organization that morally offended them, despite the practical reality of its necessity.

In addition, private health insurance companies will be prevented from covering abortion costs.  Regardless of your position, this INCLUDES medically-necessary procedures, due to some fast-and-loose wording.

-The ACA's provision for essential health services and coverage will be provisioned out within the next three years (by 12/31/2019).  I - like so many Americans - appreciate that since Mental Health was determined an essential benefit, talking about mental issues is no longer performed in hushed tones behind closed doors.

Too damn bad, as it's on the top of the list to be phased out.  Additionally, pre-existing conditions that qualify for denial of coverage will be shuffled back in.  Chronic pain?  Autoimmune disorder?  Cancer?  Parkinsons?  Alzheimers?  Chrones?  Brain damage? - all grounds for rejection of coverage again.

-Subsidies will now be age-based, not income based. 

Look, I pay for my own healthcare, which means I have to use the marketplace. While I don't qualify for subsidies, I know that the use of subsidies keeps costs in the pool lower.  Shifting this access to a smaller portion of the public - a portion that, in most cases, already qualifies for the subsidy - increases the cost of entry AND use for EVERYONE.  Lower-income households (reporting $60,000 or less in taxable income)  will have fewer opportunities to ensure their children are healthy and insured.  Period.

Meanwhile, people like #45 and his cronies will be getting a 10-50% subsidy (maybe more). From the government. For their Healthcare.  While they are no longer working FOR the government.  Keeping in mind, they would currently already qualify for Medicaid.

-Speaking of, Medicaid is dead by 12/31/2019. Period.  Know any of your parents using Medicaid? Know how much they've used it?  Know how much they've needed it?

Well, it'll be gone. That's it. Nothing pretty or flowery to it: it's just done and gone.

And that's it.  This isn't a repeal-and-replace: this is outright annihilation.  This is a return to the the inadequate insurance practices of the 70s and 80s. 

This is not how you make a healthy, progressive, profitable nation of productive blue and white collar employees. 

This is how you legitimize a cull, clouded in the equally subversive name of profiteering.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time and wounds

Time alone does not heal a wound. Time is needed simply to reconnect the damaged coverings and structures. The wound will still hurt. It will always hurt.
This can be said of breaking a leg, to losing a loved one, to the situation described here. Don’t assume because something’s not being discussed that everyone’s okay with it. There will come a day when someone says to you or your loved one that since they no longer talk about their deceased spouse that they’ve moved on right?
All that means is that no one is talking about it. And sometimes, not talking about it is easier for everyone ELSE, so the person suffering just stops engaging on the issue. It’s emotionally exhausting to keep saying the same things over and over, and moreso when people either don’t listen, or just disregard what you have to say. Loss, such as losing the trust of - or in - a loved one, or outright death, are very personal experiences, which make them incredibly difficult to discuss in a meaningful manner with other people. 

I don't have my usual optimistic 'feel good' twist for this post, save this: this is universal, you are not the only one to feel this way, and there is nothing wrong with feeling this way.