health care


In the United States, there is a large stigma regarding mental health issues. The Mayo clinic website explains this well.  However also implies that the age of stigma has passed.  It hasn’t. People seem much more comfortable saying they have diabetes or asthma than saying they have a mental illness.  For many years this has resulted in unequal treatment of mental and physical illness and in employment and insurance, but that may be changing, and it must.

An editorial in yesterday’s LaCrosse (Wisconsin) Tribune notes that:

[I]f we continue to let mental illnesses go untreated because of paltry insurance benefits and under-funding of public efforts at mental health care and intervention, we’ll continue to pay an escalating monetary cost — in law enforcement, in prisons, in emergencycare at the county level of people in extremis.

Last week, the congress and Obama administration passed new laws that are intended to bring equality to the treatment of mental health issues.  In a New York Times article, Robert Pear said this:

Insurers cannot set higher co-payments and deductibles or stricter limits on treatment for mental illness and addiction disorders. Nor can they establish separate deductibles for mental health care and for the treatment of physical illnesses.

Such disparities are common in the insurance industry. By sweeping away such restrictions, doctors said, the rules will make it easier for people to obtain treatment for a wide range of conditions, including depression, autism,schizophreniaeating disorders and alcohol and drug abuse.

Unfortunately, this may not be the case — at least not for everyone. The same New York Times author points out that:

The rules apply to group health insurance plans of the kind typically offered by employers. Federal health officials said the rules did not apply to the individual insurance market, where policies are sold directly to individuals and families. However, some states have laws that apply to the individual market.

Even if the laws apply to individual insurance buyers, it may not be enough. Robert Preidt’s article in BusinessWeek’s Health Day News from yesterday points out:

Fears about losing status at work and about confidentiality are among the main reasons that many American workers are more hesitant to seek treatment for mental health issues than for physical health problems, according to a national survey released this week by the American Psychiatric Association.

Very few of the editorials call for  what I think is equally necessary: equal and adequate treatment of mental illnesses in the prison system and administered by the courts.  Society’s destigmatized acceptance of mental health will take a lot longer.

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Dear Governor Palin,

I understand that you want to be the VP of a party that thinks no one should ever be able have an abortion no matter what. And you don’t believe in teaching kids about sex and STD’s and birth control. AND your 17 year old daughter is pregnant, still in high school and not married. AND you don’t want us to talk about it because it is your family.

Well Mrs Governor, it doesn’t work that way.

You see, your policies and your republican platform are terrible! They don’t work! Here are some examples:

Abstinence-only sex ed defies common sense. Education policy spreads ignorance, sends confusing message to teens

“One in eight youth are sexually experienced, having engaged in intercourse, oral sex or both before the age of 14,” the Journal of Adolescent Health reported in 2006. According to the Project Connect study, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: * “9 percent reported ever having sexual intercourse…and 8 percent ever had oral sex (active or receptive).” * “Of those who reported intercourse, 36 percent were age 11 or younger at first sex, 27 percent were 12, 28 percent were 13, and 9 percent were 14 or older.” * “Alarmingly, 43 percent of sexually experienced participants reported multiple sex partners.”

Kate Walsh: Abstinence-Only “Not Working.” Cites One-In-Four Teen Girl STDs Rate In U.S. As Proof Fed-Sponsored Sex Ed Needs Broadening

So we do get to talk about your policies. And we do get to talk about hypocrisy. You asked us to repect your family’s privacy, but you won’t respect my family’s privacy to make our own decisions!

“Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that, as parents, we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned,” said Palin, 44, and her husband. “We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents.” They asked the media to respect their child’s privacy.

How come she gets to make a decision but the rest of the girls and women in America don’t! You won’t even let me learn in school about all the decisions I might need to make!

Governor Palin, when I had my first boyfriend, my brother talked to me and to him about why we shouldn’t have sex. Actually, we had to sit down in my boyfriend’s living room with his parents and my brother and hear all about STD’s and love and all the reasons we were too young for sex. AND they told us about condoms and other ways of preventing pregnancy even though we promised to keep all hands above the waist until at least 16.

Did you have a talk like that with Bristol and her boyfriend? Did anyone show him how to use a condom? These are fair questions because of the policies you advocate for.

I am glad that Bristol decided to have her baby. Will she and her boyfriend raise it? Will they give it up for adoption? Who is going to pay for her to give birth? And for all the other doctor visits?

If you want your family life to stay private, the please don’t bring your family on stage with you when you campaign, and please stop being a hypocrite.

Sincerely,

Cassie

On Blogging for Choice day, the 35th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision on abortion, I wrote a post right here about anti-abortion eighth graders at a Catholic school. That post was read on the air and discussed on the Head On Radio Network, and you can hear the whole discussion here. If I’d known it was on, I would have called in!

Click to listen. Click the FREE version.

(Also, if you know how to post an audio file to wordpress, please leave me a comment! Thanks!)

I just saw this and I think it is really warped. 

Kids: The New Voice In The Abortion Debate

The bell rang and the eighth graders jumped up, eager to compare notes.

“I named my baby Kyle Patrick,” one shouted.

“Mine is Antonio!”

At the urging of an antiabortion activist, they had each pledged to “spiritually adopt” a fetus developing in an unknown woman — to name it, love it from afar and above all, pray daily that the mother-to-be would not choose abortion.

“Maybe one day you’ll get to heaven and these people will come running to you . . . and say, ‘We’re all the little children you saved,’ ” activist Cristina Barba said. She smiled at the students in their Catholic school uniforms. “Maybe you really can make a difference.”

Thirty-five years after Roe vs. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, opponents are pouring resources into building new generations of activists. Young people are responding with passion.

Today’s students and young adults have grown up in a time when abortion was widely accessible and acceptable, and a striking number are determined to end that era.

Pew Research Center polls dating back a decade show that 18- to 29-year-olds are consistently more likely than the general adult population to favor strict limits on abortion. A Pew survey over the summer found 22% of young adults support a total ban on abortion, compared with 15% of their parents’ generation.

Click here to continue reading

Here are some suggestions for those kids that might actually be more helpful than what they are doing:

  1. Learn more about how to NOT become pregnant.  This is called sex education.  The real stuff that includes contraceptives and how to use them.  Prayer might be less effective than condoms.  Just sayin’.
  2. Help change this country so that women who want to have babies can get daycare and healthcare and jobs that pay them enough to raise the babies.
  3. Spend your time opposing war, capital punishment, drunk driving, cancer, heart disease, child abuse and all of the other things that kill people.
  4. Help get national health care for the United States so that women who know their fetus will be a baby with health problems will be more likely to choose to have the baby.
  5. Focus on the choices you want to make for yourselves, but let the rest of us make OUR own choices.

By the way, this is my “blogging for choice” post. 

How many times a day do you click something on the computer? These clicks make a difference!

By Texas Betsy | January 15, 2008 – 4:15 pm –

pink breast cancer ribbonPlease tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on ‘donating a mammogram’ for free (pink window in the middle).This doesn’t cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors /advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising. Here’s the web site! Pass it along to people you know.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

Also click these other links to help in other ways.

The Hunger Site The Breast Cancer Site The Child Health Site
The Literacy SiteThe Rainforest Site The Animal Rescue Site

Vaccine  I wrote about this issue once before. I am very glad that I got the vaccine and I hope that other states will do what Texas has done. Health care is more important than scaring girls into being celibate.

Here’s the update:

After controversy, more HPV vaccinations, doctors say

Some pediatricians say last year’s controversy over whether the state should mandate Texas schoolgirls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus has translated into more individuals getting the vaccine.

“It’s really kind of an interesting thing – the controversy has really helped us get the word out,” said Chris Turley, vice chair for clinical services at the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Pediatrics Department.

“We really do have moms coming and asking for it. … People forget about the tetanus shot because it’s been around forever, but they come in knowing about this and wanting it for their daughters.”

Since July, Galveston-based UTMB pediatric clinics have been administering about 60 doses a month, Turley said.

Gov. Rick Perry set off a political furor last year by ordering that girls get the vaccine, which protects against a handful of HPV strains that cause cervical cancer. His action irritated conservatives and the Republican-controlled Legislature later undid his executive order.

Texas would have been the first state to require the immunizations.

Since then, the Virginia and New Jersey legislatures passed a school vaccine requirement, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

HPV infects about 20 million people in the United States with 6.2 million new cases each year, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Perry’s office said he is pleased his actions have prompted Texas families to talk about the vaccine.

“As the numbers are showing, many girls are being vaccinated, and the governor views that as a positive result of generating this debate in Texas and throughout the nation,” Krista Piferrer said.

Though Perry can’t legally order the HPV vaccine for schoolgirls for at least three more years, Piferrer said he hasn’t given up the fight.

“The governor still believes this is a valuable tool to protect young girls against cancer,” she said.

UTMB pediatrics professor Dr. Martin Myers said there are still some unanswered questions – such as who would pay for the cost of the vaccine and what sort of demand would it create on its manufacturer – that still make the idea of mandating the vaccine premature.

There was a “considerable interest in the vaccine” in 2007, said Jack Sims, immunization branch manager of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

He did not have information about how many Texans were vaccinated last year, but he said the state was collecting that information for the first time in a survey to be released this spring.

I am nearly 16 years old. (November 1st is the big day!) School wants me to not have sex, my family wants me to not have sex. But how old were my parents when they started having sex? Seems like it matters, at least in England!

The Beat Goes On: Kids Start Sex at Same Age as Parents, Grandparents

Next time your parents tell you that you should wait to have sex, just show them this survey. According to a new report entitled Sexual Health in Canada, is that adolescent sexual practices have remained largely unchanged for decades. Linda Capperauld, executive director of the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health said that the survey shows that “Young people aren’t having sex any younger than their parents or grandparents.”

HEALTH: SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR

Youth start sex at same age as their parents, grandparents did

Practices unchanged in decades, report says

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTER

The common media image of today’s youth is that they have, under a steady barrage of sexually charged images, become increasingly precocious – engaging in intercourse at a younger and younger age and with a dizzying array of partners.

But the reality, according to a new report entitled Sexual Health in Canada, is that adolescent sexual practices have remained largely unchanged for decades. “Young people aren’t having sex any younger than their parents or grandparents,” Linda Capperauld, executive director of the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, said in an interview.

Nor – despite suggestive music videos, ready access to Internet porn and creeping hemlines – are more teens having sex.

Nationwide, only 28 per cent of adolescents age 15 to 17 report having had sex, a figure that rises to 65 per cent by age 18 to 19.

All told, the mean age for sexual intercourse is 16.5 years, about where it’s been since the sexual revolution that was launched by today’s baby boomers.

Despite the closing gender gap – equal numbers of boys and girls now say they have had sex – the primary reason for not having done so remains remarkably unchanged from previous generations: Most girls said they were not ready, while most boys reported a lack of opportunity. The No. 2 reason for both sexes is the same: “I haven’t met the right person.”

But when they do, teens are remarkably faithful. The number with a single sexual partner is on the rise.

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